It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Do We Have Empathy? Not so you’d notice…

We are getting ready to go out. In the seething mass that is my front hall, Malli steps backwards, inadvertently sending Anna teetering onto her well-padded bottom. Anna sets up a roar. Malli pats her head, gives her a hug and a kiss.

“I’m sorry, baby. It okay.”

Much praise for Malli, who, with two rather rambunctious older brothers and herself the much-coddled baby of the family, has never been one to dole out the tenderness. People are supposed to give it to HER, thankyouverymuch. We’ve been working on this, talking up and encouraging the idea that now that she’s the Big Girl, part of her job is to be kind to the little ones. I’m delighted by this evidence of blossoming compassion.

Later that day, Anna again sets to wailing, not quite sure why this time. Once again Malli doles out the hugs and kisses. So sweet.

After naptime Anna is wailing again. My, her cold must be getting her down. She’s not normally so fussy. Malli swoops in to comfort and soothe, looking to me to admire her Big-Girl-ness.

Twenty minutes later, more wailing. More soothing.


She’s quick and smart, but I’m old and wise. While I’m ostensibly looking elsewhere, a lightning-fast finger reaches out and gives poor wee Anna a sharp poke in her fat little tummy. When I turn to ‘see’, Malli has Anna enveloped in a gentle carress, her angelic face turned up to smile at me as she murmurs comfort. “Is okay, baby Anna, is okay.”

Yes, well. Back to the drawing board…

March 23, 2007 Posted by | aggression, socializing | 11 Comments