Casey and Marcie participate in far more verbal jousting than I'd like. Not particularly intellectual conversations, of course (they're only 6 and 3, after all). It's irritating none the less.
Here are a couple samples of typical "discussions" I hear when I drive them to school in the morning:
Casey: Marcie, I'm older than you are, so I'm in first grade and you're not.
Marcie: I'm old, too. I'm in pre-K.
Casey: No you're not. You're not old. I'm just old. You're young. You're like a baby.
Marcie: No I'm not. I'm a big girl. I'm big like you. I'm not a baby.
Casey: Yes you are. You're a baby. I'm just big.
Marcie: (now whining) I'm not a baby. I'm big. I'm a big girl. MO-O-O-OM, Casey says I'm a baby, but I'm not a baby, I'm a big girl.
Casey: Marcie I have brown hair, like Mommy. You have black hair.
Marcie: No I don't. I have brown hair.
Casey: Nuh uh. It's dark. It's black, not brown.
Marcie: I have brown hair Ca-sey. I'm telling.
Casey: Then I'm just not going to invite you to my birthday party.
Marcie: Yes. I want to go to your birthday party.
Casey: No. You're just not invited.
I never said these were intellectual conversations. Mind you, no one's birthday is even for another couple months, and they discuss these imaginary parties that one or other is or is not invited to all the time.
It's not the kind of bickering to which I can just respond by telling them to work it out or I'll take away whatever it is they're fighting over. I'm not sure what it is they're fighting over. And though Casey started these two example-arguments, Marcie starts her fair share of them, too.
I'm not sure what to do about it. No, I haven't read Siblings Without Rivalry. I expected bickering. I just didn't expect it to irritate me so much. At home when they argue like that, I just separate them. And they pretty much don't do it in public. But stick them in a car together and it's a different story.
They're so competitive with each other. I don't know if it's something I've fostered. Or even if it's a bad thing. Maybe they're just figuring out their relationship. Whatever they're doing, it's irritating when I'm driving. (And music doesn't drown it out- believe me, I've tried.) Do you think they'll ever grow out of it?