Oh, how I remember those magical moments of having my first child. Sniffing his head and being delighted by his every new trick. We were buds — always playing, eating, and travelling together. We did things like baby yoga, because when you’re a sleep-deprived mum of one, you have actual thoughts like, Yeah my kid can’t even walk yet but I bet he’ll totally dig yoga. It was fun, our little twosome.
Then I got pregnant again with a new bud for him. I daydreamed about my kids becoming each other’s automatic best friend, cohort, and constant companion. Well, I hoped for it, actually, because I really needed to start hanging out with people closer to my age again.
His sister was born, and after trying to suffocate her with her blankies a few dozen times (I’m sure this was an accident?), he began to tolerate her. Eventually she was big enough to play with. The adorableness made my heart flutter and loving mama tears prick the backs of my eyes each time I’d catch them giggling in unison. By the time they were both walking and talking, their partnership had truly and fully settled in.
As did their rivalry.
Of course I knew about sibling rivalry before having children — I am the youngest of six kids, myself — but it is very different to experience it as a parent. And no matter how much I’ve tried over the years, there’s no stopping it. So I’ve just kind of learned to embrace it, and even use it to my advantage whenever possible. I know I’m not the only one who knows (and accepts) the following truths about sibling rivalry, and therefore will get a major kick out of the new movie The Boss Baby (in cinemas 23 March) and its battling brothers when we bring our families to see it.
1. You know your kid understands that there is a baby coming when he goes from always wanting to rub and kiss your growing belly to giving it the hairy eyeball when he thinks you aren’t looking. (And so it begins…)
2. The day your kid’s baby brother or sister arrives is equal parts the best and worst day of your first child’s life.
3. From then on, everything is, in fact, a contest.
4. Unless you try to make cleaning their rooms a contest.
5. You’ve stealthily eaten extra chocolates, biscuits and cake simply to ensure the remaining ones could be equally distributed between your offspring. Oh, the hardships we must face to keep the peace!
6. When they’re young, you try to mediate their every argument. Within a few years, your method of dealing with them is to shrug and move to a quieter spot in the house until the storm passes.
7. Nothing is more dramatic than a re-enactment by one child of how her brother slightly injured her almost to the point of maybe, eventually, bleeding right there on her pinky finger. Can you see it maybe get the magnifying glass because it’s totally awful?!!
8. He did it.
9. No, she did it.
10. But most likely they were both somehow involved in it.
11. The speed at which your kids can switch from trying to throttle one another to happily playing together can give you whiplash, yet somehow it actually keeps you sane.
12. Offering up a reward for whomever does something first/better/quieter to get to sit in the front seat of the car takes the game to a whole new level. THINGS JUST GOT REAL, KIDDOS.
13. By the time your kids have graduated primary school, you will own every World’s Best Mum/Dad mug, tie, pin, picture frame, hat, ring holder, candle, ornament, keychain, t-shirt, flowerpot, and other tchotchke available, because you are a pawn in the ongoing war of She/He Loves Me More between your kids and this crap is affordable by those on a budget dictated by Grandma’s $5-in-a-birthday-card-each-year and a paltry weekly allowance.
14. They both insist they are your favourite.
15. You secretly tell each one they are your favourite.
16. The cat who quietly naps all day and never disagrees with you about whether bathing is necessary is your actual favourite.
17. Your kids can bicker about literally anything, from what boogers are made of to whether or not she looked at him to historical facts that can be proven with a quick Google search which isn’t going to happen because she unplugged the modem to make sure he can’t do that.
18. If anyone had ever had a platypus thrown at their head, it was most likely thrown by a sibling who was losing an argument.
19. If you think your kids don’t practise their Cute Face in the mirror in order to perfect it before using it on you against their siblings, you’re only fooling yourself.