Feel free to tell me that your children torment each other as much as mine do, because it will make me feel better and also greatly lessen the chances of my grabbing one in each hand and banging their heads together.
Oh, you know I love my kids, and I truly believe them to be Good Kids and Nice Kids and for the most part they really do play well together. But apparently the displacement of being in a new house in a new state is carte blanche to ANNOY THE EVERYLOVING CRAP out of your sibling while also running to Mama to complain every third second or so.
Needless to say, this is completely awesome. Now I don’t even have to decide which I like better, the endless bickering or the constant tattling. I AM SO LUCKY!
So today when we were getting ready to go outside and swim (in our poooooooool!) and Chickadee insisted that I take a look at her back, I was surprised to behold two oval areas just under her shoulderblades which appeared to be abraded.
“What happened here?” I asked.
“Monkey dragged me across the carpet,” she replied. “I think it’s rug burn. It hurts.”
Well, then. Now, I suppose I should’ve been horrified, but here’s what went through my brain:
1) I wonder what in the world she was doing to him or keeping from him or saying to him that made him do that.
2) I wonder what horrible thing she’d just done that she didn’t feel the need to come tell on him immediately, because the only thing that would’ve stopped her would’ve been fear of retribution.
3) I wonder if this nasty rug burn will dissuade her from doing whatever it was that earned her that in the future.
There probably would’ve been more, but then I sprayed some sunscreen on the afflicted area while coating us all head to toe in SPF 7000 and she started screaming and then I felt like maybe I should at least pretend to be a solicitous mother. (Me: Eh, you’re fine. Go jump in the pool.)
Today was our first day flying solo for a significant portion of it; Otto had to go in to his office for meetings, so it was just the three of us for the first time in a while. We ate lunch out in the gazebo/casino and Monkey referred to it as the casebo (rhymes with placebo!) and Chickadee tried to make fun of him, but when she saw how tickled I was by it, she started calling it that, too. After lunch we went in the pool and all got cramps and drowned because we didn’t wait half an hour.
Oh wait, that’s not it.
No, after lunch we went in the pool and they vied for my attention and held races and tormented each other for losing. I was throwing diving sticks for them and accidentally threw two into the deep end; this prompted Chickadee to swear that she could never get them, so I offered to teach her how to dive.
Within five minutes she was diving (slowly, carefully, but diving nonetheless) from the side of the pool and darting down eight feet to grab the diving sticks. I was beside myself with pride because I didn’t manage to learn to dive until I was a teenager and my 9-year-old had just mastered it almost immediately.
And it was another few minutes before she started with the “Gee, Monkey, you won’t even swim in the deep end and I JUST LEARNED HOW TO DIVE” comments.
But here’s where that sort of aggravation comes in handy: Suddenly Monkey—sweet, cautious Monkey—wanted to work on swimming in the deep end. And by the time the dark clouds started rolling in he’d swum multiple laps and she’d done another dozen dives and all was well.
Until they got on the phone with their dad tonight. Monkey came flying down the stairs in indignation to report that “Chickie told Daddy about me swimming in the deep end and that was MY NEWS!” I suggested he tell Daddy about dragging the skin off of his sister’s back, but he wasn’t buying it.
Someday we’ll all look back on these things and laugh. Or at least someday Monkey will be big enough to pound on Chickadee, and boy will she deserve it by then.