Friday, May 30, 2008

I Just Wanted To Brush My Teeth

...or teesh as Katherine seems to call them. Yesterday was a day of pushing limits for the big sister. We started the day with James leaving ridiculously early and Katherine coming in to sleep with Jack and I for a couple more hours (so we got up around 10am instead of 7am). When we finally did really wake up, Jack was content for a few minutes hanging out in the boppy in the middle of our bed (big king-sized bed, young infant, no risk of rolling off) and Katherine was content to watch Sesame Street in our bed. So, I thought this was a great opportunity to change clothes and brush my teeth to get ready for the day. Of course, leaving a toddler in bed alone with an infant isn't the best idea so I was a mere few feet away in our bathroom and came back in every few seconds to check on them.

The first time I returned to the room Jack had started to fuss a little so Katherine, being the caring big sister that she is, decided to put her fingers in his mouth as she has seen me do out of desperation when he is wailing in the car and I can't do anything else to help him. So, I walk in on this scene and calmly remind her that only mommy and daddy can put things in Jack's mouth...who am I kidding, I freaked out a tiny bit so probably wasn't as calm as I thought I was being. This dialogue occurred while I had a toothbrush hanging out of my I returned to the bathroom.

The second time I returned to the room (mere seconds later) I found her scooting toward him on the bed with the baby nail clippers on her hands. My heart jumped into my throat and I, less than calmly, reminded her that only mommy and daddy are allowed to use the nail clippers. I returned to the bathroom again.

The third time I looked into the bedroom it was after running the water for a few seconds so they were out of earshot. I found Katherine leaning over Jack with the medicine dropper from the infant gas drops in his mouth. GASP I was definitely not calm this time. After yelling NO a couple of times I regained my composure enough to remind Katherine that only mommy and daddy can give medicine to either she or Jack.

The take-away lesson from my morning - having semi-dangerous things at arms reach is convenient, especially in the middle of the night, but probably not worth the temptation they create for a well-meaning big sister.

This leads us to boundary issue #4 for the day. I don't recall exactly where I was going, but at some point that day I had both kids in the car and we were headed somewhere (Target, I think). Jack was getting a little fussy and I glanced in the rear-view mirror in an effort to see the terribly myopic view that the mirror on the headrest in front of Jack provides. Initially I thought Katherine had her hand on Jack's head, attempting to comfort him. When I looked back a few seconds later (I check on both of them compulsively while driving) I realized that it wasn't her hand on his head, but her foot! I had not processed the first time around that due to her 5-point harness in her carseat, she was physically incapable of patting his head with her hand (unless her arm grew a few feet). She really didn't understand why it upset me that she was resting her foot on his head - in her mind it was as good as her hand and she was trying to be a good big sister by comforting her fussy brother!

I am sure that I will be begging for (or demanding) her help at some point in the future, but right now her "help" isn't always the most helpful. I need to learn how to balance providing learning opportunities in which she can help with my need to do it myself because it is quicker or safer. Oh well, we'll make it through...

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