Friday, May 12, 2006
Bossy bossy bossy
I have two sisters. The older of the two is needy (for another post), the other is bossy LOL. We are closer in age, and we did NOT get along growing up. Our pre-teen and teenage years were largely spent trying to kill each other - or at least cause great bodily harm. You would think having our own rooms would help, but that made not a whit of difference. Now that we are older, I am closer to her than anyone else in my family. Hell, in my LIFE. Funny how things turn out. My parents had several miscarriages and still births, and one baby that only lived one day. They were told that they would never have children of their own, so adopted a baby girl (my oldest sister). A couple of years later, they adopted a baby boy (my brother). Less than a year later, mom discovered she was pregnant. Nobody expected this pregancy to last, or if it did, the baby for sure would not survive. And they were not disappointed. When my sister was born, she was very very sick. Quite premature, and at that time babies of her size and age were not expected to live nor given much special treatment - better to let nature take it's course. Feeling the baby would not live long, the nuns insisted on baptising her. My mother had a name picked out, but the nuns felt it was too big a name for such a small baby and changed it! What did it matter, the child was not going to live. My parents were told to go home, they would be called when it was all overwith. Right before leaving, my mother wanted to see her baby and say good-bye. They went to the nursery, and could not find her in a bassinet. They asked, and a nurse pointed to a bundle on the windowsill! They had wrapped the baby and placed her on the windowsill to die! "Why waste a crib on a baby that won't live the night?". They were making no effort to feed or care for her since she was so sick. My parents made a decision right then to take her home. Sure, she was going to die. But she was going to be CARED FOR until that happened. They set up a nursery in the livingroom, and took shifts constantly trying to feed her. She didn't have the reflex to suck, and couldn't take a bottle. They would sit and massage her cheeks to help her swallow the milk. This went on for weeks. Then one day, my father was on shift. He was watching tv while forcefeeding her and noticed that the bottle was empty. He went to make a new one, then it hit him. SHE DRANK! She took the next bottle herself, and drank it so fast she had sweat on her nose! There was no looking back. I can understand why it would happen, since feeding had been such an issue. But the truth is, after that point they overfed her. Pictures show the brutal truth...the kid had rolls in her arms, on her legs, on her FINGERS. We giggle and crack right up when we go through the albums or watch the slides (and it didn't stay that way...by the time she was three she no longer looked like the Michelin man). Ever after she was the DARLING of my mother and had a way of getting special treatment in a house full of people. She would kling to my mom like her life depended on it, with her nose on mom's cheek like a leech. I was never much into physical contact, but even if I wanted to I couldn't get a hug in edgewise. She was always "rub my back" or "scratch my legs" or "play with my hair". I was jealous of her. She was everything my family placed high value on. Thin. Blonde. Blue eyes. I had NONE of that. She got gigantic boobs at the age of twelve, which made her both an awe inspiring object and a family joke at the same time. Do you know what it is like to go through life with double d's, and be known as the sister with the smallest boobs???? Trauma I tell you. TRAUMA. I didn't understand the full meaning of how her being sick at birth might have had an influence on how they treated her afterwards, until recently. She wasn't their favourite, she was just their sick baby. She knew how to get - and keep - the attention. There was always something wrong with her. Paper cut. Twisted ankle. Ear ache. Sore throat. Burnt tongue. She could work herself into a thermometer verified fever on a whim. And she could make herself vomit on cue, without putting anything down her throat. When we were really small, we had just gotten our "allowance" - a shiny new nickel each. She put hers in her mouth for safe keeping, and of course swallowed it. Immediately she began to choke and turn blue. My father pounded on her back, then hoisted her into the air upside down and gave her a good WHACK. She sputtered, and stopped choking but that nickel completed the rest of the journey inside. Every day they had to...um...."check her droppings" until that 5 cent piece made it's appearance. This was a powerful message, in my sister's mind. People kept asking if she was okay. Aunts and Uncles brought presents to the poor girl who almost choked to death. My parents checked on her at night to make sure nothing hurt or was otherwise amiss. Hmmmm. Every dinner for the next ten years afterward, she would 'choke'. After a while, we all realized that this was a fake out and stopped paying attention. She would sputter and grab her throat, wave her arms in our face and cough and hack. And we would completely ignore her and go about our business. "What's that? Oh, that's just sister choking again". Then one christmas we were getting into a box of chocolate covered cherries - biting off the tops, tipping it up to drink the liquid, then eating the cherry and chocolate shell. While tipping one up to drink, the cherry popped out and right into her throat, blocking her airway. She choked, we ignored her. She sputtered, we ignored her. She waved her arms, we ignored her. When she started to turn a dusky shade of blue, we thought "Hey, maybe something IS wrong". Somebody did a modified version of the heimlich maneouver, out popped the cherry (which the dog promptly ate) and that was that. It was a "boy who cried wolf" story come true. She is still "delicate" and gets sick or hurt easily. But she is no longer skinny and her blonde comes from a bottle ;). She still has those blue eyes though, I'll have to work on that. Bwa-ha-ha-haaa. It is still raining and icky and the sprites have not yet come and cleaned my house, so no pictures again today. I promise next blog will have some. Okay?