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siblings below the surface


Our vacation time has been sprinkled with the usual sibling quips and quarrels.  I hoped to stem this with the magic letter tactic, but of course, the kids have done what siblings do when in close quarters for a couple of weeks.  They’ve had great fun together, and they’ve had several good spats.

Great opportunities to learn conflict resolution (she smiles, through gritted teeth).

So it was no suprise when the insults began to fly again yesterday.  In response, my husband sat the eldest down in front of the computer with brief instructions:  ”Sit.  Write to your sister.  Half page.  12-point font.”  (because less (speaking) is more with teens).

A replied with the eloquence of any thirteen-year-old boy:  “. . . wwhaaat?  But G held firm (he’s much better at that than I am), simply repeating that he only needed to complete the assignment and the fun could resume.  A huffed, he puffed, he sulked, he lay his head on the keyboard.  He complained it was absolutely impossible to fill a half page with words related to this minor incident.  He moaned and groaned about the complete unfairness of it all, attempted every negotiation/manipulation tactic he could, but we just repeated, “Keep going.  I’m sure you can think of something.” 

Finally, he came up with this:

“Dear K,

I’m sorry I said your face looks like a pigs butt.  I realize I have not been speaking very nicely to you.  I think I really need to be nicer to you, specifically speaking to you.  From now on I will try to be nicer.  In fact, I think it will be a New Year resolution.  Even though I think this punishment is very unfair, and it’s a lot, I need to pay for what I’ve done.  I think I need to control my actions more, and instead of saying something mean I would go up to my room or something.  How can I make it up to you?  Here are some ideas:

  • Have me give you 6 chocolate kisses later.
  • You have me be your butler for a whole day.

K, I’m sorry for what I said to you, I really am, and I really hope you forgive me for it.  You are actually an AWESOME sister, and I love you for it.  You are friendly, nice, affectionate, and a little weird and crazy at times, but you are still overall an amazing sister.  Even though you can be annoying as heck, even though you can be crazier than N, even though you can be weirder than a platypus, you are still a beast, and that’s that. 

From your loving brother,


And that’s that.  How’s that for digging below the surface? 

What about you?  Would you take the kisses or the butler for a day?    

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