“Watch out for the baby” is a phrase you will very rarely hear me say. A visiting Grandparent said it to O a few days ago, and it just got right under my skin. Yes, when E was tiny we talked about being gentle to the point of exhaustion. When they rough-house we remind them constantly to be careful and be gentle WITH EACH OTHER! The truth is that E is The Tank! She loves a tumble, and can hold her own against the best of the bruisers. She is my daughter! She is also sturdier and more sure footed than her big brother.
Physicality isn’t my main concern though. On the E side of things, I want her to be strong, and tough, and hold her own. I don’t want her to ever think that she has to “act like a girl” (whatever the hell that means!). I also don’t want her to think that just because she is a girl, or (for now) The Baby, that she can somehow get away with anything she likes! She may only be 22 months old, but it’s never to early to learn to take responsibility for herself and her actions.
What I really don’t want though, is for O to get the brunt of all punishments. Yes he is super tall. Yes, he too needs to learn responsibility for himself. But he also needs to learn that others take their own responsibility. That little sisters aren’t weak, or spoiled. That “The Baby” doesn’t deserve better or different treatment than he does. He is a big brother. And we will teach him to be protective and caring and loving, but that doesn’t mean the other two won’t learn the same. They will be a team.
Every child learns differently and we will learn with them, but there are fundamental truths that they will learn the same. I will never put one in front of the other. I will work hard to keep rules the same. I will do my best to make them all feel equally loved, appreciated, and respected. And when things go wrong and the hard talks must be pulled out, time outs issued, I will dole them out to whom ever deserves it, not whom ever is biggest or oldest.
Punishments must be doled out just as equally as hugs. Praise and prize on merit. Love, always.
*And just so you know, both kids got time outs today! The Monster for peeing on his bed (again) while wide awake, 4 months after we finished potty training him! Eeesh! And The Tank for biting O so hard it left a piranha ring on his arm! We make them sit on the living room foot stool (which is usually hanging out in the corner by the tv stand) and then we count to 5 on one hand. E could care less! O isn’t allowed to take any cars with him, and he has to count along if he wants out. I hate doing it, but this Mama don’t play;)