Monday 26 Sep 2016

Territoriality
Jennifer Flaten

If you ask me, I think it is infinitely more dangerous when the kids are getting along. Don’t get me wrong, it is bad when they are fighting. It isn’t fight club, but it is bad. The things they can fight about astound me. As an only child, I never realized the passion one could feel for “their” spot on the couch.

Heck, when I was a kid every spot was “my” spot. Okay, so my grandpa had his special recliner that no one else could sit in, other than that, the furniture was wide open.

Little did I know that you grow deeply attached to a certain spot on the couch, so attached that you are willing to jump on your sibling and pinch them until they surrender your spot. I wouldn’t know, since I am supreme ruler and have the ability to overthrow anyone sitting in any spot at any time-ah, it’s good to be Queen.

Prime seating is just one of the many things the children fight about; they also fight about who goes first for video games, who should take the dog out and who sits in the front seat of the car. For goodness sake’s they will probably fight over who gets to dispatch the next zombie during the apocalypse. If my brain is eaten because those three clowns are fighting about who should kill the zombie I am going to be mad.

The phrases “It’s my turn” and “No it’s mine” provide a constant background noise to my daily routine.

Still, I prefer the bickering to when they are getting along. When they are getting along it means they are ganging up on me and I don’t stand a chance against the three of them.

Take the other night at dinner; it was like eating at the monkey house at the zoo. Oh wait; the monkeys have better table manners. Before you question my parenting skills-more so than usual, I suppose-let me assure you the kids most certainly know how to behave at the table.

I sent them to a manners class when they were little, passed with flying colours, so they know exactly how to behave. In fact, during fancy dinners I rely on them to tell me which fork to use.

It is simply more fun to misbehave and irritate me. Plus, if I get irritated enough and send them away from the table then they can escape without eating their vegetables or main dish; wily little buggers aren’t they?

My first mistake, at dinner the other night, was lighting the candles, I thought it would be a treat, make it feel fancy. I was wrong. It only meant I couldn’t see half the things they were doing, but the stuff I did see was spectacularly gross.

My irritation only amused them more, thus, causing them to try to one up each other on who could be the most irritating. Having no siblings I have no idea if the amusement factor of competing to see who can belch the loudest ever wears off. Is this how large families spend the holidays, trying to top each other with bodily function noises?

Also, when the kids get along, they play together and when they play together things always get out of hand. Either it ends with someone getting hurt or something getting broken. What starts out as a friendly game of tag invariably ends up as armed hand-to-hand combat. I’ve lost many beloved tchotchkes because the kids were getting along.

Then I have to step in and yell at everybody, just like when they are bickering so really there isn’t’ a time when I am not yelling at them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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