Someone please take the high ground!

Overall, Hallie and Travis get along beautifully. They spend hours of time in creative play together, and I can’t imagine how different all of our lives would be if they didn’t have each other. They do, though, know how to push each other’s buttons!

There are so many spats and conflicts that could so easily be avoided if one of them just refused to engage. Often one will be in a bad mood or misinterpret something the other said or did. Or there will be an accident and either the “victim” will be less than forgiving or the “perpetrator,” often embarrassed at having been careless or reacting to the victim’s reaction, will get sulky and defensive and fail to give a sincere apology or try hard enough to make things right. Then begins the downward spiral.

I try over and over again to show them how easy so many of these conflicts are to avoid. I get that they both want to be heard, or to be “compensated” if their Lego creation was accidentally destroyed (if Travis is accidentally harmed or something of his is messed up or his feelings get hurt he’ll often demand money: “You owe me $5 for talking to me that way!”–so far that’s not worked out so well for him) or their opinion not taken seriously. Travis also tends to overreact or take things way too personally. Hallie then reacts to his overreactions, so that rather than just addressing his behavior I now have hers to deal with.

Hallie often makes situations worse by chiming in as another voice of authority. Understandably, this doesn’t go over well with Travis. And when I speak to Hallie about it, it will send her into a sulk so I’ve got two pouty children and no one eager to make a move towards reconciliation. Most of the time whatever Hallie chimes in with is right, but I’m working hard to help her to just keep it to herself.

Travis also has some manic tendencies and at times he causes problems by trying to be just as helpful as he’s earlier been unhelpful. Often when Hallie’s upset about something unrelated to him, he’ll stick his head in to say, “Hallie I hope you’re feeling better soon!” His intentions are perfect, but when Hallie’s in one of her states, his cheerful goodwill only tends to send her further over the edge. I don’t like to discourage his impulse, but I’m trying to help him read her signals or hang onto his support for a better moment.

These incidents do seem to be getting fewer and fewer (if not less extreme when they do occur). And there are also times where I’ll watch an interaction that I think will lead to trouble and be pleasantly surprised to watch one of the kids laugh something off or just not react at all. I hope as they both mature we’ll see more and more of that!

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