Seven Uses for Siblings

School holidays have ended for those of us in Victoria; complemented, ironically, with a chilly wind.

I suspect it was the result of a collective sigh of relief from parents across the state …

The holidays were a testing time in this household, but we survived, mostly intact. My larynx was overworked, but I think it’ll be ok.

Boredom, clearly, had set in as I found my twelve-year-old stringing all my blue paperclips together. Given he is not generally prone to nervous disorders, fidgeting or OCD to this extent, and that he was otherwise occupied, quiet and not annoying the crap out of his brothers, I left him to it.

He quietly went about his business. Then I turned around and discovered this:

This is not the first time something similar has occurred.

I took a deep breath, sighed dramatically and launched into the Things Younger Siblings Are Not To Be Used For, to which he nodded and looked suitably remorseful, but had quite obviously ignored …

At which point I was forced into having the You Are Not To Use My Good Paperclips For … conversation. I mean, there’s a limit to what you can use your Mum’s paperclips for. That they’ve been sitting there, untouched, even by her, for years is irrelevant.

I bit my tongue, told him to Go Somewhere Else and Think About His Behaviour. I suggested he might even write something down; an apology, or why using my paperclips is dumb, or why being nice to your siblings isn’t dumb.

He came back with this:

Seven Uses For Siblings

  1. a footrest
  2. a slave or minion
  3. a delegatee (i.e. someone to do the thing Mum or Dad have just asked you to do)
  4. a guard dog (good for stopping your other younger sibling touching your stuff)
  5. a victim
  6. a scapegoat
  7. to annoy when you are bored

Therein lay a typical parenting dilemma; did I have even more words for him, or congratulate him on an inventive and creative piece of writing?

Do I feel angry or proud?

Is there much left in the way of vodka in the cupboards?

Are you considering having more children?

Hopefully the above list will help you decide; an older sibling needs to know they will have something to do.

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