The three kids get along pretty well. Usually.
When they don’t, it is because one of them (or any combination of two or three):
* is tired
* did not get enough sleep
* is hungry
* had too much sugar and not enough nutrients
* is thirsty
* misses daddy
* feels stressed for some reason like school or friends
A few years ago I noticed the older two sitting around the table with pencils in hand, leaning over a large piece of paper. They were getting along, sharing the paper, and every few minutes would crack up over something.
Curious I took a gander at what they were doing.
My son M said, “Mommy, look. This picture is A holding a bomb. And this one is her blowing up!” The first picture showed a cartoon figure holding a Wile E. Coyote-type bomb and the next picture showed a big cloud that said, “BOOM!”
Years of being a teacher has taught me to keep my face neutral but I couldn’t hold in the shock. They laughed and laughed as they could barely get out the words to describe the picture. They laughed even harder as my eyes grew bigger.
I scanned the paper and there were more pictures like that. Sometimes it was M, sometimes it was A. One figure was shown being stomped by a giant boot. Another was getting thrown into a volcano. Every picture showed an untimely demise. Every picture was actually hilarious.
My first instinct as a mother was to tell them to cut it out but that only lasted a second. They weren’t plotting to really hurt each other. They weren’t secret drawings in a secret journal hidden under a mattress. They were having fun and, dare I say, have the same sense of humor
as my husband as me as their parents.
I discussed this with my husband R who was mortified but could later see my reasoning. My thoughts were validated by a psychiatrist when my husband was at the VA Palo Alto and we went into counseling. Couples, individual, family, kids’… you name it, I knew we needed it. The doctor said kids need an outlet to let their feelings out, to show their anxiety, and to be creative. Drawing was theirs.
Two years later, they have become writers. Apparently M made one or both of the girls mad. Sometimes they joke around, sometimes it becomes more serious.
I cleaned the girls’ room yesterday. Today it is the playroom and the boy’s room. I hadn’t even started this morning when I came across this on the rug.
After reading it, I immediately felt like I should intervene afterschool and have the kids sit down with me and talk about it yet as I think about it more, I think I will ignore it.
No, I won’t ignore if it escalates but I trust them to try and work things out if they haven’t already. I trust them to come to me, not as tattling (trust me, that is a work in progress), but to act as a mediator. In the meantime, I need to find the drawing that M produced for the psychiatrist. Apparently Daddy got eaten by a fire-breathing dragon and in his words, “Met his tragic demise!”