Monday, October 1, 2012
A Whole New Perspective on Siblings
Let me tell you the story of two very different little girls. The first little girl is whiny. She often takes toys from her brother and makes him cry. She pushes him down when no one is looking. This little girl isn't a monster, but is often looking for trouble. For example, if she realizes it irritates her brother to call him a coconut head, she will do it again repeatedly and giggle with evil laughter.
The other little girl is an angel. She never whines. She never takes away toys. She asks sweetly for people to play with her. She waits patiently and plays by herself by reading a book or playing with her dolls. This little girl goes with the flow. If she doesn't get a nap, she doesn't get whiny. She might be a little tired and not as perky as usual, but she doesn’t whine or complain. This little girl is fun. She laughs a lot and the people around her are constantly smiling at each other with her adorable antics.
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking the first little girl must have terrible parents, right? Wrong. These two little girls are both my daughter, but under very different circumstances. You see, I recently took a trip to Charleston to visit my brother but Little Buddy stayed home and this gave me the unique chance to interact with my daughter by herself. I was astonished at the change in her. She never whined. She never cried. She never had fits of any kind. My family and brothers were enamored by this little angel and it was truly one of the most special trips of my life.
I've thought a lot about why this trip was so different and I have it narrowed down to 2 reasons:
1. There was no competition for her. She was the only kid on the trip.
2. We were on vacation so the normal hectic schedule didn’t apply. We actually had time to watch her and play with her and we took her fun places and went out to dinner.
Unfortunately, this isn't real life. She does have a brother and Mommy and Daddy have to work to pay the bills and actually, I think the daily grind of siblings and schedules is important because it teaches kids that they aren't the only people in the universe and it helps them prepare for real life. This became very evident toward the end of the trip when she started demanding that people play with her constantly. She was still polite and cute about it, but it was clear that if our daily life was always full of trips to the beach, ice cream no school and no work, my daughter would probably be a very spoiled little girl.
However, this special glimpse into a different little girl really helped me. After we got back, my daughter was whining at the kitchen table about something. My first reaction was to be irritated and demand that the she quit whining. Then I thought back to our trip and it hit me. Her true spirit was sweet and helpful and kind. Life interfered and it was frustrating to have to learn life lessons like patience, and that is what makes her whine. I know now that I just need to keep on doing what I'm doing so she can live up to her full potential of the girl I knew in Charleston: the girl with a lovely, sharing spirit who simply wants to please the people around her.
Now when she acts whiny and demanding, I just think of her as Little Miss Jeckel and Little Miss Hyde. They are the same person, but act very differently. And I love them both.
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