Sibling Wars

It seems my children have reached a milestone in their siblinghood. They are now constantly in each other’s faces. They butt heads. They engage in physical altercations. They invade each other’s personal space. It’s a wonder to behold.

Just this morning my husband was out of the house for about an hour or so. In that time, my children managed to bicker, hit, and otherwise show their distaste for each other over the smallest of conflicts. I can’t even recall most of what the disagreements were about, only that they were continuous, loud, and, well, childish.

One was most certainly about a baby doll my daughter, the oldest, received as a gift when she was maybe two years old. Until a few weeks ago, this doll was in a bin among other semi-neglected toys. My son recently gave her new purpose by requesting her presence every time he hurts himself.

“Baby, baby,” he’ll cry and then tuck her under his arm until he feels better.

It’s adorable to everyone but my daughter, who has a newfound concern over this doll she never even cared enough about to name.

She’s right when she declares the doll hers, but it’s clear she’s only interested because her brother is interested. This morning she tried to pull the baby away from my son and you can guess how that went.

Since this is a new stage, my children haven’t yet learned how to self-mediate. What this translates to is, “Mommy, Brother/Sister just *insert tattle-worthy event here*” on repeat. It’s mentally exhausting.

My first reaction when this all started was to immediately go out and buy a second of every object in our house. We must now have two identical everythings. My children quickly rendered this idea futile by showing me that just because each of them has one of something, doesn’t mean they don’t want both, or even just the other and not the one they have.

Many parents can speak to this phenomenon. Grab two orange plates from the cabinet on which to serve dinner and a child will quickly label one as hers. The other will respond by saying, no, he wants that one and soon, a full-fledged war has broken out. It’s like offering peace under two equal arrangements and having both sides battle to the death over which side gets what type of peace.

siblings3The silver lining to all this is that they’re butting heads because they’re interacting with each other and playing more. Sometimes they get along great and when that happens, Mommy gets a nice little mental break. It recharges me enough to survive until the next battle, a battle where undoubtedly reason is checked at the door.

Soon they’ll learn it’s more fun and beneficial to compromise and let small disagreements fall by the wayside. Because a diplomatic house is a happy house. Because the next stage is unconditional love and mutual respect. Right?

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