Big is 5.5. Generally speaking, she’s obedient, loving, kind-hearted, and great with The Littles. However, at 5.5, she’s learning new things at school and on TV (now that it’s not just Blue’s Clues and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) that I’m not comfortable with.
My mom gracious took the two Bigs for an over-nighter at her house, leaving us with one blissfully simple 7-month old to deal with. At some point in the day, Big didn’t like that Nana and Middle were playing bubbles outside. She had been invited, but refused to put her shoes and jacket on. Rightfully so, Nana told her she couldn’t come out until she did. (Good job, Nana!). As a result, Big was less than pleased, and took to putting her new writing skills to task. She wrote Middle a letter:
“Dear Middle. I hate you. I don’t like you.”
Nana saw the letter and told her she would have to tell Mommy and Daddy, which Big wasn’t super pumped about (*shocker*). But I’m glad she did. Big had told Nana she learned this type of talk from “a movie she saw at [her friends] house a long time ago” (names have been omitted to protect the child’s mom from feeling guilty about it 😉 ).
The hubby wanted to turn the car around and immediately drive the 30 minutes (at 7pm, with a cranky baby in the backseat) to pick Big up. I was able to finagle him into waiting until the next day, allowing us to talk reasonably about a fitting
punishment consequence action to take.
In our house, we try our best to talk kindly to each other. We don’t always reach the mark, but we certainly don’t tell each other that we “hate” them or anything close to it. We encourage kind words as often as possible, and I really felt like we should encourage that, instead of laying into Big for her actions, when really, she was testing the waters of what is acceptable in our family (and just how much she could get away with at Nana and Papa’s house!)
We decided, rather peacefully, to take the following course of action:
1) Big cannot watch TV for 1 week because she learned the language from TV.
2) Big must write down 10 things on index cards, each day of her TV restriction, that she loves about Middle. She must write down two extra for every time she asks to watch a show or throws a fit when she isn’t allowed to. Not only will it put loving thoughts in her head about her sister, it also gives her a chance to work on her penmanship.
So far, she has the following (spelling corrected to spare you the brainache):
1) Middle is cuddly
2) I like Middle. She gives me hugs and kisses.
3) Middle is the best.
4) Middle is nice to me.
5) Middle is happy when we get together.
6) Middle can keep up with me.
7) Middle is helping.
8) When Middle is still, I can do her hair.
9) Middle is sharing.
10) Middle is loving
I went to the $.99 Store and bought 200 index cards and 3 plastic index card holders. I’ll be decorating each box for each kid, and it’s going to be their “Things I Love About You” box. I think it’ll be neat to open it up on occasion and be reminded about all of the things we love about each other!