"Did you see a frog?" I asked, to be sure.
Julius starts laughing maniacally and yells, "Ha Ha HA! I HAVE HIS FRO-O-O-OG!"
I rolled my eyes. I love having two kids, but I am also annoyed by having two kids who fight all the time. I don't understand it and I don't like it. My siblings and I didn't really fight, probably because they were so much older than me. My husband claims, "Boys just fight." Still, I don't get it.
And so I begin with my Annoyed Mommy Voice, "Jules, give him back his frog."
"BOING! BOING! BOING! I'm making it hop!"
Tristan continues to scream, "Gog! Gog! Gog!" and starts doing that I'm-going-to-cry-if-you-don't-give-me-what-I-want shriek.
So I change to my Really Pissed Off Mommy Voice, "Julius! Do you want me to pull the car over?" Dear God, I sound like my mother! At which point I paused to say a quick prayer something like, "God please make me not ever sound like my mother again..." which I followed up by screaming, "JULIUS GIVE THAT FROG BACK TO YOUR BROTHER RIGHT THIS MINUTE!"
I could feel a little pulsating throb at the side of my head. I resolved that I should eat better and exercise more so I don't have a heart attack this early in my life.
For about 23 seconds there was calm in the back seat and even though God didn't answer my prayer and I still sounded like my mother I knew everything was going to be okay. Until...
"GOG GOG GOG GOG GOG! DOOOOOWEEEEEUUUUUUUUUUUSS!"
"Julius, do you have his frog again??"
His answer was a hesitant, "Well, sort of, but not really..."
"What does that mean? You either have the frog or you don't have the frog."
"Well, yeah... I took it, but there's not really a frog."
I slammed the brakes on in the middle of the road and turned around. "What do you mean there's no frog?"
He shrugged. I looked at Tristan who had his little hands cupped together.
"Tristan, what's in your hands?"
"Can I see your frog?"
And very slowly he turned out his hands to show me. Sure enough, there was nothing there. Nothing! They were fighting over an imaginary frog. They were making me pray to God and make resolutions about my health and slamming my brakes on in the middle of a street when no frog even existed.
For a second I could feel my sanity slide sideways and I had this image from the movie "The Matrix" where Neo is talking to a little savant kid who is bending a spoon with his mind.
Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon boy: Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
Perhaps that is really the trick of understanding sibling relationships. Siblings fight. It makes me crazy, but that's what they do... fight fight fight over the dumbest, most unimportant stuff.
And all these months I have been trying to figure out why they have to do it and how I can "fix" it. What can I do to make them stop so I can get some peace? Apparently nothing.
Siblings fight when there is something to fight about. And when there is nothing to fight about... they invent frogs.