Monday, May 26, 2014

biting girls

Sugar and spice and everything nice...
No, this is not my daughter.
This is how we like to portray girls as a society.

But even aidel meidels (sweet girls) are not always sweet. Moreover, maybe they should not be expected to be always sweet.

Yesterday, 4 yo decided to put lotion onto boys' stuffed animals. When they found out, they came out of their room, fuming.
I asked: "Why did she do this?"
10 yo: "She wanted to turn them into girls."
"How putting lotion onto animals turns them into girls?"
"Have you ever seen a boy willingly put on lotion?"
Good point.
After a good wash cycle, the animals were all clean and fluffy.
Meanwhile, 4 yo cracked a robin's eggshell that 8 yo found and was planning to trade in at the nature center. She would not put away her laundry. They boys were quite mad at her, and I was losing all my patience. At some point, she stomped out: "The reason I am causing all this drama is because I want to take a nap!"
Well then, I will not stand in your way.

She sulked in her bed. The boys called an emergency meeting in another room. They drew a pretty mean cartoon of 4 yo and her animals. Now she was upset at them. She said that she feels like crumpling their paper and putting it into garbage.

I asked her why she put the lotion on the animals and she said that she just could not control herself. That's a line from 8 yo, but that is a valid point: she is usually very good at going with the flow, toeing the line, being all nice. But once in a while, something sets her off, and she does not want to do as expected.

I sensed that the mood has changed just enough for everyone to come to mutual understanding. I asked each kid how they felt about what happened. Everyone said how mad they felt and how they felt like doing these horrible things to each other. Then they came up with the idea how now they feel better and are ready to make up. I suggested they all go to separate rooms and draw a new picture of how they feel now. 10 yo added: "Draw two pictures: one of how you felt before and one of how you feel now." They all scrambled to different rooms, even 8 yo.

4 yo asked me how to spell "for". I helped her. I am not sure if she understood what 10 yo meant; she drew some squiggles and wrote "for me". 8 yo drew two stick figures going at each other with light sabers. One was labeled "me" and the other one "not". "Me" had some advanced light saber with the middle shooting part. It was clear that "not" will be slaughtered, and that was his sister. On the other side, he drew two stick figures standing close, with a heart between them, clearly communicating loving feelings.

10 yo drew some complicated diagram of a person being thrown off a cliff and into some machine with gears and moving parts. He showed the path which would surely dismember the figure. His "happy" drawing was also stick figures with a heart.

Bottom line, all the kids made up, with just a bit of intervention.

Then, at bedtime, 4 yo bit me. It was so unexpected that I even asked her: "Did you just bite me?!" She nodded. I immediately told her that I will not continue tucking her in, but I said it very calmly and matter-of-fact. I said that I do not like being bitten and it hurts. I also thought how by now I can expect that even my calmest and sweetest kid might not always be calm and sweet, so I can handle it appropriately instead of blowing my top. She looked like she immediately regretted her action.

Tonight, at bedtime, before I even started tucking her in, she told me that she is very sorry about biting yesterday and she will not bite me today. (She was very agreeable today). Lesson learned, I hope.

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