From the time I knew there was going to be a Carter, I was so happy for Jacob. He'll have a brother. A friend. Someone to chase around the house, play baseball with, share a car with. Someone who will commiserate with him on how mean his teachers are and how stupid his parents are. Someone with whom his fighting will probably, at some point, draw blood, and someone who will be in his corner, unconditionally- whether he says it out loud or not- during his successes and failures throughout his life.
Today I am bribing Jacob to stop trying to kill his brother. Really. Jacob is constantly knocking Carter over, trying to pull off his legs, or get his face. They are not the picture of happy siblings that I had in my head, and I feel like I have to press the Restart button on this behavior.
I'm not asking for dandelions and pancakes everyday, but the current level of craziness has to stop. I do feel responsible for fostering a bond between them, and if it takes bribery at this point, so be it. Hopefully, when they're 17 and 20 and they're buddies, they'll thank me.
The bribe is a Matchbox car. Be nice to Carter all day (and do what mama asks you), and at the end of the day, you can choose a Matchbox car. I have a package of 5, so I'm thinking I'll make the offer every day for 5 days. Maybe that amount of time will allow him to reset his behavior, and going forward, things will be a little calmer. (Or, maybe he'll demand for a Matchbox car every day until he leaves for college, I don't know...)
So far, the bribe seems to be working.
There has been less screaming from both parties (and from mama).
If you want to read a truly eloquent article on The Gift of Siblings, go here.
Meanwhile, I'll be stocking up on Matchbox cars.