January 20, 2010
I hear a lot of parents talk about how their kids disagree all the time. Little disagreements burst into huge arguments that then become the bane of their parental existence. I have the opposite problem. The rough stuff around our house, the things that send everyone into nuclear explosion mode are the agreements. My problem is that the kids agree too much. My kids’ biggest fights are caused by agreements included in but not limited to the following list:
1. The one true place to sit at the dinner table. The one true place changes from night to night but you can be certain that both kids will know exactly where it is and fight to the death to get it.
2. Which of the two remaining yogurt flavors is the best. Strawberry may have been the favorite yesterday but today there are two strawberries and only one peach. Suddenly peach finds its way into favor again. Today Magoo picked out the last remaining peach yogurt and brought Laylee a strawberry, the usual favorite. Chaos ensued as she tried to beg, bully and coerce him into giving her the new beloved variety. I went in to break it up and to tell her to deal with it but when I went back in a few minutes later they were happily munching and talking, Laylee with the prized peach.
“Give it back,” I commanded, “You do not steal yogurt from your little brother.”
“He gave it to me,” she answered innocently, “He wanted me to have it.” I stared at the two of them, my mom-dar fully active, my eyes squinting.
“Did you pay him?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she conceded, a ball of defensiveness, “I gave him a dollar. I offered him five but he said one was enough.”
They both grinned up at me. What do I do with that? They seemed to be in agreement so I went on my way, scheming about how I could get in on this action. It was only a fifty cent yogurt.
3. The precise moment when my lap is the most luscious and inviting. I could beg them to come snuggle me and all I get is a limp shoulder nuzzle and then moments later they come running into the room in attack mode, mauling me and yelling about whose idea it was to sit on my lap and be held like a baby first.
4. What to say. Sometimes they agree so much that they say the exact same things! Tonight I heard this conversation:
Laylee: It’s my turn, I mean it.
Magoo: It’s my turn, I mean it.
Laylee: Stop copycatting me.
Magoo: Stop copycatting me.
Laylee: I said STOP.
Magoo: I said STOP.
Ahhhh, the dulcet tones of total vocal consent.
5. What Wanda needs. They may both ignore Wanda for huge portions of the day but when one of them decides she needs entertaining, they both get in on the action. Sometimes this is fine. Sometimes there’s ample room for both of them to squeeze into her personal space, spitting and making faces and peek-a-booing their little brains out. Sometimes it’s cute. But sometimes there’s not enough room. At those times it is not cute. At those times, Wanda’s not the only one who ends up screaming. Neither are the kids.
6. How mean I am.