You know how, when you get a kitten (or a puppy), and it’s so cute and tiny and it wants to play and bite your fingers with its tiny little teeth and you let it because it is adorable and totally doesn’t hurt? And then the cat (or dog) grows up and still wants to play and bite, but now it’s teeth are like daggers even though it isn’t trying to hurt you and tell yourself you were so stupid to teach it to play rough as a baby and swear you’ll never do that again? But whenever you next get a kitten you totally let it wrestle your hand and bite your fingers?
That’s how we’re raising Beatrice.
I think it’s pretty common for the baby of any family to be spoiled. When Sophie was born, Isabelle wasn’t even 3, and Jack was only 16mo old. They were barely able to process the concept of sharing or being gentle to the baby, so most arguments got settled with “just let Sophie have it. She’s a baby and doesn’t understand.” And of course, this habit slowly turns into ‘just give Sophie whatever she wants.’ Fortunately, Sophie was always really good about giving up toys and sharing with the other kids. She’d fight like a tiny banshee if she didn’t get the first turn, but once she had the toy she would always give it up pretty quickly. And of course, as they grew, they were all so close in age that the lessons of sharing were learned together and most of the spoiling that comes from being the baby was thankfully avoided.
And then came Beatrice.
I have to give her this notebook and pen so she’ll ride in the cart
Beatrice is way younger than all the other kids, therefore she gets first choice on any toys.
Beatrice is pretty easy-going and happy, therefore we rush to fix it anytime she gets upset.
Beatrice is super cute, so of course you want to give her anything she wants.
You can see where this is going.
Basically, while still generally happy and sweet, Bebe is developing a dictatorial bossy side to her. And because she is my daughter, she can be incredibly stubborn about demanding what she wants even in the face of repeated refusals. Which, paired with the above mentioned cuteness, means we cave a lot more often than is good for us. Reinforcing the fact that crying or throwing a fit will get her what she wants, and encouraging the behavior.
We’re creating a monster.
She demands to put on lipstick (really just Chapstick), at least once an hour. And makes me put it on too. The grist thing out of her mouth in the morning is usually “cookie,” and I often have to give her a jelly bean just to get her to put on her shoes so we can leave for school. I fact, I have to bribe her with jelly beans to do a lot of things. She gets juice whenever she wants, snacks whenever she wants, and basically rules the house. We have to wrap her in her blanket at bedtime or nap time, and if she isn’t ready to sleep just then, she’ll climb out of it and then scream her head off whenever she decides to be wrapped up again. Today I rewrapped her THREE times within the first 20 minutes of her nap. On #4 I drew the line and told her I wouldn’t do it again. She cried for quite awhile after that.
We’ll see if she says I’m a “mean mama” when she wakes up like she did the other day after I dressed her in a regular dress instead of the tutu she’d been wearing for a week. I think 2 is going to be a rough year.