A Lesson in Parenting
I really want my kids to get along.
I don’t just mean the basics: play nicely with each other, share, don’t rip each others’ hair out.
I mean really be friends. Grow old together. Have each others’ back when no one else will.
We encourage them to play together even though they are three years apart and different genders. We encourage them to say “I love you.” We encourage them to help each other before we step in to help.
And the other night, in an effort to make them closer, we separated them entirely.
I took Little D for a girls’ night sleepover at my mom’s empty house while my husband stayed home with Kai. The idea came about because we felt like Kai was getting a lot of the attention around here lately – good and bad – because parenting him is decidedly more all-encompassing than parenting D.
She is vanilla, he is rocky road. She says yes, he says no. She says please, he says why.
We felt like she was spending a lot of her time giving in to Kai’s demands to avoid a meltdown, watching him getting reprimanded and getting the short end of the big sister stick.
So she and I packed our bags – much to his momentary chagrin – and spent a quiet evening together eating pizza (will post another 30 Clean update later in the week), watching Frozen (obviously) and sharing a big old bed piled high with down pillows and our favorite stuffed animals.
She got to talk and talk without being interrupted. She got to choose her favorite dessert. She got to sleep in. She didn’t have to share a thing. And in turn, she was a slightly different little girl. She had no frustrations, she was carefree, maybe a little selfish (well-deserved) and looked like she was on a much-needed vacation.
By the next morning? She was a little bored. She missed her playmate, her best friend, someone to sing those Frozen songs with who actually knew the words.
So we headed home.
Her brother awaited her with open arms.
“How was your girls’ night??” he asked.
“Great!” she said. “How was your boys’ night?”
“Great!” he said.
And off they went, running up the stairs two at a time.
Really getting along.
They were fighting again by that afternoon. The sleepover didn’t make the usual challenges of young sibling-hood magically disappear.
But I do believe that in pulling them apart, we helped them get a little closer.
If even for just one day. For just a few hours.
And we will definitely do it again.