They smashed my toys, pulled my hair and ate ALL the food: One ‘sandwich sister’ like Princess Charlotte reveals what having a younger and older brother is really like
Here, fellow "sandwich sister" Hayley Costa, 39, from North London, reveals what having a younger and older brother is really like and what lies in store for the two-year-old…
“ROADKILL!” my brothers would snigger as they laid my doll across the middle of their road map play mat and ran her over with one of their trucks.
She’d already had her leg snapped off and chunks of her hair pulled out, but that’s what happened to most of my girly toys – they were either smashed up or had bits dangling off them, or missing.
This was what life was like growing up as a girl sandwiched between an older and younger brother with just two years between each of us.
Our playroom was a sea of Lego, Transformers, Star Wars and all things blue.
I was desperate for a sister or some pink, but instead I had two brothers – Neil and Alex – who were always teasing and winding me up.
Time after time, we’d end up in proper physical fights with fists flying and hair-pulling and mum having to peel us off each other before anyone was seriously hurt.
She didn’t always get to us in time though. Once, my parents were having a dinner party downstairs when my older brother Neil gave me a playful shove onto the hard bathroom floor.
My scream could be heard throughout the house, horrifying the guests, and it turned out he’d broken the bridge of my nose.
But injuries were just part and parcel of being a sandwich sister. My brothers didn’t want to play with dolls or brush My Little Pony’s hair.
They wanted to wrestle, play football or attempt wheelies on their bikes in the street.
As a result, my knees and elbows were routinely scuffed and bandaged as I tried to keep up.
As a sandwich sister, I had to learn to fight my own corner too. When the Kit Kats went missing from the cupboard and mum sought out the culprit, Neil and Alex would point their fingers at me despite having scoffed the whole lot themselves.
I soon learned to shout the loudest and defend myself.
But it wasn’t all bad. I was 12 when a friend of Neil’s started calling me names at school and one day, I turned the corner into our road and found Neil had this boy in a headlock, warning him never to bad-mouth his sister again.
We didn’t talk about it (that would have been too embarrassing) but it felt good having two built-in bodyguards, always ready to protect me and defend my honour.
Neil and Alex started to be nicer in my teenage years – mainly because they fancied their chances with my friends, but I wasn’t having any of that.
My friends dating my brothers? Ugh, no chance, thank you very much.
As the years went by and we all moved out of Cardiff, our home city, we would check in with each other more and I started to appreciate having brothers.
At my wedding, Neil acted as the master of ceremonies, and was excellent, and Alex did one of the toasts. I loved them being a part of it.
When our mum sadly passed away in 2013, we somehow managed to pull together and be there for each other and all the sibling rivalry from our childhood simply disappeared.
I was, after all, the only girl left in the family. I was the glue in the middle; they needed me.
I am now a mum to three beautiful children – two girls, Madison, nine, and Liberty, seven, and their four year-old brother Bradley – and I see the sisterly bond the two girls have and I sometimes feel envious I never had that growing up.
I even decorated their bedrooms entirely pink. Living my childhood dream, finally!
But I also feel blessed to have been the only girl in a boy-heavy family because, as much as Charlotte is a real princess, being a girl sandwiched between two brothers always makes you stand out and feel special – so I was the princess in our family.
And as long as her nanny keeps a steady supply of plasters, she’ll probably do just fine.
Princess Charlotte made history when her baby brother entered the world, thanks to the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013.
She became the first female royal to retain her claim to the throne, despite the royal baby being a boy.
Yesterday she and Prince George walked hand-in-hand with dad Prince William as they arrived to the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital in London to meet the newest addition to the Royal family.
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