Childhood Family

Little brothers and big sisters

I am not sure how he kept it a secret this long.

Little brothers are notorious for ratting out their big sisters, so imagine my surprise when my son spilled the beans from something his big sister did four years ago.

We were driving in the car talking about the kids staying home by themselves. We’re only going to be gone for a week, and I let them watch “Home Alone” to be prepared so they should be fine.

Ha! A little bad parenting humor there.

We don’t have plans to leave them at home by themselves any time soon. But I was commending him on getting to the point where his mother and I can go out for a dinner without receiving 8 billion text messages in the first 20 minutes.

Parker said that the reason he didn’t like staying home was because of that time “Allie totally freaked me out a couple of years ago.”

Huh? You mean to tell me that an indiscretion, perceived or otherwise, happened and you waited YEARS to tell me? If her music is slightly loud my wife and I are informed in milliseconds.

But somehow, this kept. Possibly because he was afraid of the person who is not Allie.

Confused yet?

Apparently, several years ago, we left them alone and did something crazy like go to the grocery store together. Once we were gone, he said his sister struck a very awkward, stiff pose and began walking toward him slowly, with a weird grin on her face and her head tilted slightly sideways. According to him, they had this conversation:

PARKER: Stop, it, Allie.

ALLIE: Allie’s not here, Parker.


ALLIE: Allie’s not here, Parker.

And she continued slowly pacing toward him smiling and saying this until, I am guessing, he threw the nearest object at her.

For whatever reason, he had neglected to tell us about this incident until now. My reaction was to laugh, which I fortunately stifled. “Dude, that is just wrong,” I said.

Fortunately, he is over the freak-out now, and we can all kinda laugh about it.

Now first off, I am not condoning what she did. That said, the part of my brain that is still stuck in college-mode absolutely loved it. That’s how you mess with your little brother.

Also, I am the youngest of four kids, with three older sisters. If they are reading this, I can only guess they are lamenting that they had never thought of this tactic to mess with me as a kid. That said, they found plenty of pretty solid ones on their own without pretending to be possessed. Those include hooking me by my belt loop to a rope swing, spinning me and telling me to close my eyes and count to 10, and when I opened them I would be able to fly. (Hey, guess what happened after 10? I could not fly, and everyone had scattered.) This also includes telling me that when I clipped my nails, I had to bury all of the clippings in different holes in the yard or a witch could find them and cast a spell on me. Our childhood home’s backyard is a graveyard of hundreds of graves of nail clippings from a paranoid little me. Good times!

We were having dinner recently, and I brought up the story. “Hey, Allie. Parker ratted you out on something you did to him a while back…” I told the story and she gave a great big eye roll, which I have found is the most common facial expression for a teenage girl.

“Omigosh, Parker, I was like seven when I did that.” Eye roll. She wasn’t seven, by the way, because that would have put him at four, and we weren’t leaving them home then.

I assured my daughter that the statute of limitations had her protected from any punishment, and we could all enjoy a good laugh about it. Eye roll. And a bit of a laugh.

When siblings look back on their time as kids, you want them to be fond memories. Not the fighting, the squabbling, the generally-being-siblings parts. But it’s OK to have some good memories of the times one of them got the other one, so long as it was fairly innocuous.

This was a pretty harmless prank, as were the ones my sisters did to me. It’s all part of being a little brother. And, when I look at my kids and also think back on my childhood, it’s probably a very legitimate payback for all the things we did as little brothers.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Charleston. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.

Leave a Reply