My children are like chalk and cheese. There’s a fairly big age gap, which doesn’t help, but their personalities and likes are almost extreme opposites. However, there are some similarities. They are both very stubborn. They are also both more than capable of standing up for themselves. Unfortunately, this means that they bicker. A lot.
There are rare moments of calm in this house; when they find a game they both want to play, or when they work together to build a den. However, it rarely lasts and almost always ends with one or the other yelling about some slight or misdemeanour. I spend so much time negotiating peace that I’m now convinced that half the world’s problems could be solved if parents of young children could lead treaty negotiations. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the constant bickering from your children, then take comfort in this list of arguments my children have had, since you are not alone.
He Sat There Last Night!
Every meal time, without fail, they argue over who gets to sit in “The Chair”. I’m not sure why this particular dining table chair is special. They are all the same. None of them have a special view, or give easier access to food, or have some sort of magic force that makes everything taste like chocolate when you sit on it. It’s just plain, cheap chair from Ikea that, like everything else in my house, has felt tip pen on it.
Still, for some reason it’s a very special chair, and every time I
yell ask for everyone to come to dinner there is a mad race to the dining room in a bid to be first to get to The Chair. This is followed by arguments, shoving, and shouting (the last part mostly from me) until the chosen one is decided and we all sit down for dinner.
She Stole My Imaginary Wand!
As with many arguments, this one started with the children playing a game together. They were pretending to be wizards. They had pretend wands and were waving the wands saying “Abracadabra I turn you into a…” and then pretending to be whatever it was they had been turned into. All lovely and sweet and the kind of thing that you might see on one of those vomit-inducing YouTube videos from vblogging parents who promote everything with #blessed.
But then the youngest decided she didn’t want to be turned into a frog anymore, and so she hatched a cunning plan to steal his imaginary wand. In an act that was both brave and devious, she marched up to her brother and declared she had now stolen his wand.
World War Three broke out immediately. He demanded it back. She said no. He shouted. She screamed. Tales were told to both Mummy and Daddy. We suggested he could pretend that he had conjured a new wand but this was not good enough. He wanted the original wand back. That’s right, the wand that DIDN’T BLOODY EXIST.
He Got More Than Me!
It doesn’t matter how well I try and measure out the ice cream, or how many times I count out the chocolate buttons, there will almost always be some sort of perceived difference, resulting in an argument. Unfortunately for me, the eldest child is very active and bordering on being underweight, whilst the youngest is, quite frankly, lazy and a little on the tubby side. So portion sizes have to be managed, and yes, he does regularly get more than her.
Even more unfortunately, he is not subtle about it in anyway, and in fact, relishes in taunting her about his extra pancake at breakfast or the fact that he gets a whole packet of crisps, whilst she gets half. So, even when the treats are shared out equally, they are both on the look out for the slightest difference.
She Put More In The Trolley Than Me!
I hate going to the supermarket with the kids. I avoid it wherever possible. Trying to work out what we are going to have for dinner for the next seven days whilst taking into account the fussy nature of both children and my husband (who is the fussiest of all) is hard enough without wrestling with two children who seem to view our local Sainsburys like some sort of mega-exciting amusement park.
So, if I can avoid going to the supermarket with the kids then I do. However, sometimes this isn’t always possible. I try to keep the children from running up and down the aisles by giving them jobs, such as “you find the cucumber, you find the bread” etc. This regularly backfires as it results in complaints that one child has been given more things to find than the other. Before I know it, I’m stood in the bakery aisle trying to stop two children attempting a tug-o-war with a loaf of bread. I’m amazed we haven’t been banned.
He Touched My Car Seat!
For parents of children that bicker, long journeys in a car are best avoided. Sadly for me, the fact that the kids will argue on the way is not a valid excuse for never visiting the in laws. We try to keep them entertained with audiobooks and toys, but they’re incapable of sitting in a confined space next to each other without finding something to argue about. Sometimes they’ll argue over who gets to put a toy in the sacred space between their car seats. Sometimes they’ll argue over whether one child was correct in a game of “I Spy” when they declared they could spy a sheep.
However, none of these arguments compare to the argument that follows when one child touches the car seat of the other child. It is, apparently, an indiscretion of the highest order. I don’t think it stems from them fearing catching germs from each other, since they are both happy to lick the same spot on the patio door (a whole other article), nor is it about being hurt, since the slightest touch results in a complaint. It basically boils down to an infringement of personal space. Which is odd, since they spend quite a lot of time at home wrestling with each other.
She Has My Toy!
Because my children are so different, they usually only play with their own toys. He likes Lego, she likes Playmobil. He likes dragons. She likes dolls. All good. Sometimes the normal rules don’t apply and one child decides that they need to play with whatever the other child is playing with, simply because the other child has it, and this is clearly unfair. I have witnessed my son, who is normally very vocal on his loathing for anything that is perceived as pink or “girlie” have a full on meltdown because his sister wouldn’t let him have a turn on her pink star wand. I have seen my daughter, who normally has a borderline OCD level fear of anything on her hands, sob uncontrollably because her brother wouldn’t let her touch his slime.
Then there is the plastic tat that comes with a McDonalds Happy Meal. Thankfully, McDonalds only seems to give out one toy at a time from a series, so when you order two Happy Meals then both have the same toy inside. You would think that this would resolve any potential arguments. Sadly not, since my children seem to have a superpower that lets them see minute detail, perhaps on an atomic level, that differentiates the two toys. This is the only explanation for these words that are so often repeated: “That one is mine, give it back NOW!”
I Want to Cuddle Mummy!
Every morning, in the early hours, each child creeps into our bed as soon as they wake up. In one way, I cherish those early morning cuddles, knowing that they won’t last forever. But the arrival of the second child immediately causes an argument:
Child One: I want to cuddle Mummy!
Child Two: I was here first. I want to cuddle Mummy!
Child One: No me!
Child Two: No me! My Mummy!
Me: You can both cuddle Mummy. One of you goes on my left and one of you goes on my right.
Child One: I want to go on that side!
Child Two: No! I am going on that side!
In the meantime, my husband has turned away and is pretending to be asleep by doing an unconvincing snore (his real snoring is much louder, but he would never admit to that). I’m struggling with an eternal dilemma. On the one hand. I’m feeling smug because my children clearly love me best. On the other hand, I’m acutely jealous of all the personal space my husband has on the other side of the bed whilst I’m cramped between two wriggling bodies who apparently have no qualms about elbowing me in the stomach. Still, I take solace in the fact that they won’t be having this argument when they’re 18. At least I hope they won’t.