Sunday, April 27, 2014

Siblings and Walkie Talkies

I am an only child.

When I dreamed of having my own family one day I only knew one thing, I wanted my children to have sibblings. Now of course, 3 children later, I understand just how much I didn't understand.

Siblings are not automatic friends. Siblings pull hair, take toys and eat the half a cupcake that you were carefully saving for later. Siblings are always there, in your face whether you want them to be or not. Siblings call you stupid and throw things at your head out of boredom. They are a witness to all your most embarrasing moments.

As a parent I struggle with a heavy heart to point out all the benefits of my children not being singletons. I am pretty sure they don't believe me.

After a week solid of melt downs, tantrums and me being at my whit's end, I gave them each a walkie talkie. "Here go play. One of you upstairs and one of your downstairs." My best tactic is usually to separate and disctract.

This seemed like a sure way to keep them from fighting and screaming at each other. ...if only for a few moments of sanity.

Something amazing happened. They finally started playing well together... while playing apart. You can't play with a walkie talkie alone, you need someone to play with. For the first time I think they started to appreciate having a live-in playmate.

They also stopped yelling, and started listening to each other. Okay, it took the 4-year old a little longer to figure this one out. Nothing was accomplished by screaming at the other person. Cooperation was much more fun.

Then the game really starated.

They imagined they were secret agents on a mission. Spys with only one form of communication. I enjoyed the giggles and general calm that came over the house while they were engaged with their walkie talkies.

Okay, I don't expect my kids to build an amazing relationship overnight. Once the walkie talkies were put away for the afternoon the normal rounds of yelling and crying started back up again.  I do hope that I can help them appreciate the other one and maybe even create some good childhood memories. I hope they grow up and want to have more than one child.

Because after all,  I am an only child.

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