I may have mentioned to you before, I am one of seven children. I do think that 95% of siblings must at some point squabble. Surely it was not only our family who had occasional squabbles.
My younger sister Mandy and I used to squabble. I can’t remember what all of our squabbles were about…it us such a long time ago.
Mandy and I have have three school years between us but really only just over two birth years between us. I was born in the late summer and she was born at the start of the autumn. She grew taller than me quite early on (everyone thinks it is because she used to drink a whole pint of milk every day!)
It seems strange now that we squabbled as children. Now we have so many similarities. We like the same clothes, the same music and food. There is not really anything to argue about. She likes that I clean her house from top-to-bottom when I stay and deplete her ironing pile.
Mandy used to throw tantrums though as a little girl. I found them incomprehensible. She went through a few years where I used to feel so distressed I was in tears almost every day because I did not know what she would do next. Mandy grew out of them. I learnt to help her calm down. We both learnt to appreciate each other and realized how much we had in common. Life is so much better when you can get on with each other!
I do remember one squabble. I was so upset with Mandy. My Granny had bought me a gift. I thought it was truly wonderful. A rainbow umbrella! I was overjoyed with it. I don’t remember ever having chance to use it in the rain. But I did twirl around with it. I used to reenact the famous scene from the musical “Singin’ In The Rain” with it.
Mandy did not like that I had one and she did not. I still remember to this day the temper tantrum she threw during which she grabbed my umbrella, opened it up and then stamped all over it thus breaking all of the stretchers and rods of the umbrella. My rainbow brolly was destroyed in one fit of envy.
That led to an almighty squabble. I could not understand how she could have been so cruel. I asked her why she had done it and demanded she go and buy me a new one (she was about 4 years of age…she was not going to be able to buy me a new umbrella). She just laughed in my face and told me if I was given another umbrella she would break that one too.
I called her a “pig”.
She pushed me over.
Next minute Mandy and I were both locked into a brawl. Mum tried to separate us. But we were both determined in our outrage towards each other. Mum could not prise the two of us apart. Mum fetched Dad.
Dad told us to stop fighting. He raised his voice and warned us he would count to three. (We all knew what that meant.) But the moment Dad intervened with the squabble was when he saw me pull Mandy’s hair. Dad swiftly picked me up and I found myself standing on a bench looking my father in the eyes.
Dad stared at me, he opened his mouth and said slowly and emphatically:
“NEVER EVER PULL YOUR SISTER’S HAIR!”
I argued of course, crying my eyes out about what Mandy had done to my rainbow umbrella and how she had pushed me over. Mandy started crying about how I had called her a “pig”.
Dad just shook his head and put his hands on my shoulders and repeated even more sternly:
“NEVER EVER PULL YOUR SISTER’S HAIR! SHE MIGHT BECOME BALD BECAUSE OF YOU.”
My father had a real thing about hair. Two of his brothers were bald. Dad has always looked after his own golden locks. He has made sure he wears a hat while at work to protect his hair. He combs his hair very carefully and he won’t let anyone else touch his hair. It seems to have been his pride and joy…he is more protective over his hair than Samson. He still has a lovely head of hair at the age of seventy, which is mostly dark blonde with a handful of grey hairs that you only notice if you are sitting next to him.
Dad could tolerate a little squabbling amongst us children. It happens. Within a family you should have plenty of opportunities to learn how to get on with other people, how to respect each other, you learn all about forgiveness and sharing. My parents did have to help us along on many occasions reasoning with us until they were able to make inroads into our little hearts.
However, I remember on so many occasions, before it ever got to the point where Dad would sit down and reason with us, he would swoop down and grab one of us when we were squabbling. The trigger for him intervening in a squabble was almost always that one of us had grabbed our opponent’s hair. My father would not tolerate it. He would make it very clear that we had gone too far. No hair-pulling was allowed within the Finch household AT ALL!