My kids were disputing with one another today about their birth order and reprimanding me for "choosing" who was older, younger, first, second, etc… I’m telling you, they will argue over anything, as if that would change the status quo. Nevertheless, it was a perfect opening to teach them something, so I jumped on the opportunity while I still had the drive.
One by one, each one began inquiring louder than the other,
"Mommy, how many days till my birthday?"
So far, only the eldest has figured out that I am not omnipotent and do not decide who gets to celebrate their birthday first, second, third, etc…
I started off with good intentions and followed the "renowned parenting texts’ methodologies" and sat down, calendar and calculator in hand, and actually began counting out the number of days for each child to better "understand" when their birthday would arrive.
No luck. They didn’t get it. Or at least they didn’t want to make the effort to understand. It just caused more of a "not fair" scandal. So, I aborted the mission, dropped the subject, and popped in a DVD.
About ten minutes into the movie, as I was attempting to follow through and take one chore to completion, (for crying out loud!) I overheard my children all "claiming" to possess the identity of a specific character in the movie. I wasn’t quite sure at first what was occurring, until I heard the chatter break into a full-blown 5-way heated discussion with each one declaring ownership of one of the flick’s fictitious characters.
Problem was that several wanted "exclusivity rights" to embody the same movie personality. How to resolve this intangible struggle?
Truth is that the day was slipping away. I was ready to make that final transition from morning to daytime attire before the sun went down.
So, I took the lazy way out.
I turned off the movie and put in another- one that had at least ten attractive and inspiring super hero personalities. Plenty from which to choose. Bickering continued.
I didn’t have the energy, patience or know-how to come up with another temporary "solution."
And thank goodness for my kids' "short term amnesia" that I didn’t have to. To my delight, within minutes all were cooperating and playing the "Our parents were eaten by wolves and we were left alone to survive in the jungle" game and had forgotten about the most recent quarrel.
At that moment, I realized that not all battles are worth fighting. As parents, we don’t have to justify everything with some out-of-this-world psychological parenting babble or enlightening Eastern guru-like wisdom.
And some things are better left unexplained for kids simply just don’t (want to) get it.
That’s why they are kids.
And that is what kids do.