Friday, November 02, 2007

Would it be Wrong to Say, "I Told You So?"

It's been pretty quiet around here for the past two days. Unusually quiet. The crud that's making its way through each set of lungs and nostrils and throats in my daughters' school finally settled here and we've been burning through the Tylenol and Motrin trying to keep fevers down. My oldest daughter woke up Thursday morning with no voice and an incredibly sore throat and my youngest coughed her way through to lunchtime.

Now that we're on day two of staying home sick I'm realizing what a blessing this is. While I hate it when my kids are sick, the mantra I've been chanting to them for the past six months, "It takes two people to argue" is only just becoming clear to them. On a typical day I act as the repository for tattletaling of all kinds - 'she hit me,' 'she's making mean faces at me,' 'she won't leave me alone,' etc. I encourage kind words, enhanced communication in an effort to avoid misunderstandings, and when all else fails, ignoring your sister. If I have told them once, I've told them a million times - walking away will always end the argument. When there is nobody to react to you, it's not fun anymore. My youngest daughter is the instigator most of the time and she is often quite open about the jolt she gets from provoking her older sibling. Her older sister, the principled one, just can't resist fighting back and trying to 'educate' her sister about why what she is doing is wrong.

For the past two days, she's had no choice but to resist fighting back. The first day was rough, but by now she is so used to not being able to utter a word, the impulse is not even there any more. On the way to the doctor's office this morning, my youngest made some of her most annoying faces at her sister. Nothing.

"You're faking it! You aren't sick - you just want more attention!" she screamed.


"Hmph!" she crossed her arms and looked out the window.

It's the most peaceful morning drive I've had since four years ago when my youngest began talking in complete sentences. This afternoon they have watched TV without arguing about who gets to choose the show. They have sat at the kitchen table and painted pictures side-by-side without offering any mean-spirited critique of each other's art work. I have watched the comments roll right off of my eldest daughter's back without even an eye roll. My youngest has struggled with the frustration that comes from not having her thrown gauntlet retrieved and flung back at her. It took a day and a half, but she has finally turned her attentions to bugging me. Well, I'm not biting. The peace and quiet around here have been too glorious for words.


Anonymous said...

I love this post, and can identify with it so well. I try so hard, talking to the point where my face turns blue, to tell my girls that the other one is just trying to get a reaction, when you give a reaction..they win. Or another famous line around here is, she is just trying to get your goat. I had come back from a workshop, where they had actually given us goat necklaces, the idea being, it you loose your goat, you have to give that person your necklace. I loved the visual idea, so I took extra ones home for the girls, explained it and tried it. They loved the bright red goat necklaces and got the concept, but it only lasted a few days. At one point, Hannah took off her goat necklace and threw it at her sister saying, "There, you got my goat, are you happy now." Melanie yelling, "mom, Hannah hit me with her necklace..." On and on it goes. Love my girls, but the arguing drives me crazy!
Hope you all are feeling better, and enjoy the peace and serenity that is coming your way.

Deb Shucka said...

Yippppeeee! For all of you. "If I've told you once, I've told you a million times. . . " Did you ever think you'd really be saying that?!

Thanks for the reminder about not engaging in other people's stuff.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Silence is golden!

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