It’s Not All Mary Poppins

And the day ground on…

I don’t think I will have much to say today. I woke up at two this morning. I tossed around for a while, and when it became clear I was not going back to sleep, I got up. That was at three. It is now 6:30. In the evening. So, if I’d gotten up at my usual 5:30 or 6:00, it’s now ten or ten-thirty to my brain. My brain which has had something in the order of four hours of sleep. Perhaps.

My eyes itch.

So what can I tell you about the day? Except that it passed in a bit of a blur? There were only four tots here today, because Emily doesn’t come on Mondays. Which is too bad, because Emily’s daddy forgot to sign Emily’s monthly post-dated cheque. I need the man’s John Henry.

(Which means SIGNATURE. Sheesh. What ARE you sniggering about?)

Malli has decided it’s time for a little shake-up to the group dynamic. It was her self-appointed mission today to single-handedly change it from one of cheerful co-existence and even co-operation to a heirarchy: big kids (she and Nigel) on top, little kids (Anna, Timmy, and probably Emily, when she’s here tomorrow) on the bottom.

“Mary! Mary! Anna pushed Nigel!” I glance over at Anna and Nigel, who appear to be playing happily. Independently, and happily.

“If Nigel wants to tell me, Malli, Nigel can tell me. You don’t need to.”

Humph. I am not doing my job. Malli trots over to Nigel. “Nigel, you need to tell Mary –”

“Malli. Let Nigel decide what he wants to tell me.”

Nigel sets down the toy he’s been playing with for the past ten minutes, and walks into the next room. Timmy picks up the toy.

“Nigel!” Malli calls. “Timmy has your toy!”

Nigel charges back to rip the toy from Timmy, but I trip him before he gets there.

KIDDING. I divert him back to the other room and reprimand Malli. “Nigel was done with that toy, Malli. It’s fine for Timmy to play with it now.”

Malli and Nigel play side-by-side in a large pile of blocks. Anna attempts to join. Malli shifts her body so Anna can’t reach the blocks. Anna moves around to Nigel’s side.

“Nigel, these blocks are just for us. You don’t let Anna touch them.”

“You can’t play with that dolly. It might choke you.”
“Malli, that’s just silly. That dolly is half the size of Timmy. He couldn’t possible choke on it.”
“Malli, here is a book. You can sit here and read it to Anna and me.”
“I will read it to Nigel. Anna is a baby.”
“Yes, and babies like books.”
“Not Anna.”

“I am sitting here. You can’t sit here. You sit over there.”
“I am reading the story to all of us, Malli. I would like Anna to sit here.”

“Mary, Timmy bumped Nigel at the bottom of the slide.”
“Malli, if Nigel wants to tell me, he will tell me.”
“But Nigel doesn’t like Timmy. Nigel wants Timmy to go away.”
“If Nigel thinks that, he will tell me. — And Malli? I want you to play on the bouncy toy now, not the slide.”

“This soup is only for big kids. It is just for me an’ Nigel. You can’t have any.”
“This soup is lunch for all of us, Malli. Would you like to pour it, since you’re a big girl?”
“I will pour for Nigel.”

“I am reading this book. You go away.”
“He’s nowhere near you, Malli. Read your book and leave Timmy be.”
“I don’t want him in the living room with me.”
“If you want to be alone, Malli, you can always sit on the Quiet Stair.”

(The Quiet Stair is not only a time-out spot, but also a place where the children can have some desired alone-time. Malli will quite often sit there with a book or a toy, voluntarily, when she has had enough of all this damned interacting.)

“Nigel, you don’t want Timmy in the living room with you, do you.” (It’s not a question. It’s a directive.)

“I am only sharing my dolly with Nigel. I am not sharing it with you, Anna.”

“Bring me the puzzle, Nigel. We don’t want Timmy to touch it.”

“You don’t like Anna, do you Nigel?”

She’s unrelenting, no? And, frankly, not all that appealing in this mode. Little Miss Discord, sewing seeds of resentment and conflict, all day long. Her attachment to Nigel would be endearing if it were expressed as a positive rather than a negative, if it were inclusive rather than exclusive. Her desire to be big would be sweet if it weren’t accomplished by putting the younger children down. Of course, we will work on these things: giving her a sense of accomplishment and competence that’s not dependent on negative comparision or belittling with the smaller tots; ensuring she gets some personal attention each day; praising her for constructive interactions with the smaller children; giving her small responsibilities for them which she can take pride in — all that good stuff.

But … yawn … I’d be tired by now even if I’d had a full night’s sleep.

November 5, 2007 Posted by | Malli, power struggle, socializing, the dark side, Uncategorized | 10 Comments