- Family and Parenting
Confessions of A Brat
For the most part, I was a shy kid. In school, I was quiet and hated to be called on, I never wanted the attention of the class. I had friends but I wasn't very outspoken. In public, I was viewed as a well behaved kid, reserved and soft spoken.
Inside the safe confines of my home however, it was time to unleash the beast. Once I was in my element, whatever I had kept bottled up came gushing out. For my parents and sisters, watch out, I became a super brat.
From a young age, I was very adept at being a brat. I would annoy my sister as if it was my sole purpose in life, and at that time it was. I mastered the art of brattiness, my antics were shameless. My mission in life was to become a thorn in my older sister's side.
To accomplish this, I utilized my little sister. As a middle child, and the only boy, I had an older sister to annoy and a younger sister to employ. She became my minion, I trained her accordingly. At 3 or 4 years old, I decided she would wear karate outfits. I would give free lessons, instructing her on the finer aspects of martial arts that I had learned from movies such as The Karate Kid. I set up obstacle courses and performed time trials. I was a ruthless trainer, and she was an obedient student. This was serious business.
She had many titles. As my full-time ball-getter, she would have to sprint to the bottom of the hill to retrieve the football when needed. She took her job seriously, as I would expect nothing less. My moniker was number one, hers was number nothing. This was drilled into her little head from the beginning.
As my older sister would lip sync Madonna songs with her friends, my little sister and I would swoop down-- armed with plastic knives and ninja throwing stars--in a full on assault. We would ruin the homemade video shoots as my sister would scream at us to get back upstairs. She would swat at us with her hairbrush--the one she used as a microphone--but our training had prepared us and we couldn't be captured. Afterwards, we would retreat to the kitchen and howl with laughter, refueling on sugary cookies and Little Debbie snacks while plotting our next raid.
I peaked as my sister entered her teenage years. Being 9 or 10, I was big enough to wreak havoc, yet still young enough to pull off my childish pranks. Sustained by Fruity Pebbles and freeze pops, my energy level was off the charts. I was loud, obnoxious and hyper. I was a terror.
Today, I would've been diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed medication. But in the eighties, my parents just fought through it. There were rules, such as:
No caffeine after 2pm!
That's it, but boy was it crucial! I was treated like a Gremlin, do not feed at night. If I was able to secure a can of Mountain Dew after lunch time, I would become a monster, annoying anyone in my path. I loved sugar and it loved me. Together we became unstoppable, running through the house, jumping on the couch and then onto the floor, then back onto the couch…..my poor parents
I didn't come up with all of this on my own. My dad, who had two older sisters of his own growing up, was of great help to me in this department. I'll never forget assisting him in one of our finest pranks. My sister was having a sleepover with three or four friends. Late that night, as they all watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, we went to work.
Sneaking downstairs, my father plugged the circular saw into the extension cord I had proudly delivered. We patiently waited for a quiet scene in the movie. I can still remember suppressing my laughter as I watched a master at work. Just as I was about to explode, my father cranked up the saw. The girls screamed and squealed as only teenage girls are able to do. I laughed until it hurt.
As I hit my teenage years and became involved in sports, bothering my sister didn't seem like so much fun. I had my own life to worry about. Playing sports gave me an outlet for my energy and kept me out of trouble.
My sisters and I get along very well in our adult lives, often laughing about our childhood spats. Every now and then , I find myself annoying my wife and being a pest. She says she can only imagine what I was like as a kid. I don't think she really wants to know.