Week 213

Dear Genevieve,

For the love of all things Pete, can you JUST. STOP. TOUCHING. YOUR. BROTHER! Every time I turn around you are grabbing him and pulling him over, practically strangling him as you drag him around or moving him such that he will do just what you want. HE IS NOT A TOY. He is a little boy and he is learning to do all the cool things you can do but he is still HIS OWN PERSON. I’m sure it has gotten to the stage that we look like helicopter parents (or perhaps that was lawnmower parents) when it comes to you and your brother. Sometimes we can go spare at you on a moment’s notice but you do try my patience girl.

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I LOVE that you love your brother. I think it’s awesome that you are not jealous and that you are always excited to see him. I appreciate your compassion when you try to comfort him or help him. I would rather however that you smothered him a little less than you do. I am trying to learn to just take a big step back. I keep reminding myself that turnabout is fair play and as soon as he gets a decent command of language and his arms and legs, he is going to monster you every chance he gets. Just like you do to him now. And you are probably not going to like it. I also know that you are a lot less violent and possessive than some other children are towards their siblings. I try to give him the same opportunity to learn though that you had when you started to move and to talk although I guess it’s really not the same at all.

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You started off as an only child and that is different in so many ways to being the younger sibling. For all that you try to do for him (as opposed to letting him do it for himself), you can show him things that we can’t. He looks to you to know how to be a kid. He picks up mannerisms from you. He wants what you have. He is content to have time to himself and to latch on to mum or dad but there is a certain camaraderie that he cannot experience with us. A sense of being part of something that he gets precisely as a result of the way you include him in your games. So I am sorry that we give you such a hard time. But to be honest, I’m probably not going to stop rousing on you when you are clearly annoying your brother. Just so as you know.

And I am also not going to stop trying to teach you the art of accepting gifts graciously and not assuming that you are entitled to them. Which is a hard thing to grasp, I know. In less than a month, you experience a birthday and Christmas and you’re young and cute so we tend to spoil you rotten. Which provides much short term gratification on our part but is perhaps not really helpful overall. Especially as you have begun to keep a tally. You know that family almost always provide presents and when your Granddad told you that he would save your birthday present to pass on to you at Christmas when he saw you, you remembered. It was one of the first things you remembered once you got there. And you weren’t ashamed to say it. Unfortunately.

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Then, as gifts were being passed around on boxing day, you whispered to me that your Aunt had not given you anything yet. Which was correct but no, you cannot ask her for one. You cannot tell her you want one. You cannot point out to her that she has not in fact given you one. That is rude. And as it happened, her gift was to be a belated one and not a tangible one anyway. She wanted to gift you with an experience and offered you a girls outing when we were next available. That took a little wrapping your head around. As did the idea of a familial gift. As you pointed out, Bepi didn’t get you anything either. No she didn’t, she got us something.

But these are lessons that many adults still need to learn so we are going gently. Understanding that the appearance of something is not tantamount to comprehending the situation as a whole is not an easy concept for a four year old. We also haven’t made it easy for you to understand that you are privileged and not poor. But all this is now getting too heavy so I shall tell you a story that would most likely embarrass you when you are older…

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We spent New Years with some friends of ours who have a three month old baby. As children are wont to do, they copy what they see and you and their other son (who is one month older than you) decided to play at breastfeeding. Each other. When we realised that this was what you were doing, we decided to invite you to try caring for dolls instead – in the living room – but you were both having a ball paying at being a baby, crying and feeding and rocking.

I also had to laugh that at times, you get very frustrated with your imaginary friends who refuse to tell you things. This is usually in the car when you just chat to yourself (sometimes on a pretend phone) to pass the time but the other day you were telling me all about Queenie and when I questioned you further on one point, you very exasperatedly told me that she wouldn’t tell you the answer. The girl that you made up in your head was acting stubborn by refusing to provide you with the information you wanted and had specifically asked her for. Ok. I love the conversations you seem to have in your head. I must admit, I love them a little less over an hour after I have put you to bed but you have a pretty big imagination there little lady.

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Alles Liebe,

Lexelah

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