February 22, 2011 5:05 pm
Growing up with two older brothers, I was a tomboy who loved to do everything and anything my brothers did. Barbies were not on my radar, I was content to play with GI Joe and Transformers or to play tag in the neighborhood with my brothers and their friends. I was probably constantly underfoot but my brothers were pretty good at letting their kid sister tag along. When we learned that we were having a girl, I was so glad she was going to have a big brother like I did. I looked forward to the days when they would play together and look out for one another.
Man, was I wrong.
My kids do not like each other. That’s not entirely true, I would say that approximately 10% of the time, they get along but the rest of the time it’s all out war in our house. We have to stay within five feet of them at all times or somebody is likely to get hurt. I only wish I were exaggerating. It starts the second they wake up, continues in the car, through mealtimes and doesn’t end until they are both tucked in bed at night. Every once in awhile they play nicely together and it’s amazing to get a glimpse of how it could be. But then BAM, someone gets body checked and we’re back to screaming matches and time outs. It’s exhausting.
The days are long and are mostly spent trying to survive the hours until bedtime. It’s gotten so bad that when we realized we had a three day weekend coming up, Jamie booked a hotel for one night to take Graham and keep the kids separate. A HOTEL. To keep the kids from killing each other on an unusually long weekend. What the hell is wrong with this picture? The thing about it is that both kids are a joy to be around when they’re an “only child”. Which isn’t actually an option, lest we lose a kid somewhere or sell them on ebay.
I have to give disclaimers when I drop the kids off at the gym daycare: They will play nicely with other kids but keep an eye on them if they’re together. Their teachers know not to bring them on the playground at the same time or it will result in time outs for one or both kids. We can’t even keep them from fighting, how could someone else be expected to? They see each other as a threat and constant competition and I don’t know how to get past it. I want my kids to love each other. I want less attempted murder and more friendly interaction. I want it to stop.
We have been gluten/casein/soy/dye/preservative free for over a year now. We definitely notice more behavioral problems when something forbidden gets accidentally ingested but still. An entire year of cutting out all of these allergens and the kids are still having issues. The same kids who are perfectly capable of behaving for their teachers at school. It’s not the food. So what’s the problem? I know full well what the problem is, it’s the parents. They are in constant competition for our attention and will take any type of attention they can get. The frustrating thing is, they HAVE our attention. I mostly quit blogging for months. I’m home with them and I’m interacting with them. So what am I doing wrong? Did I give them too much attention in the first place? Is this newfangled style of “hands on” parenting too much for them to handle? Should I just boot their asses outside all day and tell them not to come home until dinner like our parents did to us? I don’t know.
What I do know is that I’ve become one of those frazzled moms who has resorted to screaming. I’m always on edge and my patience is nonexistent. This is not what I wanted for my family when I stopped working to raise my kids. I wanted a happy family or at the very least, kids who can coexist without being violent toward one another. Something’s got to give so it’s time to buckle down the hatches and kick some toddler ass. Figurative toddler ass, not literal. Unless someone else wants to take a crack at raising them?