The biggest challenge in this house is dealing with the girls' fighting. Screaming, yelling, door slamming, crying. It is so constant and so completely absurd (the two of them would fight over a who gets to eat a dead mouse if it was the only thing to fight about), that it makes me absolutely crazy.
I've tried ignoring it, getting them to settle things themselves, and all the other strategies the experts recommend, but nothing seems to help. I always tell my parents about their squabbling and this past weekend they got to witness it. Now they know I am not at all exaggerating! As my father pointed out, their fighting was the only blight on what was otherwise a lovely family weekend.
I worked Friday evening and Saturday morning and my parents arrived on Saturday around lunch time. Later that afternoon Big A's boyfriend came for a playdate and then my brother and his family came over for dinner. Yesterday, I taught spin while the girls were at Hebrew School, then all of us (except my dad, because of his still limited mobility due to his hip operation) walked up to Wychwood Barns for a vintage clothes sale. I would never have thought to go to such a thing but it was actually really fun. My mom bought us all some jewellery including a really nice pair of earrings for me, and each of the girls a clip-on pair for dress-up. I realized (13 years too late) that it is the perfect place to go to find a great deal on a wedding dress!
The girls had their squabbles here and there, but yesterday evening it really escalated. My mom had brought a DVD of Mary Poppins, because the girls hadn't ever seen it. They insist - despite their being plenty of seating in our living room - to squeeze together as close as possible on the same couch in the same spot all the time. This leads to constant battles and this is exactly what happened. Unable to solve the problem themselves, Adam ordered both of them off of the favoured couch. Then they started fighting over the throw cushions on the other couch. So Adam took them all away. Then Big A just started trying to antagonize Little A, at which point Adam ordered her up to her room and she was forced to miss the end of the movie. The whole thing was ridiculous...as are most of their battles.
I recently caught a segment on CityLine with Nanny Robina who was talking about a "Consequence Jar" where you write down random, age-appropriate consequences on individual pieces of paper, and each time your child misbehaves, they have to take one out (and then return it). I am going to make one for each of them, only its going to be challenging to come up with consequences that they actually care about. Television is one of the few privileges they value. I've come to realize that taking away the Ipod or Ipad, doesn't upset them that much. Taking away Pink Bear will work with Little A, but then I am also going to use Nanny Robina's idea of having some of the consequences be doing nice things for others, or chores. I love that! If the consequence jar doesn't work, I may just get ear plugs and lock myself in my own room whenever one of these battles erupt.
Have a lovely Monday!