My oldest daughter (and also my middle child) is the ultimate “seize the moment” kind of gal. Unfortunately for my son, her Carpe Diem outlook usually comes at his expense. She relishes in the opportunity to embarrass him in front of his friends. She lives to undercut his impassioned and frequently embellished stories with a dose of harsh reality. She never misses a chance to show him up or call him out. She is the epitome of a kid sister. Poor guy, after dropping hundreds of pennies into wishing wells over the last six years in a fervent attempt to get a brother, he is stuck with two girls—a dimpled disruptor and her smiley sidekick.
It all started a few years back, when she was two and he was four. Ever the performer, he was excited to show off his new Tae kwon do moves in front of a crowd of family members gathered together for a birthday party. We all watched and clapped as he moved effortlessly through his routine, landing sidekicks and low blocks like a pro. After demonstrating a strong front snap kick, he stood with his legs shoulder width apart for his final stance. His face beamed with pride. We were so busy clapping and complimenting his skills that we failed to notice his ponytailed sibling make her way from the audience to center stage. Not to be outdone, she decided to land her own front kick. Let’s just say, he started wearing an athletic cup after that.
Her desire to steal his thunder continued into her third year. During a highly coordinated Scavenger/Easter Egg Hunt designed by her Nana, she waited for the perfect moment to pounce. This perfect moment came after he had spent fifteen minutes painstakingly sounding out and reading each and every clue left for him. As he read the last clue aloud, the one detailing the location of his hidden basket, she must have sensed that it was written as a rhyming poem. Before he could say the last word, she chimed in to take all the glory by loudly proclaiming, “It’s in the boat! It’s in the boat!” and took off down the hill to confirm her suspicions. Thank goodness he is faster than her, because I never would’ve heard the end of it had she made it to that basket first. Sister Sabotage strikes again.
There is a reason why he reacted with a disapproving sigh when I mentioned that she would be joining us for his kindergarten class Valentine’s Day party last year. True to form, she delivered the embarrassment he feared in her signature fashion. As he was talking with his buddies, she chimed in to inform the group that her brother really didn’t have a girlfriend even though he claimed that he did. She went on to explain to the group that, A. she had just talked to his “girlfriend” and she said that they were just friends, and B. “Mom said that you’re not old enough and can’t even have a girlfriend until you’re in high school.” Satisfied with her daily dose of truth telling, she popped a heart shaped cookie into her mouth, sat back in her chair, and looked at me as if to say, “Don’t worry Mom, I set the record straight.” The look he shot me was a bit less satisfied. Mortified is the word that actually comes to mind.
I would like to tell you that these are isolated incidents. However, I have a litany of examples to back up the assignment of her nickname. These examples are starting to come more frequently the older, and more competitive, they get. If he is being scolded by his father for not listening to directions the first time, she will interject with a phrase like, “But, am I being a good listener, Daddy?” (This query will usually be accompanied by an impish grin and a few bats of her eyelashes.) If he forgot to take his plate to the sink after dinner, and I beckon him from the kitchen to get off the couch and finish cleaning up after himself, she will sidle up to me at the dishwasher and calmly ask, “Don’t you like how I always put my plate on the counter, Mama?” Oh, sister.
Her most recent foray into the realm of subversion happened today. Her brother purchased a few paintings at a garage sale with his own money, and soon after found a buyer in which to resell them to in order to turn a profit. The buyer (his uncle) indicated that the purchase of the paintings was contingent upon my son cleaning the glass frames before pick up. During his clean up job, he accidentally sprayed the glass cleaner too close to the frame and a puddle of solution stained the mat. He was devastated and on pins and needles for the next hour, hoping against hope that it would dry up and he could close the sale. Luckily it did, and he informed the buyer that he could pick up the paintings—and none would be the wiser. That is, until my lovely daughter took it upon herself to spill the beans (in the interest of full disclosure of course). You know when she starts a sentence with the phrase, “Well, actually…” that you are about to feel the wheels of the proverbial bus roll over your back as she throws you underneath it.
I shouldn’t make it seem like she saves all of her truth telling for her older brother. She likes to spread the sabotage around. She has no problem announcing that I’ve worn the same outfit too many times when we are out in public. She wonders aloud why her Daddy snuck her a piece of chocolate “even though you told me that I couldn’t have any more sugar, Mama.” And, don’t even ask her opinion on your latest culinary creation if you don’t want to know the truth. She has no filter. She has no patience for dishonesty. And, she can’t stand coming in second place. Combine all of this with the fact that she doesn’t possess an inside voice, and you have the makings of many embarrassing moments. But when you hear her laugh—a deep, infectious belly chortle—that usually accompanies these moments of subversion; you will understand why we treasure the moments when Sister Sabotage appears. She is unabashedly daring. She keeps us on our toes and keeps us laughing. I can’t help but sit back and admire her colorful narration of daily life as she fulfills her role of Commentator in Chief. And I do sit back. I don’t want her to throw a zinger my way.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Sister Sabotage might have some competition waiting in the wings though. Her baby sidekick appears to enjoy subterfuge as much as her big sis. This apprentice can crash through a building block fortress and destroy a Lego town faster than you can say, “No baby!” She’s already found the power button on the Xbox and utilizes her stealth crawl to turn it off at the most inopportune times for her big brother. Her favorite activity is to crawl up on the fireplace hearth while looking back at me to get a worried reaction. She loves when I rush over to scoop her up moments before a headfirst dive off of the couch or seconds before a tumble down the stairs. I see many gray hairs in my future. With their powers combined, they are going to be a daring duo. Watch out world—Sister Sabotage and Babyzilla are on the loose. I’ve already picked out their matching capes.