You've gotta love those times when your child asks you a question, and you have absolutely no idea how to answer it. Kayla, who was now nine, asked me: "Why is Jordan being nice to Kevin, and I'm being so mean to him?"
I had nothing.
Kayla had zero patience for seven-and-a-half year old Kevin, and she would verbally shut him down every time he spoke. I'm okay with sibling rivalry, but when one child is relentlessly cruel, and the other appears completely powerless, I instinctively defend the vulnerable. Is it me, or does this sound vaguely familiar?
For Kevin's sake, I had been "inserting myself" for a while, and I guess it took its toll on Kayla, She began to freak out over every little thing. If her pillow slipped back behind her bed, if there was a tag on her clothes, or she didn't like the sound of the crickets chirping... she would lose it. It was like living with the princess from The Princess and the Pea. Believe me, I gave her suggestions to help her cope: cut the tag out, close the window, use earplugs, wait for your dad to help move the bed... but none were good enough. My patience began to wear thin, and I began to get angry.
Adam went up to talk to her. She opened up to him about how badly she had been feeling because I had been mean, and yelled at her so often. Cringe. Although, in my defense, I couldn't let her continue torturing Kevin. Why does it sometimes feel like moms can never win?
I realize this is a slight diversion from our usual story, and you may be wondering why this entry is more about Kayla, than Jordan. I hope it will become more clear after I explain how Kayla and I worked through our predicament, because it was a beautiful thing. It helped to renew my faith in my own parenting skills.
Kayla and I talked for a long time. I apologized for making her feel so badly, and told her it was certainly not my intention. She said she was sorry and would try to be nicer to Kevin. And, that was it. It was over. We cuddled saying how much we loved each other, and my sweet girl went to sleep.
I knew this was how it was supposed to work. Loved ones have a problem, they get upset, they talk it through, they apologize and forgive, and it's over. No huge fits and hours of frantic screaming. No silent treatment. No hate mail. Just an emotional, honest, love-filled discussion that leads to a resolution. Ahh.
Today I have absolutely no resentment towards Jordan, but it wasn't always that way. As I have stated before, she has unequivocally helped me to become a more understanding mother, and a more open-minded human being. Sure, parents shouldn't compare their children to each other (or to any child) but let's face it, sometimes we do, and it's okay. As Maya Angelou said: