Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sibling Squabbles

I say it in the blog description and I'll say it again here: Life isn't perfect. And I write about the imperfections so people know that whatever trials they might be going through are perfectly normal, too.

One of the imperfect things about our family is that our beautiful, sweet, funny little girls fight with each other. A lot.

And I don't just mean getting mad, I mean knock-down, drag-out, clumps-of-hair-in-fists kinds of fights.

For Halloween my husband and I almost donned referee shirts with whistles, but we decided not to because  it wasn't funny to us.

We separate them. We take away privileges. We've ignored them to make them work it out themselves, which invariably ends up with a bruise, a scratch or a missing clump of hair. We talk about the "bee" rules that are reinforced at school: Be Kind, Be Respectful, etc. Apparently they aren't applicable at home.

At ages 5 and 7, they should be better to each other. We should be able to leave the room and not have it erupt in screams and scratches five minutes later.

It makes it difficult to do anything in our house. Once we arrive home from school/work, one of us has to keep an eye on them while the other cooks dinner. If one of us needs to work with Lindsey on homework, the other needs to entertain Marissa or she'll pester Lindsey so much so that the homework doesn't get done and one of the kids is in tears. I can't take a shower on a Saturday morning if my husband is out for a run because it will get interrupted by a child who runs in screaming and in tears. We have to have lots of one-on-one time, because two-on-one doesn't work. It makes it very, very exhausting. Frustrating. Aggravating. Stressful. Pick your adjective.

You get the picture.

And then, suddenly, a break through.

I don't know what it was. Perhaps it was the turnabout fight, when Marissa got after Lindsey pretty badly. Maybe it was the time we got on Marissa for instigating Lindsey by copying her. Maybe it was the fact that we instituted an allowance for Lindsey based on doing three things: picking up her room, making her bed and being nice to her sister.

Because for the last nearly 3 weeks now, it's been bliss.

Sure, they've pushed each other's buttons. They've gotten mad at each other. But Lindsey has learned to walk away. To go to her room and shut the door. And somehow she remembers Marissa is indeed younger than she and logic does not always apply to a 5-year-old.

It seems that perhaps Lindsey has learned to anticipate where things are going and to choose not to engage. Or, perhaps she has her eye on the prize, on that dollar that she earns at the end of every week, and the thought of that being taken away trumps whatever action she was about to take.

Perhaps I'm writing this too early, that this is only a stage and soon they are going to go back to their old ways. Maybe it's anticipation of Santa Claus, who is watching them to see if they are naughty and nice (though they started getting along well before the thought of Christmas entered their minds.)

Who knows. But I'm thankful for the change, and for the peace that has stolen over our house. I hope it lasts.


  1. I sure hope it lasts!! I think the fighting is so much worse with girls than boys. My sister and I started getting along and stopped throwing objects and pulling hair at about ummm...age 15. That's about the time when we started ignoring each other and never talked. My poor mom was called when we broke out in a terrible fight in our 7th grade science class. So much for twins being best friends!

  2. Sounds like your experience and my own were a lot alike - my sister and I didn't get along until she was a senior and I was a freshman in HS -- just in time for her to leave!

    I have to hear more about this fight in science class. Were you squabbling over who had to dissect the frog?