We’ve definitely seen an increase in the amount of bickering that goes on in our house. With the kids getting older, and Morgan becoming a preschooler like her 4-year-old brother, there is competition over everything. Over attention, food, toys, and of course, the aged old “MOM, Morgan’s looking at me!”. Morgan annoys Jake, and Jake annoys Morgan.
Thankfully, it’s not all of the time, although we do have our days where it seems constant.
The other night was an exception. We got home and Morgan was having a rough night. It was a combination of fighting off a cold, being tired from daycare, and being hungry. A triple-decker mess, if you ask me. There was tears, screaming, and a general feeling of being inconsolable. Hey, it happens. There are plenty of nights where I feel the same way.
Jake recognized that Morgan was just plain unhappy. So he sweetly looked at her and said “Hey Morgan, would you like to be my special helper and light the pumpkins?”. She looked confused. Bewildered. Shocked. Yes, Jake was trying to help her out.
She was so shocked in fact, she couldn’t answer. Knowing that if she just stared at him, Jake was going to get upset with her, I stepped in. “Hey Morgan, Jake needs a special helper with the decorations. Can you be his special helper?”
“Yes” (cue the hallelujahs!)
As they hopped off the couch and headed for the battery operated pumpkins, I reinforced Jake’s ‘I’m a big shot big brother’ status. “Jake, remember that Morgan’s younger, and you have to teach her how to turn them on”.
I watched as he gently divided which ones he’d get to turn on, and which ones she could. As the older brother, he’s learned the fine art of controlling things to his benefit. But she couldn’t have cared which pumpkins she got, she was the special helper!
He softly walked her through what to do. When they were all lit, he patted her on the back and said “Good job, Morgan, thank you for being my special helper”.
Proud of themselves, they got back on the couch and settled in for an evening movie. Jake looked at me, and in his proudest big bro voice said, “Mama, I calmed Morgan down. We’re all set here.”
Those are the moments of brotherly love I hold close, and rely on during those days of constant bickering.