For 5 years or so, I have enjoyed relative peace and quiet while being a mother to 2 kids, compared to now. Sure, I have personally experienced sibling rivalry and squabbles growing up, being the elder sister to a sister 6 years younger. But an age-gap of 6 years also meant I could quarrel with my kid sister then either storm into my room, or roll my eyes and forget about her. In short, I could reason with myself to ignore my sister and her childish antics by the time she was old enough to pick fights with me. The same went with the Man, with his kid brother 7 years his junior.
So the 2 of us did not have first-hand experience of dealing with real sibling rivalry and fights actually. Now, we struggle to deal with that on a daily basis, seeing and hearing our kids engage in (super childish) squabbles and fights all the time, because Megan has now acquired the required language ability to do so. And it doesn’t help that our kids are almost opposite in personalities.
Matthew, a principled, responsible, obedient and everything-must-be-black-and-white elder brother. Megan, a carefree, easily distracted, spirited and rules-are-meant-to-be-broken younger sister. Put them together and add squabble-intolerant parents into the equation. The result? Noise pollution to the whole block of residents we stay with.
Matthew struggles to assert his authority as elder brother. He talks down to Megan, tries to correct everything she does, and when he fails to do so, complains bitterly to us. Megan refuses to be reined in and deliberately disregards everything Matthew tells her to do or not to do. Her favourite words to Matthew are ‘Nevermind’ and ‘It’s okay” whenever he tries to correct her.
On this occasion, we were all (trapped) in the car and the kids had been alternating between squabbling and laughing together for some time. Then Megan saw a road sign and started mis-spelling ‘STOP’ to ‘SOOP’ deliberately. Matthew tried his best to try to correct her, especially after I told her there is no such word as ‘soop’. He tried for 3 times, then in exasperation, hmmmphed very loudly and said ‘You know, I’m SICK of teaching you!”
Megan, with a smile in her voice, said ‘Noooo, you’re not sick.” Matthew gave up talking and stared out of the window instead.
I laughed out loud; I had to find it funny, else I might go crazy. I think I might just be sick, if I do not learn to tune out their noises soon…