Lessons learned from sibling rivalry

 By Maddy Moloney

In- Depth Editor 

It has become a tradition for my family to visit our favorite Japanese steak house, Kampai, on Christmas Eve, and every year it’s the same routine. We sit down and a Japanese/Chinese/Korean/anyone who can pass as an Asian person comes over  and introduces himself. Then, one by one, he asks my family members our names, and, like clockwork,  after he asks my younger sister, Mary Kate, her name, he sticks his spatula in my face before I can respond and asks, “You Ashley?”

No, I am not Ashley, nor am I Michelle Tanner for that matter. If anything, Mary Kate should be compared to me. After all, I am the big sister, which, by law, means I’m wiser, cooler and better.  Right?

Okay, okay, maybe that’s my sibling rivalry coming into play.

Now I wouldn’t exactly say my sister and I are out to get each other, but if you ask any of my family members, they could all agree that our sibling rivalry can be more tension-filled than when Gretchen Wieners doesn’t get a candy cane-gram in “Mean Girls.” 

However,  I believe sibling rivalries are character building, they teach how to deal with anger, creativity and teamwork.

First off, nothing makes people more determined than healthy competition, and who better to compete against than  your own flesh and blood? The start of our sister competition dates all the way back to 1996, when my sister was born.  Since then I have learned a thing or two about how to deal with aggression.  

I was about two and addicted to my pacifier (also known as my passy). My mother, good ol’ Becky, tried to get me to give up my pacifiers before Mary Kate was born, which was going perfectly until she was born and I had to watch her use them. (Clearly an act of war comparable to the bombing of Pearl Harbor) So, as retaliation, one night, after my parents tucked us in, I climbed out of my bed, over to Mary Kate’s crib and stole the passy right out of her mouth. Then she had to pull a typical “Mary Kate” and start screaming, causing my parents to run in finding me on in the corner of her room smiling, for I had won the first battle in a very long war.

However,  Mary Kate has had her fair share of wins throughout the years. The most impressive being when she convinced my mom that I was bulimic. That made for a fun Thanksgiving. Now, I must admit that the plan was ingenious, but then again people thought that about Shamwow, too.  

After living with each other for over 15 years, like any siblings, we’ve gotten getting under each others skin down to a science. In fact, we are so good at it that, half the time, I want to strangle her with my iPod headphones.  But, as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you (or your sibling) stronger. By learning how to get aggression out in manners involving things other than my foot against her butt,  I find more creative ways to deal with my anger, such as Facebook messaging her crush when she leaves her Facebook up. (Sorry, Sis.)

Sibling rivalries teach you to not only channel your rage, but also channel your inner-Picasso  in the art of insults. Mary Kate works in the area of pointing out my imperfections, an example being my crooked tooth or my lack of a chest. I prefer to focus on past mistakes, such as the time she asked if John Lennon, “that guy from that band,” was dead or the time she confused AP Psychology with physical science and spent a week arguing with me, telling me she was going to take it for her sophomore science requirement. (For the record, she’s taking honors Chemistry next year.)

Contrary to popular belief, sibling rivalries are not a synonym for a hateful sibling relationship. Instead, every once in while, siblings have to cease fire in order to team up to reach a common goal.  For instance, Mary Kate and I once joined forces in order to terrify my youngest sister, Grace. 

When I was in about sixth grade I had to babysit Mary Kate and Grace, who were about 10years old and 7 years old at the time, and I invented a game called “Kill Grace.” It was actually a really fun game until Grace told my parents. The idea of the game was to pretend to be cannibals and run around the house chasing Grace with  butter knives and forks. To make the game even more interesting, we would sometimes catch Grace and calm her down by telling her we were just kidding and weren’t actually going to eat her because it was just a game. But then we would bite her, and start the game over again. 

 However, no treaty lasts forever. For instance, last week, my sister and I got into a huge screaming match on the way to school because I apparently always make her late to school to first period. The fight continued until we  were walking into the building with her hissing “I hate you, Madelyne!” Later I saw her in the cafeteria and we kept our distance as we walked past each other trying not to smile. It’s part of our Moloney Blood to not be able to stay mad for more than 45 minutes.

There’s no doubt that siblings have a special bond. They have to put up with the same difficult parents, go on the same everything-that-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong family vacation and make the same attempt not to strangle each other in the family Christmas picture. But ultimately, from growing up together and learning exactly how to push each others buttons, you develop an unbreakable bond that no matter how angry you get at each other, you will always kiss and make up.