Last night Sugarbowl and her bf/f both had to work, so it fell on me to watch Jabber Smith and Princess Talk-a-hontas -- a job I wasn't jumping with joy to have. There is a serious sibling rivalry going on between them that makes being the referee a not-enviable task. I bought a whistle years ago, while doing foster care, to quiet the ruckus and make everyone stop fighting for a minute, a minute that allowed me to threaten them into getting along -- no one wants an angry Blindbeard on the war path. I'm an equal opportunity punisher. I don't care who did what. If you are fighting, you are all in trouble, and an early bedtime always works for me -- a fate worse than death for kids who boo hoo if they have to go to bed 5 minutes early. I wish there was not such a sibling rivalry going on, but it is a rivalry that has been raging since the day Jabber was born.
Sugarbowl got pregnant with Princess at an early age, 18: when she was no where ready to have kids. She was laboring under the delusion that she could not get pregnant, so why bother with any protection? Why indeed! She got pregnant by an alcoholic, which made her realize that he was not someone she wanted to raise a family with. She left him and met up with an ex boyfriend shortly thereafter. She and said ex bf got married when Princess was only a few months old (if that old, I can't remember her exact age when they got married). Sugarbowl wasn't really sure she wanted to be married to him; she had doubts about it from the beginning, but she did know she wanted a father for her child and he was accepting of the fact that it wasn't biologically his child and treated her like his own anyway. Alas, that sounds better than it was. Both were too young and immature to be parents. They were resentful of the restrictions that having a kid put on them, so a good portion of Princess' life she has been with my mother or me. Now, fast forward 3 years when they both had done some growing up, they decided to have another child. A planned child. A child that would biologically be both theirs'. Under these new conditions Jabber was born, and from the start he was his mother's own darling. It is a sad fact that most children want their mother's love no matter how awful of a parent they may be -- not saying that Sugarbowl and her ex hubby were awful, just not as charmed with Princess as with Jabber. Jabber knows this and knows how to manipulate them to get out of trouble and get his sister in trouble. He is only 7 so I don't really hold it against him. It has been his ticket out of punishment since day one and I don't expect him to grasp the implications of what it is doing to everyone when he does this. I call him Lazy Victim to remind everyone that he will try and turn everything around to place the blame for his actions on someone else -- all too often Princess. But I am usually a spectator to their going ons and will correct him when I know what really happened. My little sister will listen to his sob story and take his side because he is so much smaller than his big sister and she can really wallop on him when he messes with her. She doesn't usually listen with such patience to Princess and will punish her because she is "older and bigger" than him and should know better.
Sugarbowl and I have talked about all this and she has been really trying to be more fair, but she just does not have the same bond with Princess as with Lazy Victim. But I do! I love them both, but I hate to see them vying for attention, love and for their mother to take their side. I will admit that I am a lot harder on Lazy Victim than she is, but that doesn't mean Princess is coddled. I just don't accept his excuses and don't let him run away when it is time to work a little. When he starts in on why it is his sister's fault because he didn't do something/broke something/destroyed everything in his path, I heckle him about it until he gets angry because I am not sympathizing with his poor plight. When he does get in trouble I ask him whose fault it is, because I can't wait to hear; am waiting on pins and needles, Lazy Victim, please don't leave me in suspense any longer! I can't take the tension!
So last night when I was left in charge, Princess told me that she liked it when I was the one keeping the peace because I am fair. She isn't the one in trouble for everything and Jabber gets in trouble too. Heck, I encourage them to keep fighting because I loves me an early bedtime and I would rather have them united against me than against each other. Nothing gives me the warm fuzzies like the kids plotting to not have an early bedtime and to show me they can do it, because I am not a believer in their ability to not fight for 5 minutes.
So what was the point of all this? The kids drove me crazy, made me curse my little sister's lack of birth control, and because they were united against me, we all went to bed on time, to my dismay -- I was rooting for an early bedtime. I don't give a hockey puck about who did what. Start fighting and trying to tattle and everyone is in trouble, even the dogs if they got involved. It made me feel the weight of my MS when I was so fatigued by the end of the night and realize my neurologists were right: I could not keep up with kids on a day-to-day basis. Once in awhile is okay, but if I have to referee constantly there is no way I could provide the care and supervision kids need. And what is worse than realizing your neurologists are right? I like to defy their instructions and do what I am not supposed to do, but this time I had to raise the white flag and grudgingly admit they might be right. Darn it all to heck!
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