We Have Ways of Making You Talk

One of the best parts of having more than one child is seeing your kids interact together. My oldest son is eight and our middle daughter nearly five. Watching them laugh together, playfully tease each other and even negotiate disagreements seems like a microcosm of my own relationship with my husband.

A few weeks ago, the kids were playing outside on their scooters when my four year old daughter started crying. Try as we might, we couldn't determine what happened through their angry sobs and accusatory shouts.

"Fine", my husband said nonplussed, "you guys can go sit on the bench and work it out yourselves and when you can agree on what happened, come and let us know."

I wasn't sure I agreed with encouraging them to potentially conspire but hubs was right. When they're married some day(not to each other hopefully) or have roommates, colleagues, whatever, it's not like they can call us to decide the outcome of these small spats.

So they sat on the bench that sits right outside our office window where they could not see us, but we could watch them. Sometimes being a parent is so fun. This is what we witnessed. They were both on either side of the bench as far away from each other as they could possibly be. They sat ignoring each other for a few minutes but eventually boredom set in. My daughter started hurling invectives my son's way. First, just like woman, it started with the matter at hand,

“You hurt my foot, you rolled you're scooter over it and you dint even care that you hurted me.”

Then just like a woman, the dam opened, and out came every thing she has ever been mad at him for, uh, like the last four years.

“And you, yooouu," she said through choked back angry sobs, "you never, never let me play with your drums, and you, you lost my favorite legos and when we play puff you never let me be the leader and that day I wanted to play and you dint wanna and you told me to get out of your room and you always go first and, and,...”

There sat out eight year old with his hands over his ears making her even angrier.

My husband and I tried to quiet our laughter so they wouldn't hear us. I wonder if marriage therapists ever have to bite the inside of their mouth to keep from laughing at the ridiculousness of some arguments? Finally after about ten minutes of this they started talking. I heard a few terse 'fines' and then their voices returned to the friendly tones they normally reserve for each other. They came inside to tell us what happened.

"I rolled over her foot with my scooter," he said.
"And it was a accicent," she said.
"Can we go play now?"

Just last night my eight year old was finishing some chores and my four year old was who knows where. The hubs and I were talking on the couch while the bebe played at our feet. Suddenly in the middle of all of this familial bliss, our seven year jumps the baby gate and stomps past us seething,

"I just thought you'd like to know that she just locked me in the garage."

"Okay honey, thanks for letting us know," my husband said lackadaisically.

"Okay," I muttered.

I looked over at the hubs, "I'm bored, you want to have some fun?"

"Yeah," hubs said, probably thinking I meant we were going to make out.

"Let's interrogate the kids."

"Okay." he said noticeably disappointed that my idea of fun wasn't going to include taking our clothes off.

"Boy, girl," the hubs yelled from the couch, come here.

They staggered in and stood before us.

"Did you lock your brother in the garage?"

Her lip jut out quivering, eyes well up, "but he is being mean to me."

Now, although our kids get along really well, when they are snarky to each other, they get pretty diabolical about it, and it's generally the boy. My daughter? She is the most caring and easygoing of all of our kids, rarely has she been the instigator.

Hubs looks at the boy, "what were you doing to your sister?"

He starts to cry, "I wasn't doing anything."

"Why are you crying," I say,"no one's in trouble yet, we're trying to figure out what happened."

"I didn't do anything, I was just doing my chores when she locked me in the garage. "

"You didn't do anything?" I asked skeptically, my eyes boring into him, looking for the tell.

"Nothing," he whined.

Clearly he was sticking to his guns.

So I look at the girl, what was your brother doing to you when you locked him in the garage?

Her eyes spill over and big fat tears roll down her cheeks but she isn't saying anything.

Hubs asks, "what were you upset with your brother about?"

We wait, finally.

"He wasn't listening to me. I was trying to tell him about something and he wouldn't listen, he was just ignorin' me," she said sobbing and angry.

Now the boy cries, "I was just trying to get my chores done, doing what I'm supposed to."

Uhm, I don't know about you're relationships but my husband and I never argue about him just trying to get work done and me not getting listened to. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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I Am Woody said... January 9, 2009 at 12:29 PM  

Yeah, we never argue over that either!

Bittersweet Confusion said... January 9, 2009 at 1:00 PM  

Wow... You can't pay for that kind of entertainment! =) you guys seem like great parents... You should really write a book.

Rassles said... January 9, 2009 at 1:54 PM  

That. Is. Excellent.

Kris said... January 9, 2009 at 5:22 PM  

Love it! My sis has 3 kids, a son and daughter right about the same ages as yours and a brand new bebe. I'm going to send her the link to this post, I know she and her hubby will get a kick out of it.

Arizaphale said... January 9, 2009 at 8:41 PM  

"I just thought you'd like to know that she just locked me in the garage."


How do you keep a straight face?

Anonymous said... January 10, 2009 at 12:58 AM  

I can't wait to have kids just based on a single sentence of yours. "8 yr old doing chores". Wow...you mean I can tell my kid to take out the trash and do the dishes? Where do I sign up!?

NWFAMILYK said... January 10, 2009 at 8:18 AM  

You nailed the whole relationship navigation thing with a hilarious flair. Thanks for the laugh! I can now navigate the weekend with the family!

Anonymous said... January 11, 2009 at 12:54 AM  

Too funny how young they figure it all out at! Watching your kids must be awesome, not that I'm volunteering for child care or anything :) I left you a little gift over at my blog if you feel like playing along....

A Free Man said... January 11, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

Great post! Looking forward to interactions like these when we get round to making up another one.

Speaking of locking people places, Zach managed to lock me out of the house last week - no idea how.

Candice said... January 11, 2009 at 4:09 PM  

That sounds like a day around our house. I've got a 9 and a 5 yr old. They get along very well most of the time, but they do have their moments.

Most of those moments end up being pretty damn funny.

Anonymous said... January 12, 2009 at 2:04 AM  

you guys are great parents. And you make parenting sound fun!

Gypsy said... January 12, 2009 at 8:38 AM  

I will not be IGNORED! ;)

formerly fun said... January 12, 2009 at 9:01 AM  


Isn't that fom Fatal Attraction, as in I will not be ignored Ted(or whatever his namewas?

bernthis said... January 12, 2009 at 10:03 AM  

Love this story. Bravo for leaving them to work it out and what great entertainment for you both. I only have one kid so I'll clearly never get to experience anything similar so keep writing, I'm loving it.

Laura said... January 21, 2009 at 5:55 PM  

I really really enjoy reading your blog. Have I mentioned that before?

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