The summer we learned to get along

Our experience of sisters fighting is not much like what I’ve seen or heard about other places.


When the girls were little-little, we weren’t around each other that much. That sounds worse than it was—with two full-time working-at-an-office parents, the girls were with their caregivers from 7:30a-5:30p. And as it worked out, they were never in the same daytime space at the same time…one went to preschool as the other one slipped into her sister’s baby-spot.

All that to say we only had to put up with each other for supper, bathtime, and bedtime. All projects of a sort, with things to work toward, so it’s easier to stay kind to each other and stay focused on good things. (For all four of us.)

Fast-forward to the winter when I got laid off from my systems admin job, and decided we’d experiment with Being Home All Summer. As I recall, the girls were 4th and 3rd grades. Not that little anymore! I kinda wanted them to go to vacation Bible school, and swim team, and lay in the itchy grass staring at the sky because there was nothing to do. Which doesn’t work well with the kinds of full-day care we’d been using before then, and we weren’t quite prepared to spring for a summer nanny.

Marty was willing to take the risk if I was, since I was the one who’d wanted to keep working after the girls were born. (Never regretted that!) So school ended, and the three of us females had to learn how to be around each other all day, every day.

It was interesting. There was a learning curve.

I’m confident there’s a lot I don’t know about that summer. That was part of the point. 🙂

My chief impression of that summer, though, is this:

Voice 1: <fussing-sounding murmur from the other side of the house>
Voice 2: <LOUDER fussing-sounding murmur from the other side of the house>
V1: <angry buzzy loud murmur>
V1: Moooooom!!!!!

Voice 1 would arrive at my side: “Mom! She HIT me!”
Voice 2 would launch into jumbled justification

…none of which I paid much attention to.

Kimbol to Voice 2: “You aren’t to hit people. You know better; you finished preschool-! We use our words. Go into time-out.”
(Kimbol turns sharply)
to Voice 1: “WHAT did you say to your sister that caused her to lose her words?! You are not to push people that far. Go into time-out.”

The persons playing Voice 1 vs. Voice 2 would alternate, by the way—I still find that fascinating.

By the end of June, no one asked me to intervene any more. Also important (to me, anyway) was that I didn’t hear those angry buzzes much. They seemed to respect each other’s interests and limits, and figure out ways to play that worked.


I’m not sure if there’s anything to be learned from that, or that it’s anything other than interesting :D, but it’s how fighting worked itself out in our house.

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