Isla and Asher are a sister and brother born less than 2 years apart. I don’t know how that plays out in other families, but in our family it means a lot of conflict. A lot. I’ve run the gamut of conflict management with these 2 little people, sometimes with no visible progress, but other times with great success. Who knows the secret formula? Today, though, was a stand-out kind of day. We faced our usual struggles of toy envy (no matter what the object happens to be, including (especially?) an object you normally couldn’t care less about- if your sibling has it, you are overcome with a deep, instinctual, insurmountable urge to take it… and so you do, by force), food equality (if what you are served is not EXACTLY the same as your sibling, including the accompanying tableware, the only reasonable explanation is that your mother is treating you unfairly because she favors your sibling over you, and this is a tragedy worthy of your strongest emotional response), and “the kibosh” (whatever your sibling wants- certain music, story, activity, anything- you immediately disagree to, even when (especially when?) you secretly agree). That kind of stuff is just par for the course around here, it’s guaranteed to happen every day, just plan for it. Today stood out, though, because I witnessed many opposite-from-that type of moments.
We started the day at a coffee shop that serves American-style breakfast. Isla and Asher happily used their *matching* utensils to drum the table together. It was early, and it’s Tuesday, so I made only a halfhearted show for the other few patrons of attempting to stop them. They also happily ate their *identical* meals of pancakes, eggs, bacon and banana slices. We then headed to the beach where I believe not one conflict occurred between Isla and Asher for our entire outing. This included getting in and out of the car a couple of times, the drive to and from, the actual beach time, bathroom trip, outfit changes, snack time. Take my word for it, doing all of this without a single intervention for crisis management is remarkable! And just before bath time this evening, I spied the two of them collaborating on an iPad doodle. I nearly choked on the water I was drinking. They were in the same tent together (bad weather this afternoon led me to pull out their little tents, 2 of them, because being in the same one together is against the rules in the Isla and Asher playbook). They were working on the iPad at the same time (I don’t even know where to begin with how unheard of this is). And they were content. I even overheard Isla sweetly asking Asher to please stay a little longer when he began to lose interest and get up to leave. And he stayed.
Despite the daily sibling struggles, I have maintained the belief that these two love each other. I’ve made sure to use that belief as a foundation for how I orchestrate interventions. Still, it sure is nice to see a little proof every now and then. Thanks, kids!