When Lu was a baby, Hermione (aged 2) pulled her off the couch. Feet first. For the first couple of years, in fact, she didn’t miss any opportunity to hurt the tiny interloper who seemed to have snatched her rightful place at the centre of Mummy’s universe. When I asked her why she was so mean to Lu she said, (in a tone which made it clear that I must be stupid), ‘Because I Don’t.Like.Her’.
The girls’ relationship operates largely like a dictatorship with Hermione in the role of Megalomaniacal Despot, and Lu as Cowering Serf. They have very different personalities. They play together quite well now, but always on Hermione’s terms. I fear that sometimes Hermione is not so much ‘playing’ with Lu, as holding Lu hostage. I think Lu needs to go on some sort of assertiveness course.
Lu’s shortfall in aggression, however, is more than compensated for by her talent for devious manipulation. She sussed out early that every time she starts crying, I scream: ‘Hermione! What are you doing to Lu?!’ She often gets even by lying ‘Hermione hit me!’ whenever she feels like getting her sister in trouble. She’s obviously attempting to pay her back for all those early years of oppression.
My own relationship with Hermione operates mostly like a western democracy, where I am the elected Government and she is the Opposition. She opposes, on principle, any legislation I attempt to enact, misses no opportunity to express a vote of no confidence in my leadership, and has attempted to stage several coup d’etats in the past few years.
Al disagrees but I am quietly confident that Hermione is getting the whole teenage rebellion thing out of the way early (she’s 9) – I feel that she’s going to be a model child by the time she turns 13. Although if I follow this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion … well, let’s just hope that Lu simply skips the whole teenage rebellion thing. (Hey, I did – right, Mum?)