By Enoch Kim, 14, Crossroads School
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Photo by Young Kim (Enoch's dad)

When I was 5 years old, I always bothered my parents because I wanted a younger brother or sister. All my friends had little brothers and sisters, and I thought that it would be great to have one so that I could have someone to show off to my friends. Finally, just after I turned 6 my sister was born. I was overjoyed.

But I soon found out that having a younger sibling wasn’t always that great. It’s a pain to look after them, or spend time with them or share a room with them.

I am 14 and share a room with my 8-year-old sister, Debbie. I hate it. She prefers to be called Deborah, but I’ll refer to her as Debbie because it annoys her. We fight most of the time and disagree on practically everything. Even when my parents try to settle disagreements between my sister and me they don’t really have a huge effect on her. I have to force myself not to hit her back when she hits me, even though my parents told me to scold her if she disrespects my property or me. But when I do scold her, my parents get mad at me for doing that. It makes me feel angry with all of them when I get these mixed signals. I usually end up getting in trouble no matter what happens.

I say "off," she says "on"

Debbie’s scared of the dark and has to sleep with at least one light on. I, on the other hand, find it very hard to sleep with any lights on. In our room my bed is next to the wall and hers is next to mine. She wants to switch because she believes that if her bed was next to the wall then nothing could jump out from that side and get her. But I don’t want to switch, because I roll around when I sleep and don’t want to fall off my bed.

So when I’m gone on trips, she sleeps in my bed. To get her back for stealing my bed when I’m away, I scare her at night. I’ll jump out from underneath her bed and shake it or grab her ankles. She screams! And not just an ordinary yell; you can hear her from different sections of our apartment building. This is not a habit though; I’m not a monster.

When that happens, she runs into my parents’ room and makes my mom come back to our room. My mom stays with us until my sister falls asleep. Whenever that happens, I fall asleep instantly, because when my mom’s around it’s really boring in our room.

I don’t know what happens to my sister when she sleeps, but sometimes she talks. One time she walked. My parents and I got up at 4:30 a.m. to watch Korea play in the World Cup this past summer. My sister rose from her bed and walked into the kitchen, but was still asleep. We asked her if she was thirsty or something, but she didn’t respond.

"She’s sleepwalking," I said.

My parents said no. Then she walked into my parents’ bedroom where we were watching the soccer game. I spent more time looking at her than the game. I soon realized that the game was almost over and that I had missed the double overtime shootout. Although she looked innocent, I had a strong feeling that she acted out this whole thing just to keep me from the game.

When I try to do my homework in our room, problems arise. She used to work at the kitchen table, but just recently moved a desk into our room. Now, we each have our own desks in the room. I have a great big chair with wheels on it and she likes it better than the little hard one at her desk. She always switches our chairs. It gets annoying! If I’m sitting in my chair and doing my homework, she pulls my chair back to see what I’m working on. Worse yet, is that she takes all the paper out of the printer and claims she needs it for homework. What ends up happening to the papers is that they all become either drawings or paper hats. I need that paper for my work.

In the middle of all these things, my privacy is being invaded by the second. Almost every time I’m on the phone, my sister starts to run around the room purposely yelling so I cannot have a decent conversation. One time I had to lock myself in the bathroom to get away from her. Also, my sister scatters all my books, magazines and comic books around, and she "borrows" all my personal objects such as small tokens, swimming awards and trophies. It’s a really good thing I never kept a journal for all my secrets, because they wouldn’t be secrets anymore.

She does keep things lively

But it’s not all that bad. Having another person sharing the room with you makes the room feel more active and you never get bored. One time my parents went out and I had to take care of my sister. Since I had nothing to do for a while, I thought that I should teach my sister how to use the computer. During the past two years, I had been forced to help my sister type her homework and projects, so I figured that I should just teach her how to type.

It was amusing to watch an 8-year-old learn to type. My sister would press one key then look at the screen to make sure the letter she typed in was there. Then, to find the next letter she would slowly look from the top of the keyboard down. Not only did she type in a funny style, she deleted much of what she wrote. For every sentence she typed in she would almost always accidentally delete another. As she made mistake after mistake, I couldn’t help but smile.

I was so engrossed in teaching my sister that I didn’t realize that a couple of hours had flown by. By the time I had finished teaching her how to type, my parents were home. Teaching my sister was fun, even though she has since forgotten how to type. At least it kept me from being bored.

So if you have wished for younger siblings think about what you’ll be getting yourself into. With a younger brother or sister, you will have limited privacy, absolutely no respect and not as much attention as you think you should be receiving. For those of you who already have siblings and have problems with them, interested in a trade?