Tuesday, February 19, 2008

TWO POLITE PEAS

SULLIVAN: "MahhhhhhmmeeeeeeeeeEEEE, I had a bad dream last night,.."
MOMMY: "What'd you dream about Sullivan?"
SULLIVAN: "I dreamt that a gigantic Monster SNOWFLAKE tried eating me."
MOMMY: "Ohh, my Sulli bulli, that's awful, what happened when he tried to eat you?"
SULLIVAN: "I told him, Please will you may stop eating me now?"
MOMMY: "What a fantastic idea, what did he do after you asked him to stop eating you?"
SULLIVAN: "He didn't listen to me, it was really annoying, super duper DUPER annoying. And it was dark in there too...so I couldn't see what his insides looked like..."

Well, at least he said Please, right? You gotta give my little one a smidge of credit, that at least he's moderately urbane during his dream state. Plus now he knows how caustic it is to be ignored.

That said,....
He has been DRIVING ME UP A WALL LATELY! His voice ever so high pitched and squeaky, he sounds like a 79 year old Jewish Grandma from the heart of Brooklyn, no offense.
He's cutting his naps short, I mean, really short.
He's been extra naughty.
Extra Disruptive.
He's cost me a "few strands" of hair follicles on top of my own head of soon to be dyed back to blond, head of hair.


He's in some funky growth period, and whereas some would probably say to me, "Stop making excuses for his behavior, Elizabeth..." I can't help but make excuses for my middle child that tends to be labeled, as I just did a bit here, or will eventually do in the approaching paragraphs.

"It's because he's in his 3's."
"It's because he's looking for attention.."
"It's because he's always being compared to his siblings..."
"It's because he's feeling left out..."
"It's because he wants to be and do everything that his older brother does.."

I use all of those "excuses" except for one.
The third one.
The one that says he's acting up because he's always being compared against his older and younger brother.

I don't believe in favoritism.
I don't believe in doing more for one than the other.
Regardless of whether someone is stronger then his/her sibling, that doesn't mean the weaker one deserves to constantly be enabled.


I don't believe in comparing Sullivan to Jackson, Jackson to Benjamin, Benjamin to Sullivan, Sullivan to Benjamin. You get the point?

I don't know what it will be like with them, when they're adults. I don't know if Sullivan will spend a few days in detention, or if Benjamin will knock out his two front teeth during a foothhhhhhhball game. Whether Jackson will lose the championship chess match against the next known "Bobby Fisher," minus the anti-Semite accusations. Whether Sullivan will get a check penalty during a hockey game, or receive a red card during his soccer playoffs.

I don't know about any of those negative things listed above. What I do know is this, if I were to favor one over the other, it will do more damage to their entire being, then any type of loss from any match of wits or muscles ever would. (Like the ones that I mentioned in the above paragraph).

That would mean pitting them against each other, if not consciously, then definitely sub- consciously. It would mean harboring anxious hurts deep within their hearts.
It would create a fear within them to therefore be afraid to just "be themselves."
Be who they are.
They would secretly hold jealous thoughts against their other brothers.
I can't do that to them.

I can't parent like that. It's painful to parent like that. People that parent like that, whereas no one is perfect, but, and I say it with a strong B-U-T, parents that operate like that because of the reasoning that one doesn't need as much help due to a stronger personality, or a strong will to overcome adversity, well, newsflash folks, they have it all wrong. It will hurt the ever so "strong ones" so much, that chances are it will take them years when those "types" reach adult hood, to overcome.

Perhaps that labeled "strong one," is just as weak, deep down inside. Perhaps he's just crying out for someone to come to him for once, and just help him. Perhaps he's just so incredibly tired of asking for help, so tired of having to manage it on his own. Alienated. Kicked out. Removed. Left only to have to pick up the pieces themselves.
"But that's okay, because they're strong, they'll always land on their feet."
Something tells me that even the strong ones need embracing, even if they appear to be emotionally removed.

Sure, maybe that may be the case, but perhaps they've had no choice in having to be the "strong one." Perhaps, just perhaps, parents need to stop, and recognize that whereas you can't parent all your children equally, you do have to treat them all equally. You can't do one for one, and tell the other for the same reason, no.

You can't complain about the drama in family life, and then enable and encourage it with your middle child. That just isn't fair to anyone involved.

So to those that have a tendency to overlook the strong ones that are hidden amongst your family, I encourage you, I urge you, to offer them some level of help. Because chances are, deep down inside of them, they too are hurting. They too need a break from "always figuring it out." They too need help.


By ignoring them, by not coming to them, by denying them when they finally have the courage to ask for some level of help, a parent is only going to push them further away emotionally.
Eventually it will be too late.
Sometimes it's nice for the strong ones to just get a break like the "proverbial weak ones" do, without having to ask for help.

I have no clue what any of this has to do with Sullivan, only maybe, perhaps because if he tests me, pushes my buttons, annoys me to high blue SPRING skies and back again, even if he is the obvious strong one versus the other two, will no way find me expecting him to just "figure it out" on his own, while I tend to the one that whines when the sun doesn't shine through the living room windows. Not going to happen under my watch.
I don't think so.

Welcome To Crustybeef~
Now just what the hell is a Snowflake monster?
Oh, yes, I know, it's called, WINTER!
I guess Sullivan is just as bitter to the cold as his dear mother is.
We are two pea's in a pod.
Strong, but still polite.
A long line of strong characters without a doubt.

18 comments:

Tex said...

**EXILE**
Ok, I agree with you on this...cuz I've seen what favoritism can do...it happened in my family and it continues to happen with my wife's family.....it's unacceptable, cuz it does nothing but alienate those "left out."
My wife said that she feels so much anger at her bro, and it's not even his fault! It's her mother's faut and her blatent attention towards her son and less so for her three daughters.
Your correct, you can't parent all three the same way, but you can BE a parent to all three....
/end rant

BTW, The snowflake monster has to be a nice name for the snow monster from The Empire Strikes Back.
CHV'S!!!!

Anonymous said...

He is going through a faze and hopefully he will get out of it. I have seen what favortisim can do to a family and it breaks my heart. All of the boys will have something that they do that seperates them from the others but as long as we treat them equally we could be okay. Great article and what a topic!. I think about him every minute and hope that he turns out like i think he will. A smart tough young man who respects his mom and dad and one who cares for others. I guess we shall see!!!

BDD-Big Dog DAD!!!!!!.

CRUSTYBEEF said...

TEX:
EXILE, Right back atcha! Your wife needs to come with for the CHV's! While you and BDD sit back, stew, and roll your eyes as we talk emotional chatter. HA! :)

hmmm, the snowflake monster referencing ESB, too bad he hasn't seen that yet. Jackson on the other hand, yes, he has!

CHV's, yes!
Upon our return from FLOWWWW RITA!

Always,
Elizabeth

CRUSTYBEEF said...

BDDANON, YOU Snuck in there my lovie love!
Yes, you are 100% correct!
Isn't it nice to have a wife that agree's with you? HAHAHA ***goes off snickering mainly because Sulli has cut short his nap once again, and I am one less hair follicle then I was 40minutes ago. He will grow out of this "faze" and move to something else..the development of each one, so unique and special..and you know, I truly think that he is quite a bit like me, only he being born second, whereas I was the first born. I wonder how Ben's personality will fit with all this? What type of personality will he hone into? Stand his own ground? Hmm, we shall see, huh?
And I leave you with this,..

"GIRLS!!" :)
Always,
anf,
Crusty~ :)!!

Anonymous said...

Treat 'em all the same but expect different results and which you'll deal with in subtle and personal ways.

Easy to say but that's what we tried to do.

It worked almost all of the time. Looking back from ages 28, 22, and 21, all three respect that approach and will tell you they have no notable qualms about the way each was "treated" as a child.

One more thing that would help is for your three boys to GET OUTSIDE and blow the carbon out of their valves. Little boys are nutso when they can't get out and burn energy. None of us can wait until the temps head back to where we like.

Some schools (in their hideous way of trying to feminize boys) don't have outdoor recess any more. That's criminal. Unless it's sub-zero or stormy, boys need to run and run and run. When the little guys come back inside they're much easier to teach and discipline.

Heck, at 57 I'm the same way after some good old-fashioned exercise.

UD

Portia said...

You are so right, Crusty. It's unfortunate that sometimes the "squeaky wheel gets the grease" but it's something any home with more than one child will have to manage. Children need to be treated as the separate individuals that they are, but without showing favoritism. As you said, that eats away at the favored child and the siblings, and could potentially destroy one of the closest relationships they will ever have a chance at. Uh, yeah, I could ramble about that bit....anyway, I am so so SO glad your boys have you! I do wish we could swap for a day or so when the nerves get frayed though:):):)

p.s... i'm spreading the love!

Foster Communications said...

Snowflake monsters are not figments of imagination. They are real. They have been attacking quite fervently this winter. And I am ready for them to be gone, gone, gone!!!

And you're right, at least he said please. :)

mosiacmind said...

You are such a great mom! I know often times people think that 3 years are harder than 2 years yet each year has it ups and downs and joys and sadnesss and yes with 3 year olds often times scarey dreams cute how he said please to the snowflake

mosiacmind said...

You are such a great mom! I know often times people think that 3 years are harder than 2 years yet each year has it ups and downs and joys and sadnesss and yes with 3 year olds often times scarey dreams cute how he said please to the snowflake

The Real Mother Hen said...

haha when I was a kid, I was very much like Sullivan.

If you asked me to turn right, I turned left.

If you said, "hot, don't touch", I touched and asked, "now what?"

(Hold on a second, I still do that today)

And I still drive my mom crazy!

No kidding :)

So you're in for a long ride :)

CRUSTYBEEF said...

UD: just so you know, in your 57 years of wisdom, I took it, after listening intently..and let the boys run their sweatpants off at a local Mcdonalds inside the playplace. I am one of those freaks that concern myself with "it's too cold out for them." I guess I have to improve on that for sure!!

Portia; Believe me, I wish we could swap too, and then meet up for a playdate together..the husbands would return from work and find us with dizzy eyes, and a couple of beers on the counter, kids content, and peace all around. :)

Fostie: I have pulled out more hair since the outing to run around at Mcdonalds, it's all the weathers fault..easy "thing" to blame, eh? UD is right, boys need action, so I guess I need to move to a warmer state, EUREKA! :)

MOsiac: how right you are! There are so many ups and downs, and then when you anticipate and think you'll have a down, they shock you and have a great day...but I do have to say, Sullivan will run anyone ragged, he has such a zest for life, but MAN is he a tough cookie to break or at least to get to compromise. :) hahaa..I'm hoping for a quiet snowfree night tonight, you?

The real Mom: Did you try that chicken recipe yet? Sullivan is very hot and cold...he could take you or leave you, doesn't need a big group to hang with, is content to be around himself and only himself, he tends to be left out, and mainly that's due to the fact that he just doesn't take crap from anyone. He will be the type that will enjoy learning from experience for sure. But if he's anything like you, then I guess I can breath and relax, because you're pretty cool, and turned out alright! Plus you have a great sense of humor, so laughter will take him far! Thanks for the chuckle on the "don't touch it's hot!!"

Always,
Elizabeth

Mary said...

You're a great Mom. Don't ever doubt it. Every child is unique. They all go through phases that can drive us up the wall. The only excuse for his behavior is that he's going from one stage to the next and doesn't quiet know how to handle it. In my opinion three is a hard age. Much harder than two. On Sullivan's behalf, if I had seen as much snow as he has seen this winter I'd be seeing snow monsters, too!!

JYankee said...

Hiya Crusty

Yes favoritism did huge damage to my father...it was pretty disgusting... we only have the one...and on the other hand..it's also difficult not to put all the pressure on HER! and just let her be her.... ya know?

CRUSTYBEEF said...

Mary: With my bighearted Sulli Bulli it has been a hair raising/pulling experience, but when I look into this coco eyes, I just melt. When he sleeps so peacefully, I whisper good dreams into his ears. I am definitely at a testing point right now, but I guess the good news is that means I'm learning something new as well! I appreciate your encouraging words, coming from a very involved Nana, thank you!! :)

Jyankee: I would have to imagine that the damage was painful his entire life, I hope it wasn't the case but it's amazing how a shift in sibling treatment can really throw off one's personal growth.
I do know what you mean, when it was "Just Jack" we had to constantly remind ourselves not to put too much pressure on our little pioneer...lucky Sullivan came around and took away the heat! HA!
It's wednesday! YEA!!

Always,
Elizabeth

Cheryl said...

No words of wisdom here. I'm just sneaking in to say hi. I will add that I'm a middle daughter and was always the easiest child. The youngest had the most issues, and has never gotten over her childhood.

Little snowflakes in MD today.

Kelly Jene said...

I love love love hearing about your kiddos.

And I couldn't agree with you more about the treatment of children. My mom spent most of her time with my eldest brother because of his learning and behavior issues (aka he didn't like to be disciplined). So my other brother and I were ignored.

I am so determined to not be that way. I really try to be there equally for my kids. Hopefully when they are grown, they will reassure me that I did an okay job.

austere said...

They are lucky to have you as a mom, and you are lucky lucky lucky to have them; AND the snowflake deserves a comic strip at the least, don't you think?

CRUSTYBEEF said...

CheryL: See? That labeling is pointless because I think there's nothing wrong with being a middle child, and my little middle is a precious one indeed! HI BACK!!I have some more snowflakes, would you like them?

KellyJ: so, pardon me for sounding like a psychologist, but how did that make you feel, having to be the one that is always the stable foot? even stable feet need tending to, right? You are a fantastic mom, and have the most creative ideas with your children!!

Austie;hmmm, snowflake strip, you're onto something. I wonder, hmmm,...my wheels are turning yet again compliments of my friend, Austie!!

Sincerely,
Elizabeth