Monday, January 05, 2009

DEAR LILY, ADVICE FROM AN EXPERT

Dear Lily,

My Mom says I have to be nice to my little brother, but it is so hard! He is always bugging me! He takes my stuff, he copies everything I do and he follows me everywhere! What can I do?

Signed,

Frustrated in Fredericksburg


Dear Freddy,

No, no, no, you are playing this all wrong! There are quite a lot of advantages to having little brothers and sisters, I know because I just got myself one a few months ago. Initially, when I got the news from my Mama that I was finally getting a little sister, and that she was two years old, I was a wee bit apprehensive. After all, it had just been my Mama and me for as long as I can remember, how would this change our relationship? How could I protect my property from being destroyed at the hands of this new, possibly ferocious little family member? Would my mom now give all of her attention to my baby sister and not have any more love left for me? These are all very important and legitimate questions to be asking, and believe me, I asked them. That is perhaps the most important thing you can do: communicate your fears with your parents. Don’t be afraid to do this, at the very least you usually get a good hugging out of expressing your concerns, always a fine thing in my opinion.

My own Mama reassured me every time I conveyed my fears (and I conveyed them a lot), that though there would assuredly be changes to our lives, that there would still be as much love from her as there had always been. She said that parents have an unlimited supply of love and not to worry. She challenged me to look at the situation differently than I had been, that instead of thinking that something was going to be taken away from me, that instead I would be gaining a whole other person to love and be loved by. And this indeed has been the case, I really DO love my new sister, much to my surprise, and she really does give me all the hugs and kisses I could possibly want in return.

Now you speak of your brother taking your toys, this is probably the most common problem that we as siblings encounter. I was warned that if I left anything within reach of my baby sister that she would take it, turns out this is true. So the simple solution to this difficulty is to hide your stuff. Bothersome, I know, but necessary because if you leave, say, a box of markers laying around for little ones to get a hold of, you will have more than just a messed up box of markers on your hands; your mom will likely have something very unpleasant to say about it too, and poof! no more markers for anyone! Best to just try and think one step ahead for everyone’s benefit.

Now to the mimicking dilemma; here is where you need to rethink your position the most. The fact that your brother wants to copy everything you do should make you feel good! He wants to be just like you, you should find this flattering. More importantly, you should be using this to your advantage, you could teach him all sorts of things that will drive your parents totally nuts and for which, if it is done right, you will receive no blame. Say for instance you continually make a noise that drives your mother crazy; why not teach it to your brother? Double the annoyance, double the fun watching your parent’s face change color in exasperation. Or when your mom’s back is turned, add a few more toys from your brother’s toy box to the mess on the floor. In comparison, your untidiness looks quite controlled and you appear to be an organizational genius.

Here are a few other advantages to having a younger sibling that you may not have thought of: *They can fetch things for you and are happy to do it, so no more getting up to ask for a snack, they can do the begging for you. *You get a lot more treats because your mom is trying to keep said sibling quiet, which usually means some delicacy is handed out and she can’t very well give it to them and not to you as well. *Same goes for presents; lots of kind people have brought a present for my new sister when they visited, and since I am a new big sister, they usually brought me a present too! This was an unforeseen bonus that I was happy to accommodate! In addition, you can teach your brother all of the annoying habits you possess and watch the delightful expressions on your parent’s face when they realize that they now have more than one set of infuriating habits to try and break. Remember, you have a partner in crime now; you must use it to your gain.

I realize that it isn’t always easy to be nice to your younger sibling, they really can be soooo annoying at times, but I think that the gains far outweigh any possible loses. I certainly don’t miss watching a television show alone while my mom does the dishes and laundry, I get to have company and introduce my sister to the likes of Dora the Explorer and we can sing along to High School Musical. And guess who my sister runs to when my mom gets out the vacuum cleaner? Me of course, she clings to me like a little monkey, but that’s okay, I like the feeling of being needed. I like that she thinks I can protect her from the noisy beast. I like that we get to share a room and I am no longer alone when I go to sleep. I like that someone is finally playing with the baby dolls that my mom had gotten me (I never cared much for dolls, but Meika loves them). I like having company in the back seat when we go somewhere. I like reading stories to her, helping to feed her, playing games with her (although she just cannot seem to get the rules of chess right, it’s maddening). I like that she gets so excited to see me again when the school day is over. I like that someone looks up to me and gives me the respect that I so richly deserve. Mama was right; having a sister really is quite wonderful if you change your perspective. So that would be my advice to you Freddy, just look at your problem from a different angle, I think you will find that you can work this system to your advantage if you try.

Good luck! Lily

KKW ©2008

1 comment:

Jill said...

Lily! You are VERY wise!!!!

I love all the China photos your mom has...I would love to go back to China and visit again VERY SOON!!
Such a beautiful country!