Monday, May 4, 2009

Brotherly Love

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Vacuum before Miss Judy comes with dinner.
Grievance: We are out of bread and yogurt, which means a "hasty" trip to the grocery store.
Celebration: Boy Love has been asking to use the potty all morning. And Sesame Street did a sketch inspired by Law and Order. Hilarious.

I have been told by those who have boys that the difficult thing is to keep them in check physically. Make sure they don't rip each others arms off, keep them from biting the other children at the daycare, and stop their inherent instinct to play with themselves in public. To me, this sounds like a reasonable checklist. I believe that, in time, I will be able to raise a couple of gentle, socially appropriate men that will make me and their daddy proud.

Right now (and I am sure for many years to come), I am finding it difficult to keep Boy Love from physically hurting Baby Love. Not out of spite, nor jealousy, nor brotherly distaste, of course, but out of the pure inability to control his strength. This makes punishing him a very trying task. He has no idea what he is doing is wrong, because, in theory, it isn't wrong. I don't want to discourage interaction, but I also don't want to have to tell Baby Love years from now that he lost his eye as an infant because his brother was trying to identify parts of the face and got too excited. I don't want to have to utilize my infant resuscitation skills because Boy was trying to overzealous-ly share his pillow and blanket with his sleeping sibling.

He loves Baby so much, it is hard not to be amazed. He cares very much for his well-being; he wants to help feed him, change him, get him dry clothes, wrap him up in blankets, and keep his plug in his mouth. I love seeing him "help out", and I want him to continue to do so. So how do I appropriately discipline Boy Love for hurting Baby, when his intentions are so good? It would be easier if I could gently explain to him the ramifications of his actions, but he looses interest in my very enthralling/informative lectures almost immediately. Then the next time I turn around, he is doing exactly the same thing. I usually end up firmly saying "No", then trying to give him another task to do that will be equally helpful. To this, he falls over in his famous phony dramatics, kicking and screaming because I scolded him, and making a concerted effort to make me feel guilty for doing so. My teaching, then, is for naught, and I am stuck with a tantrum. Sigh.

How else do I handle situations like this? I want him to want to help out. I want him to want to snuggle with his brother. I don't want to discourage his loving instincts. I also want us all to be safe and happy. Any suggestions?


  1. Man, I love reading these Lauren! I wish I had advice to give :) maybe someday soon

  2. see what you have to look forward to? children can be such a blessing...

  3. for all i know, this has blown over and i am speaking words that don't need to be spoken. on the off chance that i can actually be helpful, i'm going to tell you what i did with my youngest stepdaughter when mia was born.
    have you tried showing him a gentler way to relate to baby, or even using redirection? "we can't share blankie with baby, but we can give baby this super nifty rattle!" or "be gentle with baby's eyes. oh look at baby's fingernails! are those neato?" boy love knows that he's showing affection but does need to be taught how to show affection appropriately.
    my favorite with my rambunctious child was the "be gentle" command. even though she's 4 and should probably know a little better, i still have to use it when she is with babies, so i'm pretty certain i'll get a lot of mileage out of it in another 2 months.