So, You Want a New Sibling? Step Into the Dragon’s Den, My Dear

A game of Teachers and Students. The catalyst for new baby sister it brother.

When my eleven year old was about four, I remember her coming to my wife and I and giving us the big sell for a new baby sister/brother.

We gave her floor, and I adopted my favourite Dragon’s Den position, leaning back in the chair, arms folded across the chest and holding an expressionless face, the Duncan Bannatyne-esque “I’m Out” primed and ready to fire out as soon as she opened her mouth.

But she did a decent job. 

And I’m not saying she won us over there and then, but the conversation did play its part in triggering further child related chats my wife and I had going forward. 

Anyway, we jump forward a few years and said baby sister did come along and my daughter was thrilled. That was, of course, until she realised newborns don’t play along in her carefully choreographed Teachers and Students role play.

Nope. She soon discovered that they’re focussed on more pressing engagements like ruining the shoulder of every garment you own with milky bunder, or bestowing that perfectly timed crap upon you when you think you’re about ready to leave the house. 

I think she was a little disappointed in that respect, but she continued to play solo and got on with it. 

So, five years or so pass and sure enough baby sis grows into a girl who loves to play, and Teachers and Students role play games are just right up her street. 

Problem is big sis is now more interested in shutting bedroom doors in our faces or brandishing expressions of disgust if we ask her to do anything frankly ridiculous like help with the dishwasher. 

It’s safe to say Teachers and Students are no longer her bag. 

So, about a month ago, shock of shocks, our youngest came to my wife and I, imploring us to give her a baby sister. This old dance again!

However, with our youngest we have a trump card to play… she loves her mum. A lot.

I mean, she loves me too, and I get my fair share of hugs but I’m under no illusions; I’m a distant second and she’d openly admit that. If I were to try and put across how much she loves her mum, let’s just say if the umbilical cord hadn’t been cut when she was born, she’d still be regularly clambering back up into her first bedwomb, using it as some kind of treehouse rope.

She plead her case. I struck the Duncan Bannatyne pose.

“But darling,” I interjected, “Mummy won’t be able to hug you when she’s hugging the new baby. All. The. Time.”

I let that hang there like a fart at the dinner table. I noted a slight raising of the eyebrow.

“And where are you going to sleep?” I continued, “When you wake up in the middle of the night and wander through seeking that toasty mummy snuggle, how are you going to feel when we tell you there’s no room as the baby’s already snuggled up with us?”

A slight sagging of the shoulders…

“And that bedtime cuddle with the story and milk… if the baby’s crying… it’ll need some attention. No good night snuggle for you.”

I blow on my fingertips and then start packing away the verbal bowling ball. After that doozie, there’ll be no need to rack up any more today. 

My youngest falls quiet for a spell. She seems thoughtful. 

“How about a dog…?” 

I didn’t see this one coming and have to say I’m caught with my pants down a little. I quite like dogs. They’re loyal and fun and don’t trigger my wife’s allergies. Get a dog and we’re ok. Get a cat, her eyes puff up and within minutes she looks like she’s been a few rounds in a UFC cage.

Well played, darling. Well played.

I quickly talk myself out of it. We’re not ready.

“Let’s start with something a little smaller, honey…” I say. “Ever heard of something called a stick insect?”


  1. Ha Ha, Roo suggested getting another dog the other day, although he put it perfectly ‘I’ve got a great idea for some mischief’……. he understood what he was asking all to well.


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