Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Love and Rockets

At our house, it has long been the norm for the children to fight over “stuff.” Connor does not ever want Chloe to have anything that might ever have been his, no matter how babyish the toy might be. So he is constantly grabbing something from her- not because he actually wants to play with it, but because he wants possession of it. I think it’s just a way to assert his first-child, alpha-dog dominance, but even so I find it hella annoying. He has no interest in what Chloe has until he notices she has it. It is a constant power struggle.

Chloe does her part in the Battle of the Stuff by only wanting to play with whatever Connor is playing with. I think this can mostly be attributed to a serious case of older sibling worship, although occasionally she does it out of meanness. For the most part, though, she wants to be involved in what he is doing because he is just so darn cool.

Lately that has eased up a bit. It seems that once Chloe turned two, Connor decided she was close enough to a peer to be worthy of his attention. Suddenly, they are best pals who play together constantly. It’s amazing! Just like that I’m able to cook dinner in peace while Chloe and Connor color together, or jump on a pile of pillows together, or watch TV together. I had been told this day would come, but I wasn’t prepared for how wonderful it would be. They have even taken to having sleepovers in each other’s rooms, with Connor careful to make sure Chloe uses the potty and gets her teeth brushed before they retire. Just like in every new phase of their development, Chip and I just stand back and shake our heads in disbelief. It’s certainly a new adventure for us, every single day.

But the sibling closeness has caused the sibling rivalry to take a new shape. Instead of engaging in a normal round of “grabbing stuff,” their newfound familiarity has led to fighting that is much uglier in nature. It’s as if, after a good run of playing well together, Connor suddenly remembers that he needs to reestablish his dominance. He’ll turn on a dime, and just flat-out be an ass to his sister. He will ignore her screams and our fussing and just keep doing whatever mean thing he’s doing until we physically remove him from the situation. Although it makes me mad when he doesn’t listen to me (that's the fight he and I tend to have these days), I really can’t blame him for losing patience with a two-year-old. I can’t expect someone who is almost five to be more mature than that. Fortunately, Chloe has a short attention span and quickly forgets that he was mean to her. She’s usually more upset that he’s in time out when he should be fawning all over her instead. She’ll wait to kick him in the head later, getting revenge when it suits her rather than immediately.

Fortunately, the Mutual Sibling Admiration Society is a solid organization. The fits of venom, while startlingly ugly, are few and far between. They usually recover right away and go back to this strange, new world of children playing children’s games while the parents do parental things like wash the dishes or talk about what surprise our kids might throw our way next.

1 comment:

Sassy Molassy said...

Isn't it great when they play together? Built-in playmates are the best kind!