I have done blog posts focused on three of the kids in the past month, and I can't leave out my little Bear. I hear "It's not fair to me, Mom" at least once a day from this guy lately. We even had a family night lesson and discussion about what "fairness" means.* He wants so very, very much to keep up with Charlotte and Toby and he does not understand that being 2 1/2 is not the same as being 5 or 7. It doesn't help that people who meet Jakey for the first time assume he is at least 4 years old. He speaks very clearly and has a HUGE vocabulary for such a young person, and he is the size of many 4 year olds. But there is only so much a little guy can do.
Jacob has been trying to give up his afternoon nap. The result is that he is now falling asleep wherever he is when he reaches the point of exhaustion. Of course, he makes himself as comfortable as possible first.
Sometimes he just can't fight any longer though, and we have to keep a much closer eye on him during bath time these days.
I try to do things with Jakey one-on-one when Toby and Charlotte are at school and Amelie is napping. Sometimes we play a game or play catch or read books. One day last week I taught him how to paint with watercolors and this was his very first painting. He did a great job!
I hope that Jake knows what an important part of our family he is and I hope he doesn't rush to grow up too fast! He doesn't even like me to call him my little bear right now... he corrects me and says, "I not bear, I big brother now." I love Jake's determination and his gentleness with smaller children and babies. He is tender-hearted and tough at the same time. I predict he'll be a champion for fairness and sticking up for the little guy whenever he gets the chance.
But he will always be my little bear.
*For those who are curious, we illustrated the principle this way... I asked if I filled identical sized baskets with toys for each kid, would that be fair? They said yes. So I filled one for Charlotte with all of her Barbies and their gear, and one for Amelie with one stuffed animal. The kids said it wasn't fair. Charlotte had lots and Amelie had one.
So I took everything out of Charlotte's basket except one Barbie shoe. (Exaggeration helps in these lessons.) Now was it fair? They each have one. They about had a cow then, yelling "no! that's not fair!"
"What if they each have only a Barbie?" "Amelie is too little to play Barbies!"
The point? Fairness does NOT mean that everyone has the same. Every person is unique and has unique needs and desires. Fairness, in regards to our family anyway, means that everyone has what they need and that their wants are provided for as thoughtfully and equitably as possible within our means.