The Sauce in the Child

Ruby has begun to really show off her personality. As I watch her, I see more than a little bit of myself in her. This makes me amused and horrified in turns.

Some of it is seeing the way I discipline mirrored back at me. “No! No no no no no!” may be a bit more excessive and expressive than I would usually do it, but a “No!” accompanied with a shaking pointer finger is definitely my first defense against naughtiness. The problem is that she has taken to saying this and waving her tiny finger at anybody who is doing something she doesn’t want. Sherman has touched a toy that is hers? “No!” *shakes finger* I tell her it’s time to stop watching her show and eat breakfast? “No!” *shakes finger*

She don’t take no guff. I’m sure some of this is her age and some of it is just her little personality, but her will is not bent easily, and her desires are hard to divert. She wants what she wants and that is the end of it. I happen to think these are wonderful traits in general, but they need refining with manners, sympathy, empathy and grace (things not prevalent in two year olds). It’s good to stand your ground and be firm in your convictions, but it’s not good to steamroller other people in pursuit of your own desires.

She is a protective Mama Bear. The other day we were visiting a friend of mine whose son is one, and as such he hasn’t mastered the idea of “gentle” with a baby. (It was actually refreshing to see that Ruby IS more gentle with Sherman; it was nice to feel like she has internalized some of what we’re trying to teach her). So he would push, sit on, try to poke Sherman’s eyes, steal his binky…one year old shenanigans. But every time Ruby saw him being rough with Sherman, that little finger would come out, she would holler, “No! No no no no!”, and rush to push the one year old away from Sherman. I tried to tell her that my friend and I were taking care of it, but she wouldn’t hear of it. SHE had to be the one taking care of Sherman.

I had a moment of frustration the other day when, after a long morning with the kids, Ruby was screaming (and her worst screams make my eardrums resonate, so I really hate it when she screams like this). So I yelled at her. “Stop crying!” I yelled, and tossed her into her room until we could both calm down. For the rest of the day, however, whenever Sherman would start to cry, Ruby would run up to him, put her hand over his mouth, and holler right in his face, “Stop crying!”

Ugh. It was so humiliating. I got to watch a less than stellar parenting moment repeated by a two year old over and over again all day. It seems so much less justified when a two year old is doing it to a baby. And it turned into one of those frustrating reminders that your children are watching you and will internalize your bad habits. Why can’t she copy all of the moments BEFORE the shouting where I was patient and calm?

She is turning into a firecracker…I guess with how she was as a baby, I shouldn’t be too surprised. It’s proving to be an adventure.

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