Saturday, September 29, 2007

Frankie and Brian

Once I was a married woman with one child.

I cooked things that my husband and I liked to eat. My one child seeemed motivated to eat what I did, although he did not like his food all mixed up. Still, it seemed no big deal to pull out some strips of chicken before adding the curry and put them on a plate with a carrot stick and some rice.

He came up with odd ideas about the world, and we listened. I gave him focused praise, just like the books said to. I don't think I ever insulted him. I wasn't perfect, but that one child grew up in a nuturing, positive environment. He was generally welcome to join us in whatever we were doing. If I was making a jig saw puzzle I would let him help, even help him out. He felt respected by the people older than he.

And he asked for a younger brother or sister. He said he liked little kids and he wanted to be a big brother.

We decided to have another child, not for him of course. Our lives changed. Having two children at two different levels oftem destroyed the sense that we were adults with a child. We were PARENTS. And the older child we had so carefully nurtured changed when the baby we brought home grew into a small child. The older brother who had been surrounded by love, praise and encouragement turned to that younger child and said, "You are a stupid poopy head!" When the younger child wanted to join him in his activities he said, "No! You will ruin it. Go Away!"

Of course the older brother was mostly a great older brother, but not always. When the older brother approached teenage years he started spending more time with friends and he did NOT want his younger brother, who had few friends, along. The younger brother cried, said he missed the big brother who would play with him, and said that HE wanted a younger brother to take care of.

And now we have a third boy who is devlopmentally much younger than the younger brother. The third boy makes mistakes and the first boy, who spends much time somewhere else, tries to speak in patient voices and tries to be helpful. The second brother says, "That is so stupid! Why did you do that? You will never have any fun if you keep doing that!" He said it with scorn in his voice. "How can you think something so dumb?"

And the second brother, who increasingly has friends of his own he wants to spend time with, yesterday told me that Dad was going to take them somewhere, but would I keep Frankie home so he wouldn't annoy them. I said no. I took him aside and helped him to remember all the ways that his older brother's behavior had hurt him. How badly he felt when his older brother insisted that he not join them in their games.

And Brian looked at me and said, "Now I understand why!"


  1. heh heh back sure is a bitch!

  2. Kinda like those old "I hope when you grow up you have a child just like you!" phrases. Gotta love it!


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