My Daughter Resorts to Shapeshifting to Get My Attention

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Carseat sticker wars

Since my husband and I were both only children, we knew we were entering a brave new world by having two kids. We did our best to give them both attention and encourage them to be nice to each other.

And they DO love each other… most of the time.

But we’ve learned that no matter how much you encourage siblings to get along, they’re going to bicker and vie for your attention. Whenever I’m holding Brontë (my three-year-old) on my lap, for example, Bridget will ask to be held too. I’ll plop her on the opposite leg where, without fail, she will s l o w l e y inch over in tiny increments until Brontë is effectively smeared off the other side.

It’s both touching and frustrating to watch your kids fight for your cuddles, but then again, they also fight over toys, snack, cats, cardboard boxes, and take pleasure in annoying each other on principle.

Because that is what siblings do and I’m starting to think that’s Nature’s intention.

Why? Well, it’s a sort of rivalry that stirs up competition and what is life without some friendly competition? We’ve been doing it ever since the first fish managed some flip legs, said “see ya, suckers,” and crawled onto the shore to found the amphibians.

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Still buddies, despite all the bickering

And I can’t help noticing how this competition is sparking creative leaps and bounds in my kids, so maybe it’s not all bad.

Ever since they’ve wrapped their minds around the idea that direct aggression, AKA might-makes-right maneuvers, are forbidden in this house, they’ve had to evolve from punching each other in the face to far more subtle tactics.

For example, Bridget has figured out that big sister likes to do things by the book, even when those things are silly.

Case in point: When I’m driving them around, whenever we drive through a tunnel or long overpass, I start yelling, “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!’ The kids picked up on this early and like to do it too.

Why? Because it’s fun, that’s why. One great thing about kids is how they don’t question mommy’s bizarre behavior. “Because it’s fun” makes perfect sense to them and they see no reason to question it further.

But even silliness needs to follow the rules, in Brontë’s book, so it didn’t take long for Bidgie to figure out that yelling thirty seconds BEFORE you enter the tunnel will drive sister up the wall.

So as soon as a tunnel is within sight, Bidgie will start yelling, which drives Brontë into flailing hysterics. “NO! NOT YET SISTER! NOT YET, BRIDGE-JIT,” Brontë screams as baby sister giggles maniacally and yells as loudly as she can.

Then, the moment we enter the tunnel, Bidgie goes dead silent, making Brontë throw up her arms and scream, “NOW, SISTER! WE YELL NOW!” Bridget clamps her lips together with true conviction as big sister flips around, demanding that everyone scream.

Brontë doesn’t forget these indignities, of course, and pays her sister back every morning.  Brontë is what people call a “morning person,” popping out of bed at the crack of dawn like an over-caffinated meadowlark.

Bridget, on the other hand, takes after me… not a morning person by anyone’s definition.

So when I say it’s time to wake up Bridget, Brontë lights up and wants to go too. As soon as I open the door to the girls’ room, Brontë races over to the crib, throws back her head, and screams “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING BABY SISTER!” at the top of her lungs while Bidgie winces.

“TIME TO WAKE UP!” Brontë yells, giggling as she reaches through the crib bars to poke at her groaning sister. Bridget always scowls, though she is somewhat comforted by the knowledge that she will be tormenting her sister throughout the evening by flipping lights on and off (after figuring out that Brontë is scared of the dark, Bridget learned how to work the light switch real quick).

This has all been incredibly entertaining to watch, but while I’ve been impressed by both of my daughters’ creativity, this week’s prize for manipulative genius must go to Brontë…

Whenever I’m in the middle of doing something with Bridget (changing her diaper, feeding her, etc), Brontë suddenly has an “emergency” that needs attention. Maybe she suddenly wants to go use the potty, or “accidentally” trips and hurts herself.

Tired of Brontë lighting fires whenever I was in the middle of something, I started telling her she needs to wait her turn, that I was dealing with Bridget at the moment and she needs to be patient.

But kids are nothing if not quick character studies, and Brontë has figured out that making momma laugh is one of her most effective tools.

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Next time don’t blink

So when I was holding Bridget the other day, I heard screams coming from my bathroom…

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” Brontë yelled at the top of her lungs. I raced in to see what the problem was:

Brontë: MOMMA, HELP! I’m turning into a mermaid!

Me: A mermaid? You have a tail instead of legs?

Brontë: No, I’m a kid again. You missed it.

 

Good show, Brontë… Good show.

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16 thoughts on “My Daughter Resorts to Shapeshifting to Get My Attention”

  1. They will continue to do this the rest of their lives, but rest assured if someone else tries to pick on either of them, the other will fight to the death defending her sister. My daughters are 18 and 16 and they have had some nasty brawls, but they truly are each others best friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, that’s good to hear! I’ve seen this play out already, when Bidgie kicked down a boy’s wall of blocks after seeing him give her sister a hard time.

      I remember all my friends fighting their sibling growing up. They’d brawl but ultimately seemed to love each other.

      I think even adults want to fight with people they spend so much time around, haha, but we just learn to suppress it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s really a matter of “I am the only one who can pick on my sister!”
        You really should consider yourself lucky, it’s not every mom who has a shape shifting mermaid. I’m jealous. Your girls are adorable.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you! They are both very sweet and have wild imaginations. I’m always caught between wanting to guide them and not trampling their creativity.

          And when your toddler says you just missed her turning into a mermaid, what can you do except laugh and hope she never loses that enthusiasm?

          Liked by 1 person

  2. HAHAHAHAHA this is hilarious!! Hehe your kids are so cute 🙂 Too CUTE! And they’re so cheeky. It’s good that you notice all these little things, I think many parents don’t for some reason or another. It helps you to better understand your kids 🙂 Great post Erin 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

      My kids crack me up all the time. A lot of the strange things they say and do make sense when you try to see it from their perspective, and it’s fun to see the world through fresh eyes.

      I try to guide them in the right direction, but it can be hard when you’re trying not to laugh 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They are really fun and it is so entertaining to hear what they come up with! I think at least half of the reason I write this blog is to record these episodes, so I can laugh about them for years 🙂

      Like

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