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My children fight constantly. I guess most siblings do, but I never thought that my children would be at such constant odds with nearly nine years between them. Thinking back, I have a really good idea when it started. It all began with an incident back when Braden was about ten months old and Amber was nine. My guess is that Amber must still be holding a grudge. I guess I don’t blame her, when you consider what happened.

Summer 2005

We were in Oklahoma, visiting the grandparents. I was in the bathroom getting ready for the day, and I had the door open so I could monitor the interactions of my children in the living room down the hall. Amber was playing with Braden and I could hear his giggles from the bathroom as she raised him up over her head, then brought him quickly close toward her face to give him little slurpies on his tummy or neck.

Looking back, I could’ve predicted what would happen. In a way, I guess I did. In fact, I had warned Amber numerous times over the months – and even just a few minutes prior – that jiggling the baby like that after he’d eaten would cause him to spit up. But ya know how kids can be. They have to learn from experience. All the experience of all the parents in the world combined means absolutely nothing to a nine-year old who knows everything and has to experience the world herself to understand true cause and effect.

“Amber,” I had said. “You really ought not to jiggle Braden like that. He just ate and he’s likely to spit it all up.”

“He’s okay, Mom” she assured me. “See…he likes it! He’s having fun!”

Summer 2005

“Okay…” I responded. And decided that it was out of my hands. This wasn’t the first time I’d ever warned her and, to date, she’d ignored all of my warnings. The baby was safe and being entertained at the same time. She’d been warned and she knew what she was doing, so why interfere?

I went back to the bathroom to complete my daily preparations…hair, makeup, brush my teeth, perfume, deodorant….

I was just finishing up when I heard an unmistakable sound from the other room.

“UUURRRRPPPP!”

I knew immediately, and without any mistake, what that sound was. And, if I had any doubt, the sounds and sequence of events that followed removed any doubt from my mind.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGG!” screamed Amber, as she raced past me into the bathroom, practically knocking me over and out of her path! She barely made it to the toilet before losing the entire contents of her own breakfast into that porcelain god.

Barely able to suppress my laughter, I couldn’t resist saying, “I told you.” And oh how those words gave me a grin!

“HE SPIT UP IN MY MOUTH!” she screamed. “IN MY MOUTH! YOU NEVER SAID HE’D SPIT UP IN MY MOUTH!!!

At that point, all was lost. Truly, I knew she was in danger of Braden losing his breakfast on her, but it really never occurred to me that he’d target his path so well. Apparently, she had been lying on her back holding Braden high over her head, giving him a perfect target with the help of gravity.

We all wanted to feel sorry for her, but our sympathy was quickly overshadowed by the fact that we were completely unable to stop laughing. To add insult to injury, the next day the Baby Blues comic strip ran a blurb that was seemingly directed at Amber (see below). Of course that set off another round of laughter and, six years later and much to Amber’s dismay, we’re still not able to discuss it without a fit of giggles.

I think the moral of this story is pretty clear: “Mother always knows best.” With that said, sometimes it’s fun to let them learn by experience.

Baby Blues Comic Strip - Original Publication Date July 6, 2005