“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
I bet the the title of this post made you think, which I admit it is supposed to, but not in the obvious way.
The protection that came to mind this time corned my three boys. As parents, on top of feeding, clothing, and educating our children, we are also tasked with protecting our children with everything that we have.
I’m sure that by the time kids enter the world, parents figure out that little tidbit. After all, what kind of parents would we be if we didn’t stand up for our kids, protect them from all harm? Now, I have to say that when I envisioned this, I usually pictured bullies or even other adults for whatever reason. I’ve had imaginary fights with other parents about a child that bullied mine. I’ll say I’m prepared should that ever happen.
What I did not expect, was to have to protect any one of my kids from their siblings. Now, if I’m the only parents of multiples who just happened to figure this out, I apologize and this post can be designated toward those parents who want more than one, but I try didn’t think that is a road we’d ever have to go down as parents.
Let me paint a quick picture for you. Bed time started coming around quickly, 6:30 pm blaring from the clock on the oven. My oldest decided that it was a good time to try and do everything he hadn’t had a chance to do that day right before hitting the pillow, because as I’m sure you are aware, there will just not be any time for that the next day (queue long eye-roll).
The youngest, a little over one, decides that it is actually time for bed NOW. Baby in hand, I retreat to another room to attempt the bedtime process. With the house mostly quiet except for the two boys left playing, I could hear as the oldest has taken control. Things have to be his way, or the highway.
Though I was not in the same room, based on the pointers I heard my husband uttering, and the “wait a minute, it’s still my turn” from the oldest, I could just see the situation unfolding, which as it happens, starts to break my heart. You see, as I am picturing my husband saying that he’s had six or more turns, and that it’s almost bed time, I could picture my middle boy of 3.5 years old, patiently waiting on the side.
Not the most patient of kids to begin with, he seems to show his older brother an immense amount of understanding, something I feel I need to learn from. But at the same time, though he is being so good, you could just see that he wants to play, he wants it to be his turn, but he doesn’t want to get yelled at, not by his brother, not again.
I could hear my husband put his foot down after the oldest has had his seventh first turn, getting our middle involved, free of bullying. And then it hit me – he’s getting bullied by his older brother. Of course, I’ve seen them go at each other’s throats sometimes, but I never equated it to be bullying. Bullying is something that happens outside of the home right? In that one instance I realized I never thought I’d have to protect one of my children from the other.
I went a step further and decided to look up the definition of bullying. A quick Google search came back with this:
Seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable)*
The definition got me to thinking – as these things normally do – about not only trying to prevent this type of behavior in my own home, but also outside. Before our shelter in place orders, my son’s teacher would say he’s wonderful to have in class, that he was a real leader. But I have to say, at home we see his leadership of his brother come through more as bullying and I wonder if we are in the same boat as other parents.
I am positive that other parents have run into their own hiccups, especially with trying to raise multiples, but this is one that I did not foresee right away, and wanted to take this time to either say “be on the look out if you’re looking for more than one child” or “I am here, I understand, same boat”.
Though I hope we’ve been pretty good about it as parents, I vow to do much better. It’s difficult splitting your attention three ways, of course it is, but that doesn’t mean that the effort can’t be made. If only they could read this, I’d want them to know that I will always try and do my best to split it, but at the very least, make sure that any play time, is free from bullying.