As a teenager, one of my primary household chores was to babysit my four younger siblings so my parents could go on a date or sometimes just run errands. Why they continued to entrust me with this responsibility when so often things went horribly wrong, I still do not understand. But I was less expensive than outsourcing the babysitting duties (you didn't think I did it for free, did you?), so maybe that's how they justified it.
On this particular instance, my five-year-old baby sister had an extreme case of brattiness (not unusual for her at that time). In all my 13-year-old wisdom I decided that it would be fun for the three boys and I to gang up on her and teach her a lesson. I think most of us have told a sibling that they were adopted at some point or another. But we took it much too far. What ensued got me grounded for two months, and left emotional scars for which I don't think she has yet forgiven me. Here is how it played out:
Me: You know, you're adopted. Mom and dad aren't your real parents. If you don't stop being such a brat, I'm going to call the orphanage and have them take you back. Because we don't want a bratty little sister anymore.
Sister: [screaming, and starting to cry] I'm not adopted!
Me: Oh, yes you are. Just ask any of the boys. They know, too.
[All three boys confirm this sad, sad truth.]
Sister: [crying harder] Even if I am adopted, mom and dad don't want to get rid of me.
Me: Well, I'm in charge right now, so what I say goes. Besides, mom and dad don't want you around anymore because you're such a brat.
Sister: [crying harder still] You don't even know the phone number for the orphanage!
Me: Sure I do, it's 555-TAKE. (wasn't I clever?)
Sister: I don't believe you!
Me: You'll see, I'm not kidding. [I pick up the phone and dial, pretending to talk to the orphanage and asking them to take her back right away.] You better go get packed.
[At this point, my sister is crying uncontrollably. One of my brothers comes down the stairs with her suitcase, packed. Another brother sneaks around the house to the front door and rings the doorbell.]
Me: They're here for you. Say goodbye to everyone. You have to leave now.
[Now she is screaming and crying so hard that she is hyperventilating and turning blue in the face. At this very moment, my parents arrive home. She runs to them and tells the whole story, and I get in major trouble for masterminding this whole plan.]
I realize this story doesn't paint a very good picture of me. And it's true, I certainly wouldn't have won Sister-of-the-Year for most of my teenage years. But we all laugh about it now, because there was no permanent damage done, no therapy required. And thankfully, we're all really close now, despite many an incident of this very type.