Sibling Torture Tactics: Psychological Warfare

My two-year-old daughter Bridget has been trying really hard to talk lately. She goes on long monologues at the dinner table, flinging her arms around and shaking her fist to emphasize her point.

taco cat backwards.jpg
Maybe this was it

Frankly, I have no idea what she’s talking about. Whatever it is, she feels very passionate about it. Something about tacos and cats, which are apparently vital issues within the baby community.

I’m so glad she’s finally learning to talk, though, because she’s been at a major disadvantage when dealing with her big sister Brontë, who is four. Brontë literally talks nonstop from the crack of dawn until I’m tucking her into bed, which must be so intimidating.

Two years is a huge advantage in toddler time. Brontë is bigger and stronger and can reach more, say more, and knows more things. She constantly bosses Bridget around and muscles away her toys whenever my back is turned.

All Bridget can do in response is scream uncontrollably or hit Brontë in the head with a nearby object. And BOTH get her in trouble.

Brontë’s got the home field advantage. She’s even been convincing Bridget she can read. She grabs the bedtime story book when I’m finished and convincingly pretends to read every page to her sister, making up a story while pointing to words.

I didn’t fully grasp her motivations until last week, when Brontë grabbed my clock radio instructions, unfolded them, then walked over to Bridget.

“It says here,” Brontë began, while staring intently at the giant instruction square, “That the bedroom is Brontë’s and Bidgie is just allowed to sleep over.”

Bidgie blinked.

“And number 2,” Brontë pretended to read, “The toys are Brontë’s and Bidgie is not allowed to take them. Number 3 says Bidgie can’t close the door.”

“Psh,” said Bridget.

“I dunno, Bidgie. That’s what it says.”

But Bidgie’s not rolling over without a fight. What she lacks in verbiage, she more than makes up for in sheer bravada.

When Brontë dazzles everyone with adorable stories, for example, Bridget will stun the audience by picking up a bottle of hot sauce and drinking it.

Or, Bridget will aggravate her big sister by wreaking havoc on her pretend world. Like the other day, when Brontë took  Princess Pink Ballerina and the Handsome Prince out for a joyride in the  fantasy pink ballerina car.

The moment Brontë ran away, distracted by something or other, Bridget crept up to the car and replaced the prince with a giant green dinosaur:

It’s hard to drive with super-short arms

And you’d be surprised by how much attitude Bridget can work into two- or three-word sentences. Yesterday, she had the following conversation with her sister:

Bidgie is sitting in the bathtub when Brontë wanders up…

Brontë: Hi, can I get some candy please?

Bridget (handing her pretend candy): Here!

Brontë: Thank you! This isn’t enough candy though. I come here all the time. Can I get more candy?

Bridget: Buh-bye

Brontë: Can I get some strawberry ice cream?

Bridget: Here.

Brontë: Thanks! Do you have any chocolate ice cream?

Bridget: NO.

Brontë: Can you make some?

Bridget (crossing arms): Buh-bye.

Honestly, I was a little relieved when this conversation ended. I thought it might take a turn down “around the corner fudge is made” street.

That’s such a likely scenario with my kids, I can only assume Bridget didn’t have the goods.

18 thoughts on “Sibling Torture Tactics: Psychological Warfare

  1. You do remember, don’t you, that at the CSUS Children’s Center you were well known for gathering the younger ones into a circle for story time, whereupon you invented a story for the illustrations of the book and panned the entire group so they could see.

    You also did this with your cat Rosie.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Haha! I love these stories of your adorable kiddos. Bridget will make an excellent haggler some day. The last time I visited Chinatown in NYC, I got into an accidental haggling war with the owner of a shop, and she eventually employed the same tactic as Bidgie – told me goodbye, and then turned around and refused to look at me anymore.

    As the younger of two(ish) siblings, I feel for little Bidgie. I can still remember getting into arguments with my older brother when we were tiny, and feeling outraged when he outwitted me. I too would revert to just slapping him. Someday, Bridget will take solace in the fact that the younger sibs are often considered the funnier and more creative ones of the bunch 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, did telling you “bye” work, or did you bail?

      I can definitely see Bidgie tuning into a great haggler. Brontë is bossier, but Bidgie has amazing quiet stubbornness and doesn’t care what anyone thinks.

      I do feel for Bidgie. I can’t let her get away with attacking her sister, but she does have so few tools at her disposal right now. She can yell “MINE” or “NO,” and beyond that, it pretty much comes to blows, lol

      I can see the funnier thing with little siblings. Bidgie is the crowd-pleaser, already the clown of the house. Plus, little kids just get away with more.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I definitely left the shop haha. I was a little bewildered at how else to respond, which I’m sure is what that lady was going for!

        Both of your kids seem super entertaining in their own unique ways. I’m sure they drive you crazy at times, but I bet there are lots of laughs!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Never been much of a haggler either. The idea scares me… so awkward!

          They definitely entertain me, lol, and keep me on my toes. I essentially started this blog just to keep a record of all the hilarious things they do.

          And some day, they will either be super touched or mortified 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree. If there’s anything more intimidating than being bossed around, it’s being bossed around by 3-foot fairy princesses.

          It’s like they’re saying, “Yeah, I’m going to wear a wedding cake and you’ll STILL do what I say!” 😂

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I keep hearing that and am trying to brace myself 🙂

      In the meantime, I’m compiling this blog about all their adorable childhood antics that they’ll find mortifying once they start throwing attitude. 🙂

      “Oh, you HATE me? Maybe I’ll just pull up Facebook and post about that time you ate a live spider…”

      Liked by 1 person

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