Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Neverending Story

My children adore each other. I see it when Chloe and I go somewhere alone, and she turns to Connor’s empty car seat and sadly asks, “Boba sit?” I see it in the way Connor’s eyes sparkle when she calls him Boba- a special, made-up word for brother, a term of affection that belongs just to the two of them. I see it when he puts his arm around her in a tight hug, forcing her to love him even though she’s pulling away, obviously distressed by this overly-aggressive display of affection. . . “Hey Connor! Let go of your sister! Stop it! Don’t you hear her crying? She doesn’t like it! Seriously- STOP!” Sigh.

My kids may love each other, but not nearly as much as they love annoying the piss out of each other. (And, by happy coincidence, their parents as well.) In the Great Sibling Wars (ca 2006 - the end of time), Connor is most often the aggressor, although he usually believes he is acting in self-defense. “But she took my (insert toy name here)!” Took it from the toy shelf, that is. He can not bear to share his toys, even toys he has not played with or even seen in months. And while it is true that Chloe is most often interested in the toy her brother is currently playing with, her age and development level can explain away any seemingly aggressive move on her part. At least it explains it for her parents. Her older brother, after 20 months of hearing how she’s a baby and doesn’t know any better, has officially tired of that explanation and has moved to an “if-she-can-get-away-with-it-maybe-I-can-get-away-with-it” mindset. He is quickly learning that this way of living brings him nothing but grief, although I imagine the moment of transgression probably feels pretty good- at least for the 3.2 seconds between when he does it and when I descend upon him.

This weekend, I actually sat right next to him and watched the angel over his left shoulder (representing Respect and Obey Your Mother) lose a fist fight with the devil over his right (representing Continue to Piss Chloe Off). The consequences were swift and serious, but he’s lucky I stopped short of poking him in the eye with the pencil I was holding.

I know that this sibling squabbling is my reality for the rest of time. (I know this in part because my brother spent the majority of his recent visit trying to find ways to touch my knees.) Although I can imagine that someday the fighting will move from “testing limits” to “showing affection,” I really hope my patience doesn’t wear out before we get there. We haven’t even made it to the point where Chloe is a knowing participant! Soon she will initiate the acts of sibling aggression. I’m doomed. I just hope that in time they learn to fight these battles out of arm’s length of their mother while she’s working a crossword puzzle. I’d hate for someone to lose an eye.


Stacey Greenberg said...

i swear one minute they love each other and are playing a really complicated but fun imaginary game with each other and then the next minute BAM! I HATE YOU PUKEFACE!

Memphisotan said...

It's still hard for me to resist kicking my sister's legs when we're both on the couch.