So last week I had some house guests: a girlfriend of mine from Oregon and her two daughters who are 7 and 6. Siblings this close in age are often highly competitive and there’s always something to compete over, my son for instance.
On the first day of their arrival the older girl asked if she could share my son’s bed with him. It really was an innocent request and since I don’t have five beds in my house and my son was on board I figured, why not?
The younger daughter, that’s why not. As evening approached she became increasingly perturbed by the situation. “It’s not fair! I want to be the one in his bed!”
“Let your sister sleep with him tonight,” her mother suggested, “and you can sleep with him tomorrow.” My son agreed that this was a reasonable solution but the younger girl still wasn’t appeased. “Maybe he could sleep with my sister for the first part of the night and with me for the second half.”
This seemed a bit much so her mother (and my son) demurred. Everything seemed like it was settled until bedtime actually came around. Each child grabbed their respective stuffed animals and climbed into bed, the older with my son and the younger into the guest bed.
Ten minutes after lights out the three of them came rushing out of the room to find us, the older girl in tears. “They’re purposely making it hard for me to sleep,” she cried. “they’re ganging up on me!”
The younger girl smiled smugly, looked me in the eye and said, “This all started when I told your son that I loved him.”
I looked at my child, who was standing there looking completely baffled, and I realized that he had no appreciation of his situation. Ten years from now he’ll be longing for these kinds of problems. Of course if he does have these kind of problems ten years from now I won’t think it’s so cute…
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