I have two. One two years older than me, one four years younger. For about 15 years they were the bane of my life and now they’re one of the best things about it. (Funny; most other relationships I’ve had with boys have been the other way around.)
I consider my years growing up as the only girl in a house of boys to be free training in how to avoid thinking you’re special. It is impossible to think you’re anything other than the world’s most annoying creation – the sibling equivalent of The Crazy Frog – when you are surrounded by boys who find your very existence ridiculous.
And for them I imagine that having a sister was enough to make them consider lifelong celibacy. I remember me; I was a pain in the arse.
My eldest brother turns 30 today which means it’s about 12 years since we started thinking of each other as a reasonable human being. And, to be fair, when you look back at some of the things we did to each other when were growing up, you can see why we’d think otherwise…
– Cut off my eyelashes when I was a baby. To clarify, he was two, they were alleged ‘safety scissors’ and my eyelashes are now a pretty pleasing length so, if anything, I’m grateful. (Do not try this at home.) My dad, however, had to buy new shirts to replace the ones lost during the same snipping frenzy.
– Pushed a hot poached egg and toast into my face because I was being ‘annoying’ The worst thing about this was that my mum couldn’t stop laughing long enough to tell him off.
– Stirred up his yogurt and let it slip from the spoon whilst saying Slime! Slime! until I went crazy EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. This doesn’t sound that bad but YOU try sitting opposite it every dinner time.
– Revelled in swinging one foot in and out of my bedroom whilst saying “Not in your room! Can’t get angry!” He was in my room and I did get angry.
– Ruined my fourth birthday surprise by announcing that my parent’s had bought me a doll’s house. I reckon he was just jealous.
– Threw a napkin ring at his head for being UNBELIEVABLY IRRITATING at breakfast time. In fact, now I think of it, that might have been the reason behind egg-gate.
– Ripped all his posters from his bedroom wall at least once a week for having his TV too loud. I needed beauty sleep to help my eyelashes grow back.
– Kicked the bottom of his mattress relentlessly when we were forced to share bunk beds. It also doubled up as an excellent form of exercise.
– Scared the bejesus out of him by putting a large Elmo toy’s face in front of his eyes when he woke up. He screamed, as you’d expect.
– Stood in front of the TV screen to stop him watching Gamesmaster because I thought it was boring. But then I would fight with him to have my turn on the Game Boy. Such double standards.
But, thankfully, this time passed. I’ve grown up and realised that there are actually lots of benefits to having an older brother. This is the guy who introduced me to Boyzone (a good taste in music runs in our family), who would hoover up any dinner I didn’t want before mum even had the chance to tell me off for being wasteful, who taught me that tolerance of games consoles is the key to a happy relationship, and who made me laugh until I cried by being the only adult I’ve seen take more than 15 attempts to get onto a lilo.
I don’t have any children as yet but, if and when I do, I hope that at least one of them is a boy. Despite all the shouting, whinging and trying to punch one another, having a brother is actually pretty good.
I may just refrain from cooking them eggs until they’ve made friends.