Quick! Describe the sibling relationship going on in your house right now in one word:
Now describe it in five words:
SERIOUSLYBEATINGS. ALL. THE. LIVELONG. DAY.
No, I am not beating my children. I personally engage in zero beatings or beating-type behavior with them. They beat on each other.
And leg-wrestle, which is boy-speak for "We're really just kicking each other, but it's okay because SPORTS."
Over the weekend Ezra bit Noah in the middle of Target — bit him so hard that Noah had teeth marks on his arm through his winter coat.
As far as I can tell, he bit Noah simply because he'd been pretending to bite Noah for awhile and that game got boring.
(Dear Noah: HE LEARNED IT FROM WATCHING YOOOOOUUUU.)
They antagonize each other constantly. They demand that the other "leave me alonnnne" and then are up in each other's grill 10 seconds later, playing full-contact tug-of-war over a toy, a throw pillow, a goddamned broom.
Ike only wants to play with Ezra. Ezra only wants to play with Noah. Noah only wants to play with Ike.
There is no overlap or compromise to that flowchart; only the sound of one child shrieking because an unacceptable playmate is invading his personal space, trying to get his attention, breathing on his toys, etc.
There is always some kind of confiscated weapon on our mantel or on top of the fridge.
I DON'T KNOW WHERE THIS STUFF EVEN COMES FROM. Not that it matters, because even in the complete absence of plastic swords or lightsabers, they'll just battle with the aforementioned throw pillows and broom handles.
Everyone gets ready for bed in shifts now, since Noah and Ezra proved to be completely incapable of going upstairs together and putting on pajamas at the same time without somebody getting hurt. Or somebody pretending to get hurt because they know Mommy's rubber-band nerves have HAD IT by 8 pm and they can get their sibling's reading-light or come-back-downstairs-for-10-minutes privileges revoked, because it is a goddamn Machiavellian Man Cave up there.
The other night a war broke out over two empty milk containers.
I repeat: TWO. EMPTY. MILK. CONTAINERS.
Ike "rescued" these precious items from our recycling bin and they immediately became like, THE hot toy item of the century. Forget Cabbage Patch dolls and Tickle Me Elmo: Kids today are all the unrinsed, slightly dented recyclables. Please stampede accordingly.
This is what was originally going on elsewhere. It was working out as well as you might imagine, which is to say, omg, children, there is an entire house to play in and yet you are insisting on Thunderdoming it out for the same three feet of Blanket Fort. It's like you WANT to get kicked in the face or something.
But then: A challenger appears. EMPTY MILK CONTAINERS. HOLY SHIT.
(Forgive the random extra car seat sitting in our living room. It's now stored safely away in the basement because MY CHILDREN WOULDN'T STOP FIGHTING OVER WHO GOT TO SIT IN IT.)
Anyway, yeah. There were tears. ACTUAL TEARS.
And while I know it's probably all kinds of cruel to sit there snapping pictures while your four year old sobs hysterically, allow me to remind you that my four year old was sobbing hysterically over EMPTY MILK CONTAINERS, and one day I will need these photos to settle arguments with his teenaged self, like when he's telling me that he's mature enough to take his hovercar out to Mars for the Intergalactic Planking Championships or something.
No. You once lost your shit over stuff your brother pulled out of the trash. YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID.
(Ike was all, nice try. I am also unmoved by your misery.)
So that's what life is like approximately...all the time. We do get occasional moments of brotherly love — Ike might deign to hug Noah before running away, or at least manage to run away before Noah insists on grabbing him around the neck because I WILL MAKE YOU LOVE ME. I WILL CUDDLE YOU SO HARD AGAINST YOUR WILL. I'll hear Ezra shout "Don't you hurt my brother!" to an over-aggressive playmate, or give part of his dessert to someone who didn't get any, just because.
And sometimes Noah and Ezra will bond after getting sent to their room for fighting and I'll find them cuddled up together, reading a story and talking about how mean and awful I am. So that's nice too.