Janet Christie’s Mum’s The Word Cunning sibling tactics – blame the absent brother

Pic Lisa Ferguson 25/08/2015

New Magazine byline pics - Janet Christie
Pic Lisa Ferguson 25/08/2015 New Magazine byline pics - Janet Christie
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Eldest and Youngest are munching away. It’s a happy teatime tableau, albeit missing Middle Child. I muse about what Middle’s having for tea, poor wee mite, on his organic farm in the Algarve, surrounded by nature’s fecundity and a massive pizza oven.

“He’s fine. More for us,” says Eldest.

“Yeah,” says Youngest. Then, brightly, “I’m making cheesecake tomorrow at school.”

“Yaaas,” says Eldest. “Cheesecake tomorrow then. I love cheesecake,” he says, unnecessarily. He loves everything edible.

“No, I never bring what I make home,” says his sister.

“Why not!? We’d love that!”

“Can’t be bothered, I just give it to someone at school,” she says.

Eldest lets out a yelp at the cavalier distribution of food to “randomers”.

“Who do you give it to?” he asks.

“Friends... teachers.”

“Why teachers?” he splutters.

“I feel sorry for them,” she says.

“Don’t you feel sorry for me?”


“Well, what about that bramble crumble,” he says. “I helped mum collect the brambles, got scratched and everything. Think about that, and... bring home the cheesecake.”

“Well, you ate most of it,” she says.

“Did not.”


I head off the bicker-fest with a tin of biscuits.

“Aw, Yaassss. You never buy biscuits,” says Eldest to me, despite the evidence to the contrary in his paw.

“Or anything nice,” says Youngest. “You’ll have to hide them or he’ll eat them all,” she says, gesticulating at her brother with a Party Ring.

“Or she will,” he says, retaliating with a Custard Cream. “Or Middle will. He’s always stealing food.”

“Yeah. He’s the worst,” says Youngest. “Can’t leave anything in the fridge or hidden under your bed.”

“Under your bed,” mutters Eldest.

“He isn’t even here!” I say. “You can’t blame someone who isn’t here!”

“Yes we can,” they say in unison, united at last.

And somewhere in the Algarve, Middle Child gazes at the sunset and devours a whole family-sized pizza all by himself. n