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Siblings: A lesson in flexibility and breaking routines

Posted Sep 12 2012 10:36pm
So many things happen during the day around here that I cannot capture them in photos, videos or record them. I really want to though. Every little new thing that my son does that blows me away, I want to record it, save it, share it with someone who gets  how big a deal that is.

For example, today he couldn't find the thermometer in his Doctor playset.

He says, "You can't find the thermometer. Where is it? You lost it."

I say, "Try looking for it. Look in the red bin".

 (There are three red bins in the toy shelf and I didn't tell him which one. So he shuffled over there and then turned around to reference me, as if to ask which one?) I cannot remember how long it took us to teach him to look at us to ask for information or share something with us. Now it is a part of life, as if it always was. I need to remember that there was a time not long ago when it never happened.

I say, "That one with all the babies and dolls".
Those two words are not in his vocabulary, but he seems to sit in front of the right bin and starts looking. Moving things around doesn't seem to help him because the bin is full of chunky toys. So he starts to take them out and put them to the side. He doesn't find what he is looking for. He makes a disappointed sound and starts putting things back in.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Is this the same boy from last year or even last winter? Why did he choose to put everything back? These little moments of mindfulness make me wonder a million things.

He then proceeded to play with his Doctor's set toy without throwing a massive fuss about the missing item.

Living with a almost two year old who snatches stuff from him all the time,  has taught him to say "No, its mine!". Its really funny and I have to teach him to share with her. He never would do that before, but now she is encroaching on things he really loves, like his trains and other things. He is at the end of the day a sweet, loving boy and does give in to his sister or gives up what he is doing entirely. We are a long way from them doing things with each other in a way that takes in to account what she needs too. Right now the only time he does anything with her is if she fulfils a purpose in his plan, but to show mindful consideration for another's feelings, that is another thing altogether and I worry sometimes how she will feel about that as she grows up.

For now they do play side by side and as a tiny person, she is very forgiving and doesn't really remember or makes too much of his apparent self-centeredness.

She is always trying to engage him, calling his name, asking him to join her. Today I saw her sitting by his train set that he had built. He had gone off to the washroom I think and when he came back she was there. He decided not to go play with his trains and I heard her say "Come, I love you, its trains".
He was pacing up and down the hall. I told him what she had said to make sure he at least heard it.

I recently bought a toy kitchen. Both of them love it. He has his own games and she mostly copies him, or tries to become part of what he is doing by taking what he is holding. If he tries to get it back, she screams at him. The other day I saw he was counting some of the play food, ignoring her, and she kept climbing a chair, and yelling "Hug, hug". I told him your sister wants you to help her off the chair. So he got up, picked her up in a hug and put her down. She was all smiles from the attention she got and repeated this loads of times.

Here is a photo of the two of them.

The only kid who will really try this hard to be a part of his world is his sibling. We are part of a large group of homeschooled children. We see them regularly in various community settings and also in their homes. They are an intelligent, beautiful, merciful group of kids. K is a mystery to most of them. Some of the little ones try to play with him but after a while they give up, or he starts to annoy them so they back off. This is a 24 hour job, and who else will work tirelessly every minute of the day to follow you around, but your younger sibling?

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