July 23, 2012

Dude, read your letter

Yesterday we loaded up the car with trunks and bedding and headed off for camp......it wasn't a moment too soon.

If I had to live another day with boys who could literally argue about anything and everything, I was going to start pulling out my eyelashes one by one.

The sky is blue.
No it isn't.
What do you mean it isn't?  Open your eyes!
It's merely a reflection of the earth's surface.
Dude!  Seriously?  The sky is up and it's the color blue.
But it isn't really the color of the sky.
Who cares?
Anyone who has brains cares.

Then in all my parenting wisdom I tell them both to be quiet and proceed to inform them that no one wants to be near them, be with them, or be in their general vicinity when they act like that.

I know.  Blow your socks off mothering amazingness right there.  You can borrow that approach to sibling rivalry if you'd like.

It works not at all.

I have tried having the very rational discussion about how it's pride that motivates them to try to outdo each other.  To be the one that always has to be right.  But they are far too young to see the carnage that pride can leave in its path so I resort to things like "No one will like you".

God must be so proud.

Many months ago after a particularly embarrassing display of "brotherly love" while out with friends, I made them write each other a letter of apology that had to be at least two paragraphs long and include three things they liked about the other.  It had to be pre-approved by me so I could ensure it was somewhat sincere and wasn't just stuff like "I like you most when you aren't anywhere near me".

Remember that these are boys.

We are not a house that has a supply of gel pens and cute papers and little notebooks.  We are a house with boys who have terrible handwriting and dislike most forms of communication.

It was perfect.

They grumbled about the task at hand but both sat down and completed their notes.  They exchanged them and I was very intrigued to watch them so eagerly pour over the letter written to them.  It immediately diffused the situation and I decided to permanently adopt this tactic in dealing with the bickering.  I add paragraphs and topics to be written about depending on the severity of the crime and on the inside I laugh at their misery....the way we all do when we have stumbled upon the perfect consequence for a misdeed.

Mwah hahahaha

Or am I the only one that does that?  Please tell me I'm not.

I have to say that this summer has been.......I am not even sure of the right word to use.

Unexpected?  Crazy?  Surprising?  Fun in a "I don't know what's coming next" kind of way?

There have been moments I have found myself feeling anxious or insecure or mad and it makes me want to lash out at people around me.  I have pretend conversations in my head where I tell someone what I really think about them.  I want to pick a fight.  And use bad words.  I want to abandon all self-control and try some hair-pulling just to see if I would feel better.

Until I read a love letter that was written to me.  It includes more than three things He likes about me and covers a whole lot of topics.  My heart softens and the anger subsides.  Priorities fall into place and order is restored in my thinking.

And I can tell you with absolute certainty that the sky is most definitely blue.


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