Oh people, the fighting at my house. It is not to be believed.
When I opted to have three children in short order I had visions of a jolly threesome who might spend long afternoons frolicking merrily about the lawn as I sat, perhaps enjoying a cocktail of my choosing.
What I failed to imagine was just how many hours I would spend shrieking repeatedly and at ever-increasing volume,
"I'll get your Hulk back I promise! Just please STOP PUNCHING YOUR SISTER IN THE HEAD!"
Battles break out at our house over which movie to watch. Conflicts flare up over who got a bigger scoop of ice cream. Clashes arise over who gets to be Spiderman and who has to be Iceman when it's time to play superheroes.
This week my children have invented a new game called
"WHO GETS TO OPEN THE VAN DOOR?"
I call it a "game," but in reality it is more of a "terrifying ritual that commences every time the car stops which inevitably leads to bitter recrimination followed by lengthy bouts of crying."
Our every outing now culminates in an epic battle for dominance of the van door as each of my children rush to unbelt themselves and win the coveted honor of pushing the button that causes the door to slide open.
Whichever child proves victorious in this mad dash then relishes in taunting his or her siblings for several minutes, basking in the glory of having, you know, OPENED THE DOOR FIRST.
I calmly explain what I feel is the simple-yet-obvious truth that no one has actually "lost" the game of "WHO GETS TO OPEN THE VAN DOOR?" because, in fact, THERE IS NO SUCH GAME!!!
This proves futile and the sobbing continues.
I finally give up and settle for rushing the children inside where at least their lamentations will not be witnessed by the entire neighborhood.
Once we are safely ensconced in the playroom the inter-sibling strife begins anew:
A train with one wheel? My threesome will roll about the floor engaged in vicious hair pulling to secure dominion over it.
The Buzz Lightyear doll with a missing arm? Look how it suddenly represents the fulfillment of my son's every desire the instant his sister touches it!
Broken peach crayon? Allow my son to prove how much it really is HIS ALONE by attempting to remove his brothers arm using only his teeth!
Feral animals fighting over a carcass in the street could teach these kids a thing or two about decorum.
I try to referee. I pull the hitters and biters into time out. I set limits. I offer alternate peaceful solutions. I lovingly explain that crushing each other inside the sofa cushions is an activity that seems super fun at first, but rarely leads to lasting happiness.
My once cherished dream of mothering closely-spaced siblings has lead to the reality of me sitting in the backyard with that long-imagined cocktail in hand - not watching jolly frolicking, but instead witnessing my threesome violently have at it until I'm eventually forced to get up and intervene.
I reestablish peace, I kiss boo-boos, I force apologies to be made and then I retake my seat only to start the whole process over again moments later.
What can I tell you folks?
It's war at my house - and at this point - I'm just trying to survive the skirmishes.