Exhibit A. Sisters Who Constantly Snitch the Other Out!
Hi poops. Hope you all are having a great day. If you are local, I hope you’ve had a chance to get outside and enjoy this incredible weather because a cold, rainy front is supposed to move in tonight and ruin all this delightful warmth and sunshine! And speaking of delightful, I’d like to send a shout-out to a good friend and Poopie Mommy devotee who is celebrating her 35th birthday today. She knows who she is and poops here is wishing her a very happy day and many, many more healthy ones to come!
And now to the annoying issue at hand: my crazy daughters and their incessant tattle-telling. Anybody else dealing with this in their household? It is seriously irritating. We can’t go an hour around here without one daughter coming to me telling me what the other just did. It’s a constant stream of she did this and she did that and she said this and she said that and all of it makes me wanna pull my freakin’ hair out! And, I can’t decide what bothers me more, the mere volume of these annoying tattle incidents or the fact that my girls are tattling in general. Look, I understand, it’s the nature of sisters to fight and compete. I’ve got an older sister myself and we’ll still go at it from time to time. Sibling rivalry is normal and, inevitably, informs a fundamental part of your personality. And I also get the whole love/hate thing. Believe me, with two daughters who are fifteen months apart, I get it! But, I’m finding that what really disturbs me is how often their natural instinct is to rat one another out to me or Poopie Daddy. I keep hoping for more sibling loyalty and demonstrations of a united sisterhood, but most of the time we are living in is ‘snitchvillile.’
I am like a broken record about this topic with my little sibling speeches to the girls. The following represents something I say to them at least once or twice a week:
do you two know how lucky you are to have each other? do you realize how cool it is to have a sister? someone who is always around to have your back? someone you can always count on? you always have a friend and playmate around to hang out with you. you are so lucky. imagine if it were just you and the other weren’t here. wouldn’t you be sad? wouldn’t you be lonely? wouldn’t you wish she were here? wouldn’t you miss each other? so why are you always snitching on each other and trying to get the other one in trouble? whatever it is the other is doing, you guys have to find a way to work it out together. you’ve got to figure out a way to react differently, more cooperatively. you can’t run to mommy and daddy every single time you don’t like something that the other is doing. remember how much time and energy this tattle telling takes. if you stop doing it all the time then you can resolve things quickly and go back to having fun!
I say things of this nature over and over again and yet we haven’t made much progress yet decreasing the tattle tally here. What gives? Should I just recognize that they are both still really young and will start to outgrow this? Or do I need to be more aggressive and move beyond speeches and into more consequential territory? I can’t stand threatening my kids for two reasons: 1) because I know that half of the time I won’t follow through 2) because I don’t think it’s all that effective even when I do ride it out and stick to my guns. I want my kids to learn correct behaviors not because they’ll be afraid of a consequence or punishment, but because they innately desire to make correct choices and respond appropriately on their own.
Maybe my disdain for tattle-telling goes beyond just wanting my kids to feel more sibling loyalty and less rivalry. Perhaps it is because I value loyalty so much as a character trait and quality in my own adult relationships. Only thing worse than a child snitching is an adult doing it. It’s a serious character flaw in my opinion and one that I take very seriously. Am I exaggerating the connection between kids tattling somewhat harmlessly and adults who grow-up to be disloyal friends? I don’t know. Maybe it’s a stretch. But I do know that you can never be too young to learn that it’s important not to rat-out the people you love and who trust you. Trust is everything in a valuable relationship. Without it, there is very little else to hold two people together. And I want my girls together forever. There is nothing I desire more than to make sure that long after Poopie Daddy and I are gone, the two of them stick together. I want them to recognize that the sibling relationship is a bond that lasts longer than any family tie.
Are you guys out there thinking, oh dear poops, you’ve lost it. They’re just kids. Kids tattle. Don’t over-analyze it, don’t make it out to be more than it is. Maybe you’re right. But, I still don’t think it’s too young to instill in them a sense of being the other’s fiercest protector and confidant. And I have seen this demonstrated between them on several occasions, so at a core level, I know it definitely exists among the two of them. For instance, last year D slipped on a friend’s front porch and smacked her head pretty hard into a brick post. It was very scary. She had a bump that swelled-up like a golf ball protruding from her forehead. I raced to the hospital, fearing the worst. Everything turned out okay, thankfully. But, oddly, what I remember of that afternoon more than anything, is not how scary it was or how my heart ached and feared for D, but that A was so concerned and also amazingly brave and controlled in her reassurance for her sister’s sake. As I was dodging traffic trying to focus on getting us safely to the ER, I distinctly remember my 4 year-old saying to my 2 year-old, “It’s ok, D, I’m right here. Hold my hand, take my hand. Squeeze it D, it’s ok. It will make you feel better. Here’s your lovie, wanna hold your lovie? I promise you’re ok. Mommy will take you to the doctor at the hostible (that’s how she said it…so stinkin cute) and you’ll be just fine. Hurry, Mommy, Hurry! We gotta get D to the hostible!”
I was overwhelmed by the steadiness and love and compassion with which my eldest daughter used to comfort her younger sibling. It was quite something to witness. She had such a strong sense of her younger sister’s fear and pain and was doing everything she could to ease it for her. I remember thinking to myself, even in the midst of the unfolding drama, that it was such a lovely thing to behold – to see my girls getting through this awful thing together. And it worked. D was much calmer by the time we arrived at the hospital. This is the kind of love that sisters are all about. I know that when it’s really important, the two of them will always take care of each other and help one another and be the other’s biggest cheerleaders. I just wish I could see more displays of this support and less of the day-to-day ratting each other out and complaining to me about the other one’s words and actions. Sure, things won’t always be as they are now, living in a household with two very willful little girls trying to steal attention from the other and get the last word in about everything. Maybe I need to remind them of D’s scary accident last year so they recognize how special their relationship is so they will stop trying to ruin it all the time with their tattling. Or maybe they will come to see that someday soon on their own and it’s all a natural evolution that may just take awhile. I’ve got enough hair left on my head – for now. And, after all, my sister still drives me crazy sometimes. But if you say anything bad about her or even think about hurting her, watch out, I’m coming for you!!!!