It’s Payback, Really

My kids fight. Liam and Hailey seem born of hatred for one another. Sometimes, they will play together so nicely. I look back fondly on the good ole days when Liam called Hailey, “Harry,” and thought she was the cutest thing ever. But we are past all that. I think it comes because they are two years apart and insanely jealous of each other. Liam is praised because he is calm, makes straight As, and is so laidback (except when he’s being left out—then he’s just mean). And Hailey is praised because she’s cute, sweet, and the only girl. They both vie for my attention and their father’s, and they hate when one gets it over the other. I know a lot of sibling rivalry stems from sensing things are unfair. I know this from experience.

This weekend, before I left to attend one of my book clubs, they were playing in my room so nicely. They both have great imaginations. They could play for hours together until the bickering begins. By the time I made it home for our afternoon grill out, the niceties had fallen by the wayside and they were picking on each other.

Liam: “Hailey you’re doing that wrong.”

Hailey: “LIAM! STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO!” on the top of her lungs. She has no other voice setting.

And then hands around neck, or light sabers to the stomach, until someone screams or is not-so-seriously injured. I think part of the problem is I tend to get involved. At some point, I should just let them duke it out and see who comes out the winner. Fight Club, anyone?

DSCN0653

Aren’t kids precious? Hailey has that eyeroll down pat–should I be worried?

But, I guess it’s fair. My sister and I had a horrible time getting along when we were growing up. I take a lot of that blame. I was mean. I remember once, my older sister, my brother and I started a sticker club and wouldn’t let Allison join. My dad banned us from trading stickers. Oh the horrors! But Alli and I duked it out the same way Liam and Hailey did. And for a long time I had an intense jealousy of her. She was so motivated. She always made good grades (yes, that happens when one studies), and she seemed to be the apple of Mom and Dad’s eyes. I felt like an afterthought. And even more so, I felt like my parents tended to side with her in our arguments and blame me, even into adulthood. Now, I see they were trying to protect her because she was the middle child, and because we did treat her horribly. All the adversity turned her into an amazing wonderful person, and I’m proud to say she’s my sister. I love her to death, and I feel closer to her now than I ever have. I hope my middling Liam can say the same about his little sister when he’s grown up.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep screaming, “Stop fighting, you two!”

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