“Will you two please just stop fighting?!?”
Some days, my kids argue so much that I’ve considered recording myself saying these words on repeat.
Irritating as my kids’ fighting is, it’s also bittersweet because it reminds me of my own childhood and the dynamics of having siblings. As the oldest of three children, I occasionally (often) got into tiny spats (huge arguments) with my brother and sister.
My dad used to remind us that with three kids, there were three possible two-way fights: Kid A vs. B; Kid B vs. C; and Kid A vs. C. I have two daughters, so following this logic, I should be getting off easy, with only one possible fight. Yet my kids have a talent for finding endless topics to squabble with each other about. Here are some examples:
- Who gets to claim the color pink as her favorite, because pink can only be one person’s favorite
- Who has dibs on a particular Lego block when building a new creation, because apparently “IT HAS TO BE THIS PIECE, ONLY THIS ONE!”—never mind that there are dozens of perfectly suitable pieces scattered all over the floor
- Who gets to sit closer to dad on the couch when looking at a photo album
- Which girl gets the Mally Mallo game piece in Candy Land (Like it matters—they’re both going to cheat anyway)
- Who keeps the caps from the squeezy applesauce (Hello? This is garbage we’re talking about here. Yes, they fight over garbage.)
- Who knew more sight words in kindergarten (Um, who cares??)
- Who gets to keep the crappy toy from the cereal box, which cost approximately $0.17 to make and will be forgotten in roughly two minutes
…and on and on until my head spins and I’m pouring my tenth cup of coffee, trying to get to my happy place.
My heart gets all twisty and my blood pressure rises every time my daughters start bickering. Not only because the focus of their conflicts is usually oh-so-petty (See above. I mean, seriously, garbage?), but also because I know—in hindsight—just how lovely and wonderful sisters can be.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t always the nicest to my little sister growing up. My brother and I would sometime tease her mercilessly, for no reason other than she was the youngest child and we could. One of our favorite games was to arrange cereal boxes at the breakfast table, making sure the smiling, toothy kids on the boxes were facing my sister, so that we could say to her in our most annoying voices, “See, they’re looking at you!”
Fortunately, my sister eventually forgave us, and today my brother, sister and I are very close, even though we all live in different parts of the country. Over the years, we’ve been there for each other during some tough times, as well as many happy occasions. Almost every day, my sister and I have virtual coffee dates via FaceTime, phone or text messages. And no matter how long it’s been, whenever my siblings and I see each other in person, we can always pick up right where we left off, which usually involves driving everyone else crazy with our special inside jokes.
Someday, I hope my kids will share a similar closeness. In the midst of their feuds, I’ll keep trying to help them understand that they need to support each other, and how special a sibling bond can be, but at this point, I’m not sure how much my message will sink in. That’s okay. For now, this is where they’re at, but I know their relationship will continue to evolve and change, likely for the better. They have time.
What are some of the most memorable things your kids have argued about? Let us know in the comments!