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I’m the baby — gotta love me!

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published March 4, 2007, thehive.modbee.com

Do not dump the stroller with your brother in it!

Take your hands off your brother’s throat right now!

Please don’t feed Little Guy dirt.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of Big Guy as the criminal, Little Guy as the victim. In the early months, it’s not without reason. Little Guy is helpless, and Big Guy resents That Baby Who Ruined His Life. He even used to call him That Baby. “Mommy, please put That Baby down!”

But what happened at our neighborhood park a few hours ago belongs in the Baby Worship Hall of Fame.

A girl, probably 10 or 11, was pushing her little sister in a swing when the younger girl slipped from the seat, hitting her chin on the way down. “Oh, my gosh, I’m sorry!” the older sister said, even though it wasn’t remotely her fault.

“WAAHH! WAAAHHH! WAAAAHHHH,” the younger one wailed, louder with each breath.

Mom rushed over, eyes flashing, arms flapping. “What have you done to your sister?” she demanded. I swear it looked like tears were forming. “Oh my God, my baby, are you all right? My poor little baby!”

She almost smothered the younger girl as she carried her away from the swing and the clutches of Evil Sister, who seemed to take the double shot of hysteria in stride.

Maybe the older sister really is evil, but I don’t think so. A few minutes later, she cheerfully helped me untangle Big Guy from the seat of a baby swing. I know, I know. He’s a bit old for it, but sometimes I humor him.

I’m sure I’ve been guilty of similar infractions, but to a far less extent. I’m learning, though.

Lesson One: Never believe your ears. Little Guy already has mastered strategic use of the yelp.
Lesson Two: Don’t trust your eyes either. Big Guy is quite skilled at tossing some banned object – usually my cell phone – into Little Guy’s hands just as I enter a room.
Lesson Three: Become Switzerland – as neutral as neutral can be. For instance, I refuse to settle toy disputes, instead setting a timer. When it goes off, they have to trade the object causing the hostilities. I learned that trick from my pediatrician, who has three boys and a lot of “been there, done that” in addition to a medical degree.

My kids are so used to Swiss residency that the strategy even worked recently an an older cousin and Big Guy got into it over a computer game. “Now, I’m sure you two can work this out for yourselves and figure out a way to take turns nicely,” I said. “Because I’d hate to have to turn off the computer.” Big Guy let her have the first turn, and it was peaceful after that.

Peace never did return to the park today, though. The younger sister – who, by the way, was no baby, but age 6 or 7 – still was whimpering when we left 20 minutes later. Work it, girl!

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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