My Little Brother – The Endurance Race.

I have often been told, by the two eldest travellers (the two girls) that I don’t realize just how lucky I am that I don’t have a little brother. In fact, the eldest little traveller has told me on several occasions that I should ring Granny Max and thank her for sparing me.

“If you knew how annoying little brothers are – you’d ring her. Actually you’d send her flowers with a note saying THANKYOU Granny for not putting me through the pain of a little brother”.

This evening when I was putting the girls to bed they had a visit from one of their little brothers. He was proudly showing off the front tooth that he’d bought home in a bag from school. And just when we all thought the sole purpose of his visit was to brag about being “cashed up” in the morning and that his sisters of course would be bereft of any visiting fairies, he outdid himself. As they stood around him looking at the tooth he began to laugh and then said “oops, I just cut the cheese – in your bedroom!” and made a quick exit while they screamed.

“Heeeeeeeeeeeee’s soooooooooooo grooooooooooooos” said the first little traveller.

“You didn’t get me – I can’t even smell it” said the second little traveller with her head under the quilt.

The beagle left the room.

“Oh come on – he’s so sweet and he loves you, what’s the worst he could do?” I was trying to calm things down.

“He breathes” said one.

“He’s alive” said the other.

I shut it down. We weren’t getting anywhere and the aroma of Fart number 8 was lingering, the timing for the family love chat wasn’t good.

When I went to kiss the boys I found the cheese cutter tucked up in bed with a satisfied grin.

“Sometimes they just make my job so easy” he was genuinely pleased with himself.

Perhaps little brothers were put on this earth solely to torment their sisters?

Here’s the thing I’ve noticed about older sisters though.

Older sisters are allowed to “cut the cheese” whenever they like, it can be loud, it can be soft, it can be deadly – it never really happened.

Older sisters can be told by little brothers that their home-made cookies “are the best cookies in the world” and their response will be “you only get one” before swiftly sharing them with the entire neighborhood.

Older sisters can dictate which school gate is entered, which car seat is sat in and who gets how much popcorn for movie night.

Older sisters will always win the death stare, occupier rights in the bathroom and the who gets to hold the money argument.

Older sisters have the power, the control and the instinct to make a little brother the size of an ant in a moment. Hearing your sister shout “Are you wearing underpants?” across a playground. Followed by a “remember how you forgot to put them on yesterday” is enough to dent any mans ego.

And finally, older sisters will not notice who the first person was to run towards them at the end of the basketball final, the very same person who stood on a chair to cheer when they scored their first goal. They will not see the look of adoration that only a younger sibling can provide.

A siblings love can seem like a series of quick scores. A she did/he did event. I wonder what age we are when we realize it’s an endurance race – that you’ll both be there until the end?

How old were you when you realized your siblings were some of the best friends you were ever going to have? Or are you pleased not to have any at all?

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  1. As the oldest of five … here goes …

    When I was younger, I really REALLY did not love my younger siblings, ESPECIALLY siblings 2 and 3 (both boys, 1 and 4 years younger than me). I would often lament to mum “you achieved perfection with your first, why didn’t you just stop there!” I thought siblings 2 & 3 were horrible and being the best of friends, they were insufferable as a pair. Curiously the only one of my siblings that I did love was #5 as he was ten years younger than me and I doted on him like crazy!

    It wasn’t till my late teens that I decided I did love siblings 2 & 3 after all. Sadly #3 was taken from us when he was 18, just when I felt we had progressed to a situation of mutual love and respect. On a more happy note, #2 came to work in my business four years ago and is still there with me as my right hand man 🙂

  2. Oh Kelly, what an amazing family you have, I’m so sorry to hear about your brother – 18 is just way too young. My number 1 and number 4 have very much the same relationship that you describe (she’s only 6 years older) but see’s him as very much her baby. Actually they all treat him a bit like that – I think in their eyes having him was kind of like getting a puppy!

    I’m pretty lucky when it comes to keeping the peace, but I’ve noticed number 3 (the cheese cutter) is getting more and more enjoyment from tormenting his sisters as time goes on.


  3. Love this story.  I only have two girls.  Miss9 worships the ground that Miss12 walks on.  It’s not always appreciated but I hope that as they get older, they will be best friends.  God know’s they’re going to need to band together when I’m mad, senile and old. 🙂

  4. Paula Crook says

    Nice one Kirsty. My own sibling story is a disaster zone so I am delighted to watch and enjoy my own three kids.
    My Miss 11 has a ‘special’ relationship with her little brothers, who are 9.99 years old. I think it is a particularly special relationship as the boys are twins. They endlessly tease her, goad her and generally make a nuisance of themselves. I see her as being in training to be a formidable woman!Funny thing is, Miss 11 has always been the boss in the eyes of her brothers. From Day 1. The problem is, she doesn’t see it. She falls for everything they do. Crazily, she will do anything for them….homework help, cook breakfast, gel their hair to look cool.Bless them. I do think they’ll always have a strong relationship – even if Miss 11 never assumes her role as boss.

  5. There’s an article in The Times online about siblings, saying how 45% of sibling relationships are dysfunctional. 

    As it’s behind a pay wall, you might be interested to read her website

    It explains a lot about sibling relationships.

  6. I remember listening to this on NPR. I think its really interesting – is it that 45% of sibling relationships are dysfunctional or that 45% of ALL relationships are dysfunctional. I agree that some families are disasters, but we all know a family that are incredibly admirable for the way they stick together. Maybe that’s part of our job as parents? To make sure our children have respect for each other (even if they do walk in to their rooms and cut the cheese).

    Thanks so much for the link Sarah – I had completely forgotten about it.

  7. I am the older sister of two boys, and I always loved to be the only girl in the house. I can deal with boys, but girls… still learning. I am happy to have now 2 sons but I am starting to wonder if it is really the best for me to be the only girl in the house, as they are now 3 against one in the decision making! I guess I will always have to go to the mall by myself!

  8. Darlene Foster says

    I am the oldest of 4, and the only girl, so I had 3 little brothers.  Yes, I often wished I was an only chlid or at least had a sister to help me deal with the frustration of having little brothers.  Then I lost one of my little brothers in an industrial accident when he was 19 and I was 26.  The other two are now very precious  and we have some great laughs when we get together.

  9. Kirsty, your comments about how older sisters don’t appreciate / notice younger brothers has really hit home with me.  My brother is 20 months younger than I am and I spent many years thinking he was the biggest pain ever and generally ignoring him.  In the same breath though, I was (and still am) fiercely protective of him.  He is epileptic and I spent a lot of our school years standing up to kids who were bullying him because of this.  As a teenager I was shocked when he went to our school counsellor to talk about how the constant arguing between my mum and I was affecting him.  But in my teenage selfishness I didn’t grasp that he could have been my greatest ally if only I had let him.   A throw away comment to me in my early 20’s changed how I felt about him.  I realised I was SO hard on him, when he just wanted to be friends.  That I didn’t need to protect him, that he was more than capable of doing it himself. 
    We are great friends now and I can see how it has come full circle.  My brother’s 17 month old son adores his 4 year old sister and tries his hardest to play with her and follows her around like a puppy dog.  She recently told me she only likes the baby when he is asleep!  One day I’m sure she’ll like him a lot more!

  10. I am older sister to a younger brother, and your cheese cutter scenario really hit home. He totally did that, all the time. I now watch the same dynamic being played out between my older daughter and younger son. My kids are better friends than my brother and I were as children. My brother and I only started to appreciate each other after I went to college. Now we’re very close, although separated by the Atlantic Ocean.

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