Abusing loved ones for fun and profit.

One of my pals recently admitted to hiding from her kids. She was lying low so as to leave a tricky parenting situation to her husband. Their girls – ages 4 and 7 – were having a nuclear war.

The younger one had licked her older sister’s nightgown.

The scene was dramatic in the way only girls that age can manage. The older sister was stomping around, refusing to wear the nightgown. Because her sister hadn’t just licked it – she’d licked the inside. Meanwhile, the younger sister had wedged herself between the wall and a couch and was laughing maniacally.


I don’t have a sister, so I don’t have first-hand experience with that kind of torture. I am, however, an older sister to a little brother who is obviously very, very lucky.

The nightgown licking made me think of my own torture devices. My brother Poochie had this tiny pillow that was, of course, called Baby Pillow. And he had to sleep with Baby Pillow. This was when he was, like, 3. This wasn’t last year.

Anyway, my way of torturing Poochie was to threaten to “suck the freshness” out of Baby Pillow. He would scream and I’d grab Baby Pillow and bury my face in it and inhale loudly. I was ensuring that Poochie would have the opposite of the “cool as the other side of the pillow” experience.

Bwah ha ha.

When I mentioned this to our mom, she had no recollection of it. This is proof that we all have selective memories because I did it all the damned time. So, she didn’t remember me sucking the freshness out of Baby Pillow, but she was quick to mention the time I convinced a 4-year-old Poochie that our real parents lived in a Winnebago and were coming to pick us up for Christmas.

Heh. Yeah, I totally got in trouble for that one. But really, I’ve just always been very creative. Plus, I think I was at a disadvantage being the oldest child of two youngest children.

Or maybe I was just bitter about having shorts up to my armpits. And yes, this was the summer everyone thought I was a boy. Why do you ask?

My mom was hard-pressed to choose just 1 instance of her older sisters torturing her. Here’s her winning example:

When we lived on West State Street, my bed was at the top of the stairs with a little closet door next to the head of my bed. I was told that after dark the closet monsters slid under the closet door and got under my bed and would grab me by the feet when I went to get into bed. As a result, I would launch myself across the room into bed and get in trouble with Mom. I think after Mom yelled at me for the gazillionth time she found out why I was doing this every night. [Know I did it for a long time … and you KNOW how athletic I am, so it wasn’t easy.] I don’t even know if they got in trouble, but I was rather gullible.

This made me laugh so hard. I’ve been present when my mom told her sister this story. My sweet, beautiful, wonderful aunt just CACKLED. This cruel sister showed no remorse.

I have to admit that I admire her style.

I don’t necessarily feel bad about sucking all the freshness out of Baby Pillow. I probably should, but … ehh. Poochie’s fine. Baby Pillow is fine. And I was a creative kid.

What did you do to get under your siblings’ skin?

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  • Reply Common Household Mom March 25, 2016 at 2:09 am

    My main job, as the middle child and a girl between two brothers, was to prevent my brothers from slaughtering each other. My older brother's worst offense against me was to punch my arm in the same spot repeatedly. But we eventually all grew up and are quite fond of each other.

  • Reply Karen (formerly kcinnova) March 25, 2016 at 5:23 am

    Oh, that Christmas story! Hahahahaha…
    Like Carolyn, I am a girl between two boys and my job on family car trips was to keep them from fighting. Of course, they fought behind my back, or across my front. Our older sister was lucky enough to ride in the front seat between our parents. (Now that I think about it, the person there had to keep the parents from fighting… hmmmm.)
    But I got back at my brothers with my infamous motion sickness. Being seated in the middle seat between the two of them doesn't bring back precious memories for them, either.

  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin March 26, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    I didn't torture so much as ignore, but my BFF's sisters used to tickle her while on an electric blanket and tell her if she peed herself, she'd be electrocuted…
    I love that you'd inhale the goodness out of that pillow. So devious.

  • Reply Heather Nelson March 27, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    You know, I don't so much remember the ways *I* tortured my brother…but I recall the ways in which he tortured me. Mostly by just living in the same house as me and taking all my oxygen. He was only a year younger than me, and pretty savvy to those psychological mind games I might have been able to play had he been much younger. What were my parents thinking?!

  • Reply Kari Wagner March 30, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    I existed.
    Nahhh that isn't necessarily true.
    Yes, it is.
    Nice hair.
    Oh and Knight Rider was the shit.

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