Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It's a National Holiday!

Is it "do whatever you can to try to get your brother in trouble" day? How about "sneak around the house breaking rules and trying not to get caught" day? No? Then surely it's, "act like a know-it-all teenager and pretend your parents are stupid" day.

I mean, they haven't been unmanageable or insane or anything, just obnoxious.  They fought downstairs so much that I quit refereeing and just shut the door.  The rule is, if your brother is bothering you, you calmly come upstairs and say, "Hey, so and so is bothering me when I am trying to play XX."  Then, I go down and get said bothering brother to come upstairs and let calm brother finish whatever he was playing in peace.  However, they don't go this route, usually, because it means pausing their video game or stopping whatever they are playing for the 3 seconds it takes to come up and tell me.  So, for an HOUR, it was screaming, "OOOWW! STOP HITTING ME!" "STOP BITING ME!" "I DIDN'T!" "GET OFF OF ME!" "STOOOOOOOP!!"  The hope is that I will hear this screaming tattle and come down and automatically know who "started" it.  Instead, I always just end up going down there and saying "game over.  Separate." and BOTH of them get into trouble because how in the crap should I know who is doing what?  It's a giant cluster.  Then the arguments of "he started it!" starts.  I remind them AGAIN of the rule, and that if they are both screaming, they both get in trouble.  Then they stomp to time out for 7 minutes or whatever, and go back downstairs, and it starts all over again.

Today I just turned on some music really loud, shut the basement door, and tuned out the screaming.  Eventually, Big Man's video game was over.  After screaming at his brother and pushing him and doing lord knows what in retaliation for whatever annoying little brother thing Little Man was doing, Big Man then decided that he was gonna try the "come upstairs and tattle calmly, blaming everything on Little Man" approach.  It didn't work out for him.  I told him I didn't want to hear the tattle.  They were both fighting, and they'd be separated for an hour.  I didn't even let them eat lunch together.  After Little Man was done with lunch, I told him to brush his teeth and clean off his bathroom counter while Big Man ate.  After Big Man was done, he had to do the same.  I told them not to even look at one another until 1:00.  They can play with one another then, and sorry if they're bored, but that's what happens when you're mean to your friends.

Little Man happily played Candy Land alone in the living room.  Big Man, however, tried to pretend I was stupid.  He went over to stand right next to Little Man and stare at him playing Candy Land.  I told him he was not to bother his brother, and to get out of the living room.  "I'm not PLAYING with him.  I'm just looking at him."  *eye roll*  I told him to get out of the living room, so smarty pants stepped back two steps into the tile entry way connecting it to the living room and continued to stare at Little Man and tell him what colors to pick, starting Little Man on the, "Don't tell me what to do!" argument.  From Big Man, "I'm not IN the room now."  I told him to either go up to his room or down to the basement.  He doesn't even need to be on the same floor of the house as his brother.  He went downstairs.  Five minutes later, I'm cleaning my own bathroom, and I hear a whispered argument.  Little Man had moved to where Big Man was playing this time to play right next to him to try to get Big Man in trouble for being in the same room.  I sent Little Man upstairs to his bedroom with the game.

Five minutes later, Big Man decides HE needs to be upstairs, too.  Of course.  That's where the biggest chance of provoking Little Man into an argument by just being near him is."  I told him he can go in his room and close his door to play, but he isn't to be anywhere near Little Man's room or in the loft separating the rooms.  At 12:45, a mere fifteen minutes until they are allowed to play together, Little Man sneaks into Big Man's room and takes a CD.  Big Man sneaks back into Little Man's room to try to have a "quiet" argument regarding the CD so that I can't hear that they are together and fighting again. 

I stopped messing around, then.  No more free range of the house.  I told them they've added another hour of not playing together, and for this hour, they'll be in their rooms with the doors shut.  If I hear a door open for anything other than the bathroom, another hour will be tacked on.  I've had enough.

Sure has been quiet, though, and I've gotten a lot of cleaning done with some great tunes in my ears.  They are allowed out in five minutes.  Let's hope we can get some family fun in before their dad gets home.

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