Or, you know, worst enemies. When Jack and Lu were littler they never fought. John and I were sure it was because we were such amazing parents. I even had a book on siblings all charted out, in outline form, revealing the secrets to my awesome sibling parenting abilities. The title of this post was going to be the title of this imaginary book. Then they turned 3 and 5. They've bickered and smacked basically every day since then. And really, it drives me out of my damn mind. The noise of it. The annonyingness of it. Have you ever noticed how many books there are on managing siblings? About two. Maybe three. I've come to realize that is because they all fight. Except, of course, that one family every knows whose kids are all harmony and light all day, every day.
Reading to Lu when she was sick in bed. Check out the wood paneling in my bedroom. Stylish, no?
I'm trying to embrace the notion that instead of trying to decrease the bickering, I will instead focus on all the fabulousness of their relationship. Because really, they are best friends as well. They willingly have common ownership over almost all of their belongings and they play together all day (hence the bickering which usually arises out of what and how to play). I know that the arguing comes in waves and that we are riding a high point of it right now. I know this rationally, but at the same time I am sick to death of listening to it. Plus, I feel like I don't have an effective response to it. Is there one? I haven't used punishments for it, because I haven't found that they work very well and instead seem to drive the behavior under the surface into little faces, words muttered under breath and elbow jabs.
Advice that I read somewhere focused on not owning their disputes, and not getting sucked into them. So much harder than it sounds. Lu can be just as obnoxious to Jack as he is to her, but he has about 50 lbs and 2 feet on her. I've thought about giving them extra chores to do when they fight, but they are usually somewhat cheerful helpers, and I don't want to impress them with the idea that doing work to help your family is a punishment. Another part of me knows that this is probably just the way with siblings, and every mother feels the same way as I do, and that someday they will grow out of it. I don't know if I can wait until then, though. So, thoughts? Anything that has worked for you?