When my daughter Cailey was born, her sister Emme had just turned two. From the moment Cailey emerged, mad as a hornet with her brillo pad orange hair, I knew she would be a force to be reckoned with. She has seldom disappointed.
Emme developed an unfortunate habit that would come back to haunt her, all these years later. Whenever she happened by her baby sister, innocently seated in the bouncy seat, Emme would quickly give the sleeping babe a little head slap, and then continue on her way. This caused great commotion for all concerned. I’ve heard of older siblings acting out in all sorts of ways when the parents bring home an unwelcome and permanent house guest. It could have been worse, I suppose. I know of one child that took to defecating on the carpet when his mother presented him with a baby sister.
There was suitable punishment extended to the guilty party, and stern warnings from me. I explained to her that she really should be extra nice to her baby sister, because that’s what Jesus would want her to do. And while that’s true of course, I was mostly concerned that this little strawberry haired pistol, would be able to clean Emme’s clock, in short order, as soon as she was mobile. As usual, I was not wrong.
I look at my girls as “bipolar opposites.” While Emme has usually been compliant and easy going, Cailey is a little firebrand with a distinctly Irish temper. While they love each other dearly, they are prone to bicker and fuss, and on occasion I have to step into the middle of an all out skirmish. But lately, I’ve noticed that Cailey has devised a rather devious way to get even with her sister. It’s brilliant really.
I was stationed at my customary spot in the kitchen, overlooking the family room. I’m able to peer over the counter, generally undetected, to see what mischief is befalling my two girls. Recently, I spotted Cailey with her index finger up her nose. Now, there’s nothing unusual about this. But I knew from the glint in her eye, that she was up to no good. She excavated a suitable booger, and stealthily scooted by Emme, who had only moments before been tormenting her little sister, and Cailey deftly deposited the booger bomb using said index finger. She continued on her way, with a sly cheshire cat grin, stifling a giggle. Revenge is sweet.
I’ve discussed this behavior with her. We talk at length about always using a tissue, frequent hand washing, and how to work out your problems. Without the use of nasal mucus. I thought I was getting through to her. But really, I was awfully glad that she had stopped the pushing, kicking, hitting, and yelling at her sister. And so far, her sister was none the wiser. Thankfully. I cannot even imagine the fallout if Emme discovered she was wearing her sister’s booger on her sleeve. The horror. So, I haven’t made a really big deal about it.
Until last night.
I had been chastising Cailey about her unruly behavior before bedtime. We finally settled into my daughters’ room to continue reading the “Little House On The Prairie” series. We’ve been at this for quite a while and we’re on “The Long Winter.” I think I’m enjoying these books more than my captive audience. On occasion, Cailey will whine “Moooom, can’t we just go to sleep.” “No, we must get through this chapter.” Just because I want to know what happens next. I read these books when I was a girl, but apparently motherhood has killed off one too many healthy brain cells, because I have little recollection. But now, the book that we’re currently reading has both girls spellbound. Because Laura is about to meet Almanzo, don’t you know.
But I’ve digressed.
I took my customary spot on the floor, Cailey is behind me on her bed, and Emme is sitting beside me. I could feel Cailey messing around with my shirt, but that’s not unusual. She then interrupts me with “Mom! What’s that on your shoulder?” I look. Sure as shootin’, there’s a booger perched atop my shoulder. “Cailey, is that a booger?” She leans in to closely inspect the object. “Yes, I think it’s a booger.” “Cailey, where did that booger come from?” “Well, I dunno.” Sure pal.
What she hasn’t considered, is that I’m the chief preparer of all that she eats in our home. And if she wants to learn a thing or two about how to get even, and not angry, then she’s messing with the right person. In the meantime, I’ll be sitting across the room from her during our nightly reading ritual. And I’ll be inspecting my clothing a little more carefully anytime she swoops in for a hug.