Siblings With(out?) Rivalry
I can't tell you how much I appreciated the comments and support and suggestions I got about my vent over Gwen and Maddy's constant fights. I removed that post because it didn't paint a very positive picture of one of my daughters and I didn't want a critical permanent internet record following her through her life (thinking about the brutal vetting process should she ever run for public office!?). But I learned so much from everyone who commented and I'm eternally grateful because I think your comments really made a difference in our life.
Many of you offered hope and encouragement that things would improve in time and one book was credited over and over again for helping in that process: Siblings Without Rivalry. I ordered it and it's on it's way to my mailbox now.
In the meanwhile, I took many of your suggestions to heart and started doing some things differently. First of all, I started spending more time with each child separately. I get Maddy up a half hour earlier than Gwen and we snuggle and chat. Then I spend an extra half hour with Gwen alone in her room at night. I can credit this with an almost immediate improvement in how the kids interact! I also made a pledge to scold them less when they fight and compliment them more when they play nicely and that cut the fighting by a large percentage (maybe 20 percent!?). They still fight but I'm trying to ignore it unless I can see blood or unless it sounds frantic -- like someone is being beaten with a banjo.
Yesterday, I went into the backyard to call them in for naps and found them playing nicely together. The sky was clear and blue and the sun was low on the horizon and it cast a beautiful warm glow on everything. In the middle of it all were my girls and they were pure eye candy and I had to postpone nap time for a bit just so I could grab the camera and catch a few photos.
It's not always Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice at our house but it's better! Much better!