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Sibling Squabbles

One of the most difficult aspects of parenting is when siblings squabble. You know how it starts: Sibling A says a comment to Mom about some random non-threatening topic. Sibling B has some problem with Sibling A for whatever reason and makes some snide insulting remark in response to A’s comment to Mom. A takes offense, as expected, and before you know it there is a full scale war going on.

I hate this.

This is how my afternoon with my teenagers went. My A child has trouble with her B, Brother. She picks on him, mercilessly. She started in when I picked them up after school and by the time we got home, they were about ready to come to blows about who knew more about politics and current events. I’m certain neither of them know anything about politics, but we’ll just let that small minor detail go.

I’d say this happens often, but that would be an understatement. Child A created an art form of mocking and torturing her brother.

No matter what tips, techniques, systems or strategies I use to intervene, it is useless. She continues.

Does anyone have any ideas about how to deal with the child who continually badgers a sibling? I’m at my rope’s end. I don’t exactly want to tie a knot. I’m frustrated, and might just on accident create a noose.

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Not Sleeping Alone; Cats and a Crowded Bed

We usually sleep (when I sleep) pretty peaceably together, my four cats and I. I’m not a cat hoarder, nor am I one of those who will even remotely come close to having a million cats stuffed into tiny cages in my rundown shanty. First off, I live in a newer 1800square foot town home. There is tons of space and the cats have free reign to come and go indoors and out. Plus, they have several very large cedars to exercise their stealth climbing skills and to sharpen their claws on. Further, I don’t even like cats. Or I didn’t, until these particular four changed my mind.

It all started several years back when my youngest had a friend whose cat got out and played hanky-panky with a neighboring tom. This was about the fourth litter since I’d know the family that entered the world in this way. I must have grown weary of my daughter’s begging and of hearing how the babies were just going to be disposed of at the neighborhood humane society if homes weren’t found. I finally relented and allowed my daughter to choose a kitten. She was overjoyed. When we went to pick up her little fluffy baby, his brother caught my eye. He was jet black and so wobbly on his feet even for a kitten. I feared he might have brain damage, but I was smitten by the black kitten. Instead of leaving with one cat, we came home with two.

It wasn’t long after bringing the two brothers home that I realized that, other than the litter box, cats are very low maintenance critters. In fact, I was surprised to discover how well these cats fit into my lifestyle. It’s also a lie that cats are not affectionate. While less needy and demanding than dogs, cats are every bit as affectionate as dogs. They are just not as sloppy about showing it.

About six months after we brought the brothers home, a friend of mine found a stray kitten that she couldn’t keep. I agreed to take it for her and help find it a home. Right. My home ended up being the little guy’s new home. The last thing I needed was another cat, but he was a sweet thing and my kids would have hated me forever had I given him away.

A year later, I begin dating and eventually shacked up with The Significant Other. His cat brings the total cat family to four. Yes, I think we are done now.

I don’t know when it happened but somewhere along the way, the cats took over my bed. Now, I have a rather large bed, a California King, and I don’t use the entire space at night, so for a while, this was fine. It was even comforting at first. But then, the cats began sleeping on me instead of on the bed. Add to this another man-type human and the once expansive space begins to get very crowded.

But last night was the worst.

I think someone slipped my cats a full-strength dose of stimulants or else they discovered the Red Bull stash. It was a 4-cat high speed chase…all.night.long.

To make matters worse, the man-type was flopping around like a big fish just hauled in from the sea. One of the things I love about him is that we do sleep well together. In the past, sleeping with someone else in my bed doesn’t happen without a fairly long adjustment period. In my first marriage, that period lasted for 16 years. It was remediated through divorce. My SO is pretty easy to sleep with and to get along with most of the time. Last night being the exception.

So, between the cats and the Man Human fish-flopping all night, there was just not going to be any sleep. I’d just barely drifted off to doze when I felt him jerk again. I peeked open one eye and he’s sitting up in bed staring at me. It’s 8 o’clock and night is long over. I’d been out for maybe an hour. The cats were comatose finally. It was Sunday morning after a night of no sleep. It appeared it was going to be a day of no sleep.

Nights aren’t usually that rough for everyone in the house, just me. Last night was definitely strange, because for the first time I had company during my insomnia. Fortunately, I was able to catch a nap later in the day. There is a downside to doing that, however, because here I am…wide awake again.

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