My children seem somewhat intent on killing each other.
What is it with kids and siblings and continually attempting to physically maim each other?
Don’t get me wrong. There’s no blood shed here. It’s not like I have psychotic potential-serial killers on my hands. There’s no gratuitous animal abuse or setting fire to things. It’s just that particular aggression that seems to be reserved only for one’s brother or sister. That play-fighting that becomes hair-pulling and hollering and kicking and me dragging one or both of them for (another) time-out in their rooms.
Shamefully enough, fighting like that with my own brother (hi, Uncle Grog) is one of the most vivid, intense memories I have of my own childhood. It was all laughter mixed with pain laced with gritted teeth and that sudden anxiety when you hurt your younger sibling and they go pause, shocked, before running off and screeching “Mum!!!”.
I see that replicated in my own children. The oldest will suddenly push too far, forget his own strength; and his sister, mildly hurt, will run for me in tears, sobbing. Her brother is bigger and tougher and she seems to be hurt more frequently, but she’s also the cheeky instigator at least half the time.
They drive me insane, between them, especially on those long rainy weekend days that we seem to be having so often at the moment in Melbourne. I try my best not to yell, try to be firm and consistent. I attempt to extinguish physical violence altogether, long before someone has their legs bruised or their feelings hurt.
And I grit my teeth in frustration as they still fight, regardless of what I say or do. I take deep breaths of patience every time I hear “YaaaaaaHHHH!!”, giggle, thud, “Muuuuuuu-uuuuMMMMM!!!”
I remind myself that when they’re not attempting to inflict as much damage to each other as possible, the two of them can be best the best of friends, loving, warm and kind to one another. And I tell myself that that’s what really counts. (Right…?)