The past week or so with the kids has about driven Chris and I insane. Gracie is at a pretty decent stage right now, actually. She is happy and loud and active and life is good. But Bean? Whew. Something has hit him hard in the past few weeks.
That dude has become so grumpy! He is always complaining about something. “But I don’t want that for dinner!” “Gracie is annoying!” “I don’t want to go grocery shopping!” “Why do I have to give him a birthday present?”
Mostly, I think the grumpiness is because he is going through a big change right now, and he’s probably a little out of his territory. He graduated from preschool, but he’s not going into kindergarten until the fall, so that puts him in this elementary limbo. He’s just waiting, and I think that makes him anxious and crabby.
He is also doing this thing where he is suddenly done with Gracie. Nothing she says it right. Nothing she plays with his fun. Nothing she does is worth any of his time. This is a big change for our kids, who have normally always played really well together. I would go so far as to say they are each other’s best friends. They are always asking about the other when they are apart, and their bedrooms are both full of the other’s toys because they play together so much. So, this sudden need to put space between himself and Gracie is very new.
Again, I’m sure it is part of this adjustment period for him, and I’m trying to remember that when he says things like, “Gracie, I’m not playing with you because you are a BABY.” Otherwise, I’d thump him on the head. But I’m not. I just stop him when he says mean or hurtful things and remind him that that is not how we talk to each other or to anyone, and that if he can’t speak nicely, then he will have to go play in his room by himself. This usually is enough to redirect him. Only once or twice has he actually said, “Fine!” and then gone up to his room.
Gracie, on the other hand, is completely perplexed by this new development. The other day in the car, she was talking about going to my mom’s house this week and she said, “I so excited! We haven’t been to Nana’s in a long time!” And Bean snapped back, “Yes, we HAVE been to Nana’s! We just haven’t been in a long time!”
Gracie gave me this look that straight up said, “Is he deaf?”
We aren’t quite sure how to handle this phase, to be honest. We call attention when Bean is unkind, we make him apologize, and once or twice we’ve actually dusted off the ol’ time out chair. But other than that, we are kind of sitting back right now and waiting to see if this thing rides it’s course or whether we need to get more involved.
What do you guys think? Anyone have sibling issues? How do you find it best to resolve them? Is it a behavioral thing, or a discipline issue? Any ideas?
P.S. The pictures are by the fabulously talented Jenn Hopkins Photography.