Epic Childhood Battles

September 28, 2011

Kids fight…a lot.

That’s no secret.  Put two children together for five minutes and some stupid dispute is bound to break out.  The wee ones of the world may not be as pure of heart as we like to think.

Bryan Allain reminded me of this when he blogged a couple of days ago about the five dumbest arguments his kids have had.  I don’t have kids.  But I was one at one time.  And so was my brother.  And we argued…a lot.

It’s been ten years since my brother and I have been under the same roof.  Since then, we’ve both found women we’d rather argue with than each other.  But every time my wife and I have some “important” argument over something like potatoes or a lamp, it brings back some sweet, sweet memories of all the battles my brother and I fought.  Sure, we found lots of times to team up, but it was in the heat of epic battles that our relationship was forged.

Three World Ending Fights I Had with My Brother

The Back Seat

Of all the ongoing childhood activities, long car trips in the back seat with my brother was the worst.  It did not matter how much we were looking forward to visiting Grandma and Grandpa, we made the hours until our arrival miserable for each other.  First, our bodily proximity to one another was unacceptably close.  Then, he always had to crap up the whole area with all the junk he took along, junk which I spent my time shoving back on his side of the seat.  He also had the bladder volume of a thimble, meaning a four hour drive was effectively doubled by pit stops.  I always thought he did that on purpose just to extend my torment.

I landed the coup de grâce, however, by getting carsick and getting to switch to the front seat.  Winner: me.

Stop Copying Me

I am the oldest brother, and my parents always told me that my brother “looked up to me,” a claim I flatly denied.  The way my parents saw it, my brother’s adoration of me was justification for emulating me at every turn.  It drove me nuts.  I had been told that I was a beautiful and unique snowflake, and it was completely unacceptable to have an identical snowflake following me around.  If I was smart, my brother was required to be stupid (which was more natural for him anyway.)  Since I was the artistic one, I protested when my brother requested drawing supplies for his birthday.  I informed my parents that his drawings of people looked like eggs with stork legs, and thus he was a totally sucky artist and pencils were wasted on him.  “Well how’s he going to get as good as you if he doesn’t have anything to draw with?” my parents retorted.

I won that argument by being completely and totally bereft of athletic talent, something that even the most envious brother wouldn’t want to emulate.  He joined several sports teams.  Checkmate: me.

Go Ahead and Tell On Me

Finally was the age old argument of whether or not he was going to “tell on me.”  See, as the eldest brother, I was blessed with the birthright of authority over my brother while my parents were away, which I brazenly lorded over him like some kind of diminutive medieval nobleman.  My kingly rule was rarely just or fair.  There were a lot of coverups in my administration.  Like when I, the responsible brother, convinced my brother to climb into a cardboard box, which I then pushed down the stairs.

The box pushing stunt went exactly as planned, meaning he got just seriously hurt enough that the damage was real, but not visible.  But these were always dangerous games, as they always erupted into screaming, punching and threats of telling Mom and Dad what I had done.

But I always won that argument because telling on me would require that he admit that he was the one who got into the box.  (Which would prove to them once and for all that I was, indeed, the smart one, and if he is dumb enough to climb into a box, he probably deserves to be pushed down the stairs.)  Yep, I remain undefeated.

Man, those were the things that mattered to me, enough to go to war over.  Those were my hills to die on.  Makes me wonder if the hills I’m willing to die on today are going to look just as epically stupid in ten years…

Your turn!  Tell us your stories of victory and glory over your brethren, those world ending, apocalyptic battles you waged with your brothers and sisters before peace was made and you no longer had to live with one another?

19 responses to Epic Childhood Battles

  1. Wow! Where to start? Let me begin by saying that 3 children in the back seat of a car with no seatbelts was even greater agony. Especially when you are the middle child chronologically and literally when in the backseat. When my sister discovered hairspray and hairstyling, we were abused by winding down the windows…”Oh my hair, my hair!”
    I have an older sister and a younger brother. I took great joy when watching TV and knowing my sister needed to go to the toilet, I waited till the ad and then bolted down the hallway to the toilet just before her as I was a faster runner. That was in the days when ad breaks were short so she missed out on the beginning of the next bit of the show if she was too slow. Win to me.
    My brother and i had to share a room (let’s just say my sister wasn’t overly enamoured with her little sister right from the get-go as she was quite happy being an only child) when, finally, as I was growing up, Mum and Dad put an extension on the house. For a little while, I had to sleep in my sister’s room and my brother had to sleep in my parent’s room on a mattress on the floor. My sister would torment me in the dark saying stuff like I was adopted, that the police brought me to Mum and Dad and if I was bad they would come and take me away again (this, I found out was borrowed from Bill Cosby) until I would call out to my parents. Win (grudgingly) to my sister.
    There are so many stories but not enough time nor space to tell them all. Needless to say, these stories make great conversation when brought up at Christmas. LOL

  2. There were never backseat fights. My father would say “If I have to come back there…” just once. He meant business. At the slightest sense of a slow down the car was quiet except for Credence Clearwater Revival singing “Who’ll Stop the Rain” on the AM radio.

    As the middle child I got lost. The eldest was a certified genius and went to a school for smart people. The next in line was a stellar hockey player and got picked up by the St. Louis Blues farm team. Our fights were short-lived; both were bigger than I was.

    In my mind I plotted to lose my whole family so I could be alone with my dad because I watched The Courtship of Eddie’s Father too much. It didn’t happen, they kept coming home for dinner.

    So, I spent my life plotting an Epic win, and became a Christian first, got sober first, bought houses first, owned an exotic sports car, and have made more money in a year than they did in a decade. Sometimes, winning is in the strategy. :) As we approach retirement on about 10 years, I will be watching them work. Ha!

    Thanks for making me smile today, Matt

  3. Matt…you used the word “Epic”….you vowed not to use it man!…what happened?!

    My favorite fights with my sister was for the…tv Remote! oh yeah!!! now that was an epic fight!

  4. No idea what the fight was about now, but I remember being SOOOOOO mad at my older brother one time. I managed to chase him, catch him, and knock him down one time, then pummel him with my fists (that sounds WAY more violent than I think it actually was, but still…). As I sat on him, hitting him as hard as my 10-11-yr-old self could, he (a “big” 12 or 13-yr-old) laughed at me. I can’t express how infuriated I was over the laughter. I think I ended up crying and giving up. That is such an epic fail for me, but it’s the fight I remember the most.

    My mom had a system for whose turn it was to pick something (he got the first half of the month, I got the 2nd half – not sure what we’re going to do once our 3rd gets old enough to care), so there weren’t fights over who got the front seat or back (or which side of the back).

    My younger brother and sister are 9 and 11 years younger than me, respectively, so we didn’t fight over stuff that much. I _DO_ however remember complaining to my mom every time they got to do something we weren’t allow to though!

  5. When I was little I asked my brother if he wanted my cookie. Of course he said YES and I told him, “Well, you can’t have it!”

    My mom made me give him all my cookies to teach me selflessness. (It didn’t work.)

    My father was a twin (older by 4 minutes) and had to watch his brother and be responsible for him etc. I thought that was pretty weird but weirder still is that if one got messy, both of them had to change so that they would still match.

  6. As an only child, I was denied any opportunity to battle a sibling. The only family members I could argue with were my parents, and of course they always won. Totally unfair!

    To this day, I still can’t win an argument. My husband appreciates this. (He has even more of an advantage, given that he has five siblings!)

    This lack on my part is a major reason we had TWO kids.

  7. File this under misery love company. I was around 14 and my sister 10. Our parents weren’t at home so it’s their fault. They should have known better than to leave us unattended or restrained at the very least.

    I was in my room bobbing my head to some fat beats. Kool Moe Dee and the Fat Boys had both just released new cassettes. So with my back to the door my sis sneaks in and hits the pause on my dual cassette boombox and killed my jam. Screaming and threats of violence ensued. She ran. I hit the button and went back to spinning on my head. After the 3rd such interruption I was searching for something to wreak havoc with. She poked her head in the door and I launched a huge hightop Nike Air knockoff in her vicinity. I missed, but the giant hole in the hollow door to my room was evidence to my rage fueled flinging. Clearly my keaster was in a sling so I paused the groove and went on offense. I figured that there was no way to get out of this so I needed to harass my sister sufficiently to evoke a broken household item. It worked. Somewhere around 2 minutes later I felt the breeze of a high speed roller skate pass my face and crash into the door. SCORE. It hit with such force that it lodged in the door and she couldn’t get it out.

    It took our parents a couple of hours to return and in the eerie silence after the raging fracas I had a spark of genius. I popped the door pins on my bedroom door and exchanged it with one from the basement. HE. GOES. FOR. THE. WIN.

    Yes, I did lie and say “No I didn’t. Do you see a broken door here?” Only later to pay for said sin and door.

  8. Ooh. I’m also the eldest, and so I also had the “birthright of authority” (love that phrase) when Mom and Dad weren’t home. One time, I made my younger sister so angry with my constant bossiness she decided to run away from home. As she was walking down the street, I yelled at her not to be such a big baby. This might seem like a win for me, but Mom and Dad saw her on their way home and picked her up … and then we were both in deep trouble. Lose-lose, that.

    There were three of us for the longest time, and we often found ways to gang up–two against one. We all get along pretty well now that we’re “grown-up”. So ultimately, it’s a win for all of us.

    I like your last point. Something to ponder. What ridiculously trivial things to I choose to go to war over today?

  9. I’m an only child, so I’ll throw in here the frustration only children experience when playing with friends with siblings. You know the rule–the friend can be mean to his or her sibling, but if you dare join in, you’re toast!

    I read these with interest since I’m about to give birth to our second child, another girl who will be just less than three years younger than her big sister. I’m sure there will be epic battles. For now, I act like the petulant sibling when my toddler tries to beat me to the potty or push me off my chair. My husband is a bit more mature about it, I guess because he got that out of his system with his brother.

  10. My younger sister and I got in some huge fights. I had some natural bossy tendencies, being the oldest, but it didn’t last long because she turned out to be much cooler than me in practically every way–more attractive, more popular, much less socially awkward. It’s kind of hard to boss around someone who’s well aware of how big a dweeb you actually are.

    On the upshot,though, when we were in school she was my biggest defender from everyone else.

  11. My only other brother is 8 1/2 years younger, so there weren’t as many real fights between us because on many occasions, I was his babysitter. We would pretend wrestle a lot. And there was a lot of verbal stuff between us. I do remember long car rides, however being pretty bad because all I wanted to do was rad and all my brother wanted to do was be entertained. He liked poking me and threatening to poke me and creeping his fingers on MY side of the car. After several cycles of me complaining, my parents would put me in the front and my mom in the back to entertain my brother. I wonder why we didn’t go on many big vacations? :-).
    Now I have four kids who have no problem arguing over which color of the IKEA cup they should get, where to sit in the van, who gets to sit by dad and even sillier things. We are now at “The Happiest Place on Earth” and my kids are better than usual, but arguments are still breaking out occasionally and there are even a couple of breakdowns, usually at 3 p.m., when I think all the “fun” has become overwhelming and our feet are starting to get tired.

  12. I would have sworn 2 iPod’s or a DVD player built into the car would keep my 2 daughters from fighting. I was wrong.

    My brother is 3 years older than me. Back when we were kids, we rode our bikes everywhere. He had his friends and I had mine. We would sometimes race each other to this fenced in, abandoned, lot where we would hang out. Whoever got there first, got to have the space and the other sibling and their friends would have to leave.

    I beat him there one day. It was awesome.

    He got mad and threatened to come in the gate. I blocked it with my bike and then “double dog dared” him to try and come in. He hit the gate with his bike, it swung open and caught me right in the forehead. It didn’t really hurt, but I was going to pretend it did and get him in HUGE trouble with our parents. I grabbed my head and just screamed and cried like no other. Then I pulled my hand off my head and said “Ha! I scared you good!”. His face went white. And so did the faces of his friends.

    About that time, the blood started pouring down my face.

    10 stitches later, all was well (not for my brother–he was grounded the WHOLE summer). I thoroughly enjoy showing his daughters my scar and letting them know just how mean their dad was. As the little sister, I feel it’s my duty to never let him live that down.