Tag Archives: sharing

Tiny Teachers

Siblings Together

Siblings Together

 

Motormouth has a new role in life.

He’s recently taken on the role of teacher when it comes to Mini.

He’s consciously making sure she’s included in his games, even if she is a little too young to really understand what’s going on. The fact that she will slavishly copy everything he does goes some way to helping in this. With a little nudging, he’s also making sure she gets some of the interesting jobs as well. It’s really noticeable when they’re role playing, which Motormouth has a tendency to do a lot of, whether it’s playing doctors, running a café or rescuing dragons from lava, he’s adept at creating entire universes that work on Motormouth-logic. He’s also very good at bring others into his fantasy worlds, giving them characters, complete with back stories, to take on. I’m still getting to grips with the various alter egos he’s assigned to me over the last couple of years, whether it’s Dashi from Octonauts, Penny from Fireman Sam or Astrid from How to Train Your Dragon. It could be worse – poor Mini gets to be Fishlegs. His dad is Stoick the Vast (I think that must be something to do with the beard).

It’s more than just another person to play with though. It’s a way of him reinforcing what he’s been learning at school himself. He works through his homework story books with Mini and he’s even sat her down with a pad and crayon so he could teach her her letters. Admittedly, he makes me learn my letters more often, but she’s not left out of the schooling entirely.

Underneath all this is a strong feeling of protectiveness. He will try and teach her how to cross the road safely (unfortunately she’s not taking to that quite as quickly as Motormouth did). If she falls and hurts herself, he’s the first to go running (provided he’s not been involved in it, of course). To be fair, she will do the same for him. They’ll give each other a hug when the other is upset and quite often I’ll find them snuggled up together on the settee, under the same blanket, thumbs in mouths (their own) whilst they watch How to Train Your Dragon, Masha and the Bear or Fireman Sam.

What is particularly striking is his generosity towards his little sister, the person he could so easily be jealous of. He’ll share his food, often giving her over half of whatever delicacy he has, rather than the token amount, and sometimes we don’t even have to ask him to share with her. He’s certainly better at sharing his food than I am.

And, most importantly, he’ll share his time.

It puts me to shame.

Because he does it naturally, as something that’s the right thing to do. He doesn’t have that feeling of almost smug satisfaction that we can (and I’m speaking from personal experience) feel as adults sometimes as we earn virtual brownie points for being “good people”.

Which made me wonder, when do we get more attached to things than we do to people?

When do we learn to become more grudging about sharing, so much so that often sharing becomes a conscious choice rather than an automatic action? When we first learn to talk, one of the first concepts we learn is mine. It’s my teddy. My blanket. My dinner.

Then we grow out of it.

And I don’t think we realise we’ve grown out of it until somebody reminds us.

Motormouth has taken on the role of teacher and mentor to Mini.

But I’m sitting at the back of the classroom.

Battle of Equals?

...and the winner is...

…and the winner is…

Siblings will be siblings and often want the same thing at the same time, whether it be a toy or space on someone’s lap or food. And neither one wants to back down, which can be a problem, especially when you have two who have inherited their mother’s stubbornness in full measure.

And Motormouth and Mini have.

Mini is, by definition, smaller than Motormouth, after all, he has a good two years on her.

You’d think that would be that wouldn’t you? That she would lose all the time?

Well.

It isn’t.

In fact it can be quite the opposite.

I’ve noticed that Mini has her own unique way of getting exactly what she wants.

And she does it with such style that I’m going to start taking lessons.

First of all she uses her size to her advantage. She can worm herself into the tiniest of gaps and once there she expands outwards, mainly through judicious use of elbows, to give herself enough space. This can and does include edging her big brother off someone’s lap.

Today we had a classic.

Mini decided she wanted to snuggle with Uncle Greenfingers.

The only problem was Motormouth, who had already appropriated the best spot.

So what does she do?

She starts stroking Motormouth’s hair, then giving it subtle little tugs.

Not ones that hurt, ones that he could complain about legitimately, just annoying little tweaks.

It doesn’t take too long before he’s had enough and moves away and within seconds she’s claimed his spot.

It’s so subtle, you wouldn’t know she was doing it unless you were looking for it.

Or you didn’t see the triumphant little smile on her face.

Of course there are times when she doesn’t win, like when Motormouth is dragging her across the floor by the foot, mind you, that could be down to her getting the giggles as much as anything else.

Most of the time they play nicely together and Motormouth is usually good at sharing.

In fact he almost has me in tears the other day. Mini dropped her snack on the floor. Being a good mother I picked it up before she could eat it (having first done the calculation, you know the one, where you work out the last time you cleaned the floor and factor in what the foot traffic has been like.) Anyway, I head into the kitchen to get her another snack but in the meantime she’s sitting on the floor, sobbing like it’s the worst thing in the world, which to her it probably is.

Then I hear Motormouth…

“There, there, Mini, you can have some of my cheese.”

To put this in context, there is nothing that Motormouth likes more than cheese, except perhaps yoghurt, and for him to voluntarily give his sister any of his cheese, well…

I did give Motormouth an extra sticker for that.

He’s decided he’s working towards a trip to the dinosaur museum.

Maybe he’ll offer them some of his cheese as well.