Our daughter, as many of you will already know, is four.
Our daughter, as many of you will know, is also very strong-willed and a feisty little creature.
This basically means the following things:
- She knows best
- She doesn’t listen to a word we say
- She will pretend to listen whilst rolling her eyes at you
- She knows best
- She throws monumental, melodramatic (and somewhat hilarious) strops from time to time
- She flicks from loving her brother to wishing he wasn’t around faster than you can blink
- She knows best
She’s a teeny weeny wolf in the most angelic of sheep’s clothing. With a head bob and plenty of “sass” that comes from one too many episodes of My Little Pony!
She’s awesome. She’s kind. She’s clever. She’s frustrating.
There are the usual little arguments that I’m pretty sure are standard for any parent of a four year old…you know the ones, no you can’t have chocolate for breakfast, too much TV will make your brain mushy, no you can’t have chocolate for breakfast, please put your shoes on, I’m sorry but Jamie can’t come to live with us as his mummy would miss him too much, no you can’t have any more chocolate as you’ll be sick…and so on and so forth.
But last night, and I have to admit quite often recently, her sass turned into being just plain mean to her baby brother.
And as a result, last night we had an argument that was bigger than the usual ones.
Last night she ended up in her bedroom in tears.
And last night I felt more guilt than I have ever felt after an argument with her. Ever.
Because I lost my cool. Because she cried so hard and because, last night she looked at me and said, “Does this mean you don’t love me?”.
And that, quite simply, broke my heart because oh Lord, do I love her.
I love her so, so much.
But the thing is…when I see her nastily growling in the face of her baby brother, or snatching toys from his hands just because he is enjoying himself, or laughing when he falls over, it kind of makes me cross.
And it makes me sad, because I don’t understand where that comes from. Is it normal?!
Ruby has never been that child you see. Sure there have been moments, but in general she’s had glowing reports about how good she is at sharing and we are always being told how kind she is. So why is it then, that all of a sudden she seems to have designated Henry as public enemy number 1?
Listen to me please. Stop doing that. Behave yourself.
You’re doing so well at sharing. That was so kind. Thankyou for being nice to Henry.
I’ve tried all the tactics, and I could spout ToddlerCalm, How to Encourage Sharing…all the parenting books you like… back at you, but I’m still no closer to cracking this one.
And this is the one that causes me to have arguments that make my four year old think I don’t love her!
So much has happened to our little family over the last 19 months since Henry arrived. Meningitis, starting school, we’ve moved house, I’ve gone back to work…and I guess all of these things are taking a toll on all of us.
I don’t know if how I parent is the best way to do things. I tell her I love her every single day. I worry constantly about what she thinks and feels. I spend ages explaining why we’re doing things the way we are. I talk with her after every falling out and we forgive and forget. I wonder every time we fall out how much of all of this she will remember, and how it’s affecting her “future self”. I fret about whether we should spend more time with her on her own, without Henry around. I worry about their future relationship – I want so much for them to be friends. I feel incredibly guilty about arguing with her – shouldn’t I just be loving every single minute I have with her instead!?
Shouldn’t I find it easy to take the upper-hand and just let it all go?
Maybe? Probably? Definitely?
There are lots of things that I don’t know about our four year old and how best to parent her, now and in the future. And I am hoping that this, like other triggers for arguments, is just a phase.
One thing I do know for sure is that I love her so much. I am so proud of her and how she has handled all the changes that have come her way recently.
And that will never change, no matter how many times she rolls her eyes at me!
Any advice? Sibling rivalry getting you down too? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Speak soon x