Ya know what never crossed my mind? The idea of my kids not getting along. Shoot, I have sisters, and when we were younger, we never fought. Things were always amicable.
I don’t really remember. It was long time ago.
Anyway, when J was a baby, B would constantly say how much he loved her. He would treat her so well. I pictured them growing up together the bestest of friends (“I want to clean the bathrooms!” “No, J, let me do it this time!”). Maybe they’d be singers, and become the next famous brother/sister music group, like Donny & Marie, or Len ( Steal My Sunshine was da joint back in the day! I don’t know what else they’ve done, but at least they have that!)
Turns out, like pretty much everything else parenting-related, I was wrong.
Please don’t get it twisted. For the most part, B and J get along just swimmingly. Or as well as a four and two year old can get along, I guess. Sometimes, though, they just want to bring each other down. Things could be going great, and then all of the sudden, one of them will try to one-up the other, and it will dissolve into bickering, fighting and whining. Oh yeah. Lots and lots of whining.
I’m not a child psychologist, or Marvin Gaye, but I do have my own theories as to what’s going on. See, before J, B was the only kid, so he ran the house. The King of Kings, ruling his kingdom.
Then, when J was born, there was suddenly competition to his throne, in the form of a little princess. It wasn’t an issue when she was a baby. However, now that she’s a toddler with a mind of her own, she’s a threat that must be stopped at all costs!
……Or something like that.
Now, from J’s perspective, she’s still a blank slate. Learning, developing and taking everything in. She sees B running around, doing his thing, so she wants a piece of the action, too. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Sometimes, however, just a piece isn’t enough. She wants it all, dang it, and she will stop at nothing to get it!
…..Or something like that.
I mean, I guess it is inevitable that children will butt heads on occasion. It’s just that, with mine, their games of one-upsmanship can be so…...petty, that I feel like I gotta get my Judge Joe Brown on, and make a verdict, to get them to knock it off. Lemme give you some examples. For added effect, have this playing while you read them:
The scene: While getting ready to leave Grandma’s house, Grandma gave B and J cookies. B couldn’t help himself, and kept acting like a jerk. Habitual douchebaggery, as I’ve mentioned before. By the time we got to the car, we got fed up, and took his cookie away. This made him cry. While in the car, J couldn’t help herself, and ate her cookie while saying ‘Mmmm!’ and ‘Yummy!’, like it was the most savoury thing ever. This made B cry even more.
The verdict: J’s actions were probably unintentional, so she gets a free pass. B gets a court ordered lesson on what different expressions mean, starting with “don’t pour salt on an open wound.”
The scene: Bedtime. B was playing with a couple of Hot Wheels cars, on his bed. J heard this from her room, and wanted some cars too. I got her three from the playroom, and then I left to go downstairs. B somehow found out that J had one more car than him, so he went to the playroom and got more. J, not to be outdone, went to get more, too. This caused B again to go and get more. J then grabbed a bucket and filled it up with cars (from downstairs, I could hear the plunk plunk sound of her dropping them in the bucket). Finally, I went upstairs to see what was up. B now had about 18 cars on his bed.
I had this convo with J:
Me: How many cars did I say you could have?
J (holds up three fingers): Three!
Me: How many cars do you have?
J (looks at bucket, thinks for a few seconds, holds up all ten fingers): Ummmm…..three?
The verdict: Easy. To paraphrase Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, no cars for you…and you!
The scene: Lunch time. Eating fries. B found a small fry, and got excited about it. J then found a small fry. B said his was smaller. They then scrounged around their plates, and argued about who had the smallest fry.
The verdict: Whatever. Not guilty for both. This wasn’t nearly as annoying as the time when they were eating berries and got into a fight about which one of theirs was the ‘mommy’ berry.
The scene: Family movie night, our couch. Both kids wanted to cuddle with K, and bickered about it. When K suggested cuddling with me, they refused and freaked out, like I was the Boogeyman or a monster.
The verdict: That’s cold, yo. I don’t care. I don’t need their love and affection, anyway. Hey, how about I take away all of their toys? And clothes. And beds. Have fun cuddling the floor naked, suckers!
The scene: After movie night. I’m upstairs with the kids. B said to me ‘I love you!’ J then hugged me and said ‘My daddy.’ B, never to be overshadowed, said ‘No, my daddy!’ They then argued about who loved me more.
The verdict: Whaaaa? Aww, those guys are the best! Forget what I said before. Fighting for my love? No, please, don’t stop, keep on going. I sentence them to eating bowls of ice cream while taking turns telling me why I’m such a wicked dad.
Maybe a little bit of sibling rivalry isn’t so bad after all!