Sounds like a really bad (or really good) Kung Fu movie, right? Or at least an insanely cool WWF match. Well, it pretty much is minus the samurai swords or off-the-ropes body slams. Because in our house you get a timeout for that kind of physical violence. So the kids resort to verbal abuse. I would have never dreamed that a 12 year old and a 4 year old could fight as much as my oldest and middle child do. I always thought that the 8 year age difference would make them oblivious to each other; nothing in common, right? Wrong. In fact these two have so much in common that they are constantly at each other’s throats. Now, I don’t mean that they share long conversations over Team Edward vs. Team Jacob or how cool the new Monster Truck video game is going to be. Their interests are obviously totally different. But mentally, they are on even playing ground. Tweens and preschoolers, I’ve found, only care about themselves. They are so self-absorbed that nobody else matters. And, they’re always right. As anyone who has been in a relationship knows, two rights always equal wrong. Someone has to back down. Not happening with these two. They both cry to try to get their way. Neither one listens even though their hearing is perfect. And both of them will argue over who was sitting in a particular spot first until they have no voice left. I’ve tried to let it go on that long just to obtain some peace and quiet but I just can’t stand the bickering. So I intercede, preach to them about being kind to each other and then follow it up with a “and if you can’t stop arguing both of you will have your mouths Duck taped shut!”. (This is when I realize I’ve turned into my mother, but that’s an entirely different blog post.) They haven’t always been this way. They both just entered the same mental state at the same time. Coincidentally, I entered my mental state shortly after, and it’s not pretty. I’ve noticed an increase in my need for timeouts and you can often find me sitting on my bed rocking back and forth trying to find my happy place.
The problem could be their age gap. There is no middle child, say a nice 8 year old that could play referee. We just have Beeb, the sweet, innocent 9 week old. Although, I have a feeling that he’s like that baby in The Incredibles, the one that can burst into flames at a moment’s notice as a defense mechanism? I’ve seen him turn pretty red, I think he’s on the brink of realizing his true powers. Anyway, he is my refuge; my safe place. Just yesterday, in order to escape yet another argument over which T.V. show to watch, I retreated to his nursery upstairs with a fully loaded bottle. And, yes, I let my kids watch T.V., an obscene amount if that’s what it takes to have my house quiet for a bit. I’m not ashamed. In fact, I give a big ‘shout out’ to Dora for teaching my kids how to count in both English and Spanish. But back to the Beeb and our escape. As I sat there cradling him, whispering apologies about bringing him into such an insane family, I realized that this is why parents baby their babies. By babies, I mean their last child. Their final creation. It’s because they’ve witnessed first hand what that pure, naive little bundle will become. And they’re sorry, so, so sorry. And sad. And they want to hold on to that innocence, tightly, for as long as their restraining arms can hold it. So that’s what I’m doing, relishing every moment I have with this little being that hasn’t learned how to talk back or roll his eyes at me.
And those moments are what make the tumultuous relationship between Dramatween and The Pint-size Preschooler bearable. This too shall pass. And when it does I’ll have two boys that are literally WWF-ing it to work out their problems and a 16 year old girl that doesn’t want to talk to any of us. This is when I anticipate taking my sabbatical, sorry Jers. I’ll send you a postcard.