I've been inspired by this post from Mumsnet about how siblings torture each other this week. It made me remember my childhood with my little brother, Rob. It also made me very glad that my son is an only child.
My brother dropped into my happy, civilized world like a scud missile when I was just short of four years old. Unimpressed is an understatement. I immediately set about finding ways to be mean to him that might just sneak under my parents radar. Reading on, you might be forgiven for assuming that I was a troubled, malevolent child, but I wasn't. I was just a pissed off big sister, and from what I can work out, it was typical sibling behaviour. Here's some of my best games (and some of my friends best games) to play with a younger sibling. Enjoy:
1. Spelling - Step 1: Discover that 'shit' is a naughty word that you must never ever say. Step 2: Immediately spell it out with your one year old brother's alphabet blocks and leave it for your parents to find. Step 3: Blame him. Step 4: Get massive bollocking from parents who, funnily enough, do not believe that their baby is a sweary infant prodigy. Step 5: Cry in room and write 'Robert is a bum shit' on a bit of paper in teeny, tiny writing and hide it under the carpet, safe in the knowledge that you have still won.
2. Dares - Do this on the first day of the summer holidays while your mum's getting showered and dressed and you're supposed to be watching Why Don't You in your pyjamas. Start small - "I dare you to put an ice cube in your pants" and the like. Remember that you are quite safe here as younger brother is only 6 and therefore can't come up with any good dares at all. Progress to daring him to run outside and wiggle his bare arse at next door. Then dare him to eat a spoonful of Marmite. He is 6 and your bitch, so he does it. Then he vomits copiously. Half dressed mum is apoplectic with rage and you have to stay indoors all day even though it's sunny out as punishment.
3. Jungle Torture - This one was actually my best friend's sister's game. She used to use it to torture us when I came round for tea - probably because we were the most irritating pair of children ever to live. It would involve us walking slowly up the stairs while she gave a running commentary and did bad stuff to us: "It is night time in the jungle," she would say as she turned the lights out. "look out for the TROPICAL STORM" she shrieked as she emptied jugs of water over our heads. "The giant spiders want to catch you and eat you..." (cunningly set out sellotape trap in style of cobwebs) And, "YOU ARE ABOUT TO BE ATTACKED BY WILD ANIMALS" she yelled, as she threw armfuls of teddies at us, cackling madly. Don't know why we didn't just stay downstairs, to be honest.
4. Walkie Talkies - My parents bought Rob and I a walkie talkie set for Christmas one year in the hopes that it might foster a loving sibling bond. I mainly used mine to inform him that he was a wanker from various hiding places.
5. Car Wars - "MUUUU-UUUUUM, HE'S ON MY SIDE." Surely anyone with more than one child must be familiar with this back seat battle cry on long car journeys? I took to taking my school ruler with me in the car and measuring out an equal space for each of us, then using it to mark out the dividing line between the spaces. If his elbow accidentally ventured into my territory, I kneecapped him with the ruler. Simple concept. Fun for all.
6. Bike stunts - This one's from my husband: "Yeah, there was the game where we all used to make our little brothers lie down in the middle of the Close and then we'd try and jump over them on our bikes..." He also told me about another game, but it's unprintable.
7. Knightmare - Inspired by the amazing kids TV show of the same name, this is how Robert and I spent many a summer evening: I'd blindfold him and put a bucket on his head (bucket essential for authenticity) and direct him around the garden. "Walk forward...sidestep to your left...and again...and again...walk forward...bit more...bit more...(evil grin)...bit more..." until he walked straight into a thorny bush and got all tangled up in it. Ah, the 1980s. Such an innocent time.
I do hope you've all been inspired. Do feel free to leave a comment with your sibling torture games below. I'll be seeing Rob at Christmas and I'm sure he'd love to play them with me...