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My New Job: Referee

I wouldn't say Jack and Molly have ever been especially skilled in the sharing department, but ever since Molly started walking things have grown exponentially worse. There could be other factors too -- the influx of new toys, the disappearance then sudden reemergence of the routine, Mommy's crabbiness over the lack of holiday treats in the house - who knows what it might be. But I've suddenly added Referee to my Official Mommy Title and I am NOT happy about it.

Wrong thing to say, I know, when my kids are only one and two. I am STILL arguing with MY younger brother, so piqued frustrations at this point do not bode well for long term survival. But I'd like to throw this out there for the more experienced parents to answer and/or skim through while rolling their eyes: how do I DEAL?!

Seriously! The first hour or two of my morning is relatively shriek-free as I'm up at the crack of dawn with Molly while Jack sleeps to a more acceptable hour. Molly eats her breakfast, plays with her toys, whines for me to pick her up while I'm reading the internet -- I mean the paper. Regular morning stuff. Then Jack wakes up. Molly is BEYOND EXCITED to go get Jack, even though the same thing happens every morning: we get Jack up, we feed him breakfast and then he steals one of her toys. EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING.

It doesn't matter what Molly is playing with -- Jack wants it. Sometimes he's "nice" about it. He stands unbearably close to her, with his hand held out, like he expects her to cheerfully drop the coveted toy into his palm. When this doesn't work (OBVS) he informs Molly that it's his turn now. Nice try, kid! When THAT doesn't work he tries yanking the toy out of her hands. And every single time Molly screams like she's being lit on fire and scurries to some protective corner of the house, her little body hunched over her presssshussss. I have to stop whatever I am doing (usually reading the computer but SOMETIMES cleaning up breakfast or, heaven forbid, making my OWN) to lay the smackdown on my kids. A CPS-approved reaction might be negotiating the toy situation, setting each kid up with his or her own play area, calming them down, maybe talking Molly into sharing half of whatever she's hoarding. I try all those things, sure, but most of the time I bark at Jack to back off. When I've repeated it nine hundred times and he still doesn't obey (BIG SURPRISE!), I throw him over my shoulder and stick him on the Naughty Step. And now EVERYONE is crying.

I swear, I am worn out by ten. It's been weeks since I had enough energy to submit myself to a beating from Jillian Michaels and I blame the children.

I think I do pretty well at getting these kids out of the house. When we stay home in the mornings its usually because I have a lot of housework (which I never WANT to do, so this obviously isn't often) or we have plans for the afternoon. I know all about changing the scenery, distracting them, finding new things to do. But sometimes you've just gotta make dinner! Am I right? I cannot be the referee AND make tomato sauce, I just can't, but that's what I find myself doing nearly every evening. And my husband wonders why the kids are passed out in front of Ni Hao, Kai-Lan when he walks in from the bus.

The Suggestion Box is open, but so is the Oh Honey We'll Help You Christen This Boat We're All In With A Giant Bottle Of Champagne Box. Go!

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