In our house, the best behavior from either child arises when his or her sibling is behaving very very badly. The more demonic one child becomes, the more angelic the other becomes. The good behavior is not intentionally smarmy-sweet, but involves genuine good listening and helpfulness. I am nearly certain that it is not conscious behavior, and it happens to each of my kids when the other is in full meltdown.
I have yet to determine whether this subconscious mommy-pleasing is caused by:
(i) fear ("Mommy is really really mad, so I'd better not push her further over the edge.");
(ii) kindness ("Mommy looks like she might lose it at any minute, so I'm going to cut her some slack."); or
(iii) opportunism ("This is my moment to shine and show Mommy why she should love me best.").
I find this recurring scenario completely fascinating and amusing, and I have to admit that I like the outcome. Whatever the driver is, exemplary behavior by one kid does keep me from falling over the edge of insanity and into the abyss. Those of you who have a sibling or sibling offspring, does this sound familiar to you? This is another one of those freaky sibling things that fascinates this only child.