Ay, Dios Mio!

All they do is argue.

They’re four years apart. Sometimes they have a blast together, like yesterday, playing Guess Who. Or building that disastrous gingerbread Office.

More often than not, though, they bicker, bicker, bicker.

I know it’s typical sibling rivalry, but it’s so grating.

Desmond’s weapon of choice is sarcasm, no matter what I threaten to take away. And Aislyn sniffs out insincerity and intonation like a bloodhound. She is highly sensitive to that and even the most constructive criticism, and she cries loudly.

Okay, they’re doing better now. And they do do better, when there’s no screen in front of them, I think. Just good, old fashioned play.

When I was a kid, we did have Atari. We did have Nintendo. But we had tons of other things that we played with, often. Bikes. Scooters. Walkie talkies. Skates: roller and ice. Dolls. Castle Grayskull. My Little Pony. Crayons. Books. Diaries.

These kids have all of that stuff, too. And then some. STEM kits. Ranger Rick. Globes, maps, so many books, a giant arts and crafts set, plushies, two dollhouses, headlamps, man! What I wouldn’t have given to run around my house in the dark with a headlamp on, playing Dangerous Explorers all night! Balls, flippin’ all over the place. And so many boardgames, I had to buy two giant shelves to house them.

But their favorite activities by far are screen-related. And, in fairness, so are mine, I guess.

I just sometimes feel like I have lost the screen war.

Maybe I can take them out to lunch today, then we go to the park.

I guess they’re not always on screens. Desmond likes to measure things. Right now, they’re measuring the height of Aislyn’s ceiling.

Teamwork

Before that, they were playing some sort of counting game that I think they made up.

I guess they don’t always argue. You get into trouble with those exaggerations and generalizations. “You always do this.” “You never do that.” And “you” statements can be harmful. That’s why I don’t say them, at least not to the kids.

But I can see how even just saying it to yourself is negative and breeds all kinds of toxicity. “They always do this,” or “They never say that.” It’s simply not true.

When is a generalization ever true?

Anyway, I hope they remain close when they grow up. I miss Paul. I think of him often. How close we were. We were only 2 years apart. We argued, too. Just maybe not quite as much.

But lots of the same dynamics were there. Some of it’s to be expected.

It’s time for the drugs talk. Not right this second, but soon. The good news is, the sex talk is much farther away. I only have to deal with Aislyn; I figure Derek gets Desmond duty.

Hey, but how do you like that? I learned something today, through reflection: even unspoken generalizations are dangerous.

I schooled myself.

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