I seem to have spent the the entire bank holiday weekend worrying. My seven-year-old keeps beating up on my five-year-old on the grounds "He is annoying". In retaliation, my five-year-old has developed a cry so piercing it clears the trees of rooks. My husband took time to draw up a chair, sit down and complain that none of the children wanted to do anything with him and constantly refuse to do what he tells them to. I suggested he make this complaint to them and not to me. Finally, my mother (who is staying with us) is in the throes of an arthritis flare-up and keeps breaking down in tears. Oh, and I had to make an expedition to the A&E in the local hospital because I thought my seven-year-old had broken a bone in his foot having (accidentally) kicked his brother in the shin playing football. As it turns out, he is just badly bruised but it did nothing to alleviate my mood.
The seven-year-old beating up on the five-year-old drives me to despair. It is difficult because the five-year-old effectively stalks him which is in one way charming and in another a bit much in terms of personal space. I have decided to give the seven-year-old a bit more one-on-one and see what happens. What will probably happen is I will begin to irritate him instead of his brother but hey, I'm your mother - get used to it kiddo. The problem with my husband is one of expectations. He is a very good father and would spend his whole time taking them on cycle rides and down to the beach but I expect they have a big dollop of my genes which means they would rather do the boy equivalent of drink coffee and read a book (that is to say snack while watching endless manic cartoons). Regarding my mother, this is a difficult one because all I can do is hope the new anti-inflammatory medication kicks in and tell her to sit down. I walked in yesterday and she was virtually horizontal over the sink trying to wash a few cups up, weeping into the water. We had one of our usual exchanges whereby I said "I don't need you to wash up mum", and she said "I need to wash up", and I said "You need to sit down". I ended up bundling her into her blazer and putting her in the car for "a run down" to the shops to buy nothing in particular.
On the up side, we went out for dinner last night with the nice people who live in the house with the box room. The conversation involved Agas and poachers (who come into the countryside from Northumberland towns after deer, bring them down with dogs, hack off their hind legs and leave the carcass behind). For the second time in three days, it also involved a conversation with someone (a fellow guest) whose family have lived in Northumberland for 500 years. The same thing happened the other day when we went for coffee after the election count and one of the Conservative activists told me he could trace his family back 500 years to a particular house in the sands and a mill on a local river. I have been trying to recall if I ever had a conversation with anyone in London who told me: "My family have lived in London for 500 years you know". I cannot recall one.
If you find out how to make brothers to get on well together, do let me know. It would be personally very useful, and we could go into business together and market the idea. There is a huge demand. We could be rich and famous.
I have two - 4 and 12. I'm not sure how they do it but they still manage to argue and beat the crap out of each other - and the 12 year old usually comes off worse.
And it's not just posh people who go back that far up north. A few years agoI traced my family and got my dad's family back to 1643 - with only one Scot in the whole mix. Most of them had not budged from the NE. Fascinating and boring at the same time.
wifey, just remind yourself now and again that your little troubles are, er, experience and that without them you could be bored in no time at all. There now, wasn't that a help? ;-)
Eggs at my place!
I hope you are not expecting advice on child rearing - as if you do get any it will be useless. I got offered and accepted a new job - starting 19th May! In the meantime Iam gardening and writing..
My [father's] family has lived in this valley for 500 years. I sometimes wonder how I ended up here, marrying a local man with whom I share a distant ancestor (at least seven generations ago, so I think we're OK ;-), having grown up in a different country and culture. It must be in the genes.
Love your writing.
re mutley hurrah hurrah hurrah. Well done you. Will you blog about them all, get fired and pick up sizeable publishing contract?
Buy "Siblings without Rivalry"- it is American in its ideas, to the extent that you think "i can't believe i'm doing this" but it did work for me, mimi
Even in our twenties my brother and I physically fight when we annoy each other. We get over our difficulties much quicker that way.
All the best with the boys!
It brings out some urge in me, to attempt to make peace and heal the rift, between warring factions. I would always get so upset, seeing kids fight, then I realised, some kids like to fight and scream- it's just me that likes the peace and quiet.
There must be a kind of 1-10 of feuding, 1 being mild baiting, 10 being a case foe considering boarding school.
My mate was sent to boarding school cos her brother picked on her!
How bad is that?
If you are busy, and not sleeping, and your mum is poorly, nothing but an angelic chorus is going to feel anything like harmony.
In our house it's usually the older girl who makes a mean face or says something I can't hear to wind up the little boy, who then retaliates by hitting her or shouting, and then he's the one who gets into trouble. NOT FAIR!
Poor wifey, sounds like hell on earth.
We get days like this and it is desperately miserable.
Hope things pick up soon, put a Peter Sellers movie on, I dare you all not to laugh.
Either that or Paint your Wagon, they never fail to bring us back to the human race.
My daughter kicked her brother and then came to us looking for sympathy because her toe hurt.She got short shrift.
Unfortunately I think she actually broke her toe - it's bent now and she doesn't like it. I suppose that's how we learn our lessons in life.....
Punish both siblings equally for the crime of quarrelling. No investigation into "who started it", both are at fault for escalating it. If your garden is private enough, punish them by throwing them out of the house. Otherwise shut them both in the same bedroom. (Part of the idea is to get them to gang up in sympathy against nasty mummy.)
Obviously also at another time suggest strategies so that situations won't escalate. And, as you are doing, try to ameliorate the underlying aggravating circumstances. But punish the unwanted behaviour, particularly this antisocial behaviour which will serve them badly in the wider world.
(Can you allocate your mother a responsibility? If she can't manage any household task, maybe working on a family scrapbook with memories of previous generations which only she can do.)
I have two boys - 9 and 12. Chalk and cheese. They've been fighting since the younger was born. I see no end in sight. The main thing is - they love it!
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