Today’s Writing 101 Prompt: Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.
YOU AREN’T RESPECTING MY UMBRELLA!!!
Such was the discussion between my six and eight year old daughters en route to school last week. We recently had a wind-related umbrella incident which reduced our pool of umbrellas by one. As a result our eight year old is currently required to share one of her two umbrellas with her sister.
When we are walking to school with umbrellas and it is not actively raining, my six year old prefers to use her umbrella as a walking stick. It has a fine tip for poking into the grass and tapping on the pavement along the sidewalk. My eight year old was not enthusiastic about seeing her umbrella treated in such a fashion.
Like most siblings (other than my brother and I of course) our two oldest tend to have occasional disagreements. Or put another way, they have occasional agreements. Many days the battling seems to be non-stop. Last night they went outside while I was making dinner and they hadn’t been out for more then a few minutes when the screaming erupted and my oldest was claiming that her sister had bitten her while she was trying to climb the tree. Upon inspection she did seem to have evidence in favour of her side of the story in the form of teeth marks in her hand…
Often the battles are over relatively minor issues.
- I am right
- No I am right
- Space at the sink for the brushing of the teeth
- She hit me back first!
- Clothes in the wrong drawers – frankly they are lucky I don’t just stuff them in the same way I find them in the laundry
- Stop humming!
- The show they both want to watch, but disagree about who gets to choose it
- You are wrong
- No I am not!
- Who gets to lead the bike ride to school
Ours is not to question why…
Part of the reason for the fighting is no doubt their proximity in age and size. Our six year old is almost the same height as her sister. Part of it stems from the differences in their personalities and the way they view the world around them.
My oldest is more analytical. She knows lots of stuff and she absorbs information like a sponge. She is destined to be our household Jeopardy champion. If I ever need to the name of a particular dinosaur or when exactly a zygote officially becomes a fetus, she is my go to source. She is also good with questions of space, math and who was right in a particular battle with her sister.
The thing is, she usually is right – at least her facts. She is also crafty – in a sneaky kind of way. Yesterday an argument broke out because my six year old was pulling a small ball that she has attached to a thin piece of ribbon. My eight year old was standing on the ribbon while her sister was shouting at her to get off of the string. When the shouting was done and the issue resolved – by fatherly intervention – my eight year old claimed to have no idea what her sister had been shouting about since she had not been standing on a string in the first place.
This accuracy is often the foundation of her arguments. She seems to need to be right, regardless of how important the issue is and she clings to that ‘rightness’ tenaciously. I often find myself asking her if the issue matters. For her it is worth being right about every issue in the moment. After they have been separated and sent to their respective corners she will acknowledge that perhaps it didn’t matter that much after all.
Our six year old, on the other hand, is a tease. She likes to push buttons. She needles her sister to get a rise out of her. She is also sneaky and pretty good at identifying our respective buttons and pushing at them when she wants attention. When we tell her to stop the behaviour she gets angry. Once she gets angry she stops using words to communicate and responds with grunts, squeals and violence. When she is wrong she is most likely to respond by retreating physically into silence. She actively resists anything resembling an apology, even if she caused injury to someone by accident. (Although last night she did apologize for the biting incident – after a somewhat suspect explanation of what happened from her perspective).
Our six year old is a physical kid. She has lots of physical energy and needs to run and bounce to burn it off. She gets frustrated when other people don’t join her and she still has challenges managing her emotions.
To The Victor Goes…
Actually I hope that Laura and I are the victors and we survive this warfare. I am sure that peace is right around the corner.
Here’s hoping I don’t get bitten along the way.
This is one of my pieces for the WordPress Writing 101 workshop and I welcome any critiques you might offer about the writing in this post.