Welcome, Mamma Crew! Today is Kiddos Tuesdays when I discuss issues related to the kids.
I don’t know about you but I didn’t get along very well with my sisters. It was a little crazy (I mean, I either get along with my sister Lorry or I get along with my sister Gabs) but I couldn’t get along with both of them at the same time and it was the same way for them. You know, they could get along with one but they couldn’t get along with the other and that persisted to adulthood. I don’t know what it was, it was just the way that it was. I genuinely don’t know if it is a girl thing, if it’s a teen thing, if we took our teenage years too far, I couldn’t tell you. I do know that I’ve seen this history repeating itself with my girls.
When Dora first moved in with us, her and Andy immediately got off on the wrong foot, quite literally. Dora stepped on Andy’s dolls, Andy’s toys, and Andy could not forgive nor forget. Month after month, I’ve heard her complain about it and many, many times I argued with her that she should forgive because she often asks for forgiveness but it didn’t matter. No matter what I said, they simply could not get over that moment and it colored the perception of their entire relationship because anytime that Dora did anything, it always went back to that one point, that one day when she had stepped on Andy’s toys. And so round and round we went. No matter what it was, Andy would always bring it up back to that. Now, many, many moons later, you would think things would be different and they are, sometimes. Sometimes, Andy doesn’t bring up the fact that Dora stepped on her dolls when Dora does something wrong and that’s happening more and more often. In fact, recently, Andy accidentally broke a little figurine that belonged to Dora and at that moment it hit Dora what she had done so many months ago, stepping on Andy’s toys. One of the things that Dora could say was, “Now I understand, now I understand!” But you know, I have to wonder, do they really understand? Because if they understood, wouldn’t they be a little bit more forgiving with each other? No! Dora wouldn’t talk to Andy for almost a day over the broken figurine. So, that cycle just keeps replaying itself.
Now the more chill of the three it’s Emmy, okay. And the three definitely have very distinct personalities and very different approaches to life, which I completely respect. However, they don’t respect that from one another. So, the fact that Emmy doesn’t like to wear a bra, the fact that she likes shorty-shorts, the fact that she is comfortable wearing gymnastic outfits (you know, the really shorty-shorts and cropped tops, the athletic bras) oh my goodness, it bothers the other two to the nth degree. They both constantly, constantly criticize her. I genuinely don’t know which one’s worst, Andy or Dora, but they’re constantly going after Emmy for her choices and the interesting thing is the right to define the girls’ approach to womanhood. I would definitely tell you that they’re feminist. You know, they’re very strong in their beliefs of women’s rights and women’s choices but they cannot respect their sister’s choice. It’s a barrage of criticism and it makes even less sense because her sister, like I, belongs to a church that we attend regularly, up until this pandemic hit and church services were suspended. So, they feel that because Emmy attends church willingly and actually enjoys it, then she should embody this Christian perfection determined by them. I constantly remind them that no Christian is perfect. We’re all working at it, we’re work in progress. But of course, they point to the church’s doctrines and it constantly points out that our church encourages modesty, which it does, which is not really practiced by most of the teenage girls in the church because they’re all rebelling. It’s that individuation process. Now when you see them as grown women, the women do dress modestly. They’ve gone through that stage. They’ve moved on. They’re at a new level of perception but Andy and Dora don’t hear about any of those things. They just expect that their sister should behave in a certain way because of her Christian beliefs because they feel it’s appropriate to wear a bra and because, believe it or not, they are the ones that really embrace modesty. Now the irony here is that while Dora also enjoys the church, Andy does not. Andy has very different beliefs. So, you would think that given her beliefs were different, she would be more flexible but she’s inflexible because she believes in modesty. So, it’s a constant vicious circle of arguments and criticism and of course it comes to the point where Emmy just can’t take it anymore and she has to come and ask for help which then turns into another huge issue because they are constantly complaining that she pulls the “Mom Card”, you know she turns to mom for help but the thing is they don’t stop no matter
how often she asks them to stop. No matter how many times we have discussed the issue they keep bringing it up. They just wouldn’t let it go and they don’t understand that if they were to respect her individual choices, she wouldn’t have to come to me. Instead, they harass her until she feels she has no other option.
Now, recently, it’s become very popular among the group of kids that my children hangout with to be depressed. Everyone wants to be depressed. Now to be honest with you, this goes back to a friend that they had, in the community where we used to live who really like to talk about being depressed and cutting and all of these things. Mind you, these are nothing that this girl did. She certainly was not depressed. Her mother was and is a very good mom, very involved in their lives and she has other children and there was certainly no sign of cutting on this girl anywhere. But you read it on social media and so she thought that it was just this dark, right of passage, and so all the girls in her group of friends took the same approach, that it’s a right of passage to be depressed. Now, let me tell you, given the situation right now with this pandemic and the inability to go out and teenage hormones raging, yes, I understand that there’s real issues of depression at this point. But the girls are fighting about who is more depressed than someone else and of course in my case, Dora and Andy feel that they are entitled to be more depressed than any because Emmy is an extrovert. Both Dora and Andy are introverts. They don’t understand that the fact that Emmy is a social butterfly makes it more difficult for her to be stuck at home and, in fact, because Dora and Andy are introverts, who really enjoy being in their own rooms doing their own things and being alone, it has less of an impact on them. Oh no, no, no, no. And of course, they have decided that if you’re depressed or you’re battling with your emotions, you must be wearing dark clothes, monochromatic colors and be sitting around sobbing, be upset all day because this is the
media’s portrayal of depression so they that anybody who attempts to get up and smile and continue to push through and attempt to deal with their feelings cannot possibly be depressed. So once again, both of them spend their days harassing their sister.
And of course, privacy. Now they each have their own room and this is a serious problem. They don’t respect each other’s space. This is particularly difficult for Andy who has ADHD who acts before she thinks. So, she’s constantly, constantly, going to her sisters’ spaces. She doesn’t knock, she just goes in. They ask her to leave, she doesn’t want to. She sits down. She invades. She takes over. The funny part here is that Dora used to do it to both Emmy and Andy but now that they’re doing it to her, it drives her nuts! She complains bitterly about it. She never stops to consider that she’s done it too. Nor does she stop to consider that right now we’re in a difficult situation and there’s really no place to go and they only have each other to socialize with. And oh, my goodness, let me tell you, the fight with their chores is constant, constant. Dora likes to criticize Emmy’s ability to clean. In fact, she often sends her back and tells her that something is not acceptable. The funny thing is I never do that to either one of them but she does it. She takes it upon herself to correct her. But on the other side, Andy always skips Dora’s room because Andy doesn’t want anyone touching her room. She doesn’t like it when anyone cleans or does anything. She doesn’t want to do it to someone else. She feels like it’s an invasion of privacy. And of course, Dora and Andy constantly, constantly complain that Emmy is the golden child, never gets into any trouble, which is not true. They all get in an equal amount of trouble. It’s their response that makes it seem like Emmy doesn’t get in trouble. You see, when I call Emmy to task on something her response is, “Yes mom, I forgot”, “I’ll do it right now”, “I’m sorry I did that”, “I didn’t realize I made that mistake”, “I will take care of it”, “I apologize for hurting your feelings.” You know, she never lies when confronted.
She always addresses the issue and she resolves the situation. Andy on the other hand, if I point out that she made a mistake, or she neglected to do something she was asked to do for the 50th time, she gets defensive, argumentative, and constantly goes back to, “Well, you never say anything to Emmy about these things”, which is not true. It’s not true. I do, I just don’t have to argue with her. Andy on the other hand, every correction becomes a thirty-minute argument and I have caught her in lies and she never accepts responsibility. For example, today is a great example of this. She was supposed to sweep the floor. So, I bring her back and I say, “Hey, this wasn’t done correctly. Please do it again.” Now you can see the big pieces trash on the floor but she argues, “No, no, I already did it. I don’t understand what the problem is.” I point the problem out to her. She says nothing. She goes and she gets the Swiffer Jet, I go to do something else, when I return, she’s picked up half of the trash, the other half is still there. So, I call her again and I’m being very patient, but what’s her argument? “I’ve done it twice! What’s the problem? It’s clean.” I point the trash on the floor. She picks it up. Now, it’s taken her three times to get a very basic, small hallway swept and most of the time she spent it complaining. Dora takes a very similar approach which is, “You’re always yelling at me. Why are you always yelling at me? Why aren’t you ever on my side?” or she gives me this blank stare and I ask her, “Do you understand what I’m saying?” blank, blank, blank, blank, blank, “But you never correct Emmy!” “Well, I’ll tell you why, when it comes to chores, I don’t correct Emmy, because Emmy’s lazy. She’d rather do things right the first time than have me ask her to do it again two, or three, or four times. So, she will take her time, do it, get it out of the way because she doesn’t want to get yelled at.” (because anytime I called them, I’m told I’m yelling at them and frankly I’m only yelling when I’m asking them to do something for the fourth time. Fourth, fifth time, I start to lose my temper but they don’t focus on that). Now, you would think that this is like a cat and a dog, fighting over a bone but despite the fact that they’re frenemies and they spent a lot of time complaining about each other, they also get along great. They stick up for each other. They cosplay together. They ride the bikes together. They help take care of Bug together. We do lots of things as a family. They are each other’s friends. Maybe not each other’s best friends but they’re very close and they do watch out for each other. You know, Dora and Emmy are aware that Andy has ADHD and that she’s extremely hyperactive and that they need to watch out for her and Andy and Emmy are aware that Dora is still learning to live in this culture and then they need to keep an eye out for her and she’s going to make mistakes and they need to make sure that she’s safe and protected and encouraged and of course, Andy and Dora know that they need to watch out for Emmy who is Anaphylaxis to some tree nuts. They need to keep her away from them. They need to protect her from people’s ignorance and if something were to happen and she were to be exposed to tree nuts, they know what they need to do to save her life. So, they’re always watching out for each other but they’re always driving each other nuts.
So, for now, frenemies it is and I can’t help but wonder, if like with my sisters, will continue to the future. I have tried many different approaches to helping them get over this but honestly, I’m beginning to wonder if this is a natural state of being because like I said, this is the way that it is between my sisters and I, and between many of my friends and their sisters. So, maybe being frenemies with your sisters is the natural state. I don’t know. What do you think?