Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Opposites repel

One day in July, my boys could not stay away from each other all. The toddler was constantly after the preschooler to play with him and then, as is the horror of every mother of boys, they began wrestling. Why not? They do it with Daddy, why not each other? Thus began a new era in our lives. Our siblings can be best friends at time, and they always wonder where the other is when one is missing, or they can act like bitter enemies.

The toddler has always been one to want a lot of attention; the preschooler has always played solo. The toddler wants to be grown up; the preschooler wants the attention the baby gets. The toddler fights dirty; the preschooler cannot understand why kidney punches are then not fair.

The baby has taken 21 1/2 months of pent up frustration out on his brother these past weeks. He is also dangerously close to two. Tantrums, thankfully short-lived, are always lurking near the surface and triggers are becoming more and more common. The older is learning this but sometimes deliberately provokes the younger; the younger loses it and begins hitting repeatedly or throwing the nearest object he can find; the older child's repsonse is then to tattle, having never really dealt with sibling issues (and truthfully, he has never been one to defend himself too vigorously).

For 18 months we lived in relative peace, the kids having little to do with each other. Suddenly, they like the same things and as they try to learn to play with one another it seems that we will end up with many bruises and tears. And that is just Scienceteachermommy!

Today, Waterboy (my hubby), had to take ALL of the trains away from the pair because of the incessant fighting. For those of you that know us you will probably say the train removal is more punishing to the parents than the children. Still, something had to be done.

I can hear the laughter from all you mothers of many out there. It serves us right after all the years in the blissful la-la land of one child, but I have to honestly say HELP!!!!!!!!!!!! Any suggestions for encouraging sibling harmony would be welcome.


soccermommy said...

oh you are not alone in your sibling challenges. my girls can't be together for longer than 10 seconds sometimes without one ending up crying or screaming or something. it drives me crazy! i know how you feel. and i can only think about my older sister and i and how we fought probably almost all of growing up. am i doomed for that??? oh my- i guess that is what i get! so i am in need of advice, also!

HappyMom said...

I think one of the most upsetting myths about toddlerhood is that the terrible twos start at two... because we all know they start way earlier than that and last way longer. Personally, I'm worried that our little four year old is going to become a tyrant upon the arrival of her baby brother. So, I don't know how you solve it. If it's true that opposites repel, we're in trouble, because we're starting out with the most basic opposite... girl and boy.

on.the.run said...

I wish I could tell you what to do, I think it is for life... or at least until they grow up. Mine are mostly friends but they still fight and try to kill eachother sometimes. Often it will start as playing and turn to fighting (oh the joys Power Ranges have brought to the Burdin household.) The only thing better about now is that I can at least reason with them. It is far worse for the older sibling, poor kids.