Overall, my three kids get along well. They play games together, laugh together, and clearly love one another dearly. But they are siblings, and as anyone with siblings or multiple children knows, siblings bicker. Look at Cain and Abel. It’s the tale as old as time.
I remember arguing with my own brother as a kid, even though we generally got along well. I remember verbal tug-of-wars over perceived injustices and yelling, “Mom! Timmy’s touching me!” from the backseat of the car. I remember being surprised by how annoyed my mother seemed by our antics.
Now I get it. Holy gracious, do I get it.
My kids have argued and bickered over more inane things than I can count, but here are their favorites:
Who Got More
Whether it’s a milliliter of juice, a teaspoon of ice cream, or a single, solitary cookie crumb, my children somehow possess the superhuman ability to measure exactly how even portions actually are by just looking at them. And whoever believes they got slighted, no matter how microscopically, always comes out with the defiant, “Why did she get more than meeee?”
My favorite response is, “Well, kid. Because I love her more than I love you. Duh.”
Actually, I really love Louis C.K.’s response to this: “The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.”
Boom! Take that, kids.
Whose Turn It Is
“It’s my turn to ring the doorbell!” “It’s my turn to push the elevator button!” “It’s my turn to sit by Mommy!” “It’s her turn to scoop the litter box!”
I’ve spent many an hour during my parenting years figuring out ways to not have my kids take turns. I swear you have to have a spreadsheet just to keep track of who pushed the outside elevator button last and who got to push the inside one. (FYI, if you haven’t gotten to this phase yet, the inside buttons are much more coveted.)
My favorite response when they bicker over whose turn is to say, “It’s Mommy’s turn!” and then do it myself. Except for the litter box one — that one is on them.
Looking at One Another Funny
Who knew that eyeballs were so freaking powerful? “She glared at me!” “Stop looking at me that way!” “He always gives me that look!” Ugh!
You don’t have to look at someone looking at you, people. It’s like breastfeeding in public — just look away. When that doesn’t work, I pull out my super goofy cross-eyed stare and unblinkingly wear them down with my Crazy Mommy superpower. It might give them nightmares, but it’s totally worth it.
Laughing at (Or Near) One Another
As much as my kids enjoy laughing together, the stuff really hits the fan when one of them laughs when the other is in a bad mood. It’s like they just get pissy sometimes and can’t stand the idea of their sibling enjoying life. And then they claim that the sibling was laughing at them. That’s probably true sometimes, but not always. There’s no convincing them of that, though.
Destroying Imaginary Things
One day, my daughter burst into the living room, bawling her eyes out.
“What’s the matter?!”
“He killed my waaahhhhh!”
“He killed your what?”
“My imaginary draaagonnn!”
Ah, yes. The pretend destruction of the pretend thing. Many imaginary creatures, castles, and more have been sacrificed on the altar of sibling supremacy in our home over the years. I always just hug them until they calm down and come up with another imaginary thing. You can’t reason with fantasy.
My kids love to tug-of-war over yours truly, the Almighty Mommy, the pièce de résistance. I’m sure there’s some kind of instinctual, biological, survival-of-the-fittest kind of thing happening here, but my youngest two subtly fight over who gets to be closest to Mom all the time.
If one kid snuggles with Mom, the other must as well. If one has Mom’s attention, the other must as well. They rarely bicker over me overtly — I think they know that wouldn’t go over well. But there is definitely an unspoken battle for who can crawl back into my uterus first.
Oh, well. Siblings bicker. There’s no getting around it. I’m just banking on the fact that when they’re adults, they won’t argue over who looked at who or who got to push the elevator button last.
At least, I hope not. Fingers crossed.
This post first appeared on Scary Mommy.