Rachel Maude is the author of the Poseur series. She’s also Figment’s hilariously awesome agony aunt. Got a question for Miss Maude? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ten-sentence max, please!
Dear Miss Maude,
My sister won’t leave me alone!! Every time I’m trying to do my homework, she bothers me nonstop about random things, sometimes going so far as to throw pencils at me to get my attention! And when I leave my bedroom, she goes in and messes with my stuff. Is there anything I can do to make her stop annoying me????
Dear Exasperated Sister, OMG:
I hate to break it to you, but: no. There’s really nothing you can do. Younger siblings are born with one mission in mind: ANNOY and DESTROY. Few people know this, but those exact words are microscopically gang-tattooed on their baby knuckles.
Annoying you is the air they breathe, the soda they swill, the meatloaf they pulverize into an unrecognizable pulp only to grinningly exhibit it from across the dining room table.
Observe the following picture of me and my newly-hatched baby brother:
Just look at the glazed despair in my eyes. The way his mouth oh-so-subtly resembles a butthole. You think that’s an accident? Ha! Don’t be naïve. He is so obviously trying to gross me out.
Okay, but here’s the thing: I’m a middle child. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve played for both teams: the Snootie McSnoots (Big Sister League) and the Shrieky McMonkey-Beasts (Little Sister League). The annoying thing about playing for both teams is this: I actually sympathize with my little brother. I understand him. I speak his Monkey Beast language.
THE OLDER SIBLING-MONKEY BEAST TRANSLATION DICTIONARY (An Excerpt)
1. Borrows your clothes without asking: I FEAR YOU. I WORSHIP YOU.
2. The drive-by booger-wipe: GOD, I LOVE YOU. THIS FEELING IS CRAZY.
3. Kicking the back of your car seat: WITHOUT YOU I AM NOTHING. I AM NOT BEING DRAMATIC!!!!
4. Throwing pencils at you while you’re doing homework: YOU FEEL SO FAR AWAY. THERE’S THIS LIKE, COLD SPACE-WIND BLOWING IN MY HEART.
5. Incessantly repeating your name: DO YOU LOVE ME? DO YOU LOVE ME? DO YOU LOVE ME? DO YOU LOVE ME? DO YOU LOVE ME? DO YOU LOVE ME? DO YOU LOVE ME? DO YOU LOVE ME? DO YOU LOVE ME? DO YOU LOVE ME?
6. Burping in your ear: ARE WE EVER GONNA HANG OUT?
7. Messing with your stuff: WOW. WOW. YOU ARE SERIOUSLY FASCINATING.
Anyway, take heart. Eventually little siblings grow up, mellow out, and go their separate ways. And then–if you’re lucky–you actually begin to miss each other. My little brother lives in Brooklyn now. I live in LA. It’s a challenge, but we make it work. I scream at him on the phone. He mails his boogers Express.
Tellin’ it like it is bébés! One Monday (okay, Tuesday) at a time,
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