Well, I've finally discovered the solution to sibling rivalry. Only the word rivalry is too NICE. It's more like sibling bickering over absolutely nothing until mother goes downstairs and raids the wine box. For a while I was trying to interrupt their arguments and give them something even more absurd to argue about, but they can go at it just as easily when the topic is whose shorts are shorter and what color the sky is at night.
So today the youngest was in my bed, reading a book, when I yelled "time for bed."
"Not yet, Mom. I have ten more minutes," she demanded.
"By the time I get you in there and you're done the whole bedtime routine, IT WILL be bedtime," I said.
Then I did a fifteen minute skit playing myself, her, and the sister she shares a room with, mockingly showing her what bedtime looks like in my house. Nothing at all like the Walton's Goodnight JohnBoy, Goodnight Grandpa.
No, this was more like:
Me: Goodnight Gina.
Gina: But Mom, I just thought of something. Then I forgot. No, don't leave. It was important . . . while gripping my hand.
Mom, I feel like something is watching me all the time. Do you believe in ghosts? Why are some people bad? What happens to stars when they die? One hundred and fourteen days ago someone took my hair tie and I can't find it. Emily took it!
Me: It's late Gina, go to sleep.
But Emily took it! I hate her. She's a retard!
Emily from the bottom bunk (in a squeaky high voice): I'm not a retard. Mom, punish her. Why don't you ever punish her? She hit me forty-two times today and you didn't do anything. I swear I'm going to hit her if she says one more word.
Me: No, you're not. Go to sleep. You can fight tomorrow.
Gina: But I had a really bad day at school. What are they going to do at the Doctor's tomorrow? Hmmmmmmmhmmmmhmmmm
Emily: Mom, she's humming. Make her STOP.
Gina: Hmmmmmmhmmmhmmmm, I am not humming. You retard. You never should have been born.
Emily: I am not a retard. You're an IDIOT. I'm going to hit you.
Gina: Mom, mom . . . she's calling me names. I'm uncomfortable. Can I switch pillows with you? I know this was yours. I want mine back. Fill up my water bottle. No, don't go. I remember what that was I wanted to tell you. No, wait. I forgot again. Will you come check on me in fifteen minutes?
Emily: Wasn't it easier with just two children?
I thought this was a pretty accurate representation of what goes on in their room when I shut out the light and say goodnight. Especially when I walked in there with Gina to really say goodnight, after she laughed hysterically at my version, and the first thing Emily said was "Mom, I hate you. Now go heat up my rice bag, turn the fan on low, and tell that little idiot to shut up."
We're not the Waltons. That's for sure.