It never ceases to amaze me how my husband’s DNA and mine could combine to create two totally different children. They are yin and yang; the sun and the moon; summer and winter; well, you get the idea.
She likes chocolate ice cream. He likes vanilla. She’s a Coca-cola girl. He drinks Sprite. He loves peanut butter and jelly. She’d rather eat dirt than peanut butter. He’s up at the crack of dawn. She could sleep through a marching parade. He gels his hair. She runs screaming from the hairbrush. In his room, everything has a place. In her room, everything has a place on the floor. It’s enough to drive a mother mad.
I know they say opposites attract, but my husband and I are two peas in a pod. When it comes to food, habits, and organization, both of us fall right down the middle… except when it comes to some food, some habits and some organization. I like chocolate ice cream. He likes vanilla. I’m a Diet Coke girl. He drinks water. He’s up at the crack of dawn. In my dreams I get to sleep until noon. Still, it’s a mystery to me how we ended up with two kids who are so completely different… from each other, that is.
And because of their differences, or maybe just because they both breathe the same air, they fight with each other about everything.
“MOM, she hit me.”
“Well, he closed the door on my hair.”
“Well, she wouldn’t get out of my room.”
“Well, I had to go in his room because he took my Bucky Balls.”
“Well I had to take her Bucky Balls because she wouldn’t turn her music down.”
“Well I had to turn it up because he was burping too loud.”
“Why were you burping so loud?” I ask, taking the bait.
“To annoy her,” he says and smiles.
If nothing else, at least they’re honest.
Eventually we work it out. But most of the time I feel like a referee at a Yankees/ Red Sox game.
“Do you see Dad and I scream at each other when we argue?” I ask them.
“Yes,” they say in unison.
“No, that’s not screaming. That’s disagreeing loudly,” I explain.
Now one of the reasons we moved to the suburbs was for all the alleged quiet out here. After years of city living with cars alarms going off, people yelling, and the sound of fire truck sirens going through my living room, my nerves were frayed. So we came out here and got car alarms going off, kids yelling, and the sound of lawn mowers blaring though our living room. Not much I could do about the cars and lawn mowers, but at some point, I decided, differences or no, my kids were going to stop yelling at each other and get along.
I also decided at some point that I was not going to get any older than 35, which just goes to show you what kind of dream world I’m living in.
But anyway, one day after another screaming match about who’s turn it was to have control of the TV remote, I swooped in, grabbed the remote and turned off the TV.
“This fighting has to stop,” I said with parental authority. “From now on, every time I hear you guys fighting, you’re both going to lose half an hour of TV time.”
They looked panicked. I knew they would. “Finally,” I thought, “A viable solution to the chaos.”
Then my son whispered something in my daughter’s ear and they both smiled.
“We’re not fighting, mom. We’re disagreeing loudly.”
Torturing me. That, they agree on.