Just when I thought I had parenting almost figured out, BAM! the kids throw me off the rails. So the kids fight, who’s kids don’t? It’s part of their natural development however as parents we usually step in at just the right moment and put water on the fire. As the kids get older I find my wait time to step into the ring with them slowing down. I want to see what they do, how they handle the situation and themselves. I figure if I always step in they are never going to learn to sort things out between themselves. Usually the three of them can get into it pretty quick especially if they all want the same thing. Just because we have three doesn’t mean we always buy three of everything, kids have to learn to share!!
Now today Isabelle is at school. That usually means for a pretty quiet day with the twins. Not to say that Isabelle is the shit disturber, but she kind of is most of the time. So far our day has been quiet. Then we had lunch and that’s when things went downhill. Madeline requested white mac and cheese. Aidan gladly accepted rather than asking for his usual of pb&j. I made lunch and all was well. Madeline however decided for whatever reason that she didn’t really feel like eating lunch. She played with her food, drank her milk and then went back to the couch where she had been lounging while I made her lunch. Aidan wolfed down his bowl, got up from his chair, slid his cup of juice over to Maddy’s seat and plunked himself down where she had been sitting. This is where things started to go wrong. Aidan then happily/evilly announced at the top of his lungs “Madeline, I’m going to eat your lunch!!!” At first response Madeline said she was fine with that. When I reminded her gently that if she didn’t eat her lunch there would be no snack/treats this afternoon. I would warm up her lunch and she could have that. Well, I could almost hear the eye roll coming from the couch. Followed by the foot stomps towards the kitchen table. She then freaked out on Aidan for being in her seat to which he got defensive because she was in his way of moving back to his own seat. When I asked Aidan if he’d like some more of the mac and cheese in the pot, he crossed his arms and sat down and said “FINE!”
You can imagine that answer didn’t go over well. So when he realized what he’d said, he apologized and asked nicely for some more lunch.
It went on from there, Aidan had to come find me in the bathroom to let me know that while he was still eating his seconds, as indicated by the enormous amount he had stuffed in his cheek, that Madeline was not at the table eating her lunch, but was in fact laying on the couch. I pushed Aidan out of the bathroom, closed the door and locked it like I should have when I went in.
I come to the living room to find Madeline indeed laying on the couch, and Aidan finishing up his lunch. I thought to myself that the high emotions must be gone for now and all is quiet again. Time for a quick trip to the computer for emails. Not even sitting for 5 minutes and Aidan and Madeline are literally screaming their heads off at each other about blankets and bears(In the middle of this, I tried to call out a possible remedy to them both and got nothing…so I paused to see how things would go) and who had what first and who wanted what and I want this and I want I want I want……but it was Aidan who made the mistake of screaming at his sister the following…..
“FINE, I GUESS I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR BROTHER ANYMORE!!!!”
Done. I’m up out of my seat, the dog is even getting out of my way, headed into the living room. Aidan is sitting there with his arms crossed looking pissed off, Maddy standing there looking helpless and defeated. I explain to Aidan that he’s going to his room because of what he said to Madeline and how hurt her feelings must be. And that it hurts my feelings when he talks to his sisters like that etc etc. I take Aidan by the hand to walk him over to the stairs to send him to his room and then it happened. When I realized I had been tricked, out smarted if you will by a 4 year old. Yes, what Aidan said was wrong but what Madeline did was just evil. As I led Aidan to the stairs to send him to his room, Madeline starts to happily chuckle and sing to herself as she picks up the blanket and the bears and assembles them where she wants. It hit me then like a bag of bricks that Madeline stood there and played this sad little girl when the whole time she was probably as much to blame if not more. But I had to follow through, Aidan wen to his room for a time out. However the best thing I can do to Madeline is what I decided to do as a way to punish her without her realizing I was punishing her. I turned off the TV. Explained to her that it was time to us to do other things. She is going to help me change the bed linen today, and put in some loads of laundry. Then it will be time to get Isabelle.
Oh parenting….I guess we never really get it all. Someone should make a manual for children…however I’m probably too busy to read it!