Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Squit Bag!

It is my younger sister's birthday today. That's her on the right, looking all cheeky and impish and adorable. She hasn't changed much.

I was the older Oh-My-God-What-Have-We-Done? child, whereas she was lucky to be the We-Know-What-We're-Doing-Now-And-Isn't-She-A-Doddle? younger sister. She had all the gifts that I dreamed of as a child but appeared to be lacking. She was a tiny, scrap of a thing: funny, sassy, confident, mischievous and unbelievably cute. She could regale a room of adults with a song or a dance, a poem or a well told joke from the age of 2. From my perspective she was a right royal pain the neck and the biggest thorn in my side. She was my mum's favourite and I wanted to be her so much it hurt.

'Squit Bag' was my mum's nickname for her. That and 'CrumbleBumble'...shortened to 'CrumbleBum'. I'm not sure why. I think it had something to do with the fact she was blessed with a tiny lithe frame and a pert, pinchable bottom. She is still blessed with these attributes even at the ripe old age of 39. (She must have been so good in a previous life.) As for myself, I don't remember warranting a nickname. Certainly not one pertaining to a small pert behind. Although Big Boned Clumsy Lump springs to mind.

I don't remember us ever being 'friends' growing up. But that all changed when we left home and forged our own identities outside of the roles we were assigned in the family. It was then that we bonded and created the friendship we have today. Now, she is my best friend and undoubtedly a soul-mate in the way that no one else ever will be.

I love you little sis. Happy Birthday to you and your impossibly pert bottom. If my boys have a fraction of the love for each other that we do, then I will be happy.

I could waffle on and on (as I am prone to do) about how much I value her love, advice, guidance and support. How, when we're together, we always end up weeping with laughter over the silliest of things that no one else finds funny. And how it amuses me no end to get her pissed on half a glass of wine and watch as she loses all coordination and starts slurring her words (such a lightweight).

And how sorry I am not to be with her (again) on her birthday.

But instead I will share the most infamous of our family stories...which includes references to independence, bums and firemen, in that order.

Whilst on a play date at a neighbour's house, my 2 year old sis needed to answer a call of nature. She went to the upstairs bathroom, locked the door behind her and sat down on the loo. Now, this being a house full of little boys, the toilet seat had been left up. So she sat directly on the porcelain toilet rim to do a wee.

No one is quite sure what happens next. Maybe a little cough or a sneeze caused her to lose her tenuous grip on the side of the bowl? Maybe she was playing a game of 'dunk your bottom in the toilet bowl' and lost? Who knows. However, within a couple of minutes of locking herself in the bathroom she falls bottom first into the toilet - and gets stuck with her knees up by her ears and feet, by all accounts, above her head.

All the mums in the house hear the hollering of a child in distress and come rushing to the rescue. Only they can't get into the bathroom. I am not sure that anyone appreciates the predicament my sister is in initially. She is only 2 after all and it is hard to decipher the descriptive articulation of a toddler when combined with high pitched shrieking and sobbing. I can only imagine my mum's panic at hearing her cries - not knowing what the bloody hell is going on but judging from the noise it is obvious that at the very least my sister has somehow removed a limb - and not being able to help. Finally, it becomes clear that my little scrap of a sister has fallen down the loo and all the neighbours arrive to join forces in begging and cajoling my sister to use her arms to lever herself out.

No can do.

Ultimately at her wit's end, my mum calls the fire brigade and within 10 minutes three fire engines come screaming into the cul-de-sac, lights whirring and sirens blazing. People from streets away wander over to watch what they assume to be some of their neighbours burning to a slow and terrible death.

In a jiffy the firemen assess the situation and shin up the outside of the house on a ladder to the bathroom window (which by luck is open a smidge). Quick as you like they reach a pole through the window, unlatch the lock and my sister is successfully unwedged and rescued by our relieved mum.

All the by-standing neighbours cheer and - this being the 70s - a small street party no doubt commences. In the meantime the local newspaper have been on standby and duly take photos of the 'heroes and victim'.

The following day an article appears in the paper. Accompanying it is a photo of the firemen holding an upturned fireman's hat with my sister perched in it, little legs dangling over the side. The caption reads, "Rescued at last...and looking a little flushed."



  1. Fantastic story.
    I won't be able to look at your sister in the same light.
    And you are so right about her 'pert' behind.
    NOT FAIR!!!

  2. You didn't even mention the time that I threw an alarm clock at your head (for which I am hideously ashamed and will apologise profusely for now)- now that's a good sister.
    Fear not - my bum has been less than pert for a good while now and my stomach muscles definitely do not match yours (and I haven't yet had any kids!)
    As for getting stuck down the loo, I sat on the rim because I thought it was what grown-ups did. And my one lasting memory was of the fireman trying to unplug me by getting me to grab hold of the pole that he was thrusting through the window... (oh, and when I heard the fire engines, I thought I was in big trouble!!)

    I love you so much, Big Sister Soulmate x x x

  3. What a lovely tribute to your sis, and a hilarious story to boot!

  4. What a lovely post. Hope your sister had a great day and has forgiven you for broadcasting this ;-)

  5. Anonymous11 June, 2009

    She's going to kill you for the 'falling down the loo' story! Just brilliant. Great photo too. I have a younger sister, it's an interesting dynamic at times but I couldn't manage without her.

  6. Wonderful story, which I will make sure I don't share with Rosemary, as she has to be constantly reassured that she can't fall down the toilet. Sister's are the best!

  7. MTW - when we're together we can bitch about her pert will make me so much happier to have a partner in crime to bitch with

    KR - yeh, yeh, yeh. It is pert. The stomach's flat. Still hate you for it ;-))

    Noble Savage - Well, it was cheaper than a present

    MBNAD Woman - I will find out if I am forgiven when I visit her in Blighty next week!

    Rosie - She is my rock. A small, imperfectly formed rock...but my fabulous rock all the same

    Tasha - One of the reasons I wanted girls is to try to replicate the relationship that I have as an adult with her. After the boys she is the next most important person in my life.

  8. Great story!

    Getting stuck in the toilet might be the secret to a pert bum. Did it somehow arrest wobbly growth in that area of the body for ever?

  9. Fabulous story. Did she end up marrying a fireman?

    Just hijacking your post here, but I've been wanting to blog about my sister for a while but as she reads my blog I can't so am just going to squat on yours for a minute.

    Your post made me unbelievably sad. I've just been through a week of hell with my sister. It's been 20 years since I lived in the same house as her. She now lives in New Zealand and I live here and we barely see each other. We have fallen out, over what I'm not sure, but it all started with me saying I'm doing my sailing thing.

    It's now got to the point that we're barely speaking and I don't see a way forward. I long for a relationship like the one you have with your sister, but despite having two sisters, that kind of bond just doesn't exist. Perhaps it's because we all live in different countries. Perhaps it's because we're all so very different. But when we're together we seem to bring the worst out of each other. Sigh

    You and your sister are very, very lucky!

  10. Was that you, commenting anonymously on my blog?

  11. Ooops, sorry. It wasn't you. My anonymous commenter has confessed. False accusation. Sorry.

  12. What a wondeful story - so well written and funny and poignant and I just loved it - possibly because I have two daughters and this post just makes me think of them. Gorgeous photo too - both of you are adorable. And I'm so glad you get on now - lovely lovely lovely x

  13. I've tagged you in my latest post.

  14. Anonymous23 June, 2009

    Wow! Love the picture!! What pretty things. Do you know, I couldn't help chuckling as you are both immediately recognisable! My reaction was "damn(!) that's Deb.. chuckle chuckle and then damn(!).. that's Nicola!! chuckle chuckle". In your matching clothes:-) That picture really symbolises your closeness.

    A lovely story, and lol @ Iota.. if there's a sudden mass incidence of children getting their crumblers stuck in the bog, we'll all know why:-)

  15. Anonymous23 June, 2009

    oh.. forgot to add "GBM x"

  16. Hee hee, so funny. That pic reminds me of me and my older sister, only we were the opposite, I was the chunky monkey, she was the silf-like goddess. I bet you have a lovely bottom, and I bet your sister would agree. Great tribute. :D