Sunday November 23, 2014


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Hey Tanya, sniff this...

Tanya’s Tales

My boys are rough and tumble. They test my patience on a daily basis with their physical antics choosing my living room rug as their wrestling ring. Getting pushed off the rug is the equivalent to being tossed over the top rope of the WWE ring. During the main event, the boys incorporate every stuffed animal in the house.

This is their "King of the Ring".

Their King of the Ring is my Queen of Anxiety. I know these play times will only end in someone getting hurt. In fact, even The Rock would be able smell what's cooking.

At least, while wrestling, they are getting along. Outside of their pretend wrestling ring, my boys fight. Siblings do that. They tattle on each other, they hit each other, name call and yell. This is foreign to me. The sibling rivalry isn't, it's the way my boys fight that is.

I have a little brother. Curtis was annoying, and we fought, but we had unconventional fights.

My brother was born with Spina Bifida.

Spina Bifida is a congenital neural-tube defect in which part of the spinal cord is exposed through a gap in the backbone. Basically, when my brother was born, the nerves that would normally run through his spinal column, ended up in a sack outside his body at the lumbar region of his back. This caused him to be paralysed from around his waist down. Along with the paralysis, he also had hydrocephalus. This is water on the brain. To fix this, doctors ran a tube, or shunt, from his head to his stomach.

His birth defect didn't affect his ability to be a thorn in my side.

Growing up and fighting with my brother in a conventional way was just not possible. Curtis was in a wheelchair, and fighting with him was hazardous to his health, in that the risk of breaking his shunt, or a limb could hospitalize him. And it was hazardous to my health, because if I broke my brother, I would be in A LOT OF TROUBLE with my parents.

So, we had to find more unconventional and creative ways to get on each other's nerves. And we did.

My parents had a metal laundry hamper with a hinged lid. This is where I stuffed my brother. I would pick him up, fold him a little bit, and stuff him in the hamper, close the lid and sit on the top. Babysitting made easy!

Curtis wasn't completely fragile. He did get some good shots in on me as well. Because of his wheelchair, he had amazing upper body strength for his age. He couldn't chase after me if I punched him in the arm and ran away, but he could hurl a chair like it was a tennis ball. A chair isn't as easy to dodge as one may think.

Of course, the chair toss and hamper dive never took place while my parents were home. It was my duty as the responsible older sister to gather Curtis from the bus stop after school where I would watch him until my parents came home from work. This is when our antics would take place most of the time.

Curtis would often use wit to get at me, while I used force. I walked by the washer one day, and Curtis had a scoop of laundry detergent. I asked my brother what he was doing and he said he liked the scent of the new laundry soap.

"Hey Tanya, take a sniff."

Not thinking anything bad was going to happen, I inhaled the soft scented detergent, and it went up my nose, causing a spastic sneezing fit that lasted a half hour.

My brother had schemed up this plan and sat innocently laughing.

These weren't practical jokes, this was how we fought. We still make time to poke at each other through social media, however, now it is more in fun than out of spite.

I have a severe fear of tiny holes, as well as a fear of clowns. My brother knows this and purposely posts photos of these items to my Facebook page. Although he lives in Calgary, he still finds a way to be that annoying little brother.

I'm sure my kids will grow out of their fight phase, just like Curtis and I did. Until then I will reign as Queen of Anxiety.



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