Recent Tweets in the eMotion Cafe

Monday, February 21, 2005


So I'm walking up the stairs in the eMotion Cafe today and I hear my six year-old daughter talking to my four year-old son.

I peak in and see them, both, drawing at the Little People Coloring Table. You see, we draw a lot in our family and tell stories with our pictures. In this moment, I'm very proud of both of them, sitting there and drawing on the paper - and not on themselves or each other.

When they're done, we'll look at the pictures together. We'll talk about them. We'll give them names. And then, I'll ask if I can put it into the computer. They'll say "Yes, Daddy!" and we'll go on with Whatever's Next.

I collect all their artwork and their homework and their pictures (so what if they're only in PreSchool and First Grade). I look through everything for The Good Stuff. I scan The Good Stuff into the computer; back them up on dvds, cds, and remote hard drives; and put them online - so they each have their own Online Art Gallery. I figure, Someday, it's these little things we do that (when I'm gone) will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I love them and always have loved them with all my heart. It's a Very Important Thing - making sure that they know how much I love them, now and forever.

the day when the cat peed on the floor

As I walk into the Drawing Room, I see my daughter putting away some of the markers. She has her back to me - and doesn't see me or hear me come near.

And at that moment, my six year-old daughter looks at her little brother (who idolizes her) and says: "It was so much better before you came along, Edison. Before you came along, Mommy and Daddy and me used to play together all the time..Now, we don't do fun things together anymore because of you..."

She stopped mid-sentence as she looked up and saw me standing there.

I was absolutely stunned. My stomach dropped. My eyes swelled with tears. I couldn't yell. I couldn't get mad. All I could bring myself to say to her, slowly and quietly, was "How could you ever say something like that to your little brother - who loves you so much - no matter how mean you are to could you make something up like that? Why would you say something just to try and hurt him? I'm disappointed that you'd ever even think such thoughts about someone, anyone, but especially your brother. (long long long pause looking right into her eyes). Now, you tell him you're sorry, give him a hug, and tell him you love him...and I don't ever EVER want to hear you say something like that again. When you say mean things, people don't want to be your friends and in this life, your brother will be your best friend, because no matter what, he'll always love you and that's a rare thing"

(Ok, I know, I go on a bit and she's only 6, but we're responsible for teaching consequences as parents...and that's really how I talk to her)

This was the first time that my daughter brought me Sadness.

As a Father, I wonder where I've failed. I protect and I give - a dozen kisses and two-dozen "I love yous" every day. I spoil her with "Just Because I Love You" presents and trips to the store or Random Places together. But most importantly, I try to teach her to be a better person.


She apologized. She drew him a picture. She wrote him a note that said " My b (best buddy) is Edson I Love Hem". They played all day and all night like every day and every night. But, still I wonder, what else is said when I'm not around - in those moments when I'm not There to guide them.

Sadness is a world where we can give so much as parents - and, still, that love can fail to teach something so simple as how to love your brother.


Echele said...

Ed, I wouldn't worry too much about that. It is normal for an older sibling to feel that way about the 'baby' that comes along. Kids are egocentric...and even though a major part of that goes away as they go through the normal developmental stages...Like from birth to 2 years of age: it is not that they are self centered, it is just they see you as being in THEIR world. They don't see that they are just a small part of a larger world. I also don't think that they mean to hurt each other through words on purpose. I don't think they really truly understand what their words actually mean..ya know the deeper meaning of things. They just see that since your son came along attention has been taken away for the new baby. And even though she is 6 and he is 4 she still carries those feelings. I have experienced that with my bf's kids, same age, the girl is 6 and the son is 4. You have a psych degree, look it up, understand it and find ways to show her on her level. You haven't failed as a parent. Kids can be cruel, but I don't think they truly understand what they say. I think it is said with a little innocence, ya know just like saying whats on your mind, good or bad. And I think you handled that great, b/c it does show her the consequences of her action and they need to be aware of that, otherwise, how will they learn? So wash your face with some cool water, take a deep breath and keep an eye out for other things she says...I would. Talk to her about how she feels about her little brother, ya know just normal conversation, ask her what she remembers before he was born, ask her about now. Just in conversation, take an interest in her little thoughts. Find out where she is coming from and don't scold her for her feelings. It will teach her that she can say anything to you whether you agree or not and you will definitely want that when she is older. I think her feelings are natural and she probably doesn't know how to deal with them. Thats where you come in as a parent and find out as much as you can to help her without making a huge deal out of it. Just talk, get her on track if her thinking is wrong, you can do that through conversation, and you are the parent so you can. ok I don't know if this made sense but I hope it helped.

Dr. H said...

This is an amazing post.

I think it's great that you preserve your children's work.

I enjoyed reading about how you talk to your children. I think it's important to talk with them about these things. I think kids are capable of understanding quite a lot.

I hadn't thought about the moment when a child causes a parent sadness for the first time... sounds like it had quite an impact on you.

havsumhope said...

e -
thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and offer your support...especially given your situation.. thank you..

dr h / star - thank you. i always look forward to your comments


Nick said...

If you tell your kids you love them on a regular basis, you're already fulfilling your parental obligations better than most people do. You sound like a good parent to me. Hell, I think it's an achievement that you're kids sit together at the same table and draw without trying to stick a crayon up each other's noses, like most people I know would've done when they were kids. Thank you for writing that post and reminding me that I'm nowhere near ready to be a father.