This is--unfortunately-- the crazy ass soundtrack of sibling rivalry. The boys went through this when they were younger, so it's not new to me, but this time...this time is different. Something about the venomous sting of little girls sets this rodeo off with a different kick. Or maybe it's that Ethan, being the fourth kid, has it extra bad. Whatever the recipe, the cocktail is painful, my friends.
Two of everything is a good mantra to adopt early on. Or three of everything, or whatever the number of competing children. I don't care about gender roles and all that jazz. Trust me--get two of everything. And NOT in different colors. I know it SEEMS like a good idea to buy one blue one and one red one so that you can tell them apart and know whose is whose, but here's a little tip: so will the kids. And that's bad. Because no matter what is said ahead of time, they won't want whatever color they have. They'll want whatever color their brother/sister has. Not sometimes. Every time. You shouldn't be able to tell the [insert coveted object here]s apart because, then, they won't either.
I've had to learn this the hard way--twice. In fact, if I could go back in time, this would be one of my timeline changes. Two of everything. And folks, [lock eyes with me here] it would be worth the risk of destroying the space-time continuum.
Driving in the car, Ella asks why her boo-boo (on her knee) is dark and hard. I explained that a scab had formed and reminded her other times she's had scrapes and dings and as part of the healing process, a protective layer formed to keep germs out while the cells repaired themselves. Ella seemed pretty pleased with the discussion and with a quick nod of approval, she let me know that she was satisfied with my answer. I thought I was off the hook with a solid win.
As I began to turn around in my seat, I saw Ethan's face twist and contort with open mouth and closed eyes. I knew what was coming. This was the silent buildup for all hell breaking loose. And then there it was. The piercing, almost-glass-shattering scream came tumbling out of his mouth and landed deftly in my ears. My left ear, to be precise.
Of course, I was in a panic to find out if he was hurt, because that had to be it. Did something sting him? Bite him? Stab him? Pinch him? Nope, nope, nope and nope. What is it? What's wrong? Ethan wants a scab. This is my daily crazy, folks. This wasn't covered in The Pain and the Great One*! After 5 minutes of trying to console him, and picturing his head on Veruca Salt's body belting out Don't care how/I want it now while standing defiantly atop the eggdicator, I explained that he's had scabs before and would likely have them again. This time was Ella's turn, but he would likely have one soon. And then, of course, I explained that scabs are good to have AFTER we get a boo-boo, but boo-boos themselves are not good to get, blah, blah, blah.
I laughed, I cried, I felt sorry for the little guy, I was frustrated beyond belief. I, feeling satisfied that I had finally quelled the storm, once again began to turn around in my seat to sit in exhausted silence the remaining three minutes home, when I made eye contact with Ella. She had been watching this whole scene studiously. She then squinted as if to complete some mental calculation and then, once again, gave me a quick nod of approval and a sideways smile. Hmm, well, maybe a solid win for mom after all.
*By the way, The Pain and the Great One is a great book that lends a little humor to the frustration of sibling rivalry and helps to explain perspective in a way that kids will understand.