Just yesterday, I wrote about what sweet brothers my boys are to each other. And, they are . . . most of the time. But they have also reached that point, inevitable, I think, in the lives of siblings, where every time I leave the room, I return to, “Mom! He broke it/threw it/sat on it/pushed me!” or some variant thereof.
It’s starting to make me a little crazy. Some days, I can’t be out of the room for more than 30 seconds at a time without some disaster taking shape.
I have a pretty good idea of how most of these incidents transpire, because I imagine it’s pretty much the same as when I’m in the room: either Benjamin tells Liam, one time too often, how to play or what he can’t play with, and Liam destroys whatever B was playing with; or Liam destroys whatever B was playing with without any provocation; or B decides that what Liam has happily been doing for half an hour is suddenly unacceptable and decides to throw a fit. I can never tell, based on their reports (which are always skewed in B’s favor, owing to his superior communication skills) who was the true instigator. So I’m left to put the pieces back together and get on with things . . . until something else happens 2 minutes later.
I’m bothered by the injustice of it. I know they have to be able to work things out, to a certain extent, but I also know that without being there to witness what’s happening, I can’t be sure who is doing what to who, and I don’t want to arbitrarily impose consequences, nor do I want them to take advantage of my absence to be unkind to each other. So, we now have a new rule in our house. If the boys can’t get along without me in the room, then they just can’t be in a room without me. Now, each morning, and then again after nap time, they get the chance to get along on their own when I have to leave the room. If they demonstrate that they can’t, then they have to follow me around, wherever I go. So now I have a lot of company (and “help”) as I go through my day. I can keep an eye on everyone, and if they get tired of my very exciting daily routine, then they always have the option to get along and play instead.
I do feel a little like a mother duck going through the house with them trailing behind me, but it’s actually very sweet, and I like their company. (And so far, they’re fighting less.) Although, I’m guessing that they’re going to figure out, pretty soon, that the formula for more play time and less time following me around, is just to get along.