As an only child, I really have a hard time gauging what is normal sibling squabbling and what is not.
As the youngest of four, Real Man is often able to give me a better perspective on it all.
Perhaps it’s my unfamiliarity with the ways of siblings, but I also seem to have less of a tolerance for all of it.
There are other things that are a flash point for Real Man, but for me, there are some nights when I think that if I hear “He touched me!” “She’s pushing me!” “He grabbed that out of my hand!” my head is going to explode.
Monday night was one of those nights.
On Monday nights, we’re all a little grumpy.
First day back after the weekend, long days at work, long days at school…it’s always an adjustment.
So, after dinner, as the children were literally climbing over each other to get into the pantry to find a little treat for dessert, and my ears were already ringing with “She’s stepping on me!” “He’s grabbing my dessert!” and my favorite “No Fair!”, Real Man met my eyes across the table and knew I was right at the edge.
“Okay!” he bellowed. ”Enough!”
And, in his patient, infinite wisdom, he created the “4 Square Rule.”
From now on, when they are just too much in each others space and they refuse to get along, they need to stay four kitchen tiles away from each other.
Doesn’t sound like much, but we have some pretty big kitchen tiles.
Here’s my foot in one of the tiles and I’m a size 8.
It worked like a charm for two reasons:
1. Their arms aren’t long enough to reach each other from four squares away.
Monkey Girl’s legs could have reached, but she’s not a kicker.
2. They were all so engaged in making sure they were four squares away from each other, they forgot to fight, they started to laugh, and they started to work together to figure out ways around Dad’s rule.
Often, I’m the voice of reason in this house.
But only Real Man has the ability to turn tears into laughter around here.
And I’m so grateful.