Too often (far, far, far too often) when brother and sister are in the same room we hear things like, "I was playing with that!" Or, "He won't stop looking at me!" Or, "I had that first!" Or, "I got that for my birthday, so you can't play with it!" Or, "He's still looking at me!" Or, "She's ignoring me!" Or, "You can't have any of that!" Or, "He's not saying anything, he's just staring at me!" Or, "She's standing on my foot!" It seems like it's a never-ending parade of misbehavior and tattling.
But sometimes, every once in a while, they'll actually do something helpful and/or kind. It can be hard to notice, because they don't yell or scream while they're doing it, and it's easy to miss things they aren't yelling and screaming about. So, when those moments do happen, it makes them more memorable.
|Can't we all just get along? (Sometimes, yes!)|
I witnessed a good moment the other day. Our four year-old daughter (Thing 3) was having breakfast, while her two year-old brother (Thing 4) was still in bed asleep.
When we feed the children (which, it turns out, happens several times a day) we use plastic plates we purchased at IKEA. We do this mostly because the plates are cheap and unbreakable, but the kids like them because of their bright colors. We started with three plates of each color, but through a variety of reasons we are down to just one pink plate and two blue plates, while we still have three of the other, less vital colors. My daughter (Thing 3) prefers the pink plate, but if it's not available, she wants a blue plate. My youngest son (Thing 4) always wants a blue plate. (The yellow, orange, and purple plates are usually seen as some form of punishment, which will incite screaming and/or tantrums.)
On this particular morning, the pink plate was in the dishwasher, along with one of the blue plates. I was getting breakfast for Thing 3, and since Thing 4 was still asleep, I decided I'd get her the remaining blue plate. That's when I got my surprise. As I put the blue plate on the counter for Thing 3's toast, she said, "Yay! Blue plate!" But then she looked up at the stack of plates remaining in the cupboard. There was no other blue plate, just yucky yellow, orange, and purple. And that's when she shocked me by saying, "Wait, Daddy. Give me a yellow plate so brother can have the blue one."
|Blue plate special.|
What?!?!?!?!? This was unheard of! He hadn't asked for the blue plate. He wasn't even in the room. And yet she knew he would want the blue plate, so she unselfishly offered to take a yucky yellow plate just so her brother could have his favorite. She did something nice for her brother, with absolutely no expectation of anything in return!
Does that mean we've turned a corner? Does it mean she will always be nice to him and never be mean from here on out? Of course not! I'm sure she'll yank a toy out of his hands at some point today, or she'll yell at him for looking at her wrong.
But, that's okay. I've seen that she can be nice, and that gives me hope for the future. A future where they can look at each other without yelling.