Perhaps the buddy system is necessary in big families.

It’s a way of making sure the older ones look after the younger ones.

“Hold your sister’s hand when you cross the street,” the Acadian cautions Bi. We’re on our way out the door.

“I don’t want to hold her yucky hand,” Bi responds. But she always does.


Psychologists might say this is too much pressure to put on the older child, making her feel responsible for another’s welfare when she herself is still a child.

All I know is – she is bossy as hell.

“Mom says you have to stay with me,” she says when I want to go off with a friend. 

“You’re not allowed to get dirty,” she says when I want to wade in a mud puddle.


Well, just as it is her job to watch over me, it is my job to make her job impossible.

Being a little too prissy for my liking? Smack her on the back and run like hell.

The chase is a screaming, giggling rampage through the neighbourhood until she tackles me and we collapse on the ground in a heap of arms and legs.

She’s bigger so she wins but that does not act as a deterrence – just makes it more of a challenge.

When I was 4 years old, Bi found a little girl.

She comes into the house, carrying this pretty child of about three years old and plunks her on the table.

“She was crying in front of the house,” she tells the Acadian, one arm around the child’s shoulder.

I mosey up to the table and study the little girl’s white sandals. 

“I don’t have white sandals,” I say. 

No one is listening.

The Acadian gives the child an oatmeal cookie, fresh from the cooling rack.

I’d been waiting for them to cool.

Absentmindedly, she passes me one and studies the little girl.

“Oh, she’s a tiny thing,” she says with a little too much fondness for my liking.

She calls police to report a found child.

Bi is mesmerized by this kid.

“Look at her pretty hair – it’s so silky.”

“Can we keep her? Oh, please, can we keep her,” Bi asks.

“We can get rid of that one,” she says, pointing at me.

For some reason, the Acadian finds this funny.

She reaches down and pats my head, catching her fingers in my knotty, “non-silky” hair.

“No, we’ll keep this one,” she says, smiling.

That’s fine. No, it’s cool.

When we finally get rid of this kid - who I’m sure was faking this whole being lost thing - I eat the lion’s share of oatmeal cookies and make Bi read me 10 books. 

She never did find another lost kid.


The great fart fiasco unfolded just a few short days after the lost kid thing.

It began when the neighbourhood bully – he must have been close to six - held me down and farted in my face.

When you’re four and playing in the back yard, while your big sister is all the way in the front yard, the appearance of the neighbourhood bully is a less than welcome sight. 

He demands my bucket and shovel.

I never did know how to back down.


My words have no effect.

He grabs me, throws me on the ground, bends over me with his big, stupid butt and farts.

Once I get up, I run screeching to the front yard. My mouth is opened but nothing comes out.

Bi knows something bad happened.

“What – what is it, what happened?”

In between sobs, I tell her about the bully’s foul deed.

“Where is he,” she spits.

I point at him. He’s tearing off up the street, looking over his shoulder.

Her eyes zero in on the little brat and, like an enraged bull, her feet paw the ground.

She even snorts.

Then, in one beautiful, thundering roar up the street, she is on him.

“What did you do to my little sister?”

She holds him by the scruff of the neck and slaps his saucy face.

He hauls off and punches her in the stomach.

“I’m gonna get my brother and he’s gonna beat you up, you ugly girl.”

He wiggles away from her.

While Bi is bent over, complaining about her stomach, the older brother comes running down the street.

He’s eight-years-old. The same age as Bi.

“Did you hit my little brother,” he asks, snarling and mean.

Bi does not back down.

“He farted in my little sister’s face!”

He pushes her.

Well, this is getting out of hand.

I run for my sister, Susie – a full year older than Bi.

Susie is not known for her fighting ability.

Skinny, pale and prone to fainting on occasion, she is nonetheless, not one to back down from a fight if a sister is involved.

As she runs toward the battle zone, she sees that boy hit Bi in the face.

She dives into the fray, yanking the boy off Bi.

“Leave her alone!”

“Let me at him,” Bi screams.

“You better let me alone.”  He’s menacing and mean.

Bi tries to elbow her way back into the fight, but Susie’s boney elbows keep her back.

There is only one way to settle this dispute.

“How many brothers and sisters you got?” 

The brat looks at me – a four-year-old with her hands on her hips and two frightening older sisters.

“Just my brother and me,” he says. 


“Well, I’ve got two more sisters and five brothers – I can just keep them coming.”

He leaves.