For the last couple of weeks, Cora dominated her sister. She covered her when she did not want to be covered. She whacked her when Bee got in her way. She pulled her, pushed her, and coddled and tattled on her. I found myself repeating again and again that Bee needs space to learn her own lessons and do her own things. I told her that hitting her sister was not the best choice. Cora did not listen.
Today, I listened from the kitchen as Cora tried to take toys away from Bee and cover her with a blanket. Bee whined. I yelled into the mix, "leave her be, Cora. She doesn't want to be covered."
Cora did not listen.
All of a sudden, my eldest appeared in the kitchen, tears streaming down her face and hands clasped over her head. "Nyobi hit me over the head with the fife!"
"Were you still trying to cover her with her blanket after I told you not to and taking it away from her?" I asked.
The tears were extra heavy now. "Yes" Cora said in a small voice and then began to wail even louder. "She hit me!"
Inside me, I felt very bad. Here is my daughter standing there in pain. I love her. I do not want her to suffer. On the other hand a secret possibly evil thought popped into my head. This was an ideal lesson in how to treat others. This was the incident that the last few weeks built towards. I knelt down and gently reminded Cora of every injury such as this that she had done to Nyobi in the last week. "Now, where do you think that Nyobi learned to hit someone?"
Cora gulped. "Me..."
"So lets teach her not to hit people. And also, Cora, you HAVE to give her space. She can do things for herself now. She does not need as much hands on help from Mom, Dad or Cora, okay?"
Then I kissed her owies, and went to talk to Nyobi. I yelled at her for hitting her sister, but secretly I was elated. My political science classes taught me that a balance of power is the most logical cause for peace.
Of course, it is also cause for mutual annihilation...
Wait, did my children just whack each other with a fife?