A question for the generations of women who have done this and been doing this and who represent a wealth of knowledge I need to tap:
Q: I beseech you, women of previous generations, when your children were playing in the yard, and you gently and politely asked the big one not to point the hose at the little one, looked away for a moment to put something down or pick something up, then looked back to see a guilty looking older child quickly turning the hose away from a soaked and crying younger child while proclaiming, “I didn’t do anything!”…
…how did you not beat the older child?
A: Not beat? Oh, sweetie, we use the switch for the lying and a belt for the disobeying.
Okay, that didn’t go as I’d hoped. Let’s try again.
Q: I beg of you, current parents in my community, when your older child is lifting your younger child toward the stovetop while you are chopping vegetables for dinner and you say, “Please put him down. Put him down. Put him DOWN that’s dangerous!” and he continues, reaching the little one high enough to catch his feet in the oven door and open it, hurting the little guy and endangering both…
…how do you not beat the older one?
A: We breathe, we get down on their level, and we talk. In fact, we often find an appropriate song and a snack helps in these matters.
I see. This is harder than I thought. I envisioned wisdom involving margaritas. Or caramel. Deep breathing and talking I’ve tried. Let’s try again.
Q: Internet, please, I beg you. When the older one thinks it’s funny to take the big exercise ball and bounce it in the living room just hard enough to knock over his brother, and he has been told firmly that such behavior is not acceptable and that bouncing the ball must be gentle and not near his brother or anything breakable (else have the ball removed and placed in the garage); and you step out of the room to check the food almost burning on the stove to hear a screech and a crash and return to a fallen and crying toddler, and a fallen and broken lamp…
…how. do. you. not. beat. your. older. child.?
Hmmm? How? Help me Interwebs. You’re my only hope for wisdom today.