For the past several weeks my oldest daughter, who is 8 years old and acts every bit of the hormonal 8-year-old, has been fighting more with her younger sister. They yell, scream, pout, slam doors, and she has told me multiple times she wishes she didn’t even have a sister.
Ah, yes, the joys of sibling rivalry.
Wait, did I say joy? Ha. I’m sorry. I meant misery….or whatever word is worse than misery.
For the first year of homeschooling the oldest, finding a distraction for the youngest was easy. First it was, well duh, a nap. Score! Then it was the floor, because, well hey, if they can’t crawl or walk they are pretty much stuck wherever you put them. And, some days the jumper was pulled out or the swing was used.
As the youngest got older we would find a TV program that distracted her long enough, and if it didn’t, some time with Big Sissy’s interesting toys would do the trick.
This year, however, has been a little more of a challenge. The usual things don’t always work, or at least, they do, but not for very long, and pretty soon the youngest is trying to climb in the lap of the oldest while she’s on the computer or she’s stealing pencils and all around being a menace because all she wants to do in life is play.
Needless to say, it’s been hard to keep the oldest happy and focused on her work. We’ve had many long days, where a 2 hour school session takes 4 or 5 hours. By that time, she’s yelled at her sister to stop a hundred times, she’s shut down because she’s angry, then I’ve gotten mad, and it’s just been all around bad for everyone in the house.
Today, was on the fast track of being one of those days until something changed in them, and as I stood by the computer watching them, I bit my lip instead of yelling for the tenth time for the oldest to sit down and do her work.
Because they were playing.
Actually, playing with each other instead of fighting. They were running around the house, laughing and enjoying each others company. And, for that reason, without saying a word, I closed down the computer, shut all the books, packed the backpack back up, and just let them play.
The moments where such a thing happens between them seems to be more rare with every passing month and if it means taking a day off from school for them to just be kids and happy, playing siblings, then I guess we are taking a vacation day and will make it up later. (Reason #648, I love homeschooling).
Today, I picked my battle. Today, I just let them be sisters.