Sunday, March 25, 2007

The 51 pound weakling

We're having a beautiful day here in Virginia. Sunny and in the low '70s. Very nice. The girls are in the backyard playing on the swingset and I'm on the screened porch keeping an eye on them.

Graceful was just taunting and teasing Elegant. Again. Elegant turned around and beat the crap out of Graceful. Again. Luckily, Elegant really and truly hits like a girl, so no actual harm occurred. It's like the Circle of Life. Big Sister teases and pushes Little Sister's buttons until Little Sister can't take it anymore and then lashes out against Big Sister.

What surprises me is that Graceful just takes the mini-whooping and doesn't hit back. Never. Okay, maybe once or twice, but that's it. Usually, she comes crying to one of us about how Elegant hit her "for no reason at all." I'll just cock an eyebrow at her and say, "Oh really? How about when you called her a baby 17 times? That was 'no reason at all'?"

I'm not sure how I'm supposed to parent these situations. Who gets punished? Do I let Elegant deck Graceful since Graceful was being a bitch to her? Or do I punish Elegant for coming out swinging? Should I be teaching Graceful to at least defend herself when she's being pummeled? I really don't know how to handle it. The parenting books say I should talk to both girls and explain how they could have made better choices. That's all well and good, except that I have explained this to them just about every day of their lives and it's still going on. I've told Graceful to stop taunting, because her sister will hit, kick, pinch, or even bite back. I've told Elegant to have an adult intervene. I could be speaking in Mandarin Chinese for all the good it does.

So now the girls are back to being friends again and peace reigns in our backyard. At least, until the next time the Circle of Life starts anew.


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