Tuesday, June 19, 2007

quite contrary

Being the youngest by six years, as well as the only girl, Baby Sister has been gifted with a father and two brothers intent on spoiling her. Fine, a father, a mother, and two brothers intent on spoiling her. It really can't be helped; she's so darn cute. But lately the situation has maybe started to get a little out of hand.

I think the Terrible Twos are beginning about ten months early. Actually, I say that because it's kind of what one is expected to say about a 14-month-old asserting her personality, but I'm not entirely crazy about the term "Terrible Twos" to begin with. For one thing, she really is just asserting her personality, and isn't that what we want our kids to be able to do (kindly, of course)? The Yarn Harlot had a terrific post about this not too long ago, a birthday message for her daughter, in which she said (I'm paraphrasing here) that it is kind of contradictory for us to want our kids to listen to what we say unquestioningly when they are children but be able to think for themselves when they are adults. I couldn't agree more, so when Baby Sister makes it known that she would really like a string cheese right now, or she has absolutely no interest in being hugged by her brothers, I try to keep it in perspective. Plus, why on earth do we insist on calling our kids terrible? Still, sometimes she can be a tad exasperating.

The scene: Baby Sister is in her highchair, having finished all of her lunch but half a graham cracker, and is starting to whine a little bit. "Baby Sister, do you want to come out?" I ask, and she replies with some more of the "enh, enh, enh" sound she was making. (She's not all that vocal yet.) "Out?" I ask again, this time signing "out" to her. Side note: We started signing to her when she was about 7-8 months old, in addition to talking to her, showing her things, etc., and it worked out really well. She picked up on it fairly quickly, and could sign things like "eat," "more," and "bed" well before she would have been able to say them. It has made her more able to tell us what she wants, and she certainly does. I do sometimes wonder if that has anything to do with her not being all that vocal yet, though. But anyway. So she signs "out" back to me, and I clean her up and start to reach for the strap of the highchair to unbuckle her. She begins shaking her head vehemently, whining and pushing my hands away. I stop and ask her again if she wants to come out, she signs "out" so I go to unbuckle her again. She does the same thing but this time I unbuckle her anyway and when I get the buckle undone she puts her hands up in the air and exclaims, "Ta da!" Then she notices the half a graham cracker and decides lunch is maybe not over after all. Sigh.

I guess in a big-ish family (it seems that three kids is considered a big family these days) one has to stand up for oneself. Even if we weren't all intent on spoiling her, I don't think I'd be worried about Baby Sister.

Another side note: I realized that on Father's Day I posted about my dad but I didn't really say much about my husband. This was not intentional and in no way meant to imply anything about his fathering skills. I feel kind of bad about it; J is a great dad. He plays with the kids, teaches them things like how to change a tire, shares their fanatical interest in cars, builds them things like sandboxes and toy trucks and a playroom. He is our designated and fabulous weekend cook, introducing them to things they would never have eaten for me, like salmon, Brussels sprouts, garlic bread. Happy Father's Day to you too, hon. I love you.