I love my kids. I really do. But they have been driving me nuts. My love for them remains intact. My sanity, not so much.
They have hit the fighting stage. This is new to me. I don’t have siblings. I didn’t struggle with constant sharing. I didn’t fight for attention. I didn’t have anyone destroying my creations or grabbing my things. My space was just that… mine.
I call this the fighting stage. But what do I know? I have no clue what it’s like sharing life with a sibling. Is this just a stage, or is it actually simply the fighting state? As in, the state of ongoing annoyance and frustration. As in, this is just how it is between siblings. Perhaps fighting ceases primarily because you stop sharing rooms, participate in different activities and eventually develop a life of your own. Is this a stage or a state?
Although I know that Momo and Tigerlily are still very young, I am discouraged and worn down by all the screaming matches and angry outbursts. I wonder if we worsened the situation by having them share a room. We hoped to encourage friendship. Instead, I think we’ve created a little war in our home.
But tonight, I am encouraged.
Tigerlily has been putting on quite the bedtime show these past couple nights. She screams. She goes boneless. Her eyes get all puffy. She doesn’t want us to leave. She doesn’t want to succumb to sleep. All this despite the same old bedtime routine.
Tonight was an especially impressive performance. She was, to put it mildly, angry and indignant. There was no reasoning to be had. Smartypants and I were at a loss.
At one point, Tigerlily had come to our room and sat on our bedroom floor, unwilling to budge, wailing her heart out. What to do? Well, we retreated to their bedroom and asked Momo for help. That’s what competent parents do when they’re confused, right? Ask their toddler for help?
Momo rose to the occasion, much to our surprise. He got up out of his bed, looked at us, and declared, “I go help get her.” With that, he marched down the hall. We hear him ask, “What wrong, mei-mei?” We hear the crying cease. Then quick and light footsteps. And then their shadowed outline appeared against the doorway, Momo leading the way while holding Tigerlily’s hand. “Come sleep, mei-mei. Don’t cry. Here your bubba, mei-mei, help you sleep.”
Tonight, they shared Momo’s bed. Each clinging to their bubbas. Momo watched his little sister for a while and patted her shoulder softly. He reached out and stroked her head with a gentleness I rarely ever see. She turned her face and they faced each other. For a moment, the war ceased. They were brother and sister, and friends, as it should be. As it is meant to be. And together, they found a special comfort that we as parents could never replace.
Maybe sharing a bed tonight will create new bedtime battles, but for now, I’m okay with it. There will come a time when they no longer share a room. There will come a time when they grow up and have a life of their own. For now, they are together.
And at the least, the ringing in our ears have finally stopped.