Did you know that siblings fight? Of course you do. It’s like their right. It’s like the cain and abel in everyone just comes out when there are two and it’s just forever.
By now you know our kids love on each other BIG. Like overwhelming care and giggles and cuddles and hugs and tenderness.
Mostly. Usually. Sometimes.
But also sometimes. Usually. Mostly. There is (probably an equal amount) of frustration and selfishness going on in their interactions. Sometimes it’s so fast I can’t even process the screaming that happens, then they honestly walk up to each other “oorrryyy dee dee” “sorrrry evy, I forgive you” and then they run off to the next thing.
But other-times it lasts until we intervene, because if we don’t someone gets seriously physically injured. (usually Evy because she’s littler, but she throws things at ethan and hits him equally too, it’s not just one sided).
So I finally got a short fight on video. This was taken about a month ago early in the morning on a mamaday. And they had had about 25 of these in the last hour (kid you not). I tell them often in the middle, “work it out. make it right. I can’t fix this for you” because they need to be responsible for their actions. But when safety is an issue, it’s a bigger thing and we do step in.
How do they fight? Evy screams. Ethan yells names or that “you’re mean”. They push, kick, throw things at each other. It’s so tiring when it’s so frequent.
They need to reverse it and make it right. Natural consequences. So a hit — show a gentle touch. A mean name — write their actual name on a paper and write sorry (which he can spell all our names). A “your mean” — tell us 4 true things that we are (a loving dad, makes me food, etc). A throw — pick it up and put it back in the proper place.
This is enforced with both of them.
If it is something more substantial, then he loses a privilege. Easiest example is Ethan not listening. For 20 minutes blatantly ignoring us and our conversations and requests. “Buddy. Since you’re not listening to us then you can’t listen to the ipad. You lost ipad today”. He get’s ipad only 3 times a week, so this is a big deal. “Daddy Mommy I’m sorry, can I earn it back”. Yes, he can always “earn it back”. He’s already forgiven, he’s already fully loved. The “earned back” is the trust and integrity. So he writes the number 1-8 on a piece of paper and gets to circle a number as he makes intentional good listening moments, and that afternoon after 8 was circled, he got to sit and do the ipad activities.
For Evy it’s less intense due to her age, however in a similar way – she can’t do the activity until she makes it right (picks up the thrown book, shows gentle touches or normal voice).
I (usually) love that our kids have big emotions. That they are both strong-willed children. It’s so hard. But it’s a really good thing too. Matt and I constantly have discussions about how to teach them how to process and deal with their emotions they have. They are so immature yet, and it will be many many years before we see the results of our efforts. But. We try to stay intentional and focused with each stage they come to and our role in their development.
About every other week we are at a TOTAL loss what to do. What we tried (or was doing) no longer works. So we fumble for a while until it either works itself out or we come up with a new plan. And just when that calms down, the next stage hits and we’re back at it again. This is the exhaustion of parenting that most people don’t really talk about. The never-ending-learn-on-the-job-and-it-all-changes-so-you-feel-incompetent part of parenting.
But we do our best. And look back at how far we’ve come, and enjoy the day we’ve been given.
And hope for limited screaming.
SERIOUSLY GIRL. Check this out. I don’t even remember what she was mad about. Wanting her shoes on? Off? To take them off by herself? I don’t know. Enjoy how Ethan slept (which is totally weird since he doesn’t take naps anymore) through the entire thing. At Evy’s stage, Ethan did the horrible head-butts, and biting and just grew out of it. So the screaming we are so.done.with. (oh, and in the closed environment of the car, it is so.much.louder than the video records it. so bad.)
We try not to scream back (as tempting as it truly is; uuuggghh). So send us happy thoughts during this period. This too shall pass. But time doesn’t go any faster while we wait.
The truly humbling part in this, is that it’s incredibly hard to stay calm during these moments. As an adult I should have control of my words, actions, and motivations. But there is something about these moments that Matt and I struggle against responding in anger and yelling hurtful words back….. and instead stay grace-based. You guys – the struggle is real.
We’ll be OK. Because we’re not alone in this. We got Jesus. We got each other. And family and friends. And we have kids that seem to be learning and maturing (sllooowwwlllyyy) which provides such a hope.
So. A look at the real hard moments in our life. Thank you for loving us.