Monday, May 3, 2010

Adorable Antagonists - Again

It used to be that Josiah and David were my squabblers, butting heads senselessly like the two silly goats we have in our pasture. However, they are (mostly) past that stage; and recently when a guest in our home observed them and said, "They get along so well!" I could smile and nod and say honestly, "Yes, most of the time," and breathe a prayer of thanks that we all survived their tempestuous bickering stage.

But now, it's these two...
...David and Tobin, who are in the stormy phase of Learning to Get Along with Your Brothers 101. They are incredibly skillful at knowing each other's buttons - and pushing them. For example, Tobin will start to "croak" hello to Shav; and as soon as he does, David does it, too, diverting Shav's attention from Tobin to David. It drives Tobin nuts - and it happens every day. And every day, I say, "Tobin, it's OK for David to talk to Shav, too," and "David, it seems like you're just doing it when Tobin does it, and that bothers him; can you wait until a different time to talk to Shav?"

Or another example: Tobin pulls the tail of a stuffed lion in Shav's room to make the music play as I'm putting Shav in bed for a nap. David comes along and pulls it more (since he's stronger, he can pull it harder and make it stretch out longer and produce more music). Tobin bellows at this intrusion on his privilege (of pulling the tail), and David asserts forcefully that it's OK for him to pull it, too.

These days, the word "antagonize" comes up a lot in conversation. Getting a 5 year-old and a 2 year-old to not only understand the word but CHOOSE NOT TO DO IT is a formidable task.

It's a good thing I've been down this road before (with Josiah and David) and have seen the positive results that come from continually reinforcing appropriate ways of relating to each other.

It's a good thing that, because of this, I have firm hope that, in time, David and Tobin will have the maturity and self-control to lay down their own selfish desires in order to show true love to each other.

It's also a good thing that they're so stinkin' cute. ;)

1 comment:

Sally said...

Oh, oh, oh! You mean that even with their big age difference (Tobin & David) you still have these problems? Hannah knows how to make Paul squeal, and she delights to do it. We are working on these things. I am encouraged to know there is hope for improvement before they're 20 years old.

(There was ceaseless fighting and scrapping at home between siblings. There was always several in the fighting stage.)