Wednesday, November 10, 2004

It's ON!

As I was standing there with my arms as far outstretched as possible, legs braced and a kid pressed against each hand kicking and swinging, trying to get at each other like wild animals, all I could think of was a glass of wine. "A nice cold glass of my favorite Sauvignon Blanc, a hot bubble bath and my current non-school related book. Maybe I won't have Sauvignon Blanc this time. Maybe I'd rather splurge on that luscious Meritage I like so much, the Conundrum? Yummy."

It all started when C. and I were discussing the origins of the word "bootleg." He figured that as a history major specializing in American History that I might know that one. Well heck, he's the one with the English Linguistics degree. But I digress. I first heard the thundering of the herd overhead. Then it came smashing down the stairs headed directly for us at high speed. The kids have been in this family for quite awhile (their whole lives) and they know the rules. If you come running into a room and interrupt an adult conversation to tattle on your sibling, you will get the punishment you were hoping your counterpart was going to get. So there they stood, grimacing and doing the potty dance like a couple of toddlers. Of course C. and I continued our conversation nonchalantly because hey, we can.

Finally I asked them the important questions BEFORE letting them tell their side. 1) Is anyone bleeding? Usually I qualify that with "bleeding from the eyes," but tonight I sensed the urgency. 2) Is there a fire? After getting the satisfactory negative answers I laid down the "one at a time and don't say a word unless it's your turn or you lose phone privileges for a week" rule. That one usually gets results.

Of course they both had completely different stories. Each version started the same though, and there were some similarities somewhere in the middle. Knowing that there are three sides to every story - his, hers and the truth - I envisioned what I thought had happened. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck you know. Apparently, she invited him into her room to hear all about a tiff two of her classmates got into today. I know he really didn't care, but he'll do just about anything to keep from cleaning his room, so in he went. It gets a little cloudy at this point. One version is that he stopped paying attention so she "gently shoved him to get his attention." The other version is that she "attacked him and punched him on his blindside." Whatever. He left her room in a huff and -"slammed" or "closed" depending on your point of view- his door. The stories sort of converge again here to her –"tapping" or "pounding"- on his door for –"not five, less than five, well almost five" or "more than five"- minutes. He then ran and –"pounded" or "tapped"- on her door continuously. Somehow a wrestling match ensued in the hall, slaps were thrown and then the stampede began.

Of course they felt they needed me to solve this one. Usually when it's something little, and there is no blood and no fire, I let them resolve it on their own. I read somewhere once that you should let children resolve their own sibling spats because it teaches them conflict resolution, a skill that will take them far in their adult lives. I bet the guy who wrote that article doesn't have kids. No matter, it's something I live by. #1 Son only wanted my permission to "just this once beat the crap out of my sister." The Little One then screamed that she could "take you any day, wimp," and it was on. They lunged at each other and that is how I found myself wedged between them chanting my mantra "stop it, stop it, stopit,stopit!"

The mantra works to calm me every time. You know what they say about meditation and mantras. They take you to another place: "I don't think we have wine in the house. Maybe I could go get some Sauvignon Blanc? Of course then I'd have to drive to get it. I think we still have a few beers. Yeah, beer. I could go for a beer."

And they wonder why I drink.


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Name: Cattiva
Location: Virginia, United States

About Me: I'm the mom of three: #1 Son (20), The Princess of Wails (17) and their baby brother - The Baby (6). I was a grad-student working on an MA in history until we were surprised - I mean blessed - with The Baby. I'll get back to it...someday (the thesis, not the kid - I have no choice concerning the kid). I am one of only a few people I went to school with who is actually using their history degree in my career (and to think my Father called it Basket-weaving!). I live a very hectic life amongst massive clutter. I call it a good day if we have managed to get home at night without losing one of the kids (no matter how hard I try!). Friends say I have a humorous take on life's happenings. The sad part is that what I write about is true. I laugh to keep from crying.

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