Context is Everything

                I stand in the living room with Z’s foot poised inches away from Baby Bird’s head and she says in a questioning voice with a cherubic smile, “I kick the baby?”

                “NO, you cannot KICK the baby,” I emphatically reply.

                “Please, I kick the baby?” Her face starts to crumple into the beginnings of a crying jag.

                “Z, remember how you got a spank earlier for stepping on The Neurotic Beagle’s tail?” I patiently explain.

                Z nods, staring at her feet.

                “Well it is going to be about twenty times worse for kicking your baby sister in the head than for stepping on The Neurotic Beagle.”

                “Pleeeeeeaaaaaase, I kick the baby?” She wails. Apparently there is no reasoning with two year old logic. It seems perfectly rational to her that she is having a tantrum because I audaciously did not allow her to kick her sister in the skull. I am suddenly a very mean mommy.

                I spend the next several days wondering what type of sociopath I am rearing. I ask other parents if this behavior is normal.   I speculate as to the future of their relationship. After all, I have planned for them to share a room. Do I need to fit Z with one of those Hannibal Lecter masks so that Baby Bird still has a face when she wakes up?

                Then, earlier tonight, they are cozy, snuggly on the couch, and I realize that all my fears are baseless and they are sisters who love each other and share a beautiful bond. Until, Z looks at me and sweetly asks, “I kick Baby Bird?”  

                My heart sinks, I get ready to have another argument with my two-year old. I start to protest, as my two year old starts to tear up, and defiantly proclaims, “I do it anyway!”

                I try to reach out and stop her before too much damage is done, but Z moves too quickly and nearly smothers her baby sister with a flurry of kisses. I sit there astonished, “Z, did you mean you want to kiss your sister?”

                “Yes, kick my thister,” she lisps in her sweet two year old way smiling up at me.

                Long story short: all is right in the world, and I am a paranoid, over-protective mess.

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