Saturday late morning…
“Don’t call me that!” the doll said to her brother-who knew that he could elicit more reactions from her by continuing to say what she didn’t want to hear. “STOP TALKING TO ME” her voice escalated. He continued to talk.”MOM TELL YOUR SON TO SHUT UP!” The doll yelled in my general direction.
I separated the two-giving them both jobs in different rooms-the doll with me drying dishes while the boy dusted the living room. Peace brokered by different orbits. “Mom I hate him, he’s such a jerk!” The doll informed. “Doll, really? You hate him?” I asked. “Yes mom. He won’t stop talking to me ever…he’s like a gnat flying at my head constantly and I want to squish him” she explained. “But you do realize, every time you respond to his annoyance, you’re giving him permission to continue, right?” I asked. “How?” she replied, quite annoyed with me. “Because he got a response from you-so he’ll keep provoking just to get a response. Good/Bad-it doesn’t matter.” I explained. “So he’s like a bully….?” She asked. “In a 15 year old, who loves his sister but has a hard time showing it kind of way…yes”.
Armed with this new information, once they completed their chores and were again in the same orbit, the boy began to speak and the doll responded-again.
“DON’T CALL ME THAT-EVER AGAIN!!”
“What? Its not a bad name…” The boy concluded.
“MOM, please tell your son to stop calling me “Baby!” He knows I don’t like it but he keeps calling me that anyway”.
Both kids began to speak at the same time-the boy trying to talk over her…”Mom she’s acting like one right now”
“Mom he’s telling me I’m insecure being called a baby-when in fact I simply hate that name”
“It’s true mom she has a fear of the word baby”
“MOM HE’S BEING A BULLY TO ME”
“I’m not being a bully-I’m your brother and I love you…baby!
I tried my best to ignore their arguing but with the doll’s escalation of voice and demeanor, I knew I had to jump in…
“Boys and girls….” I began and then waited a few minutes for them to stop arguing. “Hello….first of all you two are 12 and 15 years old which means that you two will argue about everything for the next year or so…so pick your battles wisely. Second, Bay, she does not like you calling her…” “I don’t understand why saying the word ‘baby’ makes her nuts…”He argued. “BAY, EXCUSE ME, MY TURN TO TALK, YOURS TO SHUSH!” I replied. “Second, stop calling her baby. I know you think its fun to provoke a reaction from her, I’m telling you, it’s not. It’s not fun for her or me and soon it will not be fun for you. Third, Doll, cut the boy some slack…I don’t think he wakes up each morning planning on how to drive you nuts. “But he won’t stop talking to me!!” she cried. “TOUGH TOE NAILS!! He’s your brother-deal with it and finally-both of you stop being assholes.!”
-Yes the swear jar is no longer in effect-
“MOM!! What did you call me?” the doll shrieked. “You heard me-both of you. If you can’t sit in the same room with one another without causing grief–then move to another room.” “But he…” she began but I cut her off. “Knock it off..we’re done talking about this. Bay-go get dressed for the day, you too doll and stay out of each other’s way…now go.”
Neither child was satisfied with my solution, however they did cool their arguing for a little while.
Last night I asked the doll to move to a different couch so I could sit in her spot. When she got up to move I replied, “Thanks Baby!” I was shocked when she angrily turned toward me and said, “DON’T CALL ME THAT!!” “Call you what I just thanked you for moving?” I replied. “Don’t call me BABY I hate it!” Looking over at her father and then back toward her I replied, “Excuse me, I’m not the boy, I’m your Mother. You are my daughter, my baby-my baby DOLL”. ” I HATE BEING CALLED A BABY!!” she shouted back to me. “I didn’t call you a baby…I said thanks baby-using “baby” as a term of endearment.” My husband looked over at the doll an added, “Perhaps our “baby doll” should go to bed…she’s cranky…” Which earned him a sneer and a “STOP IT DAD” in response.
Ah yes. twelve year old girls…