The mysterious sibling triangle

Question for those of you with 3 children: do you ever have two fighting for custody of the third? Recently, Annaliese(almost 3) has become the swing sister between Maddie(almost 6) and JD(4 1/2). Its just an odd thing to see.

Maddie wants Annaliese to play her game but JD needs Annaliese to complete his game of pretend. Annaliese has been relegated as the “character to be named later”. One minute, the big bad wolf. The next, a scary monster. Which in itself is funny because she’s barely 30 lbs and not yet 3 feet tall. Or she might be called upon to be a cat, a baby dinosaur hatching from an egg, or some princess needing to be rescued.

Maddie has taken it upon herself to be Annaliese’s helper. “Mom, if my sister ever needs help, I can help her because I’m the big sister.” This statement will be archived and brought out in junior high. JD has even assigned Annaliese her own pet. “Annaliese, I love Goofy but you love King. King is your dog and Goofy is my cat.” He is definitely her protector. Always comes to her aid when the tricycle is stuck on the curb or if she needs help getting started. Maddie and JD fight over who holds her hand in parking lots. Who gets to push her swing. They fight over who gets to help her.

And no, this isn’t a 24/7 thing. Ultimately these heartwarming vignettes end in someone screaming and crying and tattling. But is the battle over the baby sister something to be arbitrated or left alone? If they fight over a toy pulling, tugging and screaming “mine!”, I take the toy away. Can’t do that with a sister. Can’t give half to each sibling. Am I destined to endure?

4 responses to this post.

  1. Haha! Gotta love this. I love the term you coined – “swing sister.” I am one of 4, so we were always able to kind of pair off. I can imagine three would make some serious turf wars possible. Good luck – at least you have some great, funny blogging material out of it! 🙂


  2. There is always the King Solomon approch (preferably with a fake sword).


  3. I am experiencing sort of the same thing here, but with our “adopted” brother, the boy I babysit. Meg is 5, he’s 4, and Zoe is 2. They fight over Zoe all the time. As long as they don’t start yanking her around, I just let it go or I will sometimes toss a coin to see who plays what game with Zoe first, etc. Better than them ousting her from play, I guess. I love they way you wrote that, by the way!


  4. Swing sister… cute!

    We had 5 … so the one in the middle ALWAYS got left out!


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