Posted by: Hannah | 02/14/2013

fight fight fight

I read on Amalah’s  blog yesterday all about how her boys fight all the time, about silly things. (It’s a funny post – reminds me of my childhood.)

It also made me smug, because honestly, my boys almost never fight. It’s very, very rare. They wrestle, but it’s all in good fun. About the only time you hear harsh words between them is when they’re trying to co-play a video game and Harry gets a bit too “my way or the highway” about it.

Ah, hubris. You are a harsh, cruel mistress.

Today, Louis, Ron, and Pixie have been at each other’s throats ALL DAY.

Louis won’t play with Pixie, tells her she’s making “annoying sounds” (kettlepot alert!). Ron is correcting Louis’ behaviour every five minutes. Pixie won’t stop pouting and whining.

I just broke up a fight about, of all things, whether or not Pixie had a sandwich for lunch. (Newsflash, Louis: she does. She’s eating it where you can see her right now. Now stop talking and eat your spaghetti before I put vodka in my water bottle.)

Part and parcel of the fighting unfortunately is the tattling. And the whining. OH GOD THE TATTLING AND WHINING. For even more delightful, magical Time With Precious Children, they have now combined the tattling & whining together into something else. Whinitting? Tattlewhinge? I don’t know what to call it, but it sounds like this:

“Han-NAAAAAAH! Pixie is sayin’ today is Valentine’s DAAAAAAAY. It’s NOOOOOOOOOT.”

“Han-NAAAAAAH! Louis won’ PLAY wif’ MEEEEEEEE!!!!!”

Two years ago, when Arthur first started coming here, he was the whiniest creature on earth. Like, he was really bad. Every word out of his mouth was whined. Like Louis, he was honestly startled when I asked him to use his talking voice, not his whining voice. He didn’t seem to understand what I meant, and it was a hard struggle for him to learn how to talk normally.

But he did it. He still whines something fierce with his parents, when he thinks I’m not listening, but he hasn’t whined at me in at least a year. Maybe longer. So, there’s hope. I guess.

Having a hard time seeing it today, though.

The moment when my patience finally snapped, with a dry dusty sound:

Louis: Han-NAAAAH!! Daisy is takin’ my THIIIIINGS! (said ‘things’ being alphabet fridge magnets, so something that there is 26 of)

Me: Louis, you need to work out a way to share, OK? You don’t need all of them.

*overheard sounds of scuffle*


Daisy: *angry crying*

I looked over, and there was Louis, with most of the magnets on the floor so he could stand on them, trying with all of his might to pry Daisy’s chubby little baby fingers off the letter “S”.

Me: Louis, let go of that! Daisy just wants to hold one. Please put the rest back on the fridge, and if sharing is making you too mad, go play with something else for a little while, OK?

Louis: NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! *flings himself on the floor, sobs hysterically*

And then Daisy threw the letter “S” at his head.

Like an idiot, I baked a batch of cupcakes as a special Valentine’s Day treat. It was Ron’s idea and he’s a good kid who puts up with a lot of shit here every day, so I said sure. I made plain white cupcakes, frosted with white buttercream and decorated with just a sprinkle of red sugar.


Pixie vibrated all through storytime like a junkie looking for a fix. Louis took 90 minutes to fall asleep. Daisy barely touched hers and she’s been whining loudly in her sleep.

It’s now 2:35PM, the older boys are getting off the bus in ten minutes, and the last restless child just settled. So much for afternoon break. Foo.


Did your kids tattle? If you got them to stop, you’re some kind of witch. Please tell me how you did it. I will send you cash monies. And a half-dozen Valentine’s Day cupcakes.




  1. My suggestion would be gaffer tape, but I think that might be unethical.

    • Had you made this suggestion while they were all still awake and tattling on one another, it’s entirely possible that I would have tried it.

  2. We are still getting rid of the tattlig, but it is much better. I know it is rude, but I cut off the tattler mid-sentence. So they say “Saaaa-aaam! Other Kid is-“. And I say “Go speak with Other Kid about it.”. The first few times took some more guidance, but now unprompted they will usually go over and say something like “I don’t like it when you take my trains. Please stop.”

    • Hmmm. I’ll have to think about that one. We’re also working on not interrupting when other people are talking right now – Louis is especially bad for it, natch – but since I hate tattling MUCH WORSE than interrupting, I may try this.

  3. My kids don’t fight much generally (mostly because they’re different genders and three years apart, I think, plus the dumb luck factor) but they go through brief periods of time when they just rub each other the wrong way. Fortunately, my house has three floors and Angus’s favourite stuff is on the bottom one and Eve’s is on the top. Angus had a school friend in kindergarten who, no matter what situation I was commenting on, would immediately say “he started it!” (guess who usually started it) and it spiked my blood pressure.

    • “He started it!” – OH UGH. We haven’t heard that one yet, although Arthur is a big one for “that’s not FA-AIR!”, which then I started hearing Ron doing. One day this week I just said “no, that’s it, those are words you may not say!” and my face must have been pretty thunderous because I haven’t heard it since.

  4. Oldest didn’t tattle because when he was tattling age, he had no siblings (youngest is 6.5 years younger) but my GOD did he get in moods when he would deny the obvious and it made me insane.

    I’m not proud to admit this, but when oldest was about 4, I got into an extended argument with him about whether it was snowing outside or not (it was, the demonstrable fact was that it was snowing, oldest denied it). My husband had to tell me to leave it. I mean I knew better, but at that moment, I just could not take another moment of irrational insistence on something that wasn’t true.

    On a totally unrelated note, my mantra has become never be nice. Not in the sense of being unpleasant to everyone, but in the sense that whenever I go out of my way to do something special or particularly nice for the kids, it almost always bites me in the ass. Sigh.

    • The story about the snow made me laugh and laugh, because oh, have I been there. Louis in particular is past master at holding to a completely false idea until everyone around him has given up. I caught myself arguing with him one day about whether his mom was a “lady” or not. As in, “yes, your moms are women or ladies, and your dads are men” and he just kept replying “mah mom is not a LADY, she’s a GIIIIRRRRRL”, and it drove me stupidly bonkers.

      And yes, I almost never go out of my way to do nice things for groups of kids anymore, because you’re right – ass-biting will follow.

  5. “And then Daisy threw the letter “S” at his head.” I shouted with laughter at that one. Of course she did. Also: You GO, Daisy!

    I’ve written about whining and tattling in a few places, but those links are as good as any.

    One of mine is turning into quite the whiner these days, and I’ve been responding a bit differently. I’m mulling over a post about it. If I get my act together I’ll post it tomorrow. (No promises, though. I’m kinda tired, it being February and all.)

    • Sometimes I think Daisy is my tubby little alter-ego, because at that point I wanted so much to throw something at him myself. What a disagreeable little twerp he is, most of the time.

      And gaaa, February. On the bright side, it *is* half-over! I look forward to your post about whining.

  6. I cut a woman’s face from a magazine. Glued it on a paper plate. Hung the paper plate/picture on the door knob in the playroom. When a child comes to me to tattle on another child I say ‘Go tell Mary.” (That’s what I named the woman in the picture.) They get “to tell” someone and I don’t have to be involved.

    • This actually made me spit my coffee – BRILLIANT. I’m going to try this today. HA.

  7. My little ladies are 21 months apart (5 & 3) and they fight and tattle often…and being the girlie girls they are it can be VERY catty! I’ve literally had to separate them over such things as “she says my shirt isn’t cute” and “I’m going to get married but she says I won’t!” For this tom-boy mama I kind-of wish they’d tussle more, bicker less:) During daycare we work on working it out together first and then asking me for help only if a) that doesn’t work or b) its something dangerous/could hurt someone. Not always successful but seems to help the bigs (4/5’s).

    • Yeah, my standard line is “try to work it out with your friends!” followed closely by “is anyone bleeding? No? Then you don’t need to tell me about it, OK?” It works great, as you say, with the older kids. But the littler ones just don’t grasp the difference yet between good tattling – “Daisy’s standing on the craft table!” and bad tattling – “Pixie is LOOKING AT ME!”

      At least today is a relaxed day – no school, so everyone is kind of drifting in late. I’m drinking coffee, and it’s still hot at the bottom of the cup!

  8. My two have been squabbling for the past week. It’s pretty out of character, and I think the root cause is one boy just had a birthday and has new Lego. Here in the semi-anonymity of your blog (versus mine which is increasingly read by people I know in real life) I will confess that the thing that grates on my nerves the most is the baby talk. A great number of my sons’ peers (ages 8 -11) speak to their mothers with faux-lisps and pouty lips in order to get their way. What is up w/ that?!

    • OH HOLY SHIT YES THE PRETEND BABY TALK. It especially grates on my nerves because I seldom even talk baby talk to actual babies – I’ll bet you’re the same – so when I hear it coming out of someone almost as tall as I am, I’m equal parts stabbity-rage and stunned.

  9. I grew up an only child. My parents are both introverts (well, ambiverts anyway). There was no bickering in my house. Now fighting. No battles. My parents had TWO big blow up fights in my memory.

    I found the CLASSROOM taxing because all of the noise totally overwhelmed me.

    When PH gets angry at me, I think it means he doesn’t love me any more.

    I am really, really, REALLY dreading sibling squabbles. I will NOT know how to deal with it.

    • Solidarity! I am an only child, have two boys now aged 6.5 and nearly 5. They fight, bicker, squabble, and man, have I had a lot of practise in conflict resolution that I never got training for as a child of non-confrontational parents (I also married a non-confrontational man). Check out “Siblings Without Rivalry” — it’s a good one.

  10. […] done in a whine. Guess what? My current tattler is one of those. (Making her, as Hannah suggests, a whinitter? a tattlewhinge?) I think I’m going to adopt “tattlewhinge”. So […]

  11. I got this from “Kids are Worth It” by Barbara Coloroso, “Are you telling me to get someone *in* trouble or *out* of trouble?” If the former, go tell mary (love that!) and if the latter (your brother jumped off the couch and broke his leg — or in the future, your friend is addicted to crystal meth…so she says in the book) then tell me.

    My younger child is closing out his 4s with a lot of overconfident, assholish behavior. He is a pill. The older is a very reasonable, compliant 6.5 year old who can be reduced to tears by his younger brother. He also kicks him in the back when he thinks no one is looking. The Louis and Pixie model, but older and without the cooperation and with a lot more SHOULD KNOW BETTER and SERIOUSLY WHY ARE YOU SUCH AN ASSHOLE.

    I have had the following conversation:”Mommy he touched my foot.”
    “Oh, really.”
    *kid scurries back upstairs*
    “I told mommy you touched my foot. I TOLD ON YOU.”
    Other kid freaks out. Wrestling ensues.
    I’m still downstairs, reading a book, and have no intention of moving. They generate their own drama. It’s amazing. OH but thank dog there is not so much whining anymore.

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