Thursday, December 10, 2009

square peg, round hole

Sometimes I feel like I'm trying to cram a square peg in a round hole and by that I mean trying to keep my kids from fighting.

Dash-1 and dash-2 are 22 months apart. This means a few things. In the long term it means that they will go strike it out in the big world in rather close succession, leaving some relative calm in the house.

In the short term (or rather this is the long term since it'll be the next decade and a half) it means that there is constant, and I mean constant, bickering and fighting.

"He touched me."

"He looked at me."

"He knocked over my legos."

"He stood in front of me."

"He's sitting on my stair."

And my favorite.... "He's breathing too loud."

That my friends is a small bit of what I listen to on a daily basis. I'm not really complaining, I'm pretty sure this is all in the fine print for being a mom of more then one child. Ok strike that, I am complaining because it drives me friggin crazy.

The one spot it seems that there is no longer fighting is in the car. {Thank you saturn for crapping out a transmission and forcing me to by a new car. } Now one sits in the middle and one sits in the back, and for the most part, outta sight outta mind.

Now this isn't to say that they don't love each other and play nicely {occasionally for five minutes}.

When dash-1 is at school dash-2 whimpers till we pick him up, when dash-1 checks out the advent calendar he wants to rush in and wake up dash-2 he's so excited, when we briefly tried splitting them up from their shared room both went bonkers.

Point is, they do love each other, problem is, they are siblings {much like the mommy fine print I'm pretty sure fighting with your sibling is in the contract somewhere}.

So my conundrum is this.... am I wasting my breath, energy, and sanity by constantly harping on the getting along crap?

I realize that as a parent my job is to teach them right and wrong, hitting your brother is wrong, however, not always getting along and liking him is normal. And you can't fix normal. So they aren't always going to get along right? My kids are demons cause they bicker right?

I get along with my brother and sister. Now.

I remember back in the day not so much, my sister and I were 17 mths apart and fought like cats and dogs. My brother is four years younger so he wasn't so much on my radar. But even now while we get along, we all still bicker and nit pick. I'm thinking this is just the way its meant to be. Shoot my father doesn't even like us all to be in the house at the same time.

{Side story}I knew this brother and sister in high school, flyboy I'm sure will immediately know who I am talking about, they were closer then sardines in a can. Seriously, it was just odd how well they got along. And now I know I'm going to get a bunch of "oh I got along with my siblings, its not weird" comments, this was not the case. The first time my mother saw them together she thought they were dating. Odd, very odd.

So back to this post, I'm curious, those of you out there with more then one kid, please, please share your bickering stories, any tips that you have found that worked, or just that yours do it too.

Or those of you who had siblings and you remember bickering, chime in, let me know that you all grew up to be relatively normal. It's amazing how once you take on the task of raising kids, you start to worry that the littlest thing might screw them up.

I'm pretty sure its just par for course, if not I'll just keep them seperated at all times, we have a screened in porch, they can take turns living out there. It's only 38 degrees today, its not like its freezing or anything.


  1. I have a sister that is 13 years older than me... there wasn't much fighting going on there growing up... however, we are really close now and we do bicker from time-to-time. My brother, on the other hand, is 16 months older than me. I was basically a punching bag for him. I never understood why... I always wanted to be good friends with him. But, we fought All. The. Time. Now, we aren't so much close, but I can finally see that he does love me, regardless of how many bruises he gave me growing up. He would be there for me in any way he could be. He even reached out to me while Scott was deployed regardless of the fact that he doesn't really agree with the whole war thing and he might not have agreed with me getting married so young.

    Basically, my point is, yes it is normal. And, the fights will probably continue for the rest of their lives to some extent. But, it is obvious from what you wrote that they love each other... and that is the main thing!

  2. Yes, my sister and I are 23 months apart and we didn't get along at all until we were adults. Now we're fine. It just takes awhile sometimes, especially when you're dealing with strong personalities.

  3. My sister and I fought like cats in a sack all through our growing-up years. Just awful. It wasn't until we were in our 20s that we really started getting close, and now she's my best friend. It sure wasn't because of all the nagging our parents did -- if anything, that made us more determined to fight early on.

  4. I am 3 years 2 weeks and 1 day older than my one sister and 4 years 8 months older than my baby sister. We fought and fought and fought! Now that I don't live at home, it isn't so bad, and they still argue sometimes. But we have a better relationship now than we did when growing up.

  5. Yep. Definitely remember the bickering. My brother is 2.5 years older than me and we fought all the time. But then again, we had these moments where we would play together for hours. For example, when we got old enough, my parents went out and left us at home during the day and told us, "don't kill each other". So what did we do? One day when they went out we staged the whole house to look like we fought like crazy and then sprayed ketchup on ourselves for "blood" and pretended we'd killed each other. My parents about keeled over laughing. There are definitely good times for all the bad.

  6. I snorted when I read the whine of breathing too hard. My 7 yr old said this the other day about his 2 yr old brother for the first time. I stopped everything I was doing, and turned to stare at him. After he squirmed for a moment, I turned back away and continued on, nothing said. He got the message LOL.
    Yes siblings do this! My brother and I did it, my boys do it, everyone I know who has a sibling has some horror story they love to relate. It's almost like scar ghost stories you tell one another, trying to one up who had the worst sibling fight or relationship. But for the most part siblings grow up and closer together with only a few exceptions.

    The only thing I do to stay sane is to "uh huh...mmmhmmm. ok hon...don't do that" to the boys while it flows in one ear and out the other. Or I put my Ipod on and blare it so when they come to whine to me I pantomime that I cant hear them and they walk away unless in an emergency. Is that bad?

    I know though, like you, the boys love each other and would do almost anything for each other. Just close quartered living drives them bonkers. Its ok. I think of it as a rite of passage of a sort ;)

  7. I'm an only child. My husband is an only child. I have no idea what is normal for sibling behavor. But I promise when we have a second baby I will come running crying to you with annoying 'is this normal?' questions.

    Lots of my friends had siblings and I can't remember them getting along at all until both were living out of the parental home.

  8. Oh the stories i could tell about me and my younger brother (who is almost three years younger). In high school we were arguing so badly my Mom put us in time out, then forced us to hug and kiss. Talk about awful! They would also let us wrestle (no punching below the belt or in the head region), and when my mother said enough we knew that was the end of the argument. That swiftly ended my first break home from college when I realized he was finally stronger than me.

    My Dad is the youngest of three boys, and his parents finally got all three boxing gloves and let them have at it. My Gran and Pop said it helped control the outbursts. They love each other to death, but can still get riled up at one another.

    So you are right, it will never change. Don't worry to much unless the other one starts causing major bodily harm. They are being siblings, and it will only get more fun from here! Just think though, once they are in high school and pull this stuff you can TOTALLY embarrass them.

  9. My little brother and I didn't fight a whole lot... when we were younger... but he was 7 YEARS younger, so we didn't spend much time together (once he got old enough to want to 'do' stuff K-3...) However, now that we are older, we would lay our lives down for each other but holy hell! We've also had some blow outs. One of the only times we PHYSICALLY fought was when I was 21. TWENTY-TWO! I was married, and Pave was gone for training. We lived only about 15 min from my parents, so I spent a lot of time there. We had a knock down, drag out fight in my parents dining room. It ended with a broken nose for him (I sure can swing a punch!) and a concussion for me.... ya, try explaining that to your husband, "Hi love, oh what am I doing? I'm at the base hospital getting checked out because I have a concussion, how you ask? My little brother..." Ya, it wasn't good. Like I said, we would do anything for each other, and I'm his biggest cheerleader (besides Mom and Dad), and the way he loves me is amazing (because he's kinda a punk to other people). Besides my husband and I, I think he's taken it the hardest every time we miscarry, he is going to be the BEST Uncle. Don't know if that helps!

  10. the side note...totally got me into a fit of giggles....

    I guess I have to say probably are wasting some breath...maybe it's karma here to make your parents sit back and say....ha now it's your turn....or maybe this is how parents earn their wings in heaven....I think it's just a right of passage....

    ear plugs.....I think that is the true answer....

  11. My mom had all 4 of us kids in 6 years. Crazy? Sometimes I thought so. But the older we got, the less it mattered. Now we are all 18-24, and the bond is amazing!

  12. My sister and I are 18 months apart, and then my brother came 2 years after that. Lots of arguing and touching and poking and tackling and Chinese Spit Tortures and convincing the other they were adopted and wedgies and tying up. I wouldn't take it back for the world :)

  13. Oh the stories I could tell. My 3 boys are 12 months apart from each other. They fought hard and loved hard. As they got older it got a bit better except the one time we came home to find the youngest one duct taped to the floor. The older two were trying to build something and the youngest was bugging them.

  14. My older brother and I are 15 months apart and our relationship was a lot like your sons'. I got a fat lip from my brother hitting me in the mouth one day with the phone, and the next day we're out playing baseball in the yard. We get along fine now. Nobody's scarred for life. My little brother, who is four years younger than I am, and I get along as long as I am NOT in the same state as he is but we have never gotten along. Nothing my parents said or did really was worth anything as far as the relationships went. Once when we were grounded, my mother said that my older brother and I were going to be best friends one day. I remember laughing at her, and then realizing years later that she was right.

  15. I've seen it go both ways -- fight as kids, friends as adults AND friends as kids, friends as adults.

    My input is to ignore anything that isn't bodily harm. Especially with boys. They will be on a short enough leash as it is at school, having to sit still all the time. Let them torture each other. :)


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