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Forget parenting school; I need referee training

Submitted by on Monday, 16 February 2009 No Comment

refereeBabies R Us has its inventory all wrong.

The stores stock all these cute little onesies and sleepers babies outgrow in five minutes. The shelves overflow with toys guaranteed to grow a brain capable of grasping quantum physics by the time the kid can walk.

Nice, but unessential. If the retailer were interested in providing what parents really need, they’d offer a selection of striped shirts, yellow hankies and whistles. No, forget the whistle. A kid would wind up swiping it at one point and add a dash of din to the chaos and confusion.

I’ve tried staying out of it. Really, I  have. But with two, it’s increasingly impossible to not intervene. Not unless I want to keep 911 on speed dial.

Just this morning, for example:

  • Big Guy tries to hog the TV and the computer. He is  given a choice and picks TV. Until, that is, Boots sits down with a Reader Rabbit game. Then Big Guy suddenly decides the computer is the euphoric experience he’s seeking. Even at that it could have worked out except for Big Guy’s tendency to micromanage every mouse click. “No! Put it here!”
  • Boots grabs one of Big Guy’s papers and begins applying penguin stickers to it while they’re writing letters. It probably was an innocent mistake – Big Guy had made it no further than coloring a small swath of grass at the bottom. But the lost labor is an affront to Big Guy, who grabs the paper back and rips off the penguin. Never mind that the project now is ruined for both of them. Big Guy is at least vindicated.
  • Big Guy interrupts me – again – for some important, trivial matter. Seeing an opening, Boots rushes in to do the same. He starts jockeying for position, butting Big Guy across the carpet and coming dangerously close to doing the same to my hard drive. Big Guy howls with indignation, and Boots draws time in the penalty box, because he’d just been warned about shoving.

It’s frustrating because it’s all so meaningless. In my world, at least. In their world, the stakes are astronomical.

They’re at the stage where they’ll trick you by playing together nicely for up to an hour. They’ll fool you into thinking sailing is going to be smooth by staging an unsolicited defense of the other when an outsider is involved. They’ll con you by sweetly and softly kissing each other out of the blue.

I’m not sure why I still fall for all that mushy stuff, because bitter experience has told me that they’ll soon be trying again to bash each other’ brains in.

Sometimes they will work it out, but only after I stage a sit in.

“What are you doing?” Big Guy asked today as I plopped onto the couch, arms crossed, after another bout of howling.

“I’m going to sit right here until we can work this out. And if I have to sit all day and we don’t get to any of the fun stuff we want to do, then this is where I’ll sit.”

Amazingly, I’ve never had to park it for longer than a few minutes. I’m sure there will come a day, though, when I’ll wake up at 4 in the morning and realize I’ve been glued to the couch for 12 hours, waiting on them to cease hostilities.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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