Monday, April 27, 2009

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

I don't have a ton of vivid memories of my childhood, but I do remember fighting with my siblings a lot. I was the third of five children, and the first three of us were each only eighteen months apart, so we were close enough in age to find plenty of things to argue about. If we weren't being dishonest, lying to try to cover up some naughty scheme we'd dreamed up, we were pestering each other. We were expert tattle-tales (especially me), making a living of driving my mother absolutely insane.
As I think about it, I deserve every bit of the unhappy banter and incessant arguing and fault-finding that often occurs in my home now. They say, "what goes around comes around," and after the hour-long nit picking and arguing session we had during dinner tonight, it's obvious it's "coming around" to me.

It's not like my children don't fight about extremely important topics. I mean, the color of plate you get for dinner, or the size of spoon you're handed, or whether or not your glass and your bowl match is vitally important stuff. After all, who can be expected to eat dinner without solving these life-altering problems first?

And then there's the argument about who gets to say the blessing before we eat our meals. I'm sure we eat the most holy food of any family on earth some days, as each of our meals gets blessed two or three times just to appease every child who swears it's their turn.

And let's not forget the all-out war over who gets to answer the telephone or the door when the doorbell rings. I'm sure I'm raising at least three track stars. The only problem is they're all going to be recovering from serious injuries they incurred while racing each other to the telephone and front door. Today we had to rudely shut the door in a boy's face because my four-year-old got to the door first and my two-year-old couldn't handle it. He slammed the door shut, then opened it again to prove his point. Dan was left to apologize to the poor soul on the other side of the door who was wondering what in the world was going on. He obviously was unaware of the prime importance placed on opening the door first.

If we aren't racing to the telephone or front door, pushing aside everything and everyone in our way, we are fighting about who got more milk in his/her glass, who sits where at dinner, who hugged Mom first when they got out of bed in the morning, who gets to choose what to watch on TV later that night, who didn't do his/her chores, who showers the fastest, who loves Dad the most, and on and on.

If I don't have a house full of track stars, then surely I have a home full of debaters, because I'm telling you, my children can find a way to argue about anything, always trying to be one-up on each other.

"Mom said I could have ice cream after school."

"Oh yea, well she said I could have ice cream with chocolate syrup."

"Well, I get to have a milkshake. Milkshakes have a lot more ice cream in them than ice cream in a bowl does."

"Mom said I could have two milkshakes, one after school and one after dinner."

"Did not. Mom, did you say he could have two milkshakes?"

And on an on it goes. One argument after another. Until I feel like starting an argument of my own; in fact, maybe that will be my next strategic move.

"Dad said I could eat the whole half gallon of ice cream--with chocolate syrup, caramel, and whipped cream on top. He said I didn't have to share any of it, and he said I could eat it after breakfast, lunch and dinner."

Yes, that's it. I can't wait to see my children's eyes pop and jaws drop when I out-best them at their own game.

It is said, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." Since I'm obviously not beating them, I might as well join them.

In fact, I'm signing off now--I've got to go pick up some ice cream!


Traci said...

Hilarious! Totally makes me remember when my kids were younger. Now they fight about who gets the bathroom first to primp. Remember those fights over the curling iron when we were in high school?

Tristi Pinkston said...

That sounds so stinkin' familiar ...