Our lives have been overcome with competitions.

Not so much sports, although between soccer, swim team, basketball, baseball....

They fight. Relentlessly. Those...little people.

They fight over what show to watch. Who has to turn off the TV. Who left the toothpaste in the sink and who forgot to flush the toilet. They fight over whose mess it is; then whose mess it isn't. Two fights in one! Who's turn it is to feed the dog, set the table, who sits next to whom at dinner, who gets to stay up latest...and then who gets tucked in first (again, two fights in one). Who can scream the loudest, clean their rooms the fastest (mommy likes this one) and sleep the longest. Or get up the earliest. Who gets the last waffle, who gets more cheese, who drinks their milk the fastest. And sometimes, just for no reason at all but for the sheer joy of argument.

The other day, the youngest two were bored while awaiting the start of their brother's soccer game. My husband has made up a game of imaginary baseball with them that they LOVE to play. LOVE. So when they asked him, like the wonderful father he is, he put his whole being into it, and threw the first my son.

At which point my daughter attacked him, trying to pry the imaginary ball out of his hands, claiming "he always gets it first, it's my turn." Whining and fighting and struggle ensued, despite my protests and admonishments. I even suggested they pretend there were two balls, since it was, after all, an imaginary game. They stared at me as if I had just blown an orange out of my nose. And continued to fight. Did I mention it was an IMAGINARY ball?

My husband walked over, grabbed the pretend ball, and threw it into the woods. Their gazes followed it, my daughter shielding her eyes from the sun as she watched its imaginary arc of descent into the forest (she really gets into imagination games). Stunned, they turned back to their dad, bottom jaws hitting the dusty ground.

"If you can't play baseball without fighting, there will be no baseball."

I wish I could say they learned a valuable lesson that day, but no. They immediately began fighting over whose fault it was that Daddy threw the ball away.

And who was responsible for finding it. And who got to have it once they found it...


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