Family / Kids

Rivalry, Sibling

Here’s a nifty little insight I’ve acquired since becoming someone’s parent: if brothers and sisters decided all at once to file Domestic Abuse charges against one another, our justice system would grind to a screeching halt behind the unfathomable backlog of cases.

My sons are the kindest, gentlest, and most considerate children on earth, generally speaking. They’re the sort of kids that, when they spot a bug in the house (let’s not go impugning my housekeeping skills here. You get bugs in your house, too, and quit trying to lie about it) they insist I slide a piece of paper under it and gently release it outdoors where the little buggy can reconnect with its long lost family and go on The View to talk about it.

Except with each other. Then it turns into Mothra versus Joan Crawford.

You know, being a gay family, I had hoped that somehow we could escape the whole Brother-on-Brother violence thing. We’re a peace-loving people, more captivated by flatware than warfare. I (oafishly) imagined our family life to be like one fabulous, festive Gay Pride Parade (except, maybe, for the Dykes on Bikes part), with waves of love (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, All About Eve, 1955) wafting all over our blissful home. What a schmuck.

photo credit: rumpleteaser via photopin cc

photo credit: rumpleteaser via photopin cc

The level of hostility between my boys is jaw-dropping. I have never experienced such savagery and vitriol since Pearl Harbor (an amazing drag name, by the way).

My older boy refuses to clip his fingernails, precisely because he finds they serve as an effective weapon against his little brother.

And he knows how to use them. Our Band-Aids® bill has grown astronomical. And my younger son is in the gifted and talented program when it comes to the butt-end of a Nerf gun.

But it isn’t the physical altercations that worry me so much as the devastating psychological torture they employ. Want a f’rinstance? Some years back, my older son spent months calling his little brother “Margaret,” and it drove the kid completely and utterly crackers. Oh, by the way…suggesting they ignore the insults and let them roll off their backs is futile. Children are constitutionally incapable of this. So don’t waste your precious air. Might as well save that breath for your last dying gasp.

Another favorite? When one boy is pissed off with the other (and this is never not the case), he’ll surreptitiously booby-trap his brother’s bathroom glass by putting liquid soap in it. Or spit. At least I think it’s spit. At least I pray it’s spit.

And now let’s advance the conversation to verbal torment. Imagine the foulest, nastiest, most offensive, vile, crude and cringe-inducing words and names you can. Got ‘em? Well, compared to my kiddies, you’re a dickfaced amateur. Trust me on this. Maybe one day I’ll print up a glossary for you. But it will probably be from the calming silence of my cell. And the ironic part is, in defiance of my own heralded predilection for potty-mouthedness, I restrained myself from cursing entirely throughout their formative years, and clearly to no avail whatsoever.

So if my precious children one day wind up disabling, slaughtering, or committing one another to the state psych ward, don’t say I didn’t fucking call it.

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