My oldest son is nine and my girl has just turned eight. There was many a raised eyebrow when I announced I was pregnant again when my firstborn was just nine months old. That first year with a baby and an active toddler was a blur and I am not sure I actually even retrieved my hair brush from the hospital bag.
I have to say that having two children just 18 months apart was in hindsight a wise move as they are often on the same page in terms of interests – whether that be favoured outings, games, TV or cinema choices.
They adore each other. And just last night when my little girl was finding it hard to get back to sleep before the re-start of school, I found my big boy snuggled next to her in bed reading her a story to distract her.
Gorgeous. Yes? But there is a flip side. They squabble about everything. And I mean EVERYTHING.
Sometimes it is funny, but often it makes me want to tear my own eyebrows off in frustration. It is driving me slowly insane. At this rate, I’m going to have to hire Judge Rinder to preside over things (he can bring his mate Benedict Cumberbatch for the really tricky decisions).
Please tell me I am not alone in the random range of bickering and sniping they can indulge in. Here is a taster of some of the things they have argued about this Christmas holidays.
- Who is opening the pizza box. This was the humdinger yesterday that ended in tears. Would you believe me if I said there was actually two boxes and they were arguing about the one closest.
- Who sits next to their little brother in the car. That means sitting in the middle seat and not near the window – which would be anyone else’s preferred space. No – they have to argue over the rubbish seat.
- Whose scooter/bike/person is getting out of the car first. It doesn’t matter that no one is moving until everything and everyone is out. Also, it is always the one in the middle out last. You’d think they’d get on to this. Alas no.
- Who is deleting who’s programmes off the Tivo box. This escalated into full on war. All manner of “Santa knows you are lying” tactics were employed to get to the truth until we discovered Tivo itself was deleting the programmes – it had reached its breaking point and decided the 43 episodes of Arthur and 28 The Next Steps were a step too far.
- Cheating. I really wanted to be one of those awesome mums that actually play with the board games they buy their kids for Chrimbob. Five minutes in and I was swigging Bailey’s from the bottle and stuffing eight shortbread biscuits into my mouth in frustration. A game of Don’t Laugh where the aim of the game was to not chuckle at the other person’s funny joke, turned into a warped game of Don’t Bash. They would push and shove each other in frustration if the other one stayed straight-faced. Sidenote: I blame the game for the crappy selection of jokes it offered – the ones I made up were way better and hey yes I did win (by default really for not beating up Daddy).
- What we have for dinner. Even if it was dining out and a treat. I didn’t mind this one so much though as it meant I could ‘put my foot down’ and go for my preferred option. Hello chicken chow mein.
- Who is helping cook dinner. Please, please just let me crack on without having to supervise carrot peeling spars or pouring pasta into the pot disputes.
- Who hasn’t finished their dinner. With the lure of the Chocolate Orange, tubs (whole tubs now) of Haribo and selection boxes galore on offer – getting them to eat anything green was like trying to get Gwyneth Paltrow to eat curry and chips in a barmcake. The boy would hide things in his festive napkin and the girl would wait until you left the room and scrape it into the bin. These tactics were ill thought out however as they were dining beside skilled whistle blowers.
- Toothpaste spitting. We’ve insisted they don’t brush their teeth side-by-side. Honestly we have. But sometimes in the mad rush to get to Granny’s house for lunch (our new getting dressed time) or when sleep-walking them to bed after drinks at the in-law’s home, this didn’t go to plan. Guaranteed no matter how exhausted they were they’d still rustle up the energy to argue over who was closest to the cold tap. Then there would be a symphony of screeching as deliberate dribble landed on the other’s hand. Every. Single. Time. Jeez – you’d think they’d learn to dodge the discharge.
- Who holds mummy’s hand. I am milking this one. There was a time recently when no one held my hand as they hurtled towards deep puddles and suspicious items on park walks. I am enjoying a small resurgence of late that will be short-lived I am sure. It’s lush for me, but no doubt very annoying in busy shopping centres and narrow lake paths as we three march in a row like we are in the video for ‘hey hey! we’re the monkees!’
Strangely though as I sit in this house, quiet for the first time in two weeks, I am sort of missing the wrangles. Good job I know there is a birthday in the girl’s class today so we all have the “she’s got a sweet and I haven’t” joyful debate to look forward to.
Followed by the I hate that dinner altercation. Then the “I’m older, I should stay up longer” argument. Swifty replaced again with the toothpaste stand off.
Might get the Don’t Laugh game out ready to cheer us all up.