Most children take some type of nap for the first three to five years of their lives…and their mothers are grateful for that quiet time. I was no different, but I had one problem…my youngest daughter. Amy was a happy, smiley little girl, who loved to laugh and practically always ran wherever she went. Both of my girls were very happy little girls. When they were little, both of them took an hour to two hour nap every day. It was a time when I could clean house, do laundry, or maybe even read a book…which was shocking to my system. At first, they both woke up smiling and very happy, but as Amy approached two years old, things began to change.
My smiling little angel would go to bed so happy and when she woke up…all those little smiles were gone. The best thing to do then was not to speak to her for a while, because she was going to be grouchy for a while. My solution was to get her a glass of Kool-Aid, and wait it out. Amy was so grouchy that she would hold that glass up to her face, for an hour or two, sipping slowly, until she was ready to rejoin the rest of the world. The glass didn’t leave her mouth during that whole time. Now, if you know anything about Kool-Aide at all, you know that when it sits against a baby’s cheeks for a while, it will leave its mark on those little cheeks. One might have thought that it would be hard to catch a picture of a Kool-Aide face, but with Amy it was not difficult at all. She had a Kool-Aide face pretty much every day.
After almost a year of putting a happy toddler to bed and getting a cranky toddler up, I decided that I no longer cared what all the experts said about children needing their naps for the first five years. When Amy turned two, I made the decision that mine would be that strange household where the three year old took a nap, but the two year old took no more naps. Strange as it was, it was the best decision I ever made. Amy stayed happy and the Kool-Aide face became a thing of the past, and her big sister, Corrie took her naps for about another two years. And peace reigned in our house…which made me very happy!!
Every little boy goes through those moments when he just doesn’t understand what it is that makes girls so special, or at the very least what makes them so different. I’m not talking about the physical differences exactly, but more why they must be treated differently. That is the position my father-in-law found himself in as a little boy when he disagreed with his big sister. When a boy is little, and gets into a disagreement with a girl, he does not consider her to be different than any other kid with whom he disagrees. And in that instance, hitting her doesn’t seem like it is any different than hitting any boy he knows. Of course, his mother quickly explained that boys don’t hit girls!
When that little boy, who was my father-in-law, tried to rebel against what he saw as the unfair rule of his older sister, his little boy solution was to…what else, hit her. Of course, his mom told him that hitting girls was not allowed. In what has to be one of the funniest disciplinary moments Grandma would remember, her little boy stated the obvious, “Why, is she made of glass?” I know that if he were my son, I would find it almost impossible not to laugh at that moment. I mean, what do you say to a little boy who has a big sister, who is obviously not fragile…in fact, she is always bossing him around. Then, he finally gets the courage to fight back, and you’re telling him not to hit girls! He is not going to be fooled into thinking that she is weaker than he is, so that option is out.
It is an age old problem, and one mothers have long struggled with. It is their responsibility to teach their little boys the proper way to treat girls, and yet, those girls don’t always make it easy…especially big sisters. I can picture my father-in-law, with his impish ways, being everything from a trial to a smile to his mother. Grandma always was a softy, and he always held a special place in her heart, just like he will for all of his friends and family, whom he left behind when he left us just 11 days ago. As to Grandma’s ability to train her little boy to be nice to the girls, well…you succeeded Grandma, because Dad was an incorrigible flirt who knew just how to make a girl feel like a beautiful lady…and, he did finally learn that boys don’t hit girls.