My daughter Maggie is what I refer to as a “dear heart.” She is a sensitive soul, and feels things more deeply than a lot of people do. Maggie gets upset when anyone is hurt or distraught, often becoming upset or distraught herself. When she has to be disciplined, Maggie often sobs and gets upset and laments, “do you love me anymore?” The ultimate punishment for Maggie is to tell her that you are disappointed in her. By all counts, she is an emotional girl.
Maggie and our younger daughter, Aleita, love each other very dearly, but often fight like cats and dogs. Their threshold for playing together peacefully is limited to about ten minute increments before Chris or myself are called upon to intervene to break up a squabble. Maggie has a tendency to be a bit bossy, and Aleita’s behavior has been somewhat, um. . . . trying lately. Aleita doesn’t like to take orders from anyone, least of all her bossy, older sister. Maggie has even commented before, “she’s not a baby. . .she’s three! why does she act like that?" I try to explain that she is not as mature at three as Maggie is at six, but she doesn’t seem to buy into that argument very much.
For as much as they bicker though, Maggie feels deep empathy for Aleita when she gets in trouble. Maggie takes a ride on an emotional roller coaster almost every time her sister has to be disciplined for misbehaving. Last night, as we were getting the kids ready for bed, I was helping Maggie brush her teeth and Aleita was sitting on the toilet. I left the room to grab a washcloth out of the hall closet, and when I returned, Aleita was doing something that I have expressly forbidden her to do - - - dunking her hiney in the toilet. I have given her the lecture about how it is unhygienic and gross, and on and on, but my words have done little to discourage her. I told her that the next time I caught her doing it, she was going to get her little wet hiney spanked. Well, this was the next time.
About this time, Chris came into the bathroom and I caught him up to speed on the hiney-dunking. He was just about as pleased as I was with her new trick. Once Aleita realized that the butt spanks were coming from Daddy and not from Mommy though, she knew she was in for it. Maggie knew too, for she immediately tensed up and her eyes began to tear. As Aleita received her spanking, Maggie ran to her room sobbing and threw herself on the bed. I followed her in to her room and tried to explain that Daddy and I don’t like to spank Aleita, but if she doesn’t do what we tell her to even after we have asked, she has to get a spank so she’ll remember the next time. Through teary eyes, Maggie looked at me and said, “but she’s only three!”