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The little one pulls me to her bedroom and closes the door, asks me to bend down and whispers in my ears, ‘I want you to spend your day, from 9.30AM- 3.30PM with me. In this time you must do what I say. You can’t look at any one, can’t talk to any one. You must make eye contact with only me.’ I ask her what is the deal with the ending time and she replies, ‘After that I have to go to the park and play with my best friend-no? So you can be done by 3.30 amma.’ I ask her why she chose to pull me aside and tell me this in my ear and she says, ‘I don’t want Chula to hear. Otherwise she will come and demand to be included. This is me and you time.’

It was clear that she wants a chunk of MY time, but does not want to give me HER time. After all I am just a mother and what chances do I stand against her best friend?! But I was bothered by the fact that she wanted to keep the deal a secret from her sister. So I insisted on transparency. With great reluctance, she thundered her way to her sister, called her sister, then poked her, then finally pulled her hair. Chula who was reading a book was oblivious of all the calls, pulls and pokes, finally snapped to attention when the book was snatched from her hand and barked an angry , ‘WHAT?’. When the little one explained the deal, Chula cut her short by saying that, ‘Its okay. Whatever. Do what you want with amma. Just give me my book. I don’t care. BOOK. NOW.’ Then a very interesting conversation, that left me dumbfounded, started.

Meija: Don’t care? You don’t care? Hah! It is easy for you to say don’t care. You had 2 whole years with amma before I was born. So I care.

Chula: 18 months to be precise. But the quality of love she gives you is way more than what she gives me. So even if you got love for lesser time, the amount you get is waaaaaay more than what I will ever get. (note the usage of precise and placement of ‘will ever’)

Meija: That is not true.

Chula: Yes it is. Every one knows mothers love their second borns and fathers their first borns. So just give me that book and go away.

They are 8 and 7 yrs respectively. I am an only child. This constant bickering, division of love and firm belief that I favor one child over the other baffles me. So people with siblings enlighten me:

-Does the bickering ever stop?

-When do they start caring for each other? Or is this care and it is so heavily disguised that I am not able to identify it?

-Should I give up hope?

-Should I stop grinding my teeth, holding them by the nape of their neck, forcing their faces inches apart and growl, ‘I need to see some love. N.O.W.’

-Do they love me so much that they fight over me, if so how do I handle this naansense?

-Or they just don’t want the other to not have me?