And the parenting awards keep rolling in…

Now there’s an idea!

Monday mornings at our house are always fun.  It is a mad scramble to get everyone dressed, everything brushed and out the door before the first bell goes at school.

Today started out slow, it took special skills to coax the kids out of bed.

It also took major patience to get them fed and convince, especially the girls, to get dressed.  Daniel was on a roll and quite happily playing with the iPad as reward for being ready early.

As I was packing Mignon’s ballet clothes into her suitcase (yes, I should have done this last night, judge away) Isabel comes into the kitchen looking for her boots.

Here’s the thing about twins: they are great to have around when one forgets the words or tune to a song they learnt in class, as there’s always someone to help.  They really are double the joy.

But man, sometime they are double the pain in the behind. Double the drama, double the stubborn, double the powers of convincing required.

Someone gave us a pair of Wellington boots with hearts on them ages ago that are already quite worse for wear.  We have lots and lots of pairs of Wellies, but this particular pair have always been a bone of contention.  Because, well, they have hearts on them.  Isabel usually wears them because SOMEONE (not me) wrote her name on them one desperate morning a long long time ago.  So technically they aren’t “her” boots, they have to share and take turns.

But this morning she wanted those boots and when she came into the kitchen looking for them I had a feeling we were in for a challenge.  Mignon was already wearing them.  When she found Mignon hiding out in our room wearing those boots there were tears.  At approximately the exact time we were meant to be leaving the house. When those meltdowns happen I have a little scream on the inside and I admit: I panic.

See, I’m really bad with picking one child over the other and terrified of making one child feel left out/disadvantaged in any way (my own shit, I know).  So mostly I leave Etienne to mediate, which he is spectacularly good at.  We usually have strict rules about ownership, but for reason these bloody boots slipped through the muddy cracks.

So we tried to coax Mignon into taking them off, which felt wrong to me, besides the fact that she mutely stared at me, refusing to budge. Then we tried to get Isabel to wear another pair of boots in that high-pitched “look at how lovely these boots are” voice.  You know which voice. THAT desperate we’re-late-but-I’m-going-to-humor-you-for-5-more-minutes-until-I-lose-my-shit-voice

Isabel cried actual, desperate, heart-wrenching tears.  I couldn’t bear it.  So, I offered a Mother’s desperate ultimatum: if Isabel doesn’t stop crying and give Mignon a turn no-one can have them.  They will go into the bin.

Cue more tears, more mute, immovable stares. And Daniel’s helpful little taunting voice in the background saying how cross Mommy is.

I lost the plot, took them off Mignon’s feet and chucked them in the bin.  The recycling bin nogals.

I know, I’m horrible.

Isabel was crying full-steam when they got into Etienne’s car saying how she promised to share if only I wouldn’t throw the boots away.  Promise!  Promise! That was like the knife twisting in my heart.

Which meant we were all unhappy, go ME!

We had a little make-up at the car with some serious hugs and kisses, but I felt like shit.

Thing is, I had visions of sending them to school with that one pair of boots between the two of them and the potential fighting there and I was just not prepared to cause more problems. I keep thinking about what the lesson was that we were all meant to learn and if I royally fucked up my kids this morning.  I also keep thinking of what potentially would have been a win-win for everyone or whether one of my kids (I can’t even decide which one because neither of them was really wrong!) had a lesson to learn from it.

Then I entertained (and swiftly abandoned) the thought of going out and buying new boots.  But then I would have had to buy 3 pairs of new boots and that’s just silly.  Besides, they have lots of boots as it is.

I don’t want to raise children that won’t want to share with each other, but I also don’t want to raise children that can be easily victimized or aren’t independent.  I battle with this a lot and I’m just really, really grateful that we have Etienne, he is often the lone voice of calm in a sea of emotional turmoil.

How do you deal with this kind of thing in your house? 

Is it an issue at all?

10 thoughts on “And the parenting awards keep rolling in…”

  1. Oh hun, I hear you. I allow the girls to select their own clothing when we go shopping and if they select the same thing then one has a heart and the other a star put on the label / bag etc. If there is a screaming match, the stuff goes in the bin. I have problems because Logan won’t let anyone choose her clothing, she came to the launch in her 2 year old pj’s pants that fit as knicker-bockers and a dress over that with Wellies, I’ve learnt to just accept it.

  2. I read this laughing and crying at the same time. So very familiar! Sometimes throwing whatever the issue is in the bin (I leave space behind the bin in the cupboard so it looks like its going in the bin) is the only option. I’m glad you got it sorted out and its all better now xx

  3. Actually, there are twins at Bear’s school, who each have a day to wear the shoes (they both love). We can tell which day it’s gone pear shaped, as they each have one shoe of the loved pair on, and one of a different pair. the kids are happy as ever – SHARING. like that. My two keep getting given THE EXACT SAME stuff, which to me is awful. They are not even remotely alike personality wise. They NEED to wear their own stuff. Not look like vaalie cutouts man lol. Sorry, have no actual advice, but huge understanding hugs xxxx

  4. This just makes me so happy I only have 1 boy and he’s very easy going. Which probably means he’ll be a monster when he’s a teen. 🙂 Hope things get better!

  5. Gosh this post hit so close to home. I would have done what you did.
    Mum’s always have to do the hard things. A friend was telling me how her husband cut a rugby ball in half because the kids did not want to share. Don’t know what the solution is .

  6. This could be a scene in my house on many a day. And you’re right, it’s a catch-22 situation – either way someone is unhappy, either way Mom is a loser and we all walk away from that situation confused about what the lesson was!! Even with sharing, eventually the owner wants it back and maybe the person who it was lent to isn’t ready to give it back. So even when we share, there’s STILL tears. It’s frustrating and usually ends with me screaming and telling them to go to their rooms and play with something else ALONE, if they can’t play nicely together. Then I just feel like a real loser. Ay, parenting is hard.

  7. I was just going to suggest let each girl wear one of the beloved wellies 😉 and mix and match with the other millions of pairs…

    Not easy I’m sure!


  8. mmm tough one. And something we also face daily – its the downside of having so many kids :-p

    I wouldn’t have made Mignon take them off – possession is nine tenths of the law – Isabel would have had to just suck it up. Easier said than done I know but whatever you did you were screwed.

    I hope you will keep the boots in the bin though. Even though my older 2 are different ages and sexes and Jack is a lot younger – if I don’t get something in 3’s then I don’t take it – obviously refferring to stuff I know they will all like – like the chocolate on my pillow when I am away kinda thing. So throw the boots away – let them be sad about it and move on. It will save future tears 🙂

  9. Sharing is something little ones struggle with. Three of my grandies are 8 motns apart….the oldest being 5 and rhe youngest being 3. They still don’t share and I often have to hear the phrase “jy is nie meer my maatjie nie” when they get upaet with each other. The rule in Ouma’s house is that everyone stays friends…I usually have to step in and time them on turns.

  10. I mark every single item – and they can only lend the others if the other one agrees. I would have thrown those boots out ages ago. I fully agree with your plan – you go girl!

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