Do your children bicker?
Good Lord, help me. Mine do. And I know, I know all kids do. Especially when there are three children in very close age proximity. (been there, done that, this is my second ‘batch’ of them)
But sometimes I am absolutely dumbfounded about the petty (to me) things that my children choose to bicker about.
Let’s review for instance this morning while getting ready for school.
I’ve already learned that it’s best to send the little ones off upstairs to brush their teeth one at a time, less chance for games, dilly dallying, distractions, bickering etc. but some mornings time is tighter than others and the kiddos will go up as soon as they are ready. (Don’t get me started with the bathrooms issue, we have three bathrooms in the house currently, soon to be four and none of the little children want to use the basement bathroom (who knows why, must be the good old, it’s a basement fear even though the basement is finished and we have also discussed the issue many times..)
The main floor bathroom is under renovation right now. It’s off limits. So they all ‘struggle’ to use their one washroom.
This morning was one of those two in the bathroom mornings. My older son of the little ones, Noah, is nine. He is very particular and likes things just so. I love it about him and understand this is part of his personality although it’s trying on the patience at times.
We all use electric toothbrushes in our house. Upstairs we have two charging docks and two bases of the brush and we interchange the heads since no more then two usually brush their teeth at a time any way. Well you would think this would be simple enough but nope. The ONLY difference between the two brush bases is that one has some dark blue rubber on the base and the other is light blue. They are the same model, shape, size, weight etc.
Noah likes to use the base with dark blue rubber. Adam (the six year old and youngest of the family) was upstairs first and had it in his hand ready to put toothpaste on and Noah arrived and they started bickering over who would use what base to the point that Noah refused to brush his teeth with the light blue base and waited the entire two minutes to use the dark blue brush.
The amount of rationalizing and negotiating it requires about the complete and utter uselessness of the bickering is so exhausting and it never really amounts into a true realization on their part of how little difference the color truly makes. They will just appease me and back down and get to the tooth brushing until the next time they are alone in the bathroom for a color base toothbrush war.
Then they were all warmly bundled up in their snowsuits about to leave the house for school. We have 2 doors to go through to get outside. The door that leads out of the main part of our house (our mudroom is here) and then we have a year round sun room/side entrance way into the house and it also leads out into the back yard. We tend to keep this room closed off more in the winter since we don’t use the room as often and to lower heating costs. The children go out this door to get out to the side driveway to wait for the school bus.
Well, they started to bicker about who was going to close the two doors. Really, the doors?! Isn’t this an easy and standard part of your day, opening and closing doors? I’ve tried to figure out why they might bicker about who closes the doors with only ‘because I don’t want to’ as a response. Both doors close easily even with a mitten/gloved hand because both doors have levered door handles…
When they were finally out both doors and both doors were actually closed I heard their muffled voices trailing off outside all the while bickering about who was going to use which shovel.
There are three shovels.
They are all identical.
They love (I say love because why the heck would they continue to do it if it wasn’t for the love of it??) to bicker about who gets what color of cup. Or who wants what pattern on what fork.
Here is a typical dialogue:
Adam sits down at the table at a setting he fancies. He sees a nice flowery fork and chooses this spot.
Eden (our youngest daughter who is eight years old): “Adam, I set the table and this is my spot because I want to use this pretty flowered fork. I found it in the drawer. So move please”
Adam: “No, I’m not moving.”
Eden: “Yes, you are. It’s my spot and my fork, so move it!”
Adam: “Mooooooommmmmmyyyyyyy Eden is being rude to me. And it’s not fair. Eden has a flowery fork. I want a flowery fork tooooo.”
Me: “Adam, there is only one flowery fork like that, I’m not really sure where it came from honey so I can’t get you one that’s the same. How about you use this red plastic lunch fork for fun tonight instead? And Eden, don’t be rude to your brother.” Or in all honesty on my less patient days ” Really? It’s just a fork. They all do the same thing.”
Eden: “Ok Mom.” Or depending on the day “Well he won’t get out of my spot!”
Adam: ” Ok. Yay! I like red forks!” Or depending on the day “I don’t want a red plastic fork. They are dumb. I want the flowery fork. If there aren’t enough for everyone then no one should have it, it’s not fair.” (he says this when he doesn’t get his way but he would not have said this if he were in Eden shoes)
Me: “Yes but Eden helped to set the table tonight (why didn’t I remove the damn fork out of the drawer I think to myself) so she should be able to use the fork for helping out and life isn’t always fair or equal Adam. Maybe tomorrow you can help set the table and then you can choose to use the flowery fork.” All the while I’m thinking I want to do terrible things to this stupid flowery fork that is causing friction in my family and where the hell did it come from anyway?
Depending on the day this conversation can go many different ways from happy agreement to meltdown mode (with the children of course not me melting down)
The biggest source of frustrating bickering is that every night they bicker over who gets to sit beside Daddy for dinner.
Alex (aka Daddy) and I both sit at the ends of the table and the sides are filled with, most evenings, six of the kids since two don’t live at home any more. There are only two spots available beside Daddy and three younger children who want to sit beside him. I have tried to no avail to rationalize and explain that where you sit at the table doesn’t really matter (I’ve tried to appeal to the older of the younger three, Noah, to be more accommodating to the younger two but nope he loves Dad and wants to sit beside him too, can’t blame the kid for that) you can’t touch or cuddle with people at the dinner table and no matter where you sit you can hear and participate in the conversations. I’ve even suggested that they can sit beside me. No good. It’s got to be Daddy unless he’s not home, then it’s me. Don’t get me wrong, I love and understand why they prefer to sit beside Daddy, I even like to myself.
We’ve tried assigned seating but then someone doesn’t get to sit beside Dad, ever. Maybe I should make a schedule, yet another to-do thing to add to my list.
I know they are children and you can’t always rationalize with them like you would an adult, their brains are not even developed enough to be able to do so at certain ages but at times I really wish they could.
I also know that they are trying to find their place in the world, their pecking order in this family, stand their ground and show their preferences and exercise their rights and freedoms but sometimes I wish I could have one day with out having to be a referee and a ‘good’ referee, one that takes the time to talk through the disputes, explain. Sometimes I have to be ref, to keep the peace, keep the calm and keep things moving. Especially in the mornings when the bus and school is waiting…
I know before long my Mr. and I will be reminiscing about the good old days when the kids used to argue over who got to sit beside Daddy and that damned flowered fork, if it makes it with us that long, will bring a tear to my eye one day when I realize how fast they grew up.
Having teenagers in the house really reminds me of how time flies and how much they change and that’s what keeps it all in perspective for us and helps me ref with a, if only forced at times, smile and calm demeanor.
*Just for the record 94.372% of the time, my little’s get along splendidly, this is just one of those days that Mommy needs to rant and better to you all then at them right?*
What odd things do your little ones bicker about?