He’s looking at me

Nowadays, are kids as unfamiliar with the movie ‘Bambi‘ as they are the rotary phone and cassette player? [Spoiler alert!] Even though Bambi’s mother was killed (the butler did it), the movie is full of excellent lessons with very little dialogue.

During one scene, Thumper says about Bambi, “He doesn’t walk very good, does he?” His mother quickly chimes in and says, “Thumper, what did your father tell you this morning?” Thumper responds, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

I shutdown my main Facebook account, because I was tired of all the negativity filling the walls. Unfortunately, I am unable to take such actions on my kids.

Tape an audio player to my chest and put the switch on repeat … I am constantly reminding my kids to say something nice to each other or say nothing to each other. Of course, then I need to remind the boys to keep their hands to themselves, which is followed by the reminder to stop looking at each other, which is followed by the reminder to keep their tongues in their mouth, which is followed by … well, you get the idea.

The proposed basement dweller

Recently, during a seemingly infinite ride to school, Joe said, “Mommy, Charlie is so annoying! Can he just live in the basement?”

Brotherly love is a wonderful thing to witness, don’t you think? In all fairness, Joe and Charlie do get along more often than not, provided they are sitting in separate rooms, on separate couches or in separate buildings.

During another never ending ride to school, Joe asked, “Mommy, can we get a mini van, so Charlie can sit in the way-back and I can sit in the middle?”

I have four sisters and one brother, and I am the youngest. I am not oblivious to the back and forth fighting that takes place between siblings. I understand sibling bickering, sibling annoyances and sibling battles. In fact, my brother (49 yrs old) and I (42 yrs old) continue to push each others buttons on occasion, just to see if the button still registers a reaction. (Yes, our pushed buttons still generates a reaction.)

When I was a kid, I had an easy time annoying one of my sisters (the one closest to my age). Honestly, I enjoyed bothering her.

But the flip side – as a parent? Oh my goodness, how on earth is my Mom still living after raising six bickering kids? Get this – my Mom still has a full head of hair, too!  AND … my Mom does not drink alcohol or smoke.  AND … my Mom does not eat ice cream on a daily basis either!

The one requesting a mini van.

I posed the following question to several friends: “Do your kids fight and/or did you fight with your sibling when you were young?” Based on the responses so far, my kids are oddballs, and me and my siblings are oddballs. (As if we were not oddballs prior to bickering.)

Apparently, other kids (and former kids) in the world get along with their siblings, and every day is a lovefest, minus one or two moments where one sibling insists on sharing his toys with his sibling and the other sibling insists she shares her toys with him.

I am not sure I believe my friends are telling the whole truth, though I am not going to challenge their claim. I’ll take the advice of Thumper’s father and not say anything at all.

I admit the fact that I thought picking on my sister was fun, especially when it aggravated her. However, hearing my boys pick on each other for every little thing is … well, it’s annoying.

I suppose parental payback comes in all forms, which explains why my Mom laughed hard when I shared my frustration with her.

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50 thoughts on “He’s looking at me

    • “It was not a peaceful co-existence.” I hope you don’t mind that your comment made me laugh, PW. I think my Mom (and Dad) were happy when we moved out … perhaps not as happy when returned. Fortunately, we moved out again. Hahahaha. Good to see you, PW. Always.

  1. “Joe and Charlie do get along more often than not, provided they are sitting in separate rooms, on separate couches or in separate buildings.”
    Hahaha!

    I think the same thing of my mom…how can she still be (somewhat) sane after raising me and my five brothers? And you’re so right: payback is a…um…unfortunate situation. ;)

    Maybe Charlie and Joe bicker a lot because their ages are closer together? I say this because my three older brothers were all only about 1 year apart in age and they were holy terrors growing up. My mom called them the Three Stooges, always hitting and poking and making each other cry.

    • The Three Stooges!!! LOVE IT! I am sharing that bit of information with Rob, when he gets home. Absolutely hilarious!
      My sister and I were 5yrs apart. I followed her everywhere. Everywhere. She hated it. Charlie wants to follow Joe everywhere. Yep, you guessed it – everywhere. Joe hates it.
      I don’t know if the year spread makes a difference or not. I think it is whether or not one is content on their own. Clearly, I was not – nor is Charlie. Poooooor Joe.
      … Three Stooges. Still cracks me up! Sounds like your Mom has a sense of humor!

  2. All these years later I still remember my two bickering. But my friends also told and still tell me what angelic kids they had. My two at ages 51 and 49 still know how and when to push each others buttons on occasions. I guess you just never forget.
    And while my two sisters and I mostly got on well, there were times when…
    I too love the quote “Joe and Charlie do get along more often than not, provided they are sitting in separate rooms, on separate couches or in separate buildings.” Doesn’t that say it all. :)

    • Judith, our house is small (relatively speaking). I’ve often thought about putting the boys in the same room, so we could leave the toys in the empty bedroom vs. the dinning room. However, when I see them battle, I realize – separation (especially at night) is a good thing. :)
      Funny how your friends had such angels… I’m sorry you were not as fortunate. (wink, wink)
      So happy you stopped by and could relate to the bickering. Thank you!

  3. My sister is my favorite person in the world. I love that I can literally cuss her out and then go to lunch with her. When we were little she would insist on a bite of yogurt for each bite I took – and she HATED yogurt. She would hit me so I would hit her back. She would hit me lighter, I harder. Then lighter and harder and lighter and harder until she was unconscious (not really, but you get the idea). In addition to us, my aunt ad 6 kids of her own to feed breakfast EVERY DAY when my mom dropped us there in the morning and picked us up after she got off work. Aunt Sharon is a SAINT. Seriously. We were a bunch of crazy loons spanning 14 years, each fighting with the other and ganging up on each other.

    Every sibling fights. If not, there’s something wrong I say.

    • “… until she was unconscious.” Hahahahahahahaha! Love it.
      As I told you, my brother played the hitting game, “Lenore, let’s see who can hit softer. You go first.” Of course, I would hit him oh so lightly, and he’d nearly slug me. “Gosh, Lenore. I guess I lost. What to play again?” Sadly Kim, I think I would play again. *dork*
      Hmmm… I could teach that game to Joe and Charlie!! (kidding)

  4. Oh you’re in the thick of those years! It can really wear on a person. I don’t remember the girls fighting…they were five years apart and the younger one was a great observer, rather than retorter. They are also so very different so they really don’t threaten each other. But my mother bless her, an only child of only children, came from a really quiet household and then had four of us, two boys + two girls. I remember not being able to wait until the noise died down. It did. And, I’m so glad for my mother she doesn’t have to listen to that anymore. The best years are yet to come. They are so lucky to have a mom with a sense of humor and loves ice cream. Yes, there’s a lot of laughter coming.

    • I am pleased to say, the ride home from school was pleasant. The two actually spoke to each other nicely, with no jabs, looks or bursts of rudeness. Yes, it was an enjoyable ride home.
      Still, I do seem to be in the thick of these sorts of years, Georgette. Writing about their bickering enables me to find the humor more easily. If they were good and boring kids, my posts would be boring and not good. I should write them a thank you note, or try to egg ‘em on for more battles that I can turn into a humorous post. :)
      Thank you for the words of encouragement.

  5. As I say…my boys (ages 3 1/2 & 7 1/2) love each other to death…they will hug each other to the ground and kiss each other good night and always laugh their heads off at something we never understand!!! My husband is an only child (as are his mother and father…so no aunts, uncles or cousins) and he is amazed at what “family” can do to each other ….good and bad!

    • Your boys are adorable, Lisa. I do enjoy watching the two interact with one another. I can attest to your claim that they do love each other. OK. You are not lying. (smile)
      As I told Georgette, the boys were kind to each other on the ride home from school today. I’ll hold on to that moment for the rest of the week. (giggle, giggle.)
      They are my source for writing – may they continue to inspire me with the craziness! :)

  6. Your friends are all lying. There is no way that siblings get along great all the time with one or two exceptions. I have 2 kids (you know them) and they get along most of the time. But there is also A LOT of bickering however my kids are the oddballs because it’s generally my older one picking on the younger one, not the other way around. I also had a younger brother and we fought all the time (I’m not sure how my mom survived that one either). He knew which buttons of mine to push and did so on a daily basis. Multiple times. Yeah, you’re friends are lying.

    • Hahahahahaha! Tell me how you really feel, Andrea HT. And yes, I do know your two kids. Frankly, the week I was there – the two got along super well. I was impressed. Then again, all four kids got along super well. Man, what a wonderful week that was in July.
      … “Yeah, you’re friends are lying.” Cracking me up!! (Love you! Mean it!)

  7. My boys were 9 years apart and could not leave each other alone for a minute – always picking at each other, bickering and egging each other on. Now they are very close (although they do still know how to get on each other’s nerves.)

    My mother had 8 children and did not put up with a lot…in the house (outdoors we were pretty wild).

    Your boys are sweet looking – I’m sure they are angels.

    • K8, I can’t say as I put up with a great deal, either. Though after awhile, I’m tired of hearing my own loud voice. But, as you noticed, my boys look sweet and are – no doubt – angels, so I rarely have to raise my voice. Only on days the days of the week that end in ‘y’.
      8 children? Bless her. I’m guessing your Mom enjoyed it when you all played together …. outside.
      I’m glad to hear your boys are close now. I’m close with my siblings, too – even when my brother pushes my buttons.

  8. I have a 4 year old and a 1 year old…they love each other and love to aggravate each other or more so the 4 year old loves to aggravate. As soon as the little one picks something up my older son has to have it, or the toy could have been sitting on the floor for a while and the litter guy picks it up only to hear big brother claim he was playing with it.. ugh. I just recently said on my FB page that I feel like we are constantly saying, stop that..why did you do that..what happened..I asked you to stop..be nice to your brother..are you listening to me..just play nice..why are you crying.. its a never ending battle.. I just hope they grow up to protect and love each other..I’m sure they will but I will just keep.pushing that into their brains ;)

    • to add to this..you mentioned that you and your brother push each others buttons..well that has been happening for years between my husband and his brother so much so that recently they stopped talking..I actually made a post recently called Family Ties. Very sad situation..just can’t beleive so many things can wedge themselves between blood.

      • My heart goes out to your husband and his brother, PW. I am sad they have cut off the ties of communication. I hope the two find a way to reconnect. Family bonds are precious. I am grateful my siblings and I are close, even with the pushing of buttons. I’ll be sure to read your Family Ties post.

    • Isn’t that funny … a toy can go unused and unnoticed for weeks, if not months. However, the instant the ‘other’ one wants to play with the forgotten toy – it is THE toy to have. You’ve described a common thread to the entire world, I think. :) And yes, we do tend to repeat ourselves constantly … Fortunately, these are all just short (relatively speaking) phases in life. This too shall pass. Good to see you again, Pinky Wink!

  9. Is it all right that I do not understand any of this? I do not have children. And it was I who normally pushed my brother’s button, and he quiet graciously pulled it out. That’s it.

    It must be less than fun though. Our neighbours had a family over for dinner last evening. They, husband and wife, were audibly agonised with the doings of their two small children. The mother went on to shout at the daughter, the younger of the two, I suppose, “Go watch the cartoons, you twit.” Wow. I hope this adds a little to your admiration of your mother!

    • Well Priya, seems you have some understanding. How nice that your brother would simply pull out the pushed button. Kinda takes the fun out of bushing buttons, I suppose.
      Did your neighbor really call their child a ‘twit’? This makes me sad. I’m also sorry you had to hear their bickering, which seemed to come more from the adults than the children.
      With regards to my mother … yes, I have a great deal of admiration for her. As always, Priya, I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a note behind.

  10. We (my siblings and I) fought like cats & dogs. Our boys didn’t fight as much maybe b/c of their age difference (8years) but I remember the older one getting soooooooooooo annoyed with the younger one wanting to come around him.

    Deep breaths!!

    And ice cream!! :) MJ

    • I think that is one of the most common reactions, MJ …. The older child is annoyed that the younger child wants to tag along all the time.
      Happily, Joe, Charlie and I had a fun ride to school this morning. We spent the time counting school buses. 41 total, and no bickering!
      Thank you for visiting.

  11. My sister is 6 years older than me and I annoyed the ever-living crap out of her on a daily basis (not on purpose. okay, maybe a little on purpose)and she tortured me endlessly. My mom didn’t think we would ever get along. That all changed when I was about 14 (aka: turned into a human being) and now we couldn’t live without one another.

    • Yet another indication that my kids are not such ‘oddballs’, at least when it comes to the sibling discourse. (smile) I am glad you and your sister are friends now, Amy. Sisters do kinda rock!

  12. Pam and Shelia bickered all the time!! Siblings get along famously AND bicker best! (Hurtful stuff needs to be addressed of course.) When Shannon returned home after a week at Girl Scout Camp, Michael was all over her annoying her and bugging her BECAUSE HE MISSED HER!!! It was his way of saying, “Welcome back, I missed you.” Seriously.
    Joe is funny. … a mini van so Charlie can sit in the way back… funny.

    • I’m so glad you read this AND commented, Carol. Thank you! ( <—— That's one of my sisters!)
      I think Pam and Shelia were bad influences. We would have been loving siblings if it weren't for those meddling kids – er – neighbors.

  13. “Mommy, can we get a mini van, so Charlie can sit in the way-back and I can sit in the middle?”

    Fantastically hilarious! And bless you for having two fabulous boys and for teaching them great lessons. You may not think they are going in, but you are front-loading them with good stuff. ;-)

    I cannot believe how many siblings you have. Wowza. I’m impressed. You know, because your mom isn’t addicted to Xanax. Off to tweet you!

    • Thank you, Ms. Vix. And yes – Disney does a great job on making folks cry. And I think my Mom deserves more props for making it through the chaos. Two kids would be ‘nothing’ to her. :)

  14. Allow me to make you feel a whole lot better about yourself….

    My children fight about everything. When they were little they used to fight about who walked out the door first, who got into the mini-van first and who pushed the elevator button first at preschool. I used to have heart palpitations each time I took them to school.

    Today, they fight about what’s on tv, who’s sitting where, who ate the last oreo cookie and who actually made the smelly fart.

    I used to think it was because I made the mistake of having 3 children in less than 3 years. Now, I believe it’s part of growing-up, learning life’s lessons through interacting with one another.

    • You know what made me feel better? The fact that you mentioned you used to have heart palpitations. Thank goodness it is not just me. [Thank you blogosphere for validating my quirks.]
      Joe and Charlie often battle with who is first …. regardless of the task. “It is not a race!” Is another common phrase in our house. Unga munga …
      If this is how my boys are learning their social skills…. I feel (fear) for their friends.
      Thank you for relating, Nancy. I feel a little better. (smile)

  15. I was an only child, so imagine my horror when I found that my children were, (gasp!) fighting! You are doing a great job. Know this, It comes to pass. Two of my children are in college and one is a senior in high school and they actually seem to enjoy one another now.

    • “so imagine my horror when I found that my children were, (gasp!) fighting!” So funny.
      My Mom told me her first three did not fight, and she thought something was wrong. She remembered bickering with her siblings and wondered why her three were not fighting. Then, the last three arrived… my Mom felt all was right in the world, because we three fought like siblings should. :)
      I know these boys will be friends when they get older … I remind myself and the boys every day. Thanks for visiting and comment, JTE!

  16. My siblings and I got along famously most the time, mostly because we were each others’ support systems. But I’d be lying through my teeth if I said I never locked my siblings in the basement, nabbed the lightbulb and said “Chucky’s gonna get you!” Or that my youngest sister didn’t drop a full can of dog food on my head because she was sick of me nagging her about my chores. Or that my brother didn’t get some very, um, unfortunate torture from his all-girl siblings. Those were a part of my childhood, too, although it’s more fun to remember the sweet moments!

    • “Chucky’s gonna get you!” That is wrong, Deb. Just wrong. (hahahahahha!) I had my own dog food experience …. my brother gave me a bowl, told me it was Coco Puffs and well…. I ate it. Ah, siblings.
      I agree, it is more fun to remember the sweet moments. For certain. Thanks for visiting. I always enjoy ‘seeing’ you here.

  17. The best part, Lenore, is when you’re talking with a couple of empty-nesters and they tell you how nostalgic you’re going to someday get over this stuff. I couldn’t count how many times I ended a parental rant with, “Really? I’m going to miss this?”

    • Please tell me Charles… you don’t miss it do you? I often feel a tinge of guilt when I am ‘told’ I am going to miss something. If I don’t miss a certain stage of the kids’ life, am I a lesser parent?

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