I wasn’t ready to be a mother, and because of that I haven’t always been the mother my children need.
Most recently, I found myself lost without a clue what to do when my oldest had a major meltdown, allowing her possessive jealousy to get the best of her.
Everyone had been bathed, soothed and seemingly settled into bed when I heard my three year old scream, violently in pain. Rushing over to where I heard the noise, I saw my oldest grinning, almost evil like, the way a bully peers down at their pummeled victim.
Next, my sights pan down to find my toddler holding her head, eyes flooded with tears, her face red with emotion.
Her sister, protector and best friend admitted that she had kick her in the head…
And was happy about it.
This is when I lost all control. I began yelling, cursing, grabbed my toddler and pleaded with her sister for a rational explanation.
What the hell would you do that for? You’re suppose to protect her! How would you feel if I kicked YOU in the head?!
But my daughter didn’t even flinch. As I bent down to comfort her baby sister she threw a punch at me, missed, but aimed right for my face.
Now, none of this is in character for her. She is a sweet, strong, intelligent little girl who usually prides herself on being a great big sister and cares deeply for her siblings.
Still, that was the last straw.
Abandoning the mission of comforting my toddler, I ripped my oldest from her bed and left her to fester on the couch alone.
Sit there. Don’t move. Don’t say anything.
I could hardly be the disciplinarian she needed, let alone the comforting savior my injured toddler searched for. My mind raced from thought to thought….
How I was I going to fix this?
I needed a second to breath, to stop shaking. If there was a solution I wasn’t going to find it burried under emotional outbursts. Only with calm, clear intention.
We all have our way of stepping back from a daunting situation, mine is through prayer. So, I dropped to my knees and spoke to the Lord, asking Him to guide my next move.
That’s when it all came together, what had happened, why it happened and how to fix it. Well, most if it for now.
The two girls had been fighting over the top bunk for quite some time. My five year old eagerly inviting her sister in and then changing her mind and banning her as if she had no care for the confusion and hurt she was causing. Usually, I would simply distract my toddler from the situation, admittedly eager to find a quick fix that didn’t involve disrupting our normal routine. But this bandaid fix had only made things worse.
My oldest went uncorrected, seeing her actions were hurtful, but not really grasping the chaos they caused. She didn’t see it from her sister’s perspective, how it left an ugly stain on what should be a peaceful time of making memories together. Eventually, building into a full blown battle of jealousy and pride.
I had to send a message, make it known that consequences were real and often a very lasting effect. I decided to switch their beds, giving my oldest the bottom bunk and telling her she had no more rights to ban anyone from either. She had to learn that personal space comes with responsibility, especially in the case of how we see others while in ‘our zone.’
This was a lesson in right and wrong, trust and self control. I told her that having a personal space is a privilege. That it is not gifted to those who dont respect other’s who enter it, especially when they were invited. Her sister had done nothing to warrant a kick to the head, and if she wasn’t willing to practice self control in an area she deemed herself the ruler of, then she didn’t deserve it.
It wasn’t until she realized that her ‘control’ had been taken away that she settled back into reality for what she had done and the situations she caused. Tears began to rush down her face, she hugged me and begged for forgiveness, admitting that she felt awful and asked if her sister was going to be okay.
Tomorrow she is grounded, we will spend the day reflecting on self control, personal responsibility for our actions and the importance of keeping ourselves humble while her sister goes to the circus with family. I just pray that these lessons stick with her and we won’t have to repeat such a mess of emotional, violent chaos again anytime soon, or at all for that matter. However, siblings fight and in this world of give and take there are bound to be a few bumps along the way.