|Go, Pats! ...Next year.|
Now it's Monday and back to your regularly scheduled programming and my eldest two seem content to fight about every little thing under the sun. I try not to play referee too much because I feel like that will only encourage them to come to me with every perceived slight (and really, who has a great sense of injustice than a preschooler whose sister has taken the last Little People giraffe?) but sometimes you wish there was a fix-all just so there would be a little bit of quiet.
I have several friends with kids older than mine and as some of them are apt to tell me, "they don't come with manuals." I know this sentiment is engineered to remind me that we're all flying blind on this parenthood course, but all I think lately is, "but dammit, they should." The car seat comes with a manual. The oven comes with a manual. The phone that could probably stage a coup followed by a takeover of my home has a manual thicker than the Bible. But my kids don't.
I imagine a different world, an alternate universe where each child is born with its own unique troubleshooting guide. And that way, when Mary comes running in, sobbing like her arm's been cut off in the Little People combine, I can tell her, "Just ask Anna if you can play with ObnoxiousToyIHate when she's done," and Mary will dry her eyes, walk back into the playroom, and make the request of her sister, who will sweetly say "sure, Mary," and hand over said toy (current toy in question is something electronic that needs new batteries and as a result sounds somewhat demonic, which only adds to the atmosphere).
Instead, it goes like this.
*Imagine me peering blearily into my nth cup of coffee, the baby having not napped sufficiently thanks to the cat who is lucky I love her, when Mary comes screaming into the room.*
Me: WHAT NOW?! (My nth cup of coffee, someone's nth screaming trip into the room. It's a cycle.)
Mary: *heave, sob* AAAAAAAAAAnna took the toy I was looking at! I was going to play with it fiiiiirrrrrst!
Me: So you weren't even playing with it? Go play with something else. (Logic + preschool? Is there crack in your K cup, Mommy?)
Mary: BUT I WANTED IT!
Me: Go ask her if you can use it. Nicely.
Mary: I don't WANNA ASK NICELY!
Me: Well then I don't know what to tell you. Go back to the play room.
*Mary goes back, announces loudly to Anna she will NOT ASK NICELY for WhateverItIs, and surprisingly, Anna does not surrender the toy. So Mary switches tactics.*
Mary: Anna...*words change, tone becomes wounded*can I please use that toy now?
Now, here's where according to the Manual in my Alternate Universe, Anna smiles sweetly and abandons the toy. Because in all probability she isn't even using it, just holding it hostage because for a toddler, absolute power is absolutely wonderful. Of course, this isn't my Alternate Universe and the principles of logic do not apply.
Mary: PLEASE I SAID PLEASE SO YOU HAVE TO.
*Mary comes screaming into the room again and we repeat ad nauseam until someone falls asleep, finds a snack or agrees to share. I brew another cup of coffee and tell myself that ulcers from coffee are better than ulcers from stress*
On a long day, this scenario repeats with both children in the starring role of She Who Hath Been Wronged, in case you think I'm picking on Mary. But since at the moment she is dramatically flopping on the couch a few feet away and announcing she doesn't want to go in the play room/play with Anna/do anything except glare in my general direction, well, I use what material I have on hand at the moment.
And coffee. God, so much coffee.
Other things my troubleshooting manual will include:
*You asked for seconds last week and now you hate it - A mom's guide to WTF.
*Area 51 - a guide to disappearing symptoms the second you actually meet with the doctor
*We sure watch a lot of TV - getting the "in front of grandparents" statements you want, instead of the ones they're inclined to say (see also: Mommy uses grown up words, I eat a lot of Mac and Cheese, and Daddy plays a lot of Portal!)
*My sister is Baby Jesus - getting them to behave in church
*Go the *&!@ to bed - what to do when your bleary eyed child is standing on her bed and hysterically singing in an effort to avoid involuntary sleep.
Laugh or cry: What to do when, after a solid hour of Thunderdome, play room style, your two kids are hugging and announcing "we're best friends!"
Best friends, indeed.