“Mom, he’s making that sound again!” “Mom, he keeps coming into my room!” “Mom he took my Polly Pocket and made a paint brush with her hair.” “Mom, tell him to be quiet. He’s driving me crazy! AGGH!”
When you have children that are close in age, you are always going to hear those skirmishes. My daughter tends to be on the receiving end of her brother’s annoying teasing most. “He’s so annoying, Mom. He just won’t stop when I ask him nicely. But you won’t let me smack him.” We were in the car having a long-overdue discussion on how to deal with the male species. This is a subject that volumes have been written about, but no satisfactory answers have ever been disclosed. However, there was one thing I did know. Females were experts in the art of guile and it was the one weapon with which my daughter could counter her annoying brothers with some degree of success.
So I began to instruct her as mothers throughout the ages have done: “You can’t let him know it bothers you, honey, or he’ll continue to do it. If you laugh at his teasing instead of threatening him with physical violence, it kind of takes all the fun out of it for him. He gets a kick out of your anger, so you must not let him see it. Ignore his teasing and he will eventually stop.” “So, should I not be angry?” she wondered. “No, it’s okay to be angry, just don’t let him know it.” “Alright. I’ll try it, I guess. I won’t say anything. I’ll even laugh, but I’m going to need a chainsaw.”
I want to assure you that a chainsaw was not any part of my advice. She came up with that all by herself. Very creative, I thought, if a tad aggressive.
I suggested a less violent approach: writing her frustrations down in a journal. She still liked her own version of President Theodore Roosevelt’s advice: Speak softly and carry a big chainsaw. I convinced her that brothers may be annoying now but they are handy later in life. They attract potential dates. She thought all of his friends were dorks, but she agreed that she might need him to carry big things if she couldn’t find a boyfriend who wasn’t annoying.
Again, I suggested writing down her frustrations. She decided to write in a journal, but what she would write was all the different ways she could prank her older brother. The classics would be there, of course. Like squirting whipped cream in his hand while he’s sleeping and then tickling his nose. Plus, a few modern pranks that might include naked Barbie dolls falling out of his closet while his friends are visiting.
“If I put enough ideas down in a book, I could sell it to other girls who have problems with their brothers.” “Yes, you could, provided that none of your pranks involve a chainsaw.” So began my daughter’s fledgling writing career… and she had her brother to thank for it. Though, I probably shouldn’t mention that fact to her.