Dear Ethan and Maya,
TIME-OUT! If you ask me what we do the most for the past month. This is it. Putting you into time-outs. Or threatening you with time-outs.
Ethan, time-outs worked wonder with you. Maybe because we chained you in the garage, and every time you banged the garage door so hard that you would get so exhausted and completely give in and follow what we told you to do. Sometimes though you would be all crazy yelling and crying and totally forget why you came to the garage in the first place and started to scream about other things that you considered unreasonable – we made you eat vegetable, we didn’t buy you another train set, we had to make sure you put your pants back on after pee.
We thought time-outs worked for all crazy kids. Except if it really works, there will be no crazy kids, like you, Maya, the one with real attitude. You fight with us all the time to let you feed yourself. Very independent. And extremely messy. But I let go, except it comes to something like SOUP, which requires to be cooled down and spooned to mouth. That is how people drink soup for centuries. So the other night at dinner you became so angry because we wouldn’t let you hold and pour that bowl of hot soup over your head, and you started to scream hysterically. As parents who have already experienced this with another child, we told you to get over it and ignored you. Except that ignoring never works with you both. Ignoring you is like not returning phone calls to your ex-girlfriend who is not ready to get over you, and she will spray paint SCREW YOU on your front door and your lawn.
So, Maya, the next thing you did as you saw me taking away that bowl of soup was to scream even louder and throw everything off the table. I warned you, “Want a time-out?” You promptly reached your hand over wanting to shove off my stuff, and I picked you up right away, set you in your room with door closed. I stood outside your room waiting for a minute to pass and felt that feisty brawl pounding the concrete walls. Maybe you are still catching on the whole idea of time-out, your reaction was totally different from your brother’s – you became angrier. After a minute or so, we let you out. When we asked you to pick up what you had thrown on the floor, you stood there staring at that cup MOTIONLESS. Occasionally you would stare up to us SHARPLY, so sharp that it totally explained that it’s not about the soup anymore. You went from screaming to psychopathic. Not only because we stopped returning your calls. You found out that we slept with your best friend.
I went all barbaric and pushed your body closer, grabbed your hand to touch that damn cup. NO SUCCESS. I looked at your father weeping about the fact that we have another shithead to deal with for the rest of our lives. Over the dinning table, our No.1 shithead, aka your brother all behaved sitting there eating. Except he would occasionally popped out something like, “Maya, you bad girl.” or “Go to garage.” And IT WAS SO FUNNY. Not only because you just said that, Ethan, but because we noticed that you were trying to hide your laughing too. Yes, you found the whole confrontation with Maya very amusing that you totally forgot the fact that you went through the same thing.
“Do you remember you being put in time-outs?” I asked.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.” You said, still trying not to laugh.
“In the garage, remember?”
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Not in the garage.” Started to show panicky on your face.
Ethan, this is called DENIAL, which you are still too young to maneuver. Yet, what else was that shown on your face?
We are still working our ass off to avoid bloodshed when you both are together. And in fact, I have to say it’s been progressing, though very slowly. Our strategy is to move your attention from killing each other to killing us – recently you both have started to practice screaming when we are on the road. Maya, you are the instigator. YOU ALWAYS ARE. When your brother is all focused playing puzzles, you will pick that piece out from the middle and throw it across the room before you shatter the whole thing. You love to poke your finger in him when he’s reading or coloring just to see how he hates being bugged. Usually he will become so frustrated then he will push you against the wall or pull you to a table corner, and you will turn super bitchy and start chasing after him to bite him. This happens at least 10 times for a regular day. I’m glad that you are still alive.
So, Maya, when you’ve progressed to use your voice to make noise – SCREAMING FOR NO FREAKING REASON, you scream all day long. For some reason, your new passion has aroused your brother’s interest, and now there is nothing you both like doing together than screaming together. Honestly, I am completely fine with that. You are not killing each others. And maybe one day you scream too much that you both will lose your voice. I’m hoping WORLD PEACE. Just your father has a hard time tolerating the noise. The other day when you were screaming so hard in the car that the decibel level went over 170, your father became all mad and threatened to kick you off the car if you wouldn’t shut up. Ethan, you immediately said, “I will be hit by cars, daddy.” “RIGHT!” Your father said, feeling pleased that you understand the consequence. Just then you replied, “But don’t worry. I can be a race car if I like to.” Oh God! Your father and I burst into laughter. Then you both laughed even harder, screamed even harder.
Too much to talk to you, too much to laugh with you, just because I am experiencing something really fun – watching my children from not knowing each other to slowly bonding like magic to spreading that magic over to everyone around you. Without fail you always make us crack up. And all I wanted to tell you is, later on in your lives, some very boring people are going to tell you that you are not supposed to laugh at such silly things, which is very sad because it’s exactly the moment you will look back on and smile the most about when you think about what it was like growing up – all four of us laughing so hard that the walls seemed to be trembling. Be it your screaming over nothing or our yelling out TIME-OUT. It doesn’t matter. Because it will always be the same noise that holds us together.