What the Fork?
Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
I have four kids. They are all females. And they fight.
It amazes me that a 14-year-old would have anything to fight about with a 5-year-old; but still they bicker. And the 5-year-old – well, having been born with three older sisters already intact – I can say, for sure, that she can hold her own in these arguments.
Don’t get me wrong. There are moments when the kids are all peaceful (like, when they are all asleep). But there are more moments when the kids seem to find just about anything, anything at all, to argue over. And most of the time, my mediating only leads to cries of, “You are so unfair,” or “She always gets her way.” At any rate, I allow the criticism to go in one ear and out the other.
I always assumed that, as my children grew up, there would come a time when the arguing over who gets to do this first, or who does that, or whose turn it is to clear the table, or who gets to sit “shotgun,” would end. I was wrong. Very wrong.
The other night, with the kids setting the table and getting ready for dinner, a yelling match ensued. Over a fork.
I have a hodgepodge of mismatched silverware that I use. And nearly every night, there is this one specific fork that the kids fight over. It’s a simple fork, honestly no different than the other forks. It even works the same. And considering that my kids are prone to eating with their fingers, I am not sure why a fork should be an issue at all.
But on this particular night, it was.
Child C got it first, and then child B decided it was her turn to have it. Child A said “that’s unfair because I NEVER get to use it,” and child D, the youngest, said it should be hers because it was the smallest fork in the drawer (makes sense because she IS the smallest).
I really don’t have time for this. I remembered back to a time when my twins were 3 and they were fighting in the backseat of the car over something stupid. I told them to hand it over to me and I threw the stupid something out of the window. When the fork problem arose, I felt very much the same way, but I wasn’t driving and there was no window to throw it out of.
So, I broke the fork. It was a really cheap fork from Dollar Tree, which meant it couldn’t stand up to steak, let alone my frustration. Then I threw it in the trash. And that was the end of that.
Suddenly, all the kids could agree. Mama has gone crazy.
Child A asked me if that was really necessary. Child D, the smallest, put her head down on the table and cried. Child B and Child C, who started the argument in the first place, shot daggers at me with their eyes. And then we sat down to a nice meal, eating with our fingers and getting along again. Which seems to say that the fork argument was really pointless and probably just another attempt to drive me to the brink of insanity.
Do your kids ever bicker and argue, or fight, over some of the dumbest things ever? Do you get involved, or do you simply allow them to work it out?