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The Joys of Parenting

July 2, 2009

One of the reasons I went (more) anonymous with this blog was so that I could write stuff about my kids without people who know us “in person” reading.  So if you know me in “real life” please just have the courtesy to pretend you never read this, ‘kay?

My kids have now officially entered the teen and ‘tween years — GumboBoy is 13, GumboGirl is 10.  I find that this spacing and gender combination makes it rather more like having TWO teenagers, as GumboGirl is mature for her age.  Mostly they are perfectly delightful young people, but sometimes, well, sometimes I think I might have to do something drastic, something involving beatings or perhaps duct tape.  (I kid, I kid, I don’t believe in corporal punishment, REALLY!!)  Of the two, GGirl is the hardest to deal with.  She has this way of digging in her heels and being completely unreasonable, without being directly defiant, that is just nearly impossible to deal with.  She is big into sulking and the silent treatment.  She is fully capable of bringing her big brother to tears.  Incredible. I can only hope she chooses to use her powers for good rather than evil later in life, otherwise the world is in for some big trouble.  Seriously.

GBoy is generally pretty easygoing, but he’s off his ADHD meds for the summer (due to the fact that they supress his appetite and we’re thinking that at 5’1″ and 89 pounds he could use some fattening up).  The main symptom seems to be that he is just argumentative about ridiculous things.  And doesn’t want his sister to touch any of his stuff — like his book that is in the car, next to her seat — apparently she cannot pick it up and look at the back cover.  That drives him over the edge.  And then when she puts on the innocent act of “I’m just looking at your book, why are you so upset?” he gets emotional and “she’s being mean” and oh JESUS can you both just shut up before I ground you for life????

Today they were fighting over who got to use the computer and I told them that they had to work it out like civilized human beings, or neither of them would get to use it.  After perhaps 30 minutes of intense negotiations, during which GGirl basically said she was unwilling to consider any option other than her being first, they finally agreed to a coin toss, which turned into some kind of a wrestling match.  I was upstairs biting my tongue and trying to stay out of the whole thing.  I seriously hate conflict, which probably comes from growing up as an only child, so when the two of them do the sibling routine, it makes me very nervous.

On the plus side, they went to the dentist today and no cavities!  And they are both very bright, very funny, award-winning students, who are kind to animals and small children, so that’s good, right?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. lilalia permalink
    July 2, 2009 6:06 am

    Right to the later observations! Use it like a mantra over the next years.

    With 18 and 14 (going on 30), I am almost through the teenage years with my kids. If anything helped it was doing things like you just did in your example above; test and challenge them to make decisions all the time. Let them learn to live with the decisions as well. And, no matter what, keep discussions alive.

    • gumbomum permalink*
      July 3, 2009 3:44 am

      Thanks, Lia, It’s good to know that stepping back is sometimes the right thing to do.

  2. July 2, 2009 6:35 pm

    Mine are the reverse of yours – girl 13 and boy 10 (and bonus girl, almost 7). The older two are *exactly* as you describe. The girl is evil incarnate when it comes to emotional manipulation and the boy is nuts about anyone touching anything of his – which actually causes more battles between him and the younger one. The older two regularly – and I mean more than once a day – get into physical fights. They pound each other. I once videotaped it to prove to the ditzy friends I have who say I’m so lucky to have girls because at least they don’t get violent. I hate it too and haven’t figured out ways to make the little wretches behave. They make mincemeat of books claiming to help you stop sibling rivalry. At this point, given their ages, I tend to just lock myself away or order them to take the battle to the basement and just let them reduce each other to tears. Is that a good parenting strategy? I think not, but I haven’t come up with a better one. I like hearing about other kids who are also awful to their siblings; makes me feel better about it, at least.

    • gumbomum permalink*
      July 3, 2009 3:48 am

      Oh, I LOVE that you videotaped their fight! Did you show it to them? Maybe seeing their own behavior on video would straighten them out (probably not)? Hey, maybe we could trade 13 year olds? You take my boy, I’ll take your older girl?

  3. July 4, 2009 1:43 am

    I love the video tape idea too!! Brilliant!

    I’m truly thankful for those who take on the job of parenting, because I’ve never been up to it. No thank you. It’s not that I don’t like kids, I just don’t want to be around them all the time or take responsibility for them! ha!

    If it helps any, my brother (3 years younger) and I were serious fighters when we were young, then suddenly when I hit 8th or 9th grade, we became friends and confidantes overnight. Weird. So maybe there’s a bright future for them in their sibling relationship!

  4. July 11, 2009 7:53 pm

    Hmm – perhaps I’d better not think too hard about what they’ll be like at 14 and 10 after watching the two of them squabble and yell at each other all day at the age of 5.5 and 1.5…

    Staying out of it, though. Definitely sounds like the way to go.

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