Friday, August 17, 2012

Hello, My Name is "Mom". I Will Be Your Referee Today.

For the first two years of my parenting career, I had a single child. He was a great child and I loved him dearly, but I always regretted that he was an only child. Until I had more children. Just one more.

Dear hades, the bickering.

It seems that there is always someone getting their feelings hurt, someone is forever taking a toy that another is playing with, playing a game that the other does not want to play, yet the other is insisting on playing with the first.

My children have NO social skills.

There is a large chunk of my day that is spent arbitrating disputes, mediating offenses and disciplining wrong-doers. I am judge, jury and MMA referee. I hate these jobs. Hate. Them. At some point, I lose my frickin' mind and my patience snaps like an overloaded rubber band. At that point, my children are united in their terror as I deposit them in separate corners and forbid any communication.

FYI, that never works.

Something else that doesn't work is the saying "Do as I say, not as I do".  For I've noticed that it's super difficult for me to preach to the "Pants" family that arguing is inappropriate when they hear me bickering with their "Aunt Sissy" on the phone about something as ridiculous as who's hot rollers were left at our moms. "I'm NOT going to take them home because they AREN'T MINE!". . .thus the arguing insues. . .the snide remarks, the (slight) name-calling, and the bossiness.  Shame on me.

Titus 2:7 resounds in my brain on those stellar parenting failures: 
"In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity. . ."

Thus, the realization forms that my referee skills need to be second to my walking example.  But the sibling rivalry continues. . .and out comes my whistle.

 There are times, however, when the disputes becomes so ridiculous that I can do nothing but laugh. Because when my children are arguing over whether one of them "killed" the other and Mommy is going to call the policeman? That's some funny stuff. Stinker, I will avenge your death with a, but if you can tattle about it, it sort of undermines your claim.

"Mommy,  Noah killed me!"

"Buddy, if you can talk, you probably aren't dead."

"Yes I AM!" And he falls to the ground with a tremendous groan, tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth. He then cracks an eye and asks, "See?"

So I had a long talk about why we don't "kill" people and how we need to play nicely. And then I tickled them into submission. I find tickling to be an underrated discipline tool. Which may be why my children continue to bicker, tattle and commit murder in their hearts. And why Mr. "Thinks-He-Wears-The-Pants" remains ever-positive that we are DONE having children.

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