The concept of sibling rivalry is somewhat foreign to me since the age gap is go great between me and my sisters. Since you and Olivia are only two years apart in age, I knew your relationship with your sister would be vastly different than my own experience with my sisters and I had a vague sense of what it would be like for you two. Between the stories your dad tells of him and his siblings and the stereotypes of siblings that I often read about, I felt I was somewhat prepared for what would come. First off, never did I imagine such a love/hate relationship. Seriously, you two can’t stand to be together at times but then when I think I’m helping by splitting you two up, your next move becomes trying anything to get back together. There are times that are exceptionally sweet: watching you two in a self-made fort reading books together, having carpet picnics or just giggling while sharing a lawn chair in the backyard. There are not such sweet moments: sneaking in a punch when you think nobody is watching, hurling a toy at a head, or just stretching your foot far enough to catch the poor victim as they run by.
As of late, you two have turned to trash-talking or at least a sad attempt at trash talking. I blame your exposure to watching football with your dad for your new choice words and phrases. Usually, Olivia will be doing something that’s annoying at which point you’ll say, knock knock. Who’s there? Olivia. Olivia who? Olivia, stop talking. Or you’ll walk up to Olivia and say, What’s my favorite book? I don’t know, what? It’s called, Olivia stop talking. Or we’ll be sitting at the kitchen table and Olivia is going on and on in which case you interject, how about you stop talking. Another instant classic is you walking into a room that your sister is occupying and you’ll turn up your head and start sniffing curiously. What’s that smell? It smells like garbage. Oh, hi Olivia. You get the idea. What’s hilarious is how upset Olivia gets and it’s clearly why you continue to do it. I know I should do the responsible thing here and put this to a rest but instead I turn my head and giggle uncontrollably.
The two weeks we had off for holiday break were fabulous. It was the most we’ve seen of dad in a long time and it was glorious just sleeping in and being lazy. We watched four of the Star Wars movies since your fascination of the series has been steadily growing. There is clearly a lot of dialogue that bores you to tears but when the fight sequences came on, you would jump out of your chair and shoot back at the television. You were seriously into it. I’m sure it made your dad equally happy to hear the words, dad, I really want to watch Star Wars with you. The scene where Anakin is basically burned alive and left for dead required a great deal more explanation than I cared to share with a four year old and I’m fairly certain your sister is now scarred for life for having watched that scene. Perhaps I should have looked at the movie ratings a bit closer.
During these two weeks that dad was home, I also witnessed firsthand the two different personas that you exhibit. You’re a nicer kid when dad is around. For some reason, when dad leaves, you become a demonic monster that uses public humiliation to get what you want from me. I don’t understand the shift in behavior because never once have I caved in to your public tantrums. Perhaps it’s my lack of patience that results in a quick reaction on my part. Even though it’s typically a negative reaction, perhaps that’s all you’re looking for. I’ve long known that I needed a better way of handling your tantrums and since I’ve basically worn out all my parenting books, I determined that what I needed was a little period of time carved out for me. So I’ve started going to yoga since I truly just need to relearn how to breath during stressful situations. I’ve only been going for a couple weeks and I’ve already noticed a positive change.
Take for example, yesterday we were running errands and you decided that you were ready for a snack at 9am. I deemed that time to be too early. You threw yourself on the ground and determined that was an appropriate reaction for your discontent. I calmly placed you in the shopping cart even though I could feel my blood pressure start to rise. After the tears and screams, you realized I wasn’t backing down and you would in fact not be receiving your snack at this time. We arrive at the next store where I promised you could have your snack. I plan snacks according to the stores that you get the most bored in. Grocery stores are a must-have-snack destination. I get you situated and just as I place the bag of crackers in your hand, you drop the entire bag, filling the entire floor around our feet with little bunny crackers–it looked like a total massacre. You start crying and through clenched teeth, I inhale for four counts, exhale for five. I keep my eyes locked on you as I try to find my happy yoga place. Strangers are now witnessing what may or may not be a nervous breakdown but I continue to breath and guess what? IT WORKED! EUREKA! Nobody lost their cool. We talked through it, cleaned up the mess and continued on our way. Who knew just remembering to breath could be so beneficial?
You and your new bike have had a somewhat tumultuous relationship. You know how to ride a two-wheel bike but since you’re lacking in the height department, you’re still a hair too short to get your feet comfortably on the ground while standing on your bike. The concept of pedaling back to break is completely lost with you and since you can’t drag your feet to stop, you have resorted to just throwing yourself from the bike when you need to stop. With the number of hills around our house, this has become common practice with you. We quickly learned that you’re just not ready for hills yet so we ride at Sycamore Grove Park which has proven to be the perfect place for you. It’s contained, flat and just the right distance to give you the practice time you need. On Mondays and Fridays, when it’s just the two of us, I’ve started taking you there so you can ride your bike as I jog along side of you. It’s been perfect because you pedal slow enough that I can jog comfortably without losing a lung and we have very pleasant conversations where you tell me things like you don’t want to live with the squirrels and a girl in your class named Lola is kinda pretty. If I could preserve these little moments in a box, I would.
I recently read a statistic that older siblings are typically the responsible ones where as the babies are the comedians. This is becoming rather obvious in this household. Olivia is funny and she understands sarcasm which makes her exquisitely awesome but there is something rather smart and quick about your humor that is hilarious and will most definitely find you in heaps of trouble. Who would have thought that the boy in speech therapy would be the kid dishing out full plates of sass? And to think that I paid loads of money for those sessions. Pfft, I’m such a fool.