We are now, more or less, half way through the long summer holidays. And how are we feeling about this? Yeah, mostly ambivalent I would say. But it’s about the right time, I think, for a retrospective look at the creative and original nature of my daughters’ bickering over the last few weeks.
GothicDaughter and SparklyDaughter don’t actually have anything substantial to argue about, really. There’s no real rivalry. I don’t make them fight, hand to hand, for the largest slice of cake. I don’t give one of them big piles of presents and lock the other one in a cupboard. Maybe I should, though, because perhaps that would stop them bickering about ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL.
1. Who gets to be the dog. For some reason, in any game of make believe, the role of the dog is extremely coveted. There is often an intense struggle for who gets to be the dog. Sometimes, quite harsh words are spoken to resolve this discussion e.g. ‘you’re not cute enough to be the dog!’ This will all come pouring out in therapy in later life, mark my words.
2. Who gets to be Hermione. This bickering frequently spills over from role-play games into passive TV/film watching. E.g. I’m her! No I’m her! No, you can be Dobbie! I don’t want to be Dobbie! You were Hermione last time. Etc etc NB just to clarify the utter pointlessness of this argument, they are not actually PLAYING Harry Potter in this scenario, just watching it. Weird. Similar discussions can arise during a commercial (I’m that burger! No I am! You can be the chips!).
3. SparklyDaughter’s habit of pretending she’s in a musical ALL THE TIME. To be fair, I can see how this could start to grate a little on the nerves. SparklyDaughter loves to sing and dance. Oh My Goodness, does she ever love it. She treats every day as a potential audition for Annie or, possibly, Glee! In The Village. Everything she does is given a lyrical running commentary, with musical backing, and usually a little dance routine. For example, if she was cutting the bread, she might start singing, “I am cutting the bre-e-e-ead! I am cutting the bread! I am cutting the bre-e-e-ead! I! AM! CUTTING THE BREAD!!! YEAH!” and then follow this up with some funky moves. This can make preparing meals something of a long-winded experience. GothicDaughter is, in fairness, pretty patient about this (although only when there are actual words; the ‘scat’ versions – ‘dododododo lalalala nanananana doobie doobie doo’ – can drive GothicDaughter over the brink. Worst of all is the combination improvised singing, e.g. “Doodoobedo Y.M.C.A! you gotta be Y.M.C.A! and there’s everything, you just listen to me, at the Y.M.C.A!’) SparklyDaughter is waging a campaign to get sent to Drama School. In fact the first time she heard the words DRAMA and SCHOOL together, she said in a very accusing tone, ‘DRAMA?? SCHOOL???? Why did no-one tell me about this before?? I NEED to go to drama school!” To which GothicDaughter whispered, ‘That might not be a bad idea.’
4. GothicDaughter’s habit of choosing and wearing boys’ clothes and particularly shoes. This is understandable, as the choices for her are often pretty limited. If she doesn’t want to wear something 1. Pink, 2. Sequined, and/or 3. With Hello Kitty on it, then the boys’ racks offer a pretty good alternative. (We could of course always go to another shop, but GothicDaughter is not often committed enough to the clothes shopping experience to face that idea. Neither am I, come to that.) SparklyDaughter is frankly disturbed by the idea and needs copious reassurance that GothicDaughter can wear clothes for BOYS without actually turning into a BOY. She considers the whole idea to be an abomination.*
5. Whether if you kiss a boy on the lips, this means you are married. I am hoping this is a theoretical discussion, but have opted not to probe this further.
So there we go. This is what amounts to ‘making your own fun in the countryside.’ And still three weeks left to go!
I think I’ll just go and have a little lie down.
* I learned this week that she has biblical support for this view. Deut 22.5, if you’re interested. I have decided not to tell her this.
Extreme sibling rivalry – the Gallagher brothers libel case