Jennifer's books

Goodbye, Vitamin
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
Mrs. Hemingway
Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir
The Princess Diarist
Watch Me Disappear
Hello, Sunshine
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
A Man Called Ove
The Heirs
Our Souls at Night
White Fur
Confessions of a Domestic Failure
The Map That Leads to You
The Little French Bistro
Love the Wine You're With
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
The Party
New Boy

Jennifer Curry's favorite books »

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Law of Two Children: When One Behaves, the Other Misbehaves

I have been totally honest about how going from one child to two was an eye-opening experience for our little family. Two distinct personalities formed at very young ages that require two different types of love and discipline. Simply put – it has been challenging.

However, there are moments when having two does make life easier and more fun, such as when they decorate their faces and pretend they are miniature KISS rock stars. Or when they sneak into each other’s bedrooms at night to tell stories and cuddle.

Sometimes seeing the two of them play together fills my heart and makes me grin from ear to ear. Other days I breathe a sigh of relief because they can entertain each other and mommy doesn’t have to. All in all, more than one kid has worked out well for our little family.

And yet, I have recently stumbled upon the Law of Two Children, which veteran moms warned me about. Basically, the Law of Two Children works similarly to Newton's Third Law: every action has an equal and opposite reaction except with kids it becomes “when one behaves, the other misbehaves.” I’ve come to find that those sweet moments of sibling togetherness are to be enjoyed because they are fleeting moments. One of the two is bound to do something to get in trouble in approximately five minutes.

This law is all-encompassing. It does not just apply to the day-to-day shenanigans. This applies to the big life picture events. For example, I did not hide the fact that our daughter’s terrible two’s were beyond terrible – they were a nightmare. But, as soon as she turned three years old, she has made a radical turn around.

And, guess what? So has her sweet usually well-behaved six-year-old brother. He has started to act out in ways that he never has before leaving his parents struggling to know how to respond. We get one kid acting right and the other loses his mind. The Law of Two Children.

Another example comes from our recent family vacation. At the start of our week-long vacation, our six-year-old was the one trying our patience and needing more discipline than usual while the three-year-old was behaving like a little angel. Fast forward to the end of the week when our six-year-old ring bearer became the angel and our three-year-old flower girl became a whiny little tyrant. The Law of Two Children.

Older mothers warned me that once you get one kid figured out, the other starts to give you trouble. And, I did not believe them. I was wrong. The Law of Two Children is real. I’m at the point now where I believe they strategize and plan out who will be the good one and the bad one for the day. I picture them giggling in their bedrooms together deciding who will give their mother hell the next day and who will give mommy a “break.”

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