Remember these days?
On Monday, I decided we should spend our evening hours before bedtime at the library. It was hot outside — too hot to play outside — and we were tired of being cooped up in the house. I figured we’d get out, shake off some of the boring house germs and enjoy our favorite place. Lots of birds, one stone. On the very short trip to the library, they argued back and forth about who knows what… yes, no, yes, no, YES, NO.
We pulled into the parking lot, found a spot and as I parked our vehicle, I asked BigBrother to unbuckle LittleBrother. This is the normal sequence of events upon going anywhere as LittleBrother is still in a convertible car seat and unable to undo his own five point harness. LittleBrother is usually quite cooperative with this chain of events. However, the argument that they had just endured apparently set him off and he was having none of it.
Before I could get out of the front seat and to the back door, LittleBrother had grabbed both of BigBrother’s ears and yanked. Hard. Somehow fingernails were involved. I saw some shade of red, told BigBrother to get back in his own seat, very calmly re-buckled a screaming, wiggling LittleBrother, walked around to re-buckle BigBrother and off we went to our home. I calmly explained, for the umpteenth time, that we do not purposefully hurt one another. I had to bite my lip not to totally flip my lid.
I’d say something about my words falling on deaf ears, but poor BigBrother’s ears were bright red and it’s quite possible he couldn’t hear me over his brother’s squealing.
I don’t know what to do.
This is where some people tell me that brothers roughhouse and that boys are physical creatures. And that sibling rivalry is normal. And that they do love each other, but it’s hard to have a sibling that close in age. And a bunch of excuses. But I can’t handle all the fighting. I don’t care that ten minutes later they’re giggling over who said poop. I don’t care that they give hugs and kisses and generally love all over each other. I can’t handle the fighting. The constant bickering over nothing — who can sit in the driver’s seat of the fire truck at the fire department — and everything — who gets the Cars spoon at breakfast — is barely tolerable and, thankfully, they mostly work it out on their own.
I worry. I worry about broken arms. I worry that this is genetically my fault. I worry that maybe it’s not genetics and that it’s just my lousy parenting. I worry that it will never end. I worry that I screwed both of the boys out of ever being emotionally mature because I cheated them out of a sister. In short, I worry.
We had the boys close in age due in part to my health, but also because we wanted them to have that “friend” we didn’t have in our siblings growing up. FireDad’s sister is eight years older; I am eight years older than my brother. I only now think my brother is mostly cool if not still slightly annoying. We wanted our children to have that bond. Not to beat each other senseless. I am aware that sibling rivalry does and will continue to exist. But I’m already tired of it. And they’re so young.
I suppose all I can do is continue trying to keep my cool when tempers flare, model good behavior (which might mean not calling my brother a buttface while the kids are in earshot) and, I don’t know, pray that something changes. Soon.
And that we see more of this.
[At least they're happy in the morning. What's your morning routine? Tell me and win $100.]