Monday, September 7, 2009

Separate, But Equal

There are so many days that I longingly wonder what it would be like to have an only child...

The problem is, I can't figure out which of my children I'd want to have for an only child. They are all so special and all such stinkers too.

But, I do envy every parent who never has to deal with the endless competition, the constant comparisons, the relentless reminders of "I haven't had my turn yet!" and "He got to do it last time!" and "These two pieces aren't equal! IT'S NOT FAIR!!!"

A few years ago, I thought I had come up with a genius solution to this problem. It has worked pretty well for a while. I can't remember if I've told this before, so I'll just tell y'all again. I give each of my older kids a special day. Peppermint Patty has Monday and Thursday; Charlie Brown has Tuesday and Friday; Linus has Wednesday and Saturday. (Sunday is MY day and what I say goes and no one gets any time off except me. And if you're a mom, you know that's code for, "I don't get any time off, but I'm going to make sure everybody knows it and feels guilty about it.") When it's their "special day", they get 30 minutes of computer time. They get to sit in the middle row of the minivan. They get to pick the TV show after school. They get to be excused from washing/drying dishes after dinner. They also get to be the first one in the shower. If we go somewhere or do something, they get to be the one to pick it (or, at least, pick from the choices I offer). This has helped with me trying to remember whose turn it is, or who gets to go first, or how to be fair. This way, everyone knows that it's fair because they know they get a turn. They know it's all equal.

But for goodness sakes, I am so sick of it all. They can find a way to fight about even the most trivial of situations. "You've been sitting on the couch for 13 minutes and I only got to sit there for 11 minutes! MOM, can you make him let me sit on the couch for 2 minutes???''

Lord, please keep the aneurysm at bay, at least until my husband gets home from work. Thank you. Amen.

11 comments:

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

SERIOUSLY... that drives me NUTS!!! Around here, with only 2, we do odds & evens. Essie was born on an even day, so on even days she gets to do the fought over thing. Odds are Gerts. But then there's just the ALL THINGS MUST BE FAIR thing... and I just have to share with them... life is NOT fair.

Vicki said...

Why are you waiting for your hubby to get home? to add a fourth child to make you frustrated?
That is a great idea though, I hope I remember it!

Wendy said...

hahahahahahahahaha

My solution?

"Wow, you guys sound WAY too tired to be able to behave or get along. GO TAKE A NAP. I'll come check on you in 20 minutes."

What's funny is that they either a) cut it out, or b) go straight to sleep because they really were tired. Tired accounts for about 60% of their misbehavior.

McVal said...

For us, it's always the fight to ride shotgun in the car. At the time, there were only two who were allowed to ride in the front anyway, so we just alternated days. After a while, they figured out that I couldn't remember whose day it was and would start to fight anyway trying to confuse me... ARGGHH!!

Bear and Bones Mama said...

I do something similar. I have two boys (almost 5 and almost 3) and even days are the 2 year olds day, odd days are the 4 years olds day. They get to make the choices on their days (within my parameters). It seems to be working, for the most part, except when the 4 year old gets mad that it's an even day. But hey, that's life. Today the 4 year old almost went to school in his undies and pj shirt with no breakfast because he wouldn't come downstairs or get dressed because his favorite camoflage shirt was in the laundry. He had an absolute fit!!!

He did, eventually, get dressed and took some food in the car with him. Have mercy tho, I had to call in all the mommy breathing techniques I could to make it thru the morning!

Jen said...

When it comes to kids can things really ever be fair?

Jennifer said...

I say everyone gets to sit on the floor... and be happy about it, as my mother would have said.

Last night Baby Girl wanted to know if she was as "sweet as bruder" because I call him my sweet baby boy. (rolling eyes) Seriously. She had three complete years of nothing but love and attention showered on her but she has to compete for the fifteen minutes he gets. Ugh.

StaceyC4 said...

My boys are 8 years apart and so my older son has never really forgiven us for not letting him stay an only child. Nine years later I still hear things like "You love him more" or "Why doesn't he have to do it?" Whining is REALLY unattractive on a 17 year old!!

Emily said...

So as I'm reading this I'm thinking what an ingenious idea and how I'm going to steal it. Then I read the end. *sigh* you're right. There's no hope for peace amongst siblings.

FishHawk said...

What, no Pigpen or were you trying to be maternally-correct?

Michelle said...

Aww...the fighting and sibling rivalry. My oldest was an only child for 7 years. The pluses were things were simple, I took him everywhere with me, no big deal, I could give him my undivided attention without feeling pulled in too many directions. Negatives, he was not good at playing by himself, missed out on the time with other kids (he was in preschool, elementary), and having siblings is just more fun even if they drive you crazy sometimes. He now always has someone to play with. The older two are only 6 months apart so they fight the most. No one fights with the youngest that much. I think some is her personality (she is very shy and passive) and the older two both try to take care of an protect her.

Three kids is just plain chaos all the time. In the beginning I used to always remind hubby how much easier it was for me to take care of 1 child and myself instead of 3 children, myself, and him, but I wouldn't have it any other way.