I was on solo duty with the kids tonight while Kristin enjoyed a much-deserved night out with the girls.    With all the traveling I’ve been doing for work lately, I was a little worried about how the evening was going to go.   I made quesadillas for us dinner, and after we all finished eating, I asked Ripken if he would play with Riley in the playroom while I cleaned up the kitchen.   About 5 minutes later, I heard the first sounds of conflict – and as things began to escalate,  I went in to try to calm things down.

Ripken was holding an activity book tightly to his chest, while Riley – clearly very agitated – was trying her hardest to pull it away from him.   At first, I asked Rip if he would be willing to share his book with Riley, and I received the standard reply – “No, it’s mine!”  Ok, time for plan B.

I leaned down to Rip’s level and very calmly told him that I was counting on him to take care of his sister while I was busy in the kitchen.   Bingo.  Rip looked at me very earnestly and repeated, “you’re counting on me?”   I think he realized that I was offering him a form of responsibility, and he seemed genuinely eager to accept it.   He opened the book and very nicely asked Riley if she wanted to do one of the activities with him.    No more conflicts or fighting the rest of the night.