Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oil & Vinegar

It's a good thing this ol' blog is a typed out thing.  Because at the moment I'm biting my tongue.  Biting my tongue and not saying the mean and vicious things that I want to SCREAM at my beautiful, bright and constantly bickering children. 

It's the oldest two in particular:  Miss C is almost 8 and as frilly feminine as they come.  She loves dolls, dresses, and writing long stories about the Revolutionary War and the wives those soldiers left at home. (I kid you not.)  Mr Lars is 5, and All Boy.  If he knew what snips and snails were, or had access to puppy dog tails, he'd be all over those.  As it stands, he's been obsessed with machines, tools, building and mechanics since before he could walk. To him, happiness is the chance to mow the lawn with his dad.

They are oil and vinegar.  Gas in a diesel engine.   Sunscreen and eyeballs.  Anything you can think of that doesn't mix well - those are my kids. 
 
Now they can play beautifully with other children - on playdates, or with cousins, the play is happy, considerate, imaginative.  They are able to involve opposite genders in their play, and are so gifted at finding ways to include, to incorporate, to facilitate. 

When asked to play together for 30 minutes, there is excellent money to be made on a bet that it'll end in tears, shouting, screeching, or - more typically - all of the above.

Deceptively cute.  So deceptive.

I am ill with jealousy when I hear stories of other siblings who get along well.  Siblings who will make up elaborate games of make believe, will troop through the yard on adventures together, will snuggle in bed and let the elder read them all a story. 

Not at our house.  The sibling rivalry has reached fever pitch, to the point where if one claims to love say, watermelon, the other will swear a jihad on all melons until he/she takes their dying breath.  If one child finds a certain bedtime story scary, the other will deliberately choose it every night.   If one sibling does something uniquely noteworthy, the other will find the snidest thing possible to say, even if they know it'll earn them a session on the timeout step.

Just now, I sent them both to their rooms.  I couldn't bear to hear one more whine, one more exasperated 'LAH-RUS!', one more slap fight.   I'm done.  I'm out of ideas. 

So I'm asking you to help me out here.  I've gone ahead & lowered the veil, shown you the dark side of NilsenLife, and I genuinely need a good solution.  I have an abiding and profound affection for my two brothers, and would love to be laying the foundation for that with my children.  But right now?  I think I'll be doing well to get them both to 18 without permanent bodily harm inflicted.

Got any tips?  Any bright ideas that your parents used for you and your siblings - that you do with your kids?  NOW WOULD BE THE TIME TO SHARE, PLEASE.  Thankyouverymuch.

Signed
I Might Lock Them Up Otherwise

11 comments:

Nancy C said...

Let me know when you figure it out. Seriously. I have two of the same gender, but my boys are less kind to each other than they are to other people. Sometimes I think they do it for the thrill of the reaction....look what I did!

Hmmmm.....my parents did a lot of bribery for good behavior. Maybe something they both like? If that's possible?

cristina said...

I have two boys and they fight constantly! it's brutal.
mine are younger than yours so I still have to intervene a lot.. but I found this book helpful "Siblings w/out rivalry" by Faber and Mazlish
and as my youngest begins to be able to verbally express himself better I will certainly try out the ideas. It pretty much says, stay out of it unless one of them is getting hurt. The more you stay out of it, the more they will have to learn to negotiate... they come to you only because they want you to take a side, if you stop then they'll stop coming to you. also it gives ideas of how to handle it when you do have to intervene.
again mine are only 1.5 and 3.5 so a little young to try out the ideas, but oh do they fight.. most days I want to pull my hair out!
Good luck

katdish said...

I've got a 13 year old boy and a 9 year old girl. Some days they get along fairly well, but it's been my experience that when they're biding for my attention at the same time, that's when they start bickering. This usually happens when we're in the car where there is no escape. I have no suggestions, really. But hey! Isn't school starting soon?

Becky said...

I worry all the time that my three girls, but especially the older two, will grow up and either not care about each other at all (the milder end) or actively despise each other. At least hopefully when they're grown there won't be as much actual physical violence.

As for handling the situation now, I usually employ one of the extremely effective (NOT) tactics of ignoring, screaming, or joining in the violence myself.

Lisa Lang Cluff said...

Well,this is the age old dilema. Our parents had it, theirs too and now we get it. It's the karma of raising kids. I have 2 girls just over a year and a half apart. During the times when the worst part of themselves comes out, locking them up and/or at the very least tieing them down sounds good. Don't let anyone tell you girls don't "really fight", mine are on the floor punching, hitting, scrapping with the best of them. So, what to do. Well, all kiddos are different, as you know. Becky has the right idea, sometimes the only way to surprise them out of their evil ways is to start throwing your hat in as well. Or, sometimes I just calmly tell them I'm on my way and simply walk over to whichever thing matters to one or both of them at the moment; dvd shelf, bookcase, toy box, and start putting prize things into a bag to go to charity. It's amazing how quickly they run to the "rescue" of their favorite stuff and stop the madness. Good luck to ya my fellow prison warden.

Cheryl said...

They've been spending a lot of time in their rooms. Just now I assigned them each a couch cushion that they weren't allowed to cross after yet another kicking fight. But now? They have planned some sort of imaginary game together. Which, I'm guessing, will eventually involve hitting.

Robert said...

well, I'm not sure Dede and I are exactly a success story - but we do adore each other, now. my Mom's rule was always "it takes two to fight." she refused to ever takes sides. any time our scrapping (taunting, tormenting, screaming, hair pulling, kicking, etc.) required her attention, she made us sit in kitchen chairs facing each other for 10 minutes without making a sound. then we had to hug before we could go play. Dede was stubborn. she sometimes sat for 20 or even 30 minutes before hugging me. she was righteous. I was practical :-)

susie @newdaynewlesson said...

I did have a laugh. My two older boys (now 18 and 20) were so bad we had a room added on to separate them.

susie @newdaynewlesson said...

oops-meant to add they get along for the most part now.

My younger ones now also fight and I refuse to butt in. They want to beat each other up-then they have to deal with the consequences.

I do find it is an attention thing as well. Maybe earmark once a week as a day where you do something just with one of them for an hour or so. A set time each week. One week one kid, the other week the next kid. I found that did wonders as well.

diane said...

i would swear i was listening to heather lamenting here....haven't you heard of the way magnets operate--put the ends of similar poles together and they'll reject one another but opposites will attract? well, DNA works in a similar fashion...when placed in the SAME space (particularly if it's SMALL) OMG that DNA just goes into REJECT mode. scienctists haven't figured out yet why it happens....and you think MOMS can figure it out!!! hey, it's at the end of summer, too much time together, they know one another's secrets....that's a recipe for all the tomfoolery and meanness to come out in anyone.

hezro said...

When Mom was here she wisely pointed out to me that my kids need a little break from each other during the day - to reset their interaction with each other. So she spoiled us with a trip to ToysRUs to purchase special "Quiet Time" toys. It's definitely helping. If nothing else, I get a break. :) So if, like me, you've gotten a little lax about enforcing Quiet Time, maybe time to buckle down again...just in time for school to start back up. *hehe*

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