Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Toddler Wars

Many a summer day is spent here on Prairie Court with friends. Walk outside and begin playing and on most occasions, an instant play date occurs. We have often joked that we are a little amish community living communal style. Of course that is what summer is about, playtime outdoors and bbq's and we here on Prairie Court revel in that. We all hibernate in our own homes during the cold months, but the weather gets warmer we release the animals, open the windows, and show each other the new toys we have accumulated over the winter.

However, although we love the friendships our kids have made with each other, on a regular basis, toddler war erupts. There is about 7 regulars that play together, and I will identify each of them by their first names, omitting their last to protect their privacy and the embarrassment of their parents. On occasion there are 2-3 added children that come to play visiting their grandparents, or sister and their nephews...but beyond that subtle mention, I will keep it to the 7, I will even go as far to omit the oldest, 'Big' Connor, since he tends to stay out of it or referee.

So we have 6. They eat pops together, they ride bikes together, they swim in the Miller's pool together. They chase after one another, the color on sidewalks together, and then all of a sudden it turns. We have tried to pinpoint the cause of the battles erupting but it is random attacks. And when one child whips out their weapon of destruction, they all follow suit.

They will battle over the purple piece of chalk, the color or number of the rings they have in their hands that belongs to the silly game the daddy's play, because so and so stole so and so's flip flops, because for some reason all the girls have to wear flip flops. They will argue over the order of going up and down porch steps, the buckets in the pool, it is random and break out with no warning.

They each have their battle weapon and without fail, they never falter or change arms.
Andrew: the brut, he just pushes everyone around, he is the biggest, the oldest, so if he doesn't like what you are doing, he will just hip check you out of the way.
Emily: the snatcher, she will see what she wants and as fast as she can just swipe it right out of your hands, no warning, and then just stand there and look at you. Because if you aren't Andrew, she is the next in line, and what are you going to do?
Sarah: now she is the queen of sneak attacks. Just when you think she isn't going to go after your or get upset, wham, in comes the back hand, the shove, and you will look at her and ask, 'Sarah, what did you do to Kendall,' and she will look at you with no fear, just sheer determination, ' I hit her, ' with no explanation necessary, according to her.
Kendall:Without fail, Kendall will either bite, pull hair, hit, or sit on you if you cross her. She makes no attempt at disguising her actions, she will flail and exaggerate her movements, she has not mastered the art of subtlety, or maybe she has, and she doesn't want to be.
Evan & Ethan: I pair them together because they are only 2 weeks apart and the youngest of the group. For the most part they stay out of the way, in the back of the pack, however, their defense mechanisms may be the most grating on the nerves, because they have mastered the art of the whine, or the uncontrollable sob. If someone steals their toy, gets in their way, pushes or swipes at them, they act as if they have been involved in mortal combat. For the most part, the older kids, know to keep the swipes light, and their movements gentle when it comes to engaging in combat with the babies of the group, but the boys reaction is always the same, it is a scream that comes from the gut, like a firehouse siren, it starts low and soft and escalates to all out emergency mode scream in less than a few seconds.

The most recent war was the biggest of all, and I blame, us,
the parents, because this object that the war was centered around, was obvious. We perhaps thought we could patrol it, that they would listen and take turns, but after 30 minutes the object of desire was turned off. It was Emily's battery operated Princess Convertible. One of those cars that enables toddlers to pretend they are adults, and can drive around with the push of a pedal, a turn of the steering wheel, and pop of a gear shift into forward or reverse, and they go until their hearts content, well at least until the battery dies. I know what you are thinking, one car, 6 kids, yeah right. There was room for 2 and the instructions were to take turns we were even refereeing. Toddler War.

So feet were run over, the best of friends turned enemies, as hit and runs occurred all around. There were even physical fights breaking out amongst passenger and driver with no concern to direction the car was taking. It ran over bushes, up trees, off the sidewalk, it was chaos.

This picture was taken after the car battery was unplugged as they each decided they would share' the car, and all be flocked around it like the ants were to the picnic food that fell to the ground in the midst of the war. Soon after this picture was taken...

'she's pinching me'
'he's hogging the seat'
'she's smooshing me'
'don't look at me'
'i'm telling'

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