Nobody started it, but Mom will finish it

My older sister had her oldest children, Kaitlyn and Chase, 16 months apart. While it appeared to the rest of our family to be a massive inconvenience when they were both in bottles and diapers and tearing up the house, my sister assured it would be easier in the long run to have two so close in age. Supposedly, they would serve as constant companions and playmates and grow up to be one another’s best friend.

Now, I’m not sure if this was a lie my sister told herself to rationalize accidentally having had kids close together, if it was by design and she actually believed it, or if she had simply fabricated this myth as payback for the many rotten tricks I pulled on her when we were one another’s constant companions and playmates, fast-tracking to become the best friends we still aren’t. But regardless of her motivation for the back-to-back pregnancies endorsement, I foolishly believed her.

Connor and Kate were born 14 months apart, with Connor having the honor of watching Kate come into this world. While neither has recollection of the event, I remember it vividly. Blessed with rapid-fire, relatively painless labors, I had barely entered the hospital when Kate made her entrance 10 days early (the only time she has run ahead of schedule!). One push and she was unleashed upon the world.

We have no immediate post-delivery photos of Kate because there wasn’t time to bring in the camera from the car. There wasn’t time to leave Connor with a sitter, so he watched the delivery from his father’s arms, nonchalantly munching Kix from a bag, like eating popcorn at the movies. I kept my screaming to a minimum for his sake.

A tale of more intimate initial sibling bonding would be pure fiction. My son was more interested in his cereal than his new baby sister. Kate has never forgiven him that and the absence of immediate post-delivery photos of her, which is probably why every trial and tribulation since has been categorized as his fault.

“Connor, what did YOU do with my homework folder?” Pink knit tights or purple nail polish missing: Connor must have pillaged her dresser drawers. Low grade on a science test: Connor made her stay up late and watch a movie so she couldn’t study. Cherry Kool-Aid left spilled to stain the kitchen counter: Connor was the pourer of drinks. Sun didn’t rise: “Connor!!!!” Hostage to her brother, Kate’s life is one big series of conspiracies orchestrated by him.

I really feel for the only children of this world. Without a sibling to scapegoat, they must single-handedly bear full burden of responsibility for their actions. That must get pretty heavy. Not so for my children, who mastered the mutual finger-point about the same time as they learned to wave bye-bye. Kate, in particular, enjoys the incredible lightness of being blameless.

For blog purposes, I posed and photographed my son and daughter in respective versions of Flip Wilson’s “The Devil Made Me Do It” ideology tee shirts. Both implicate the other sibling, Connor’s proclaiming, “My sister did it,” with Kate’s demurring, “It’s my brother’s fault.” Should either defense not work, there’s always the 16-year-old dog or mischievous cat for back-up blame.

Instead of using high tech crime scene investigation tactics to solve fictional murders and unexplained disappearances, I think the CSI television show should send its crew to our house to get to the bottom of some real life unsolved mysteries I’ve been left pondering.

Who uses the last of the roll of toilet paper and doesn’t replace it with a new one? Who leaves hair in the shower drain? Who throws behind the couch the wrappers from the candy nobody ate? Who left Taco Bell lettuce remnants in the car? Whose fingerprints are on the freshly-washed windows? And who “borrowed” my favorite moccasins, ran outside, stepped in dog poop, then threw them in the dryer to tumble it out of the treads?

“It wasn’t me,” is the only thing upon which my kids agree. Not exactly future-best-friendly behavior. Send in the forensics folks for DNA testing and subsequent privilege wresting. Nobody started it, but Mom will finish it.

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