fifty shades of conflict resolution

Chicken was eating pretzels out of the bag.

Buster wanted some.

behold
the bag
that seduces men's hearts
and twists their minds


OK, so, now the stage is set for this afternoon's lesson:



Parenting Two Kids 101: Fifty Shades of Conflict Resolution



PART ONE: Vigilance. Constant vigilance.

Me: I'm going to grab some more coffee.

(I walk into the kitchen and pick up the carafe. Suddenly, from the other room...)

Chicken & Buster: (unintelligible whining and screaming)


At this point you realize your presence is needed at what is now the crime scene.


PART TWO: Time to be David Caruso from CSI Miami

I walk into the room and see the following:

- Buster has his hand buried in Chicken's hair, yanking a hank of his bangs skyward.

- Chicken has his hands on Buster's shirt collar and is pulling the collar away from his neck so it's strangling him.

- Both children are screaming, teeth bared, and appear to be trying to get close enough to the other to bite him, yet maintain enough distance so that they do not themelves get bitten. It's a head-bobbing dance of vicious grace the likes of which I have only ever seen in my living room and on Planet Earth episodes.

- Chicken is sitting on a bag of pretzels.


Me: (taking off my sunglasses) So. What's the story here, boys.

Chicken: Buster wants my pretzels but they're MIIIIIIIIIINE

Buster: I wanna have some but Chicken said NOOOOOOO

Chicken: But he just SNATCHED the BAAAAAAAAAG

Buster: But you said NOOOOOOOOO and you should SHAAAAAAAAAARE

Chicken: But then he HIT MEEEEE

Buster: But you HIT MEEEEEE TOOOOOOO

Chicken: NO NO I DIDN'T

Buster: YES YOU DID

Me: (looks off into the distance) Well, it looks like this case about pretzels...


... is full of TWISTS.



At this point you realize that justice and facts are both illusory constructs and if we are to learn anything from Rashomon we can never know what truly happened and the only thing we can do is embrace the void.


PART THREE: Time to be Coach Bombay


Me: ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT BREAK IT UP now BREAK IT UP. Now what do I always tell you?

Chicken: UGH. MOM.

Buster: (in his hero voice) Flying fire truck is on the way!

Me: No. No, that's not... What I always say is, you are a team, and you need to work together.

(side note: remember when "quack" was something that could be said over triumphant violins?
#The90s)

Chicken: Flying fire truck?

Buster: (Zooooooom sounds)

Me: (talking louder) Whether you're talking about pretzels, or having each other's backs when a bully tries to pick on you, or making sure you all stay safe when we're out for a bike ride. You are a team, forever, and you need to love and respect each other.

Chicken: (Siren sounds)

Buster: (Rummages in Duplo bin for fire truck wings)

Me: Okay. So. Are we good with the pretzels then?

Chicken and Buster: (Drop the Duplos and lunge at the forgotten pretzel bag, screaming brainstem words like NO and MINE and TAKE and NEED.)


At this point you realize that we are not in fact good with the pretzels then.


PART FOUR: Do what the book says to do

Me: So both of you want pretzels. Are there enough pretzels in that bag for both of you to have some?

Chicken: No.

Buster: No.

Me: Um... okay, let me rephrase. There ARE enough pretzels in that bag for both of you to share.

Chicken: Okaaaaaaaaay.... (pulls one pretzel out of the bag and hands it to Buster) Here you go.

Buster: (entire body goes stiff as he screams) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Chicken: Well, you may have a taste and then if you like it you may have more.

Buster: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Me: Chicken, it sounds like he doesn't like that plan.

Buster: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Chicken: Well that's the way it goes so...

Me: B, can you use your words to tell Chicken what you would like to happen?

Buster: I wanna pick my OOOOOOOOOOOOOWN.

Me: Oh! Did you hear that, Chicken? That seems reasonable, doesn't it?


At this point you realize that a $23 parenting book was SO WORTH IT for results like this!


PART FIVE: Oh shit the book was right

Chicken: Okay. You can pick your own...

Buster: Yay!

Chicken: ... IF you can say the pass code.


At this point you begin to pray.


PART SIX: Fuck you, book, with your promises and LIES

Buster: Oh. (Looks down at the floor.) Please?

Chicken: Nope.

Buster: (has a rage seizure) ALDFIHAOFINAOIFHAWEORUAHFVSUHDFASDOUFHSDFUH


At this point you realize that you could have spent that $23 on duct tape and/or MULTIPLE bags of pretzels, and this problem would already be solved.



PART SEVEN: "I'm your huckleberry." 


Me: OK, OK Buster, we can do this. A pass code, huh? Give us some hints about the pass code, Chicken.

Chicken: No. No hints.

Me:
is it
"tiger?"

Chicken: No, it's a number.

Me: Oh, ok...

is it
4?

Chicken: No.

Buster: 2!

Chicken: Nope.

Me:

10?

Chicken: No.

Buster: 2! 2! 2! 2!

Chicken: No Buster, no way, not 2. It's more numbers that just one.

Me: OK, how many numbers is it?

Chicken: It's just... it's three thousand, seven hundred and--


At this point you NOPE.




PART EIGHT: The hammer


Me: NOPE.

Chicken: But! But! But!

Me: Give him some pretzels.

Buster: (silently holds out bowl)

Chicken: NO WAIT I

Me: Give him some pretzels now or I will take all of the pretzels and you will never eat another pretzel so long as you live.

Chicken: WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT

Me: ONE.

Chicken: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

Me: TWO.

Chicken: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

Me: THREE.

Chicken: (dumps a handful of pretzels in Buster's bowl.)

Buster: Thank you!


At this point you get up to refill your coffee.


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