Sibling Revelry

The Sibling Revelry Project

The sibling dynamic has always fascinated me...I've talked about it, read about it, written about it, photographed about it, hashtagged about it, you name it. As long as I can remember it's been a topic that resonated on a very deep level with me. (Typical Middle Child/Only Girl behavior? Hello observant, empathetic negotiator.)

When my husband and I started a family back in 2002, I hoped a sibling would soon follow. My dream, as I wrote years later, went something like this...

"I never wanted a child. I always wanted children.

Siblings, confidantes, compadres, chums. Tattlers, teachers, accomplices, antagonists. Rivals, secret-keepers, scapegoats and partners-in-crime. Mentors and tormentors.

I wanted wagon pullers, swing pushers, fort builders and sand-castle destroyers. I wanted a full table, too many backpacks, and commas on our Christmas card.

I wanted a firstborn, a middle, a baby. I wanted to marvel at both the reliable and the shattered stereotypes. I wanted shifting alliances and third wheels. Teamwork and the circling of wagons.

For better or worse, I wanted individual players in the ultimate team sport. Sharing the same space, fighting for the same oxygen. Believe it or not, I wanted splash fights, inane arguments, thrown elbows in the hallway, imaginary Do Not Cross or Else! lines..."

So here I am. Living and breathing and observing siblinghood every day. I'm fully immersed in the battles over time, energy and oxygen. It's not always pretty, but it's usually entertaining and sometimes enlightening.

To celebrate these lifelong relationships, I'm launching a new project that aims to capture the heart and humor of siblinghood. The Sibling Revelry Project is starting on Instagram and I hope you'll follow along and see where we go. (@siblingrevelryproject).

I'm planning to photograph a wide range of siblings young and not-so young, so send me ideas and please spread the news ... I swear it's not tattling!

2016-siblingrevelryproject

 

 

 

Seemed like a good idea at the time

Need I say more?

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My friends and I are all riffing on the same theme today... Go visit their blogs and see what kind of brilliance and hilarity they found in hindsight.

Two Cannoli

Genie in a Blog

Smacksy

Good Day Regular People

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

The Mama Bird Diaries

Midlife Mixtape

When Did I Get Like This?

Arnebya

Up Popped A Fox

The Flying Chalupa

Suburban Scrawl

Throwback Thursday: 5 years

Phew...I'm back! Life got crazy for a variety of reasons, and my blog got the short end of the deal, but I'm happy to be here now! Today, in honor of Throwback Thursday AND my 5-year blogiversary, I'm looking through my old posts with fresh eyes. I'm discovering and rediscovering all kinds of treasures...

I'm finding that of course some things change and others stay the exact same. Siblinghood continues to be equal parts harmony, chaos, discord and joy. That's why we call it Sibling Revelry, right?

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I'm finding excellent and timely reminders about parenting and forgotten photos that need no caption.

I'm finding that I hardly recognize the faces in my early blog days.

And I'm finding that some things really never get old. No wonder these are my kids' favorite three posts: Next lesson: What is lame? See also: "Totally bogus" I mean, seriously

I'm finding that I STILL get traffic on this post and frequent requests for the bumper stickers. (I've still got them if you want. Long live Tami Taylor!)

But mostly I'm finding that I'm grateful to have this blog and people who cheer it on. I've always been happiest at the place where stories, family and art intersect. Thanks for sharing that space with me!

*     *     *

 

Battle cry

2014.06.20.SiblingRevelry-7 Four weeks into the summer and this is what my kids are fighting about:

 

He stole that one awesome LEGO piece that only came in that one awesome set.

She never has to shower first.

He's touching me!

Why won't he let me hug him?

He said he hates broccoli the most but only I do.

He's copying me!

She's ignoring me!

It's my turn to be It.

I always have to be It.

She harvested ALL of my Family Barn wheat and it takes 24 hours to regenerate.

He moved my pencil.

She sat in my chair.

He never walks the dog as often as I do.

He didn't let me find the farting cow on Pictureka.

He threw my favorite torpedo in the deep end.

She always guesses the trivia questions before me.

He smooshed all the silly putty into one big pile and now we can't tell whose is whose.

He keeps unplugging my Kindle from his charger.

She keeps using my Kindle charger and it's not my fault she lost hers.

He called me a brat.

She keeps calling it indigo but it's really blue.

He's humming.

She's smacking.

He's clapping.

He never gets in trouble.

She always gets her way.

They always, always think they're right.

 

#   #   #

Want more? You might enjoy this one or this one about sibling revelry.

 

 

 

 

By design

GbreadCollage2Overheard during the gingerbread construction process... The 11-year-old: As you can see, I'm a perfectionist.

The 9-year-old: Well, I'm a realist.

The almost-5-year-old: I'm a CANDY-IST!

*     *     *

Whatever your approach to the holidays, I hope you find what you need to have a season full of light. May you be surrounded by all the people who love you.

Cheers and thanks for reading this year! Liz

Divide and conquer

2013.06.bikingFor all my belief in the power of siblinghood, I do realize that a little goes a long way. And sometimes the very best thing I can do to help my kids get along is to separate them.

The best part? When I subtract the refereeing, the negotiating, the juggling...I'm able to add more "Sure! Why not?" And suddenly the kid beside me, and the mother inside me, are completely and happily whole.

*     *     *

Sibling Revelry

[slideshow] I never wanted a child. I always wanted children.

Siblings, confidantes, compadres, chums. Tattlers, teachers, accomplices, antagonists. Rivals, secret-keepers, scapegoats and partners-in-crime. Mentors and tormentors.

I wanted wagon pullers, swing pushers, fort builders and sand-castle destroyers. I wanted a full table, too many backpacks, and commas on our Christmas card.

I wanted a firstborn, a middle, a baby. I wanted to marvel at both the reliable and the shattered stereotypes. I wanted shifting alliances and third wheels. Teamwork and the circling of wagons.

For better or worse, I wanted individual players in the ultimate team sport. Sharing the same space, fighting for the same oxygen. Believe it or not, I wanted splash fights, inane arguments, thrown elbows in the hallway, imaginary Do Not Cross or Else! lines.

I wanted Your fault! Get out of my room! Gimme that back! No fair!  Because I knew, if thoughtfully tended, these battles could give birth to the flip side: The impromptu hugs. The late night whispers. The collaborations and negotiations. The I’m sorry. That's OK. Sure you can come inside my hideout.

I never anticipated how immense the task would be, but I even wanted the challenge of finding energy for each unique personality. I wanted to stretch and defy my expectations, again and again and again, about what children (my children) are supposedly like. I wanted to learn to see, truly see, the individual before me. To make every child feel heard though their hearts speak entirely different languages.

There are countless moments--flash floods of drama and aggravation--when I forget how much I longed for this gift of siblinghood. But desires this deep are not easily dismissed.

And it often takes just one sidelong look, one inside joke, one tender gesture, to bring me back to my dreams and watch them come alive right before my eyes.

*     *     *

If you liked this post, consider giving me a vote in BlogHer's Voices of the Year. Sibling Revelry is nominated in the Visuals category. My mother-daughter story, On Being Nine, is nominated in the Heart category. Thanks, y'all!

March Madness

It's that time of year...time when the rivalries get a little intense, loved ones pick sides, and a lot of time is spent negotiating who wins what when. But who am I kidding? That's every season around here. As a mother of three, I'm constantly juggling the barrage of questions and demands thrown at me from the little people in my life. Always at the same time, and usually requiring vastly different parts of my mental energy or physical self.

It can be maddening, I tell ya. But thanks to my new play-off system, I am able to let each child's issue battle it out with a worthy competitor. And if the demand is deserving of my time, then it just might win the highly coveted spot as Champion of Mom's Attention.

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Back-up plan

As I mentioned last week, I'm filling my precious kid-free hours by making plans and setting goals for the new year. This can be a stressful exercise for someone with lofty ambitions, limited time, ample fear, and a newly adopted Omigod I'm 40 and I Gotta Make Something Happen tendency.

But I'm pushing through...armed with the reassurance that if my career as a writer and photographer falls through, I can always manage my kids' wildly successful careers as the next Jackass stars.

Predictions for 2012

That the new year will be filled with more magic, but only if nobody pokes an eye out.*   *   *

That our next whoopie cushion will last just barely longer than 24 hours. *   *   *

That the obnoxious "whee-hoo-whee-hoo-whee-hoo" guns from Grandma will accidentally get thrown out with the gift wrapping trash. *   *   *

That, if kept in the right hands, the portable megaphone will prove to be the most practical Christmas gift ever. Happy New Year!

And then there was one

My two biggest kids are spending the week at Camp Grandma, so Smiley is pretty much running the show around here. After quizzing me a thousand times about his siblings' whereabouts, he finally relaxed and asked me to transcribe his To-Do list for the day.

1. Find all of Rascal's Star Wars figures and rip off their arms. Then carry the mutilated appendages and various tiny lightsabers around in cupped hands, repeating "Mama, where Obi-Wan? I need fix Obi-Wan!"

2. Grab that Father's Day gift I never got to play with yesterday. Push the buttons nonstop until Mom tries to distract me with her favorite bait-n-switch move. Nice try, Mom.

3. Make a beeline to the backyard fort and dismantle Doodlebug's carefully organized piles of mulch, acorns and rocks. Remix the ingredients and make Mama a birthday cake. Smash the birthday cake and throw rocks at her.

4. Stomp around in my brother's nasty, worn-out crocs.

5. At lunchtime, declare loudly that "I not like pasta today!" and demand "bunny crackers and strawberries and cold milk in that cup. No, THAT cup."

It's good to be king.

What can we do nowwww?

A couple things to note about having three kids home during the summer.

1.) Smiley’s reliable* 3-hour nap is only helpful to me if I can also keep his siblings occupied during this blessed chunk of time.

2.) This is coincidentally the time of day that I regret our family rules about limited video game time.

Of the many options available to the kids, what I’m always looking for is an activity that will hold their interest for hours without my constant attention, supply-fetching, or fear of the house catching fire. I’ve got email to check and an empire to run, after all!

The only problem is that sometimes they take my ideas and get a little...how do you say? creative with them. Last week, my benign suggestion to go outside and put the hose on the playscape slide left our neighbors’ windows flooded and our arthritic dog hobbling for cover.

This week I suggested they make a movie with our video camera. Brilliant! They opted for an interview-style show.

Here’s an excerpt:

"Rascal, if you could have one superhero power, which would you choose: invisibility, x-ray vision or flying?

“I would have FOOD POWER! I would shoot food out of my hands. Like melted chocolate or egg yolk. Like this, yahhhh….!”

Surely they won’t expand on this idea, right? Right?

*     *     *

*knocking on wood twice for good measure

Rhetorical questions? (vol. 5)

Wait, don't answer that!

* Should I offer him a biscuit for waiting so patiently?

* Could the force be any stronger with this pediatrician?

* Is this what the experts mean by parallel play?

* Right foot blue...left elbow and belly yellow?

* Does a map of your home state command this much respect?

* Are all little boys born to idolize their big brothers?

* Final question...

You want to check out previous volumes of my Rhetorical Questions, don't you?