Thursday, July 29, 2010

Way Ahead of Me

One of the parental-type things that concerns me most is that Boy Wonder and Miss M don’t always get along. That's a bit of an understatement. In fact, a lot of my parenting energy is spent breaking up arguments, sending the small people to opposite corners of the room, and soothing hurt feelings. But a child psychologist once told me research indicates that even if your children get along only 10% of the time, they can still have a normal adult relationship. (Yeah, right. Living on opposite sides of the continent.)

At any rate, when I see the 500Jerk kids enjoying each other, I’m quick to notice and heap on the praise. a very obvious tactic that led to this conversation with sweets-obsessed nine year-old Miss M last night:

500Jerk: So you and Boy Wonder have been getting along better.

Miss M (disinterested, examining nails): Yep. Kinda.

500Jerk (pressing): Why is that, you think?

Miss M (sighing): I don’t know.

500Jerk: No, really, I want to know. Are you maybe being nicer to each other?

Miss M (snorts): No.

500Jerk (stumped): Hmph. What is it, then?


Miss M (evil smile): You know what, Mom? I think it’s because we've been having candy. That’s what it is. We definitely, definitely need more candy.

Although I have always thought that trifecta of social power—threats, bribes, and deception—was mine alone to wield in the 500Jerk household, I can see now that my fourth-grader has taken the reins in her own hands.

Lord help us.


AppyLove said...

"Trifecta of social power" is pretty much the best thing I've heard all week. Gosh, you are a great writer.

I feel I have to tell you that my brother and I (three actual years apart, 4 in school) still get in whopping arguments, often in my parents' kitchen. Actually, I would call them all-out fights. We had one a couple years ago that resulted in a period of not speaking to each other, followed by actual adult apologies, which was weird. He is the most curmudgeonly 27 year old I have ever met, insists that his taste is superior to anyone else's, etc. etc. We have been fighting like this for our whole lives.

But he also makes me laugh harder than anyone, and when I saw him cry over a girlfriend a few years ago I couldn't eat for a week, and if he needed a heart transplant, I would be like, "TAKE MINE."

So I think the child psychologist is right. In some ways, I think having a sibling lets you exorcise a lot of pent-up societal anger and self-loathing on someone who shares your DNA but will most likely still love you even after you tell them they will be trapped in the world of the bourgeois forever (exact quote).

That's what I'm hoping, anyway. For my sake as well as those of my future kids. Tell Miss M that I won't deny that my whole childhood would have been better with more candy, though.

500Jerk said...

Thanks for the compliment. Your brother's quote is still making me laugh every time I read it. And thanks so much for your thoughtful commentary about siblings--being an only, sibling issues kind of elude me. Sounds like the love/hate thing could go on for some time.

I will tell Miss M you are advocating for more candy in childhood--she will be your fan for life.