I really would like my kids to like to each other.
I feel like it’s not too big of a request. I mean, you know, Brittany asked for Artie to walk again. This is nowhere near that kind of request. It’s just, I mean, I don’t even have the words. My kids do not like each other. Not even one little bit. People are always quick with the sympathy stares and the canned responses. “Oh, all brothers and sisters fight. One day they will be best friends” and, my favorite, “They probably love each other when you are not around.” REALLY? Because, while I appreciate these possible explanations for these three little peoples’ behavior, it just really feels like they kind of hate each other.
Deep down they probably love each other, I’d guess. And they occasionally drop an unexpected compliment. And they will probably be friends as adults and text each other furiously with messages about how their mother is totally insane and it’s a wonder that they came out of their childhoods as functioning members of society and, well, not in some padded room somewhere. Probably.
But, you guys, I swear, I have never seen anything like this. The three of them cannot be in the same room with each other for longer than 8.2 seconds before someone is making fun of someone else, someone is yelling at someone else, and someone is crying. They are so impatient, so quick to insult, so full of eye-rolls and mocking, so worried that someone is getting more than the other, so full of goddamn disrespect. And don’t even get me started on what transpires when I pile the three of them in the Elantra after school. Let’s just say that it usually ends in Mommy turning the radio up as loud as it can possibly go, so as to drown out the sounds of the bickering. Mommy 1; Little Monsters 0. I win and they lose, especially since I force them to listen to my music, which, of course, will show up 15 years from now in a text from Emily to Isabella: Remember when Mom made up listen to that crappy Mumford & Sons? OMG, every time I hear them I think of her and THE CRAZY.
Occasionally, when it gets to be too much for me to bear, I force the instigator to hold the other one’s hand. OH YES I DO. Five minutes of hand-holding for the fighting siblings. Honestly, I take great pleasure in this moment. And you know, sadly, it’s not because I feel like I have won. It’s not a Mommy 1; Little Monsters 0 case. It’s because there’s a period of five whole minutes where two of my children are holding hands; where there’s a tiny little spark of LIKE. No one is pushing, shoving, over-talking, comparing, mocking.
No. For those minutes I can pretend that they are like other kids. For those minutes I imagine they are like those kids I see who actually play together, watch movies together, sit in a car together without a fight baked in an argument.
Think it’s too much to ask?
I mean, it wasn’t always this way…