I know kids are very observant about what they have compared to their brothers and sisters. And I know parents have to be careful about giving treatment as equal as possible or else endure hours or whining and tantrums and "It's not fair!!"
Luckily, our girls do not yet know how to say "It's not fair". But they are ultra observant about who gets what and they are world class tantrum throwers. At least Meron gives a little pre-tantrum warning when this ugly dark cloud sweeps across her face. My first reaction is to quickly replay the tape of the last 15 seconds to figure out what set her off and correct it before the meltdown begins.
I believe their sensitivity to disparate treatment comes from living in an area of great deprivation. Fighting with a rat over the last kernel of rice or with a vulture over the last shred of meat can make you street smart. I hope we can break this. Here are two of my favorite stories.
The toothbrushes. Meron and Emnet have identical (except the color) toothbrushes. The handles have big butt ends so they can be stood upright. One night, after brushing, Colleen stood Emnets brush up and I layed Merons brush on its side. I see the storm cloud coming, but I cannot figure out what caused it. Too late. The tantrum is in full swing. When I finally calm Meron to the point where she can communicate, she tells me I should have stood her toothbrush upright like Emnets.
The ketchup. The girls enjoy tater tots. One night while serving ketchup, I left a dollop and a little racing stripe of red up the side of Merons plate. Totally an accident and I did not give it a second thought. Emnet got just the dollop, and threw a fit. When we finally calmed her down to the point she could reason, she started finger painting her ketchup up the side of her plate to look like the stripe I had left on Merons plate. All Emnet wanted was a foolish little stripe of ketchup.
If I have to endure this much hell over a toothbrush and ketchup - what does a future full of cell phones, cars, cliques, hormones, mean girls, and horny boys hold for me????