I just can’t. Because, really, I feel like crying. Is it just me?
Before I get to that, let me remind you of my feelings for our family dog and my track record with kittens. So it should come as no surprise that the minute I hear our dog tearing through the house at break neck speed after the cat, I get more than a little irritated. The cat hisses. The dog growls. Occasionally there is a stand off until one of us pulls Lucy away and shoos Noona into the basement. It makes my blood boil…but only a little. What truly makes me irrational is the fighting among my kids.
My three fight worse than cats and dogs. I have struggled to assign blame to one instigator ( it is not always Hadley’s fault,) a set of circumstances ( it is not just cabin fever,) or a lack of effort on my part (more on that in a bit.) But no answer has emerged. They fight at home, in public, at the office, in front of strangers, and even on dream vacations. The crazy thing is individually, they all are so smart, talented and sweet. But, put them together and it is like Mentos and Coke–two awesome things that are downright dangerous together.
Sam is definitely the most likely to attempt to make peace. He is often overheard begging one of his sisters to “Stop! You are going to get us all in trouble!” However, he can be moody. The other day, he came stomping in from outside face twisted like a tragedy had befallen our household. He was beside himself…barely containing tears..beet red in the face. Why?
Hadley grabbed his comic book and rumpled the first page.
I did not know who to be more annoyed at: my destructive, self centered 5 year old, or my 11 year old over-reactor. So, I screamed at both. Then they both were crying. Then Chris came out and yelled at them again. Then I felt awful. Then the afternoon was nearly ruined–again.
This particular time, Maisy was somewhere quiet–not rolling her eyes or shaking her head in that disgusted way she does. This. One. Time. As in, most other times she is a veritable one man show of head shakes, eye rolls, sighs, under breath grumbles, up the stairs stomping and slamming doors.
Chris tells me I should meet her half way. “Take an interest in something she cares about” he advises calmly. How? How do I take interest in the very things that make me crazy about her?
For her 13th birthday I took her and 5 of her closest friends to Philly for the weekend. Thanks to the generosity of a friend in the hotel business, we had a gorgeous suite. I took so much interest in her “stuff” that the hotel even sent up a candy plate adorned with the image of Ed Sheeran’s face. He is one of her favorite singers. THEY RECREATED HIS FACE OUT OF SUGAR. And, what did she say?
“Huh…that’s a little creepy.” [Shoulder shrug]
At any given time, these are the words you may hear in our home or car: “She BIT me! She actually BIT me–aren’t you going to do something?” Or: “Stop being so dramatic –you are such a baby!” Or: “Seriously GIVE. IT. BACK!” And, my all time favorite: “WHAT (really two words) EVER!”
Whatever “IT” is invariably gets confiscated. Hadley ends up on a staircase in time out. Maisy get’s her phone taken away. And I end up heavy-hearted.
Here is my problem.
I grew up in a house where my parents fought constantly and my sister and I took that out on each other. I blamed the financial struggles, the inability to fit into our community, and their general disdain for each other for the environment of my parent’s house. I don’t want that culture in my home.
Chris and I very rarely fight. And when we do, it is not in our kids ear shot. We, thankfully, have NO financial worries. In fact, we try very hard to keep our kids from becoming spoiled by “stuff.” We have a great community we are actively engaged in professionally and personally. So, if I have fixed all the wrongs of my parents life…why is there still not a moment’s peace among our kids?
I think about families torn apart by tragic accidents and illnesses. That makes me more angry. How can my kids NOT see how blessed they are to have us and each other?
I hear of siblings that have not spoken to each other in decades. If they can’t be civil to each other now, how are my children going to stay in each other’s lives in twenty years?
Ultimately, it comes down to this: I live for my husband and kids. We race around like crazy people every day to provide a safe, comfortable and happy home. We do this insane split schedule so that one of us is always home with the kids while the other works–no nanny, no babysitter. When we can finally slow down, I just crave a Norman Rockwell moment.
Am I not setting the scene properly? Or, is the picture that emerges just not the one I want to see?