Whenever parents have more than one child, they almost always go on and on about just how DIFFERENT each of them is. For most of the past twenty months, my wife and I weren’t sure. Both kids have a lot in common, and neither one had yet to show a trait that was wildly divergent from the other.
In the past couple of weeks however, one thing has emerged that might change our assessment: while our five-year-old son shows the appropriate amount of emotion and empathy of a child his age…our twenty-month-old daughter is beginning to show the cold, emotionless tactical nature of a ruthless dictator.
The other day, Sally was having a snack, and she was VERY UPSET about it. You might be asking why. Was I forcing her to eat something horrible? Had I chained her to her chair? No. She was eating exactly what she had asked for (goldfish crackers), and was on my map while doing so. She was mad because I wasn’t letting her wander around spilling them everywhere in the process.
Her protests began as squirming, escalated to screaming, and reached a peak by throwing them on the floor. This is a particular annoyance to me. So I told her that if she did that one more time, she would not be allowed to sit on my lap anymore. She looked me RIGHT in the eye…and dumped all of the remaining crackers on the table onto the floor. Showing her I meant business, I unceremoniously plopped her down soon after. This was the exchange (with my observing son) that followed:
LEO: Why did you just put her down, Daddy?
ME: Because I told her that if she dropped any more crackers, she couldn’t stay on my lap.
LEO: Why was she doing that?
ME: Because she wanted to walk around with her crackers, and I didn’t want her to do that, so she got mad.
LEO: But what if she’s still hungry?
ME (Righteous): If she wants to eat crackers, she can eat the ones she dropped on the…wait a minute. (To Sally) Is this what you wanted the whole time?
SALLY: (Laughing, eating crackers from the floor, while walking away)
ME: I…I think I’ve just been played.
I’m no government official, and I have no influence over foreign nations…but if any country ever stamps her passport and lets her enter their borders…they only have themselves to blame for what happens as a result…