The civil unrest began shortly after breakfast, when I went out to get my morning exercise. (We have a sidewalk loop right in front of our townhouse where I try walk a mile or two each morning.) The girls declined my invitation to come out an play while I walked, stating that they were "in the middle of THE most awesome story show ever and didn't have time." Whatever. They were getting along nicely, so I let it go.
Twenty minutes into my walk, just as I was getting to the good part of the Harry Potter book I'm reading, Birdie came charging out the front door. She let the whole neighborhood know that "Sissy tried to strangle me with her bare hands! TWICE!"
|Vicious, aren't they? (borrowed image)|
Great. "So what did you do to cause that reaction, Birdie?" Guess I'll finish my walk later.
"Uhhhhhh, nothing?!" She said this like it was a question. Which meant the answer was decidedly not "nothing".
"I see. Well, let's go see your sister."
As soon as I walked in the door, Princess yelled "Maaaaah-ma! Birdie put a bag over my head!"
So that's what passes for "nothing" these days. Good to know.
We had to have a talk. Obviously.
"Birdie did what to you? What instigated that?! What did you do to her?"
"We were doing story show, and Birdie didn't like what one of my characters did, so I kicked her out of my room. And then she put her Dance bag over my head! I had to strangle her mom-- I had no choice!"
Well. Hmmm. How do you proceed after a disturbing statement like that?! Shaking them both was probably not the way to go.
"You both realize that you could have really hurt each other, right? Like "dead" hurt. (This was a tad dramatic, but sometimes it takes a little drama with these two.) I thought that the whole "thou shalt not try to kill your sister" rule was universally understood. Apparently, I should have made that more clear." (Rules are VERY important with my girls. Usually.)
"That IS NOT a rule! Really?!" Princess was really surprised by this basic tenet of morality, it would seem. But in short order, she recovered from the shock of it all. She then explained to me that she didn't try to break the "thou shalt no try to murder thy sister" rule, she was simply "giving me a break" by disciplining Birdie for me. So I "could finish my walk". No biggie. She seemed to be waiting for some sort of gratitude from me. All she got was my slack jaw, bouncing off the floor.
When I had finally wrapped my brain around that little nugget of kid-logic, I asked Princess "How 'bout you leave the discipline to Mom, huh? And since when have I doled out strangulation as a punishment for anything?! (Ok, so in my head I dole out lots of strangulation punishment to the world at large, but my girls don't know that, and it doesn't count anyway! It's in my head, for Pete's sake!)
In unison, I received a "Yes, Mom." I then doled out my non-strangulation punishment (aka walking the stairs AND no popcorn at the movie theater that morning) to them both, with a little extra for Birdie for lying to me. I also let them know that any other bad behavior would result in the loss of their Wednesday pool trip. Surely that would do the trick!
Not so much.
I spent the whole rest of the day refereeing one dispute after another, until I finally sent them to separate rooms and dared them to come out. They lost their pool privileges today AND got sent to bed 30 minutes early last night, but that last part was less punishment to them than it was relief to me. I had to get them out of my sight before I started having trouble remembering just how much I love them. Sheesh!
I looked forward to starting again fresh today. Or so I thought.
After breakfast this morning, Birdie walked up to me and gave me a huge hug, and then kissed me on the cheek and said "Love you, Mom." Oh dear, the kisses and hugs can only mean one thing this early in the morning-- manipulation. It seems that Birdie really wishes she was going to the pool today. She looked at me ever-so-sincerely and told me "You know, Mom, you're breaking the 'understood rule for good health' (that's a new one) about getting enough exercise every day, since you're not letting us go to the pool. You could be putting our health at risk by making us stay home! The pool is the safest place to exercise in this heatwave, and we need our exercise!"
|Maybe some other day, but not today...|
Do you know how hard it is to resist rolling your eyes after a line like that? I bet you could guess.
Before thinking for more than a second, the word "bullshit" escaped my mouth, disguised as a fake sneeze. Not my finest moment, but also not unwarranted.
"See, Mom! Your health is already suffering from your poor decision to break the exercise rule! You should reconsider, for your own healthiness."
How bad would it be right now if I broke the "thou shalt not reach out and touch someone over and over in an angry manner" rule?
I think the "smile" I plastered on my face after her little observation must have seemed somewhat unstable, because Birdie made herself scarce with a mousy little "nevermind".
After the initial shock of her audacity wore off, I am finding Birdie's attempt at politicking quite funny, but you better believe I'm not going to let her know that!