Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Sibling Rivalry

Once upon a time many years ago a lonely Little Girl on holiday in Hammamet, Tunisia, wished for a baby sister. Like all wishes you need to be very careful what you ask for. Needless to say her wish was granted but by then some two years had elapsed and the Little Girl was used to being the ONLY princess in the house.
She put up with the new baby but hated the fact that her mother was always with The Baby and no longer had any time for her. The Little Girl was always told be careful of The Baby, be quiet for The Baby, let The Baby have that toy. The Little Girl was told how lucky she was to have a sister, how happy she must be to have a new baby.
When the Little Girl said she wanted The Baby to go away, to be sent back where it came from, she was told not to be silly, she was told not to be so mean. The Little Girl realised that people would only be pleased and kind to her and have time for her if she said she loved The Baby. So she did. But with no where to vent her true feelings, and no one to take her side and to make time for her, the Little Girl died a little inside and in that space a piece of jealousy grew and it was spiteful and cruel.
The Little Girl would sidle up to The Baby and pinch The Baby to make The Baby cry, she would take the baby’s toys, she would even steal the baby’s sweets. The Little Girl grew watchful and would do these things in secret so no one would know least of all her parents. For the Little Girl realised that with the birth of The Baby there was not enough love to go round, there was not enough time in the day.
The Baby grew and as far as the Little Girl was concerned The Baby always had her parents time and affection while the Little Girl was told to go away and play. The Little Girl had to play on her own. The jealously buried itself a little deeper.
When the family moved, the Little Girl was left to stay with her grandparents, as her parents sorted out the new home. Her parents said it was exciting to stay with her grandparents and what a treat it was, but the Little Girl saw that The Baby stayed with her parents, The Baby was not left behind. The Little Girl’s jealously grew again.
The Little Girl was sent to school because it was easier, she stayed in a big scary house with spiders that ran over her bed all on her own in a dark, dank room. She saw her parents at the weekend but they were very busy moving house and looking after The Baby.
Once everything was sorted The Little Girl came home for good and she was given a big room to play in. She made new friends and was allowed to stay up late. She was happy and she did not mind her little baby sister at all. Then her parents started to talk of sending her away again. She did not want to go away. The Baby wasn’t being sent away. Why thought the Little Girl do they want me to go away?
The Little Girl was eight years old and was sent away to a boarding school at the other end of the country and her parents moved again, this time abroad. The Little Girl begged her parents to take her with them, she cried and she pleaded but it was to no avail. The Little Girl saw that The Baby went with them the Little Girl cried her self to sleep because it was so unfair.
After a time the Little Girl got used to going away and The Baby grew. When The Baby was seven years old the Little Girl was getting bigger and so was her jealously. Like an evil witch the Girl would whisper dark forebodings in The Baby's ear; “Make the most of your time with your parents for they will soon send you away.”
And in time they did. And the Girl was no longer as jealous and she began to realise that this was the way of things and she regretted being so mean to her Baby sister.
Many years passed and one day the Girl met a boy and they married and had a child of their own. The Girl saw her parents often and life was good.
But what of the Baby sister? She too got married and had a child but she did not see her parents as often.
The Girl got pregnant again and her mother agreed to help her when the time was due. The Baby sister wanted to go on holiday and needed someone to look after her child. She called on the mother who said she could not, as she was to help look after the new baby. The Baby sister persuaded the mother to look after the child saying that The Girl had plenty of people to help, had plenty of money to hire help.
The mother was in a quandary. So The Girl suggested the mother bring the Baby sister’s child to stay for she desperately needed her mother to help her for things on the outside are rarley what they seem. The Baby sister’s child came to stay but missed its parents so badly that it cried all day and night to be with its Granny and the mother was unable to help The Girl.
The Girl was upset and unhappy. Why had her sister needed to go on holiday just then when the Girl really needed all the help she could get?
The answer was jealousy. For as much as the Girl had been jealous of her Baby sister so had the Baby sister been jealous of her. For every term time the Baby sister had been the only princess in the house and every holiday she had been usurped.
After the birth of the second child, The Girl had postnatal depression and was too tired to understand. All she reasoned was that she would never have played so shabby a card on her own sister. So she decided to have nothing more to do with her. They did not speak to each other and avoided ever seeing each other for nearly two years.
And then there was a phone call and The Girl’s mother was saying the Baby sister had tried to call The Girl but she was not there. The Baby sister had needed her family and they had not been there for her and she was all alone. She was all alone having a miscarriage and she had turned to the only people she could trust and knew who would care and they were not there.
And The Girl cried for although she was and had been jealous it did not seem important now. She left a message saying that she loved her Baby sister and as for the end of the tale – well, we shall see…


Faith said...

Who is this all about Tattie?

I have never felt jealous of my sisters but then I was The Baby! I could tell you some terrible tales of jealousy from my extended family though. Funny you should blog this - I am reading a book called Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst which covers sibling rivalry amongst other things. F X

Faith said...

Who is this all about Tattie?

I have never felt jealous of my sisters but then I was The Baby! I could tell you some terrible tales of jealousy from my extended family though. Funny you should blog this - I am reading a book called Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst which covers sibling rivalry amongst other things. F X

lampworkbeader said...

Sisters are very difficult things to to deal with. I know I have two of them, both older than me.

Inthemud said...

So true Tattie!
I know my sister was jealous of me and I'm pretty sure Iwas jealous of her.

We get on well and love each other now, as long as we are 200 miles apart!

On a more funny note, since we have the new puppy, I have noticed definate sibling rivalry between the 2 dogs! it is funny to watch as they vie for my attention!

Suffolkmum said...

Gosh this was sad to read Tatie, my heart was breaking for you both! I'm hoping the reconciliation was long lasting and there is a happy ending. I could personally never send my children away to school, although I appreciate that some poeple loved it and it's just not what I'm used to - I also appreciate you were an army child. Still .... By the way we must meet up again soon; I'll pm or email you when life allows it!
PS loved your 'where I live' one below.

ChrisH said...

Yes, it is a tough one. Lots to empathise with there...

KittyB said...

Sisters can have a very difficult relationship whether they're close in age or, like me and my sister very far apart. Jealousy both ways is rife, no matter what. Some sisters will work it out eventually but some never will, no matter how hard they try, like my mother and aunt. The old adage is the truest - about not being able to choose your family. I wish I had some useful sage words for you, but all I can say is you have lots of sympathy!

Potty Mummy said...

Wonderfully put, Tattie. I think that post should be required reading for all parents considering a second child after a significant gap - and yes, I know that such a gap is not always a choice, btw - not to tell them not to do it, but to make sure that the older child doesn't end up feeling like this.

I say this AS an older child.

elizabethm said...

Oh Tattie that was beautifully put and heartbreaking to read. I am lucky. There is seven years between my sister and me and a brother in between. I don't remember ever being jealous of her, she was just a bit of nuisance when I was child. Now she is my closest friend a pillar of my life.
I hope so much you and your sister rebuild your relationship as best you can. xx

Preseli Mags said...

That was heartbreaking to read. I hope the tale gets a lovely, happy ending soon. I get on well with my sister. She lives in Sheffield, I live in Wales. That's about the right distance apart!

Expatmum said...

I'm very impressed that The Girl recognises what's been going on and has the hunility to hope for a better outcome. In some families that would just go on and on. Good luck.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Oh Tattie so heartbreaking to read. I am an only child but often witnessed Wildchild's insecurity. I hope for you both that this tale has a happy ending and can go along way to understanding resolving the hurt which has haunted you both.

Frog in the Field said...

You poor thing, Tattie.
Don't forget, you were the child, more explanation from the grown ups may have helped things a little.
Hindsight is also a wonderful thing.

Exmoorjane said...

Tattie, this caught me by total surprise and rather winded me. I am sobbing my eyes out - so much can barely type. so understand. What an incredible piece of writing - all the power and truth of a fairy story. I was Baby but by heck it works both ways. There have been times when sister and I haven't spoken for years yet then something unbearable happens and.....

dulwichmum said...

Lovely Tattie,

Thank you so much for your kindness to me this morning. You started my day with a smile.

Sibling rivalry and being one of a group of sisters in particular is the most difficult of all relationships I think. You were just a tiny girl when all of this began, do not beat yourself up.

Look how hurtful little children can be when they are small. It is just how little children are. Allow yourself to have made mistakes,


Bea x

Milla said...

great, this, TW, presumably it IS you and your sister. I was the bitter twisted older one with gorgeous curly little brother but we have always been good mates, not least of which now, and he has lived abroad the last 16 years and I miss him.

Pondside said...

Oldest of four here - and an only for just 11 months before younger sister arrived. Decades later our relationship is still fraught. There's nothing stronger and nothing more difficult, I believe, than a sister relationship. Right now we're 'in' relationship, but at Christmas we were 'out'. Very difficult - never and cross words or arguements, just too much baggage from childhood with a difficult mother. I could go on and on - your blog made me cry.

Ceri Savva said...

Aaaw Tattie, this brought a tear to my eye. Both me and my sister never realised how jealous of eachother we had been until quite recently. I do hope things come right for you.

Go on you know you want to...


Blog Widget by LinkWithin