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Language Log

Wednesday, Aug. 02, 2017 - 3:36 p.m.

Every morning, they fight. They find a reason or make a reason. At least 2 rounds. First it was about the pillow fort. They both wanted a turn at the same time and couldn't figure out how to fucking coordinate it, so they laid there screaming and kicking each other. I come in to negotiate a turn-taking regimen, end up holding their feet and I don't even remember how that got settled.

Next it was over the shapes from the Tupperware shape sorter toy. I had been playing with them earlier, but they were laying there and Q picked them up. Next thing you know U had launched himself at her without so much as a "hey I was still using those", and then she's pounding him Lucy Van Pelt style, and he goes at her again and she smacks him to the floor because she's more than twice his weight. So I'm there, doing my best gentle parent impression, all "you both want to play with those. U wasn't done with them. Q didn't know you were using them. Can you take turns?" And then holding u back but Q comes around to grab, then I'm blocking Q because no one is going to get the damn things until they work it out but they just keep coming at each other and for the toys. Then comes E, having noticed we are having some sort of a party. He's giggling and trying to grab them. I'm like, "honey, no, they aren't playing. They are trying to hurt each other", but he's like "COWABUNGA!!!!'". Then what? Keep him from getting hurt, or try to keep them from continuing to pummel each other?

At some point I manage to pick up all 8 pieces and am running around evading Q with them as she tries to hit me and grab for them. I finally lose it and throw them up in the air saying, FINE HERE THEY ARE, U. PLAY WITH THEM THEN. DONTCHA WANNA PLAY WITH THEM?! And hustle her into her room saying WE ARE SKIPPING LETTER PRACTICE TODAY, YOU STAY IN HERE AND WATCH VIDEOS AND DONT COME OUT TILL DINNER.

At which point she collapses, sobbing. Raises her hands, trying to decide how to hit me. I hold her hands gently, and she screams. WELL THEN PLAY WITH THE TOY THEN. U DOESNT SEEM TO WANT TO ANYMORE.

I did pretty good. I didn't say anything really mean and I didn't hit or push anyone. Just restraint, which they didn't like, and I kept letting them go to give them a chance to stop (they never do). And it ended it. But I don't understand, what else is there to try, exactly? Theres no way to get out of that without feeling like shit. Walk away and let them hit each other? That's not fair to them. Blow up and use threats and violence? Counterproductive in a big way. Peaceful words and calm talk? Ineffective in a moment like that.

We spend every goddamn morning like this. And quite often the evening, too. I feel like such a goddamn failure.

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