Helpful hints and tempting tidbits on how to really screw up your offspring

What? You thought you couldn't possibly damage your child in just a few, short years...Ohhhh, I beg to differ.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

And Now....For Your Dramatic Entertainment... The Little One!

Meet The Little One.  Aka: Lulu, Lu, Peach, Pretty Girl, Pickle, Pixie, Lulu Magoogoo, get the picture.  

Perhaps all  these "Stage Names" have contributed to her dramatic gift.  The Little One is our girl.  A girl in nearly every sense of the word.  She reminds us daily that her favorite colors are  pink and purple.   She adores  dresses and ruffles and  bows and sparkles.  She loves to dance and sing and  pretend.  Our  fireplace hearth is her stage.  She's been known to say things like, "I wish I had hearts in my eyes." She is bright and cheery and darling....and theatrical!! Like, face in the hands faking it  crying. On an almost daily basis she is someone new.  "I'm Aunt Nikki.", "I'm Dora.", "I'm Mama and I'm in charge."  The girl oozes drama. Everything is a big deal.  Is the world coming to an end? Nope,  The Little One's sippy cup has plummeted to the ground.  Have the Locusts come? On the contrary, Mama had the audacity to try and help her with her shoes.  Drama.

The Little One  is smart but not in the same brainy way her brother is.  She's not manipulative but she knows how to utilize her strengths to get what she wants.  And, she knows who to work: Daddy, Papa and PeePaw.   At the drop of a hat  this girl can turn on the waterworks. Shoulders shaking- sobbing.   As she weeps she slyly migrates towards her victim whomever she's deemed most likely to pity her.  It's actually really  funny to watch.  She's already quite adept at working the Little Sister angle.  From another room she will  start to fuss,  "Bubba hiiiiiiit meeeeeee." I peek away  from  whatever I'm  doing to find The Big One in a completely different  room!  Really? We try not to play into it too often. The Good One is admittedly more of a sucker than I am. It's cute now but in time will be little more than irritating.

This girl adores her brother.  So much so  that she has  taken a liking  to many of his sassy-isms.   "I'm not your fwiend."  "Don't sing MY song."  "I wanna make a deal."  While I try not to compare my children too often  I do  find  their differences intriguing.  Their intellect is different, their sass has  totally different intent, their social interactions are like night and day.  I don't worry that The Little One will react impulsively or aggressively.  But I do worry about her lack of judgement and fear of NOTHING.  (except the remote control Big Foot!)

I feel guilty a lot when it comes to  matters of The Little One.  I worry that she doesn't get enough quality attention from us.  Her brother is a full time job.  He demands  most  of our time and for that I feel bad for her.  I feel badly that I haven't spent as much time reading to her, teaching her and nurturing her.  I know this is probably a fairly common feeling in cases of subsequent children but  it's a valid feeling nonetheless.  I'm ruining this one in totally different ways.  I coddle her.  I spoil  her.  I encourage her love of shoes.

This is all new to me.  The Big One, strangely enough, was an angel at age two.  He was dear and sweet and attentive.  This Little One is the opposite!  She is wiggly and remiss and evasive.  She begs to watch Dora and watches attentively for maybe 3 minutes.  She cases the house looking for things to get into.  If something is harmful you can bet she'll find it.

In one of my recent, harsh, self-judging sessions I realized that I parent The Little One completely differently.  I let things slide with her that I would never allow with The Big One. Discipline has much more of an effect on her so I threaten more and act less.  We are so focused on pointing out positive behaviors with The Big One that I often find myself slack in doing the same for The Little One.  I realize that parenting must be tailored to each child but I have a strong compulsion to balance the scales. .  If one gets, the other gets.  In that arena I am competing for gold...I'm ruining them both!

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