I am old. I have forgotten what it's like to take care of a three-year-old and a five-year-old at the same time. Currently, I'm taking care of my step-daughter, 5, and my grandson, 3, during the day, while I'm trying to work. I work from home. They are here, at my home. While I'm trying to work.
I've developed an eye twitch over the last few days.
Generally, they have a "get along" time span of about ten minutes. Ten minutes before someone melts down. Ten minutes before someone gets angry and throws a punch. Ten minutes before the tears start flowing like lava from Mt. Vesuvius.
And they're loud. REALLY LOUD. They have two volumes. Asleep or loud. There is no in between. There is no whisper. When I ask them to use their inside voices, they look at me as if I'm speaking Farsi.
They are redundant. Redundant to the point of obsessive compulsivity. Seriously.
Me: Do you want to watch TV for awhile?
Brian: Yes, I want to watch "Hulk".
Me: Okay, Hulk it is.
Brian: Hulk! I want to watch Hulk! Nanny, can I watch Hulk? (desperately pulling at my shirt sleeve). Hulk! Hulk! Can I watch, Hulk? Hey Nanny, Hulk is what I want to watch. Do you know Hulk? I yike Hulk. So, can I watch him, Hulk?"
And sharing? Please. They wouldn't share a life preserver if they were drowning. Whatever object or toy one of them is playing with, the other wants. Any object. If Lyanna has a hair bow, Brian wants it. Suddenly, he loves hair bows and his very life depends on having it in his tiny, sweaty hands. If Brian is playing with a blade of grass, Lyanna simply must have that specific blade of grass, now. Never mind the millions and millions and millions of blades in the front and back yard, none of those will do. If we had a dog, which thankfully we don't because that would completely send me over the edge, and the two of them found a piece of dog poop, the conversation would go something like this.
Brian: Hey, I found some dog poop!
Lyanna: Can I hold it?
Brian: No! I found it first! It's my dog poop.
Lyanna: BUT I JUST WANT TO HOLD IT!
Brian: NO! GET YOUR OWN DOG POOP! THIS IS MINE!
Lyanna: BUT I WANT THAT DOG POOP! I WAS ABOUT TO PICK IT UP BEFORE YOU DID SO IT'S MY DOG POOP! (Tears begin to flow)
Brian: I SAID NO!!! STOP ASKING ME FOR MY POOP! (a punch is thrown)
Lyanna: (wailing) HE HIT ME! HE HIT ME! HE HIT ME! AND HE WON'T LET ME HAVE THE DOG POOP! WHY DOES HE ALWAYS GET TO PLAY WITH THE DOG POOP AND I NEVER GET TO PLAY WITH IT!
Brian: DOG POOP! DOG POOP! DOG POOP! DOG POOP! DOG POOP!
At which point I'd probably find myself saying something ridiculous like:
"Brian, you get to play with the poop for five minutes and then it's Lyanna's turn. If you two can't share, then the poop is MINE! Capeesh?"
But oh my...their superhero powers of cuteness are matched by none. They slay me every time.