Sometimes I think one of the purposes of parents is to create a common enemy among the children, thus giving them something to bond over. Lately Tyler has taken to calling me a "mean mom" which he learned from Alexis and which really gets to me more than I should let it. He's only two, he doesn't even really know what he's saying, but I try so hard to not be a mean mom. Well, maybe not that hard because my response is usually, "You want to see a mean mom? I'll show you a mean mom!" Then I drag them to a fabric store for 2 hours to really show them.
This afternoon I broke out the dry erase markers for the easel, which up to this point my kids didn't even know existed. I did it to break up a fight over something else, and also because I'm a little bit stupid.
They started out fine because they each had their own marker, but we ran into trouble when Alexis decided to start erasing things. Within minutes they were squabbling over the eraser, pulling it out of each others hands, while accidentally (I hope) marking up the other's face. I shouted from the kitchen to share!, take turns!, watch where you put those markers!!!, don't take it from each other!, stop screaming!!, and on and on and on. Finally I just took the eraser away saying that if they couldn't learn to work it out and share no one got an eraser. I returned to my dirty dishes and heard them in the corner whispering, "she's such a mean mom", "yeah, she's really mean". And I became their common enemy, strengthening their union just a little bit more.
Once the eraser was taken away the markers weren't as fun, so I demanded they be brought to me with the lids. Alexis (who is full of attitude but not too mischievous) brought me the marker without a complaint, and surprisingly enough Tyler followed suit. But just before he got to me, hands covered in dirty dishwater and all, he took a few good swipes at the wall with the pen.
And do you know how that battle ended? With Tyler scrubbing the wall until his little arms hurt (and longer), while his ally quietly slipped away to wash her hands.