Sunday, March 11, 2007

The grudge playmate

One of the problems of being the younger sibling is that you are the grudge playmate. The one Mom said had to come along even though the other girls didn’t want you to; the one Mom says they have to take care of. You’re the one who can’t keep up no matter how fast you run.

I’ve been watching this dynamic unfold since last night at the concert and it’s painful to watch. The younger girl (aged 5) didn’t want to come along to the concert, claiming she couldn’t find her shoes.

“I’ll find the shoes for you,” the older sister (aged 8, same as Baby) said, impatience seeping into her voice. I didn’t understand the dynamic then.

But it struck me as the girls ran about playing at the concert/picnic that Sara [ not her real name] was constantly being left behind when the girls went off to do something.

A lot of games today seem to exclude her for some reason, and bored, she picks on the older girls to get their attention.

I was determined not to interfere beyond telling the girls to play nice with Sara. But she soon got tired of being ignored and so far I’ve had to mediate when Sara pinched her sister, who pinched back and Sara cried.

Later she bit Baby and I was called on to intervene. She has also threatened to let her snot fall into the splash pool while everyone was swimming.

“No Sara, don’t do that!” seems to be a constant refrain.

Not knowing how to handle the barrage of complaints, and tired of being called to mediate, I eventually threatened both parties:I told Sara to play nice or I would separate her from the other kids. The older girls were threatened with Sara allowed to harass them unchecked if they didn't make an effort to include her.

As finish this post, the little girl is playing cards alone, singing while the older girls play in Baby's bedroom.

I hope that Baby learns how to relate to younger siblings from her other friend, whose concert we attended yesterday. The girl, who is 5 years older than Baby, made the effort to get to know Baby and make friends with her when we first moved here. She's rather popular among her peers, so she didn't need to bother with a younger kid from her neighbourhood.

I'd like to explore this dynamic in a children's story one of these days, especially considering some of the strange, funny and disgusting things Sara did to gain the girls' attention. And I'm sure older sibling are tired of being told: "play nice with your brother/sister!"


Exclusive Books Children's Festival - March 2007!

I’ve just realized that Exclusive Books is holding a children’s festival for the month of March.

“Join Exclusive Books as we become the hub of all things splendiferous and fantastical for children under 12,” the company says.

Bookshops all over the country are to be filled with piles of books to read, and Saturdays jam-packed with amazing book-related and interactive events for all kinds of readers, it says.

Access to the events is free, but space is limited so booking is essential.

For more information about an event near you, click here.

Nice! Hopefully I’ll be able to take Baby one of these upcoming Saturdays.


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