Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Sibling Rivalry

For the last month, sibling rivalry has taken itself to a new level in our house. C sits on my lap, A bites him. I read A one book, C must have two. I've been trying my hardest to make it all work out evenly, but the reality is that I am so sleep deprived I can't remember who uses the Blues Clues toothbrush and who uses the one with the cartoon character whose identity is a mystery to all of us. So figuring out who has had how many lap sits and how many books anyone has had in a given day looks like calculus to me (and don't ask what my grade was in THAT course in college).

I am unclear how to proceed here. The parenting magazines tell me I should be letting my kids work it out for themselves. I can only assume that they must be talking about children who have a much better grip on self control than mine, as if I let them work it out amongst themselves we would be making a hasty trip to the ER. My mother (after a good five minutes of snickers) tells me that her solution was to send us to the barn to duke it out where she couldn't hear. Again, I must assume we were a wee bit older than 18 months and three and a half (and we won't comment on the fact that there is no barn on our small plot of land). M shrugs and tells me they behave beautifully when he is supervising, but is somewhat less than convinced that switching careers is the solution.

I have a feeling that this is yet another parenting dilemma that will only be solved by time and the eventual departure of one child for an institution of higher education. Until then, I've gone with moving the laptop back into the playroom. Not only am I distracted from the civil war at hand, but I can generally occupy at least one child by reading excerpts from whatever webpage I happen to be surfing. It may not be the solution approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics, but it seems to be working for us. And at this point, that's all I care about.