html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: How many years 'til they turn sweet again?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

How many years 'til they turn sweet again?

I always think my fourteen year old sister and twelve year old brother are perfect, although I have to admit that right now they are perfect in a jarringly noisy, faux-cool, annoying way. Their same-age cousins are here. The bickering is endless and more foulmouthed than I think I am supposed to overhear. Such beautiful, energetic children... so constantly aggrieved, so alert to every hint of injustice, so damn loud.

Directly addressing the bickering is pointless, because each list of grievances is endless and all of them are too inane to listen to. She dunked her fork in your water two days ago? And you didn't quietly get up and get yourself new water? But you hit her now, in partial revenge for that and the fact that she looked at you? Oh. Not one of them ever lets anything go.

When I have the energy to step in, I find that directing all four of them in some all consuming task eases the squabbling. They actually do very well when they are taking care of my sister's babies. A PG version of the game where I offer two choices works pretty well too. ('Hit your brother or kick your brother?', and I like to ask 'would you rather have a tattoo or a motorcycle?' when the parents are listening.) But that takes a fair amount of work.

I don't remember this kind of squabbling when I was a kid, although I also didn't have cousins. I suppose that it is normal, and the kids will remember this trip fondly in several years. Either that, or they will remember that the one deliberately took shotgun even after the other called it even though she had shotgun on the way over and it totally isn't FAIR!!. It could totally go either way.


Blogger Dubin said...

Hah. Kid logic. It's totally terrifying.

12:04 PM  

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