Being an older sibling is wonderful. You get your own superfan and best friend all in one. You have someone to tease and play monopoly with when it’s raining outside. Unfortunately, siblinghood is not a always sunshine and rainbows. The older sibling will always take the fall. When the younger starts to cry, they know exactly what they are doing. It may have only been a scratch or a flick to the side of the head, but they will scream bloody murder.
Another injustice felt by elder siblings worldwide, is what I like to call the ice cream effect. When I was two years old, my parents would only ever let me eat one scoop of ice cream, which is totally understandable. I might beg for more, just a bite or even run around the kitchen chanting, “You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!” But they were good parents and stuck to their decision, “No Gwendolyn, maybe tomorrow. Let’s go pick a book to read before bedtime.”
That year, on January 8th, my baby brother Ben was born. When I was four and Ben was two, I asked Mom for a little more ice cream. She sighed quietly, knowing my sweet tooth and love for dairy had been inherited from my dad, but eventually added an extra little bit of ice cream, to appreciate the fact that I was a big girl now. Ben looked at my bowl, then back at his, then at Mom. She sighed again and then added an extra bit for him in order to avoid any fussing. I stayed quiet, eating my favorite dessert, but on the inside I was furious. Two year olds only get one scoop. That’s what Mom had told me when I was two. Was I not special anymore? Did they like him more than me? I felt more betrayed than ever before.
So yes, the ice cream effect felt like a truly brutal injustice at the time, but looking back, I have many more good memories with my little brother than any of the bad.