I’m doing the dishes and the kids are upstairs. They’re quiet for a few minutes and then it starts – I can hear them talking and though I can’t make out the words, I can tell that they’re bickering. The volume rises. B.G. yells “GET OUT!” A door slams. Bonhomme starts wailing and yelling “Let me in!” I drop the cup I’m holding into the sudsy water and prepare to dry my hands. If the past few days have been any indication, things are about to go from bad to worse. Yet I hesitate. I’m a big fan of parenting guru Alyson Shafer, and she is a big fan of letting kids work things out on their own. Plus, after a rough few weeks dealing with illness and weather and much fighting between the “worst little brother ever” and his “bum-butt” of a big sister, the last thing I feel like doing is heading up there and trying to sort things out. I hold my breath.
A bit more yelling. The volume is lower. A door closes then opens. Some fast talk. Something heavy and hard falls to the floor. Silence.
Has one knocked the other out?
I’m about to head upstairs when I hear the stampede on the steps. They’re coming down, both of them. No blood. No tears. Phew.
“We figured out how to share”, Bonhomme announces proudly. B.G. pipes up, “We both wanted to play with the magnet set, so we decided to separate the pieces into two piles and each take half.”
Amazing. I beam at them. “Wow, you guys are great at figuring out how to solve problems! You both wanted the magnet set and you decided to split it up and each take half! I’m so proud of you!” Reinforce, reinforce, reinforce. I bring up the wonderful sharing at least two more times. I make sure to mention what they did and how proud I am of their sharing to Hubby, within earshot of the kids.
Then I make a mental note of this moment to help get me through the next inevitable fight. I’m not so delusional as to think that it will always end this well. But I must admit that having it turn out like this every know and then – it sure helps.