I don't think I have posted a picture of my kids here before, but in order to get the gist of what I am talking about you need to watch this video. Yes, that is The Girl dancing happily and enjoying some Christmas music, only to have The Boy come and steal the doll she was holding which made her cry. This type of activity happens often in our house, one child happily playing with something only to have the other steal a toy or otherwise interrupt the play so that they in turn become the center of attention. Sometimes it is entertaining for me, other times it is exhausting, but mostly I've been looking at things from my parents' perspective. I vividly remember playing similar games with my brother when we were young, and it is only now that I can see why my parents reacted the way that they did. Ah, this must be where the "I hope you have children just like you when you grow up" phrase comes from!
Typical scene from my childhood: My brother and I minding our own business, I decide to approach him only to have him tell me to get away from him. I continue prodding him until he says something to the effect of "if you touch/talk to/breathe on me one more time I will pound you to the ground." Of course I could never resist and always pushed that button that was just dangling in front of my eyes, and then got beat up. I did my best girly fight moves, biting, kicking, pinching, and scratching and probably held my own for a while but ended up on the losing end most times. I would then go crying to my parents for help, only to be met with "what did you do to make him hit you?" Not only was I hurt, but I had no sympathetic ears to cry to. Life seemed very unfair to me then.
Now, as I watch The Girl purposely take The Boy's beloved Cars figures away from him, only to run away and giggle and wait for him to chase her I finally get it. The fight was my entertainment as pathetic as it was, and The Girl is getting hers that way too. Hopefully physical violence doesn't ensue in my house in the near future, but I guess I just see it as inevitable at some point. The Boy takes toys away to make The Girl cry too, he knows it is a sure fire way to engage her negatively or not...it also garners attention from the parents.
I would like to find better ways of dealing with this stuff then just blaming the instigator and letting things unfold, but I'm wondering if that is even feasible. I have a feeling that The Girl will just get scrappier and scrappier as the years roll on, and The Boy will refine his methods of retaliation. Amazing how different it is when you are in the driver's seat, and still don't think you can control the train wreck. I just want to take this moment to say, Mom (and Dad) I'm sorry for adding to your grey hair counts.