Uncorked in the ‘Burbs: Prepare the Thunderdome

Just when your “Getting 2-kids-ready-for-school while simultaneously getting your own self ready for work” routine has been perfected … let me welcome you to:  Holiday Break!

And in my house, that means it’s time to prepare the sibling Thunderdome.

My kids truly love each other.  They’re one another’s best friends, honestly—sneaking into each other’s room to sleep together and whispering and giggling and playing… all despite the gender difference and 4-year grade gap.

But for whatever reason, all fraternal bonds go out the window during these 1-2 week school breaks.  Be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break… even the first week or two of Summer break, my kids screech and yell at each other so much that you’d think two orangutans resided in our house.

It’s like the sudden freedom of completely unscheduled time drives them to new heights of sibling insanity.   I feel obligated to point out here that they never physically fight, but you’d never know it by the decibel level (dear neighbors: I’m sorry.).  As my children spar, I’ve been privy to such whiny gems as:

  • “He’s touching my toothbrush! And now he won’t give it to me!”
  •  “Emma tried to put my toy in the wrong spot so I couldn’t find it!”
  • “I was petting the dog, and Ryan came in and tried to pet him too!”
  • “It was my turn to use the crayons, but Emma is STILL using them!”

For the record, she probably DID put his toy in the wrong spot so he couldn’t find it, and I’m pretty sure he hid her toothbrush in retaliation.

I have vague memories of similar issues with my brother and me… to the point where my mom gave us each a pair of those old, 70s-style blow-up, oversized boxing gloves, and told us to have at it in the basement, aka: The Thunderdome.  I also seem to recall an aside whispered to my dad that they’d keep whichever one of us lived through the beat-down, with a chuckle shared between them.

She was kidding about duking it out.  I think.  But now I think she was brilliant.  (It’s not the first time I’ve thought this: mom, you were TOTALLY right about …. well, about most everything.)  Perhaps some inflatable lightsabres are in order.  I think I’ll place a quick call to Santa and see what he can do.

Regardless, we WILL make it through break—probably without a sibling cage match.  (I think.  Fingers crossed.)  And Murphy’s Law ensures that just as soon as we’re settled into our non-school-day routine – or at least as soon as I’ve found earplugs good enough to drown out the whining — it will be time for them to go back to school, and to their normal routine.  A routine which blessedly does NOT include daily bouts of “You Can’t Be Mad- I’m Not Touching You!!”

But even with the fighting, the whining and the screeching that happens over break: I’ll miss ‘em when they go back.


Kellie is a slightly frazzled mom-with-good-intentions to her two energetic children: “Emma” (b. 2003) and “Ryan” (b. 2006). She lives in the ‘burbs and works from her home office-- trying to make good on the promise of personally and professionally ‘having it all’ but usually ends up with a never-ending To Do list and a bald spot from pulling out her hair in an effort to get it all done. Her goal is to raise well-adjusted future adults who believe in themselves. Some days, however, she’ll happily settle for kids who don’t pester her during a client call and a big glass of wine.