Thursday, January 17, 2013

Shared Interests

My kids all have shared interests. Not that they are all genuinely interested in Star Wars, Tintin comics, legos, skateboarding or crafting. But rather, they are interested in making sure that the simple pleasures of their siblings are thwarted. This makes daily life at our house quite complex.

When I was prodding the kids to pack their backpacks to carry on the plane to Costa Rica, the boys got an idea. Instead of each bringing a backpack of their own, they'd share one. That way, each of them would only have to carry it half the time. Oh my god, they've finally learned to share. This is so heartwarming. I should instagram this moment. Except I don't instagram and I know this isn't going to turn out well. Which it didn't. That stupid freakin' shared backpack was a source of contention the entire trip. Every time it was put down, a battle for whose turn it was to carry it next ensued. Every time. While I encourage the kids to work out their problems with each other, I'd much rather they do it in sign language. Silently. Because it's exhausting to listen to them and their faulty arguments. Not only that, the owner of the backpack didn't empty out his secret pocket pre-trip. So, his secrets were discovered. We all knew this "secret" anyhow. He was still mortified. I was smugly satisfied and wanted to gloat. I did a happy dance in my head. Ok, and when all the kids were at the pool and Craig and I were alone I locked the door, so he and I could revisit "the secret" for entertainment purposes. And we laughed our asses off. Does that make us bad parents? Don't answer that.

Don't for a second think it's just my boys who have difficulty keeping secrets and sharing.

This past weekend, the Christmas gift cards and the kids accrued allowance was burning a hole in their pockets. So, we headed to Target to let them invest it in the really big waste of money of their choosing. I say this from past experience. And I would prefer them to blow their wad now and learn their lesson so they don't do stupid things later their using their college loan money to invest in a delorean or an Amway start-up or something like that. Honestly, right now I'd be really happy if they can get into any college and acquire a loan in the first place. Anyway, the girls are giddy with excitement when they find a motorized scooter. And unfortunately, they figure out if they pool their resources, they can afford it. Dang it, I hate that. But, that's what they did. Sky offered to put it together for them, they rode it and shared it for about a half and hour. Before the fights about whose turn it is began. And who broke the kickstand. And who needs to get it from outside and bring it in so the battery doesn't freeze.

Then, last night, I'd had enough. Behind closed doors a verbal contract had taken place. And it went wrong. They shook hands on a trade for an entire earring collection for a broken ipod. But, someone reneged. And the teary parties came to me to right the terrible injustice of it all. I wasn't interested in the details. I don't enforce sketchy backroom deals, even if someone is an Indian giver. Which is probably politically incorrect the way sitting indian style has now gone pc and replaced with criss cross applesauce. Which doesn't even make any sense. So, last night, I decided from now on, there will be no backpack sharing. Ever. And all issues of money and or trading of properties will only be enforced if there is a written contract defining the terms and signed by both parties and a parent. I have to admit, I'm disappointed it's come to this. Then when I thought about it, nothing prepares you more for the real world than paperwork and contracts. Or compound interest.

Also, we're taking bets on how long the motorized scooter is going to last and the method of it's ultimate demise.

3 comments: said...

Ah, yes, I now recall that family politics is only training to be present in the Congress- where compromise is not a dirty word- only because it is not even part of the lexicon!

Sine said...

That is SO our family it's not even funny. We had the EXACT same debate on whose turn it was to carry the backpack. Luckily no one here has been smart enough to even think of pooling resources, but when they do, I'll now be prepared with the written contract:-)

Chantel said...

So true! Sharing is highly over-rated. Now ya'll go back to your own corners!


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