Look closely. What do you see? A birthday boy tearing into his gifts with the unbridled glee of a brand new four year old? Yes. But look closer. Who else is in this picture? Left hand side in the back…
He doesn’t look too happy, does he? Why ever not? He’s certainly had his share of Cheetos and a juice box. What’s got his swim diaper all in a bunch?
When I uploaded these photos last night, I burst out laughing because this photo says more than 1,000 words about what’s been happening at our house lately. (Just in case those 1,000 words aren’t clear, let me explain in roughly 300 or so.)
I’ve managed to dodge this bullet for years. My first child was a boy, then I had a girl, then another boy. Nobody argued much over toys. Andy showed no interest in Kate’s Groovy Girls and My Little Ponies. Kate left Andy’s medieval castles and knights alone. By the time Luke was old enough to play with toys, Andy had moved onto bigger boy stuff like Legos and Poptropica. They were each into different things and petty toy squabbles were minimal.
Then after Luke I had Dean. Two boys right in a row. Dean is fast approaching the ripe old age of two and is no longer mesmerized by rattles and cloth books. He’s into toys. Luke’s toys, to be more specific. He’s bypassing the Little People stage and going straight to Star Wars. At 22 months, he can actually say the words, “Mace Windu” and “Obe-Wan” (well, more like scream the words) with perfect clarity.
Whatever Luke has in his hands, that’s what Dean wants. Right now. He screams and screams until I just can’t take it anymore and I beg Luke to hand it over.
“Please! He’ll take a nap soon!” I promise, checking my watch. “You can play with it then. But right now isn’t there anything else you want to play with?” Or, “Just let him play with it and he’ll get bored and drop it in less than five minutes. Please! Please!”
Of course, I feel awful making Luke hand over his new precious birthday presents into such small sticky hands. I’ve read parenting books that say to never “make” a child share. It only makes them feel resentful and it’s more akin to stealing than sharing. Sharing, in it’s truest sense, is a benevolent act of free will and now I’m stealing Luke’s opportunities to be generous.
To make matters worse, I realize I’m creating a typical youngest child in Dean. He can get whatever he wants by screaming loudly, and I’m ashamed to say, his tactic is working. (Before my baby-of-the-family readers get too upset, I’m a baby of the family myself. I know from whence I speak.)
Whenever Luke strikes back and takes a toy away from Dean, I, of course, side with the innocent baby with the big blue eyes the size of play-dough lids. Who wouldn’t? (Or as my sister-in-law once put it, “He looks like that cat from Shrek.”)
But this photo tells all. For the first time Dean’s baby blues don’t look so blue. They look green.
I believe my tot needs to leave the snuggly world of “my baby can do no wrong,” and enter the harsh realm of “this boy needs some discipline.”
It’s either discipline or buy two of everything.
(The key is to buy exact duplicates. No color variations, no size differences. Exact.)