Ask my kids what mommy loves to do best and they will tell you sweep. That is not entirely true. I am always sweeping up messes after them because the house could burn to the ground, but the floor must be free of debris. However, I certainly would much rather be doing anything else. I prefer relaxing in a spa to sweeping. I prefer biking over sweeping and the list goes on and on.
I tell them I think their favorite thing to do is argue. With the same logic they employ on me, I remind them that they are bickering all day long, even while engaged in other activities simultaneously. So who is to say they don´t enjoy it?
Fortunately, I have learned to tune it all out. Remember that I am deaf on one side so it’s not too difficult. I consider the grunting my own customized “white background noise.”
Yesterday was a breakthrough though. My second eldest daughter Leah tells me that her brother Natan, than whom she is a mere 14 months older, is “really cool and fun to play with.” Ten minutes later she came running to me hysterical that he had kicked her in the gut. At least she had entertained fond thoughts of him for a few minutes before he attacked her.
Last Sunday I performed an experiment on my quarrelling brood. They all sat around the table staring eagerly at a large poster board and variety pack of markers that I had set before them. It was Grandpa’s birthday and I instructed them to decorate the poster. At first, the screams and squeals could not be contained as they all descended like vultures upon the material while marking their territory.
I minded my own business and hid in the kitchen pretending to be too occupied to notice. In the beginning they all began summoning me to the table to resolve the plethora of struggles that were mounting. I ignored them and kept on with the kitchen chores.
All of a sudden I heard the oddest, most unfamiliar sound NEVER before heard in my home; SILENCE. Panicking that something unspeakable had happened like a wave of popcorn poisoning had left them all unconscious or an armed intruder was holding them at gunpoint, I rushed out toward the dining room table. I could not believe the sight before my eyes and almost fainted.
My FIVE children, terrible-two year old included, were all sitting properly and coloring in their assigned quadrant of the poster. My eldest daughter Yordana had developed the system and it actually worked. Kudos to her. She is on her way to becoming a world leader. By keeping my natural inclination to intervene at bay, they had negotiated a deal and everyone was satisfied. Win-win for them and that makes for a happy mommy. I was basking in pride until the project finished. In two seconds flat they all darted toward the fridge and the “fight for survival” ransacking began...
Guess it’s instinctual.