Snuggled in my blankets I hear him enter the room sobbing.
“Mommy,” he says and wiggles right in next to me. “Sister called me stupid.”
Seconds later, my daughter enters also in sobs.
“Mommy,” she says and snuggles up to me on the other side. “Brother kicked me.”
I say nothing. They try to grab more of me than the other one and sob harder. I keep them apart. I cradle one in each arm and just breath.
My eyes have not even opened yet and here we are again. This fight is so familiar that I could almost script the entire rest of the conversation. I wait for it to come. Two minutes pass.
“She never lets me teach her anything. I am supposed to be the big brother and she won’t let me do my job.” Sobs.
Silence. Two minutes pass.
“He always tells me how to do everything and it makes me feel stupid. I never get to teach anyone anything. I hate being the littlest in the family.” Sobs.
This exact conversation happens about once a month. I never know where. Sometimes it’s in the car on the way home from school. Often it’s at bedtime. Today, 5:30 a.m. in my bed.
They are at that breaking point again with their roles in the family and they push each other to this point of frustration. I have tried many different tactics; lecturing, sending them to their rooms, yelling, storytelling. This morning I just let it be. Let the words hang in the air.
Five minutes pass.
They start reaching across me to each other in a loving manner. Then my boy climbs over me and snuggles right into his sister.
“I wuv you wowa” he coos.
“I wuv you browver” she coos back.
I take another deep breath, get out of bed and head for the shower.
When I come out they are both under the covers singing at the top of their lungs:
“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat.
Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat.
If you haven’t got a penny, a hay penny will do.
If you haven’t got a hay penny, God please you.”
Peace, silliness and love. Until the next round…