Most of the time, sibling rivalry in our family looks the same as anyone else’s. When they were little, it was, “Why do we always watch what she wants to watch,” or as they grew into teenagers, it turned into “My life during high school sucked more than your’s does.”
But because our daughters share their father’s artistic ability, their one-upmanship often goes in a creative direction. Simple and usually mundane projects that I see just as something to check off of a to-do list – wrap a present, send someone a card, or make cookies – become opportunities to exert their creative competitiveness.
For instance, when we decorate cut-out cookies at Christmas, I slap some green frosting on a tree-shaped cookie, shake on the green sugar and call it done. Not Valerie and Jennifer Lynn. Their cookies become works of art as each of them tries to outdo the other with the creativity and craftsmanship of their design. With bags of frosting and tweezers to carefully place each pinhead-sized sprinkle, they’ve turned a basic gingerbread man shape into a Bollywood dancer, Harry Potter, zombies, and Obama.
Now that Valerie is in Southern California, their creative rivalry is played out online. Valerie threw down the gauntlet to her younger sister by posting an adorable drawing shad had done of a hipster fox on Instagram. Jennifer Lynn immediately took the challenge of trying to top her sister’s creativity. But instead of doing another illustration which is really her sister’s domain, she did what she does best – sculpting – and turned Valerie’s drawing into a figurine which is going to be Valerie’s birthday present from her.
And what makes Jennifer Lynn even happier is that because her sculpture turned out so good, she can use it to up the ante on what Valerie has to give her in return on her birthday. “You’ll never guess what I made you for your birthday. You’re going to really owe me something amazing to equal the awesomeness of this.”
I just sit back and let them have at it and enjoy the results of their creations.