I took the kids out one afternoon to scout out a photo location for an upcoming shoot. I was dreading the idea of taking the three kids with me but there wasn’t a whole lot of options so we set out on an adventure.

It was a beautiful day. The weather was perfect and the kids were surprisingly well behaved. We walked around and shot photos. The kids ran around and expended all that extra energy they usually carry with them through the late afternoon. I started thinking that this wasn’t such a bad idea. Everyone (including Bennett) seemed to be really enjoying themselves.

Steve called while we were walking around and I couldn’t help but gush as to how good this whole afternoon was going as I watched the kids run across the grass and roll down the small hill. I started thinking we should make an evening of it and have Steve meet us for dinner but I questioned how long the goodness would linger.

After walking around for over an hour, I decided that Bennett was about done and I couldn’t expect him to continue much longer. So we went back to the car with Hallie and Hunter running and playing as we went.

Then reality hits: We get to the car and Hallie got in before Hunter. He flings himself across the pavement and continues to cry now because his hand hurts. I corral them all into their car seats and start the 20 minute drive home. Two minutes in, I can see Hunter and Hallie starting to annoy each other in the back seat. Verbally annoying each other can only last so long before they are physically annoying each other. Hallie is teasing, Hunter is angry. Hunter grabs her hand and bites. Severe punishments are being spouted from the drivers seat as I threaten him with his life to let go of her hair. Hallie doesn’t know when to not tease and continues to tease while Hunter hits and pokes and pinches.

Just three miles from home, Hunter has a colossal meltdown where he screams at the top of his lungs. I am now a very unhappy mother. I’m shaking my head in annoyance that my two oldest children can’t get along with each other. My annoyance was quickly replaced with curiosity.

I know my kids are young and fighting is inevitable – but when will they get it? When will they figure out that the nicer they are to each other the more they’ll be able to do? I would gladly take them to do fun things but it is daunting to know that every time we do something fun, it ends in anger/tears/teasing/fighting. I’m sure parents of teenagers would say, they never figure it out! That is depressing.

What’s so hard is I see glimpses of kindness towards each other and it makes my day and then twenty minutes later there is serious yelling and hair pulling. I know it’s a stage – but I hope it is a short stage. A really short stage. Hallie doesn’t have enough hair to have it be a long stage and I don’t have enough patience!

The other day, Hallie asked when she would be getting a sister. I broke the news to her that she may never get a sister so she better enjoy her brothers. Her reply was discouraged, “I just want a sister because she wouldn’t be as annoying as Hunter.” The grass is always greener – little does she know the potential an annoying sister has of stealing her clothes and makeup!