We have managed to survive this pandemic for many reasons with one key factor being that I have 3 children who are fairly close in age. This wasn’t always such a braggable accomplishment, especially when they were three children at the ages of five and under. However, now I can embrace the pros of a large family, especially when so much togetherness is the new normal. With all this newfound family closeness, my children are forced to play with each other, talk to each other and interact more. Sometimes this works out to be a lovely situation and at other times things deteriorate quickly into loud, unwavering yell fests of who hit who and which one called someone else a noob. It can be exhausting and disheartening at times.
I often find myself correlating the arguing with the current pandemic and our limitations of venturing out and gathering for different things. However, I realize that siblings fight. My sister and I squabbled, my husband and his brothers share lofty tales of their childhood battles and my children unfortunately have some sort of ally-ending, world war level battle almost every day. These are the same children who I am repeatedly told are the sweetest, most empathetic beings in their classes. I am happy to hear these things, but I am not sure what happens to these little people when they are trapped in our car or our home, what in the atmosphere triggers the change? Especially my younger two, they have clocked some Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa level battles and just when I am ready to send both of them packing, they are laughing and giggling and playing Roblox together.
Our Pandemic Pool was one specific arena for drama last summer. In the midst of lockdown, I purchased this pool and sent my children out daily to play and bask in our front yard, in efforts to get them out of the house and be active. This pool allowed our neighbors the pleasure of hearing some of our battles and squabbles which was often peppered with their father or myself yelling “Stop Splashing”, “Get off of her” and “Put the hose down”! I learned very quickly that it was necessary for me to be the unpaid referee. Within seconds someone would be shooting the other with a squirt gun or submerging their sibling on float and without swift adult intervention, these episodes would often end with someone crying, another one storming off and usually the pre-teen left to enjoy the pool all on his own. I am quite sure this was often his goal.