I have taken up refereeing. I’m the woman in the middle of three-year-old and an almost two-year-old and sometimes I really wish I had a sideline to send them to! Up until recently I had a relatively easy job with Sarah and Aidan because, for the most part, the latter didn’t bother playing with his little sister. However, now that she’s more hardy, the bickering, the pulling, the dragging, the hair pulling and the slapping would drive you round the twist.
Sarah is very particular about certain things and Aidan knows it too and purposely tries to annoy her. And she always takes the bait! She loses the plot if someone closes a door when she’s in a room so Aidan does it to her all the time. He closes the dining room door when we are all eating and she wails, while he roars laughing. He closes the door in her face when he’s in the kitchen, leaving her out in the hall in bawling like an ass! And the more she cries, the more he does it to her.
And don’t get me started on car journeys, particular long ones to Galway or to Navan to visit the grandparents. Sarah usually gets her nap on these trips or if we are coming home in the evening she’s in her pajamas and we like her to sleep so we can lift her straight into the cot when we arrive home. We always encourage Aidan to be quiet on these trips, as to allow her to nod off. In doing so we ‘sssh’ him. No big deal, right? Except he then starts ‘sssh-ing’ at her and she hates this. She roars at him to stop but lo and behold, the more she roars at him, the more he does it. So nine times out of ten neither child naps, meaning myself or Daddy Chambers are refereeing all the way home.
There seems to be a theme here, that being Aidan likes to egg her on. When she’s happily sauntering up and down the hall with her dolly and buggy, he’ll come along, whip it off her and tear round the house with it at a hundred miles an hour. Cue the meltdown from Sarah. I have to calm her down before perfecting my negotiating skills to get the buggy and doll off Aidan. And that usually causes him to howl, even though he had zero interest in the bloody buggy and doll in the first place!
In fact, one or other of them, could find a toy that’s been buried under the couch for the last twelve months and the other would instantly act like said toy was their most prized possession. Jaysus, it would wear you out.
Now Sarah is not whiter than white in this whole situation. I recently picked them up from the child minder, only for her to tell me she caught Sarah with her hand clasped very firmly around Aidan’s neck if you don’t mind! They say monkey see, monkey do but I can assure you I have never tried to strangle Daddy Chambers, even though I have felt like it on occasions! I have no idea where she learned that move!
She’s well able to give him a clip round the ear if he’s in her personal space and sometimes she resembles a cat when she claws at him. I’m really going to have to keep her finger nails cut, aren’t I?
Then there’s the nightly fight over which one of them gets me or Daddy Chambers to put them to bed. If I tell Aidan I’m doing his bedtime and story, he instantly wants his dad to do it but then she loses the plot and doesn’t want to give up her daddy. The following night they may have a fight over me. It’s tiring. Exhausting even.
Have them close together, they said. They will be great friends, they said! Yea right. Friends me eye! Sparring partners more like it!