Saturday, November 15, 2008

Flip Flop

If you knew how many times I have sat down in front of my keyboard to write something about how having three kids always means that one if left out, one is the odd man, one is mad at the other two - let's just say that I've practiced writing about these things an awful lot.

Because it is true.

On any given day, my kids are choosing sides. It could be that brothers are banding together, submitting to activities (like sawing and nailing, something you aren't allowed to do without adult supervision in our home at age 5) just to get some peace from their little sister. It could be that oldest and youngest are palling around, he with her on his back and she declaring him "her bestest brother in the world." It could be that the middle one and the youngest have set up fort in either of their bedrooms with the "camping tv" and a thousand blankets, posting a "secret club" sign on the door banning anyone not belonging (the oldest) from entering.

You just never know.

I suppose that is why we got a dog, to be the companion of whomever is left behind . . .

Long ago I used to fight them on this. I would say again and again that they needed to all get along or they would all be sent to their own rooms. I would shake my fists in the air, pull my hair out and clench my teeth at the seemingly daily struggle to create peace and harmony in our family that included all three of my children.

Then, I gave up.

I got sick of swimming upstream and quite frankly, my arms were starting to hurt from waving them in the air constantly.

While I do not support meanness, rudeness, and saying unkind things to your siblings, I do understand that it is ok if they break off into their little packs once in awhile. And while I can see how frustrating the 5 year age difference between Katie and her brothers can be sometimes, especially for Wyatt, I am fully aware that she needs to learn, just as they did - how to be a good person and to get along with others.

And these things aren't learned over night.

It takes time and patience and perseverance. And all I can do, as the parent, is repeat, repeat, repeat and hope that by doing so, eventually, my children will learn how to interact with others, how to get along, how to be a nice person to be around and someone with enough friends to get them through the rough patches in life.

Crossing my fingers the whole time that the lessons they've learned at home were enough.

This Saturday morning, the alliances have flipped again in our home. McRae is playing the role of the pre-teen, lounging around like he's had a really hard night of X-Boxing (which he hasn't) and the entire world owes him something. Katie and Wyatt have decided they want nothing to do with his "angstyness" so they are going to watch a DVD in a homemade fort in her room and eat waffles all morning.

Wyatt even told his sister he would get her "that when you are sick thing" (aka, the tray) to use as a make-shift table on which to eat her waffles.

I don't expect it to stay this way all day, and that's fine. It's fine because this is just the way it is with three. And if you ask me, it could not be any more perfect.

Even though they drive me crazy, in a good way . . .


Kyla said...

I grew up with two siblings and only have two kids, so I've never experienced this personally, but I can totally see how it would be a mix and match dynamic on any given day. I think it is good, though, the variety and opportunity to do different things with different people.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

One of the reason I did not stop at 2 is that with 2 there is only one dynamic possible and with more than 2 there are so many possibilities. It is sometimes frustrating and frequently wonderful.

Meghann said...

Hi fellow stream-partier! :D

Dr. Cason said...

Oh man it is tough huh!

I constantly remind my kids to remember everyone and play with kindness!

Momisodes said...

I can only imagine how tough it is.

Sibling relationships are so special and unique. It's certainly why we hope to have another child one day.

Amanda said...

Dude, I'm there, earlier, but you know, swimming with against and inside of three distinct currents.

Grim Reality Girl said...

I think there is always someone left out when you have more than two. Even with 2 sometimes they leave each other out (especially when a certain cousin is involved). It hurt me growing up to be left out (I was younger yet not youngest)... but I think I'm a better person because of it. Somehow these things work out. I'm glad you have the power not to play King Solomon!

painted maypole said...

this hits where it hurts today. with two sick parents poor MQ has been left to fend for herself most of the weekend, with no playmates at all.

wyliekat said...

Speaking as a middle child, I can tell you that the ever shifting dynamics of sibling life do fortify you for later experiences.


Rachel said...

Maybe you need FOUR? ;)

The pairing off and the squabbling is a fact of life at our house, too, even in pairs. I have just recently mastered the "Play nicely together or play alone in your room" technique. Nothing like forced separation to make them long for eachother's company. I catch them sneaking into one another's rooms to play quietly... :)

Kimmylyn said...

I am the oldest of three girls.. I was also the nerd of our little clan.. My sisters never hung out with me..guess who is the cool one now? yep me.. LOL.. sorry those memories of growing up ..with the flip flops came rushing back.. it really does all even out..

Kristin said...

I struggle with the 3 as well... sometimes I have seriously thought about another child just to even things out... can you imagine?