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I think little girls with big brothers are always tough - look at yourself! As resilient as Isabel (my oldest) is, she's not nearly as tough as Amelia, who deals with Luke's boyness on a daily basis...and at this point, gives a lot of it right back to him too! Great post. Have a terrific weekend! xoxo

Olive is clearly not at all like a fragile egg but think about how every child has to learn how to hold one without crushing it in their hands. Angus is too rough with his sisters and maybe it is impulsiveness, maybe it is lack of body control, maybe it is just "boy"ness but we often need to just stop and breathe too. Oh and don't all 18month olds look like this from all their adventuring? Mine sure did....

I rarely comment, but always read, and have been along for this journey for a long time. Breathing will take you a long way, I think. As will "I don't want to act like that next time." That's so huge. I don't want to do that isn't the same as having the skills to do something different....but it's the first step.

Such a precious family you've got.

Christy, breathing is right. It helps.

Does Elias have autism?

I always feel moved by your blog.

Wow, rough day, brave post. The bit about the gate floored me--maybe he saved her from much worse than his tough love. Remember your family dance, keep breathing.

It's a complicated dance in any sibling relationship. Throw in differences, special needs, call them whatever you will...it's tricky. Glad Olive is a tough cookie. Che must be getting prepared to play hockey like her mama. ;-)

Sending good thoughts your way. xo

I think the fact that he says he doesn't want to act like that mean he is showing remorse which you always use to worry about so that is a big step. They sound like they have a pretty normal sibling relationship to me. My kids love each other to death and play all the time, but they also hurt each other. I think your kids are great!

When I showed up at a 2 yr old check up with a child looking just like Olive, our pediatrician told us he was more suspicious of the kids who *weren't* all bruised at that age. So by my calculation, you get extra good parenting points!

This is a little random, but I saw this post on a photography/graphic design post I read and thought of you:


This woman talks about how her kids have entered the "sibling wars" so she created a Love Jar for them. Every time one of her children shows love to the other, they get a marble. When the jar is full, they receive a reward. Do you think Elias would dig something like this, a visual and tactile reward system for being gentle and loving toward Olive?

As always, all your comments help. Sorry it took me a couple days to respond but we've been busy rearranging our whole house since we were finally able to move into our bedroom after 15 months of living in the doorless family room (YAHOOOO!)

Ghkole, Elias does not yet have the diagnosis of Autism but he sure shares a lot in common with children on the spectrum.

And Jessica and Jess, I too am bolstered by his comment that he doesn't want to act like that next time. I'm just not sure whether he said that b/c he doesn't want to get in trouble next time or b/c he actually feels bad about hurting Olive. I want to think its remorse but at this point I think it more a response to our reaction to his behavior than its affect on his sister.

And Danielle the gate piece made my heart soften for sure b/c he is often rough with her in his attempt to help her due to his lack of muscle control. She wasn't yet near the gate when he clocked her but she was heading in that direction.

It helps to hear that this feels like "normal" sibling stuff and that the docs expect toddlers to show up bruised and scratched, both our kids fit that bill.

Angie, I love the marble jar idea. I do that at school with some of the kids who check in with me and I never thought about bringing it home. Duh. Its amazing how some of my elementary counselor skills don't make it across the threshold at home, something about our own children makes us forget what we know. I especially like your idea of rewarding him when he is caught being kind, we need more positives right now.

Thanks all!!!!!!!

I love this post. . . Bennett is always cut and bruised and has more trips to the ER than his older siblings. And he is much tougher.
I wonder what will happen when Olive and Bennett finally get to play together? I miss you so very much. Hope the bedroom has been "fun." I am off to look for a jar. . .
big hug,

I finally have internet after almost 2 weeks. WE loved having your parents here even though they had to bunk in the cave at my son's family's house. They are such troopers- I missed out so much with them this year. They are so looking forward to having you all this summer. I have been in withdrawal not being able to keep up with you all. It is a new day here- we are in a sea of boxes but love being back in touch with you all.

" Its amazing how some of my elementary counselor skills don't make it across the threshold at home"
I work in schools too--have for a long time (including some you know from your fac brat days, I bet) and I too am amazed at how teaching skills and parenting skills don't naturally coalesce!!
Today in the pool my 8 year old shoved my 6 year old's head under water. Briefly, but still!
Deep breath. Yesterday they were walking arm in arm singing some wacky made-up song. Big smile. And so it goes.

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Breathe. Love. Cry. Worry. Smile. Breathe some more. Your lives have been on an amazing journey since you and Nick met many moons ago, and the journey continues on. You two are giving your children amazing memories but most importantly a solid and loving family. In their own ways they will express their love and concern for one another. They are allies with different strengths and ideas; great compliments to one another. As you said, just keep breathing and being your amazing example of strength and beauty to your children. They are so blessed to have you and Nick as their parents. I sure miss you all and look forward to meeting Olive some day! *hugs*

Btw, inspired by the comment above I started my own marble, (oaky, kidney beans in a plain mason jar.) It has been working really well, and an unexpected plus is that because everyone's beans go in one jar (3 kids( they are now busy reporting each other's kindnesses as well as each other's slip-ups. When the jar is full (summer, I hope) we are planning a night in a (cheap) hotel and a trip to Legoland near Munich, pure kid pleasure!!
Yay for international parenting conversations.

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