Time was we were thrilled when Leanna and Abby would argue, snipe at each other. We were new together and they were acting like sisters (they're stepsisters) and it was proof that we were a family, a unit. If they were snarking (at seven and four-and-a-half, respectively) at each other, we were a real family. Right?
What we hadn't taken into consideration is that the age gap there is under two-and-a-half years; they're a lot closer to being peers than, say, Abby and Lizzy (now nine-and-a-half and almost-five, respectively). And a whole lot closer to being peers than Leanna (twelve in about six weeks) and Lizzy are.
Lizzy is annoying.
Leanna is bossy.
"Mom-mee! Leanna's touching my things!" (in her usual whiny sing-song tattling voice)
"I am not! She put them on my feet!" (in her usual lack-of-volume-control voice)
"Both of you be quiet! Leanna. Leanna! You complain that I never discipline her but maybe it's because you never shut up long enough to hear me do it." (in my not-my-best-step-parenting voice)
"But she--" (now Leanna is pouting because I'm not letting her make her point. Again. I'm so mean.)
"Shh!!!" (me again) "Lizzy. Lizzy!"
Deep breath... "Lizzy. If you don't want Leanna touching your things. then get them off her."
"But Jenn, I wasn't--"
"Shh!" (Leanna pouts some more) "Lizzy. Do. You. Understand. Me? Take-your-toys-off-Leanna's-feet-now."
<heavy sigh> "All wight, mama, you don't have to yell."