I’m done…I give up…I surrender! Summer bliss has turned into a summer blister under my thinly veiled patience and as the cool September air ekes out the summer warmth, so too does it eke out mine. There’s a reason children need school, and it isn’t for the education.
What started out as a nostalgic, idealistic summer break has morphed into a full blown sibling war zone. Where peace talks have failed, battles have begun. Studies have shown that people, like rats, when forced into close proximity of one another show hostile behavior. Well my little rats are gnawing at each other all day long, which in turn is gnawing on my nerves. Battles here start first thing in the morning. The verbal mortars drop before I’m half way through my first cup of coffee.
“Mom!! He stuck his tongue out at me!”
“Well that’s because she called me a booger brain!”
“No I didn’t”…
”Yes you did!”
In unison: “Mom!!…”
I’m barely awake and my blood is boiling hotter than my coffee, and I start screaming like a lunatic threatening to lock them all in their rooms for the day like the wicked witch from Rapunzel. I wonder what happened to my sweet kids who used to be so nice to each other.
They’ve taken to fighting over just about everything: who feeds the fish, who’s turn it is to watch TV, who scared the other person, who’s looking at who funny, who’s doing what better, and on and on and on; all day, every day. And it’s not just verbal. Perhaps enrolling them in martial arts was not such a good idea after all. When lines in the sand are drawn, something, or someone breaks, and in this case it was my daughter’s collar bone; another causualty of war.
It’s to the point that I actually look forward to going to work. My twelve hour night shift looking after critically ill patients is a cake walk compared to my day shift. At least my patients are sedated and on ventilators, disabling them from irritating chatter; the quiet is refreshing. Not even a cardiac arrest can rattle my bones like three angry children.
Now, I’m no stranger to sibling rivalry. I’m one of seven, so I get not liking your brother or sister for awhile, but I never remembered running the marathon of misery with any of them. Maybe it was just the way my parents used to handle it: a warning look here, a whack of the belt there, or getting kicked outside for the whole day, allowed in only for meals and bathroom breaks. Nowadays, if I try any of those tactics child services is knocking on my front door.
So I take the diplomatic, peace talks approach, “let’s talk about it, what’s bothering you?” line of crap. Then a deluge of he said she said comes pouring out, and I feel like a Hurricane Katrina victim running for my life after the levee breaks. Where are the sandbags? Where’s the National Guard? I need help! It’s her against him, and them against me, and I’m secretly starting to fear for my sanity.
I guess being cooped up together for the summer is just too much ‘in your face time.’ I’m sure it could drive anyone mad, no matter what your age. But when you’re little and lack the interpersonal skills of debate, you’re reduced to calling each other ‘booger brains’, all day, every day, and then whining to mom each time a fragile ego is bruised.
If there’s any glimmer of hope for me it comes on the first Wednesday each year after Labor Day. Except this year, my school district decided we needed one extra week of hell just to make sure our sensitive sides were ready to let go and send our precious angels back to school.
So when I see those commercials of parents dancing gleefully down the aisles, buying school supplies for their children, I smile to myself, I get it. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’ll miss those little booger brains when they’re gone…
Below is a video I think most mom’s (with a good sense of humor) can relate to. That will be me doing the dance of joy and waving bye-bye as that big yellow bus drives off and I can go home and finally finish that cup of coffee in peace!