“MOMMMMM, Ben (insert abusive act here) me!”
“No, I didn’t. Georgia, I didn’t even TOUCH you!”
“Yes you did, you pushed me to the ground!”
“Mom, I wish I were an only child.”
I don’t know about you, but at my house it seems as though the kids spend 97% of their time actually looking for ways to annoy each other. I daresay it’s actual sport at Chez Shumway; so much so that even the 3 1/2 year old has gotten into the game and ever the competitive child, has bypassed J.V. and gone straight to the starting Varsity lineup.
Take for example, Sunday morning. I awoke to Quinn “Bullhorn” Shumway climbing into bed with us around 7:15 and demanding to watch “the movie that I watch yesterday with the man.” Huh?
So there we were, enjoying some quiet time with the little guy (quiet because we both had pillows over our heads) while the older two seemed to be downstairs in the playroom peacefully watching something else. Of course, they could have been “peacefully watching Platoon” but as long as there was no arguing then who was I to judge? I came downstairs around 7:45 and while pouring myself a cup of coffee, the kerfuffle ensued:
“Ben hit me!” “No I didn’t!” “Yes you did!” “NO, GEORGIA, I DIDN’T.” “OOOWWWWWW! MOMMMMM!”
At that point, who really needs caffeine?
We have tried reasoning, threatening, ignoring, everything (they’ll probably put the quote “I don’t care! SELF-GOVERN!” on my tombstone). We’ve explained that if they fight with each other, they will both get in trouble so remember to think about that before running to Andy and me. If they work to resolve the dispute – which is usually over uber-important issues like one’s feet touching the other’s leg, one breathing too heavily, or Heaven forbid, the deadliest of all sins, changing the channel from one’s favorite tv show – then we will applaud their diplomacy rather than send them to their rooms.
Another (oft ignored) suggestion – albeit somewhat radical – is this: if your brother/sister is annoying you, go to one of the 14 other rooms in the house. Unfortunately this doesn’t apply to Quinn as, at 3 1/2, he desperately craves the company of others and will follow you wherever you go. He has so mastered his craft of annoying the other two that they have to literally hide from him to escape his reign of terror. While Ben and Georgia may have such skewed versions of the truth that COMPLETELY contradict one another, Quinn is totally irrational which makes it like trying to reason with a crazy person.
“Mom, Quinn just broke my Lego plane that I built.”
“No I didn’t.”
“Quinn, we all just saw you do it. Pick it up.”
“I didn’t play with the cars and yesterday at camp when my counseluh tells me to swim with a noodle, I go in the pool and my friend Jonathan went under water…”
You get the idea.
I’m told that at some point, this will pass. I mean, my father used to refer to my younger sister as my sparring partner and now we’re best friends, so I’ve got to assume that they’ll grow out of it. In the meantime, however, I’ll be hoping for some sort of Olympic “Annoying” Event in which my children can bring home the gold. Ain’t no one can touch these three.
Either that, or make sure there’s a pillow within reach at all times. Positioned correctly, they can bring peace to any household.