I remember when they were little guys I worried about leaving them for even a minute. I was sure they’d tumble down the stairs, tumble off the couch, fall from their high chair or choke on their applesauce. In any one of those scenarios I was SURE they’d kill themselves.
I imagined the days that I would have four relatively functioning human beings in the house that could chew and swallow without monitoring, walk up and down stairs while holding onto the railing, and get up and down from the couch like they were pros.
They can do all those things at this point in their lives and I realize I don’t worry they will kill themselves, I worry that they will kill EACH OTHER.
Did I KNOW that if placed properly the cushion from the couch made a great sled to slide down the stairs?
Did I KNOW that if two brothers each pick up a leg of a third and start swirling in unison that the exact WRONG thing to do was yell:
(Because they WILL stop that and boy number three will go flying head first through the air to land squarely on the only rock for 100 yards.)
Did I KNOW that despite various warnings to quit playing so hard, giving the obligatory 1 to 3 countdown and then standard:
“Don’t make me come over there.”
Did I know that those steps would not impact their decision to use a slingshot and a rock as an artillery piece to remove their sworn enemy brother from the swing set?
Again I say:
I was raised with one other sister; a sister. Now certainly there was some physical interaction that might not have been um, ladylike between my sister and I, but for the most part we really didn’t mess with each other on that very visceral level.
We were sneakier.
We would start fighting and then run and hide as our mom hunted us down with an egg turner.
THAT was fun.
We would spit secretly in the others milk and then smile like a cat eating a canary as the unsuspecting sister took a big ole gulp of the white stuff.
THAT was fun.
We would figure out what tiny little thing, filled with nuance, would bug the HELL out of the other one but look perfectly innocent to our parents and if we were really lucky would actually get our parents angry at the victim and not the silent attacker.
THAT was a fair fight for my sister and me and
that is what we chicks bring to adolescence, perhaps even adulthood.
Even today when my husband and I are fussing I’ll do something I KNOW will bug him to death, but not be grounds for divorce. Trust me with him it isn’t too difficult, since the way the toilet paper rolls over the holder is a point of concern.
When we were newly married I would often get up first and find something in the room to move just a few inches to the right or left. I’d watch as he went through his bleary eyed morning routine somehow knowing SOMETHING wasn’t right. He’d sit in his chair visibly uncomfortable and would finally with a look of relief stand up and fix whatever it was he’d found out of place oblivious to any hand his loving wife may have had in his torment.
Just those few moments of discomfort were enough for me to feel “even” if in my mind he’d done something I’d seen as unreasonable the night before. I’d sit there hugging my legs on the couch just about ready to BURST with delight.
Maybe. What would he prefer, a slingshot and a rock?
He’s just lucky he doesn’t drink milk.
Parenting Tip of the Day:
Small children find it difficult to measure time when we’re away overnight. If you are going on a trip where you’ll be away from your children, consider leaving them a treat per night in a jar they can see (perhaps a Hershey’s kiss per night for example). As they eat their treat, they’ll be able to see how many are left and can understand that when their treats are gone (at the rate of one per day dad), mom will be home. An alternate idea is to have marbles in an “Away” jar and each night they can move one marble into a “Home” jar. It’ll give them more of a sense of control and you can answer the “When will you be home mom” with a concrete answer like “When all the kisses are gone from the jar mommy left for you.”