Tuesday, December 07, 2004


I just haven't had any ideas for a post lately. I'm way behind on my chores because of this foot. It was feeling better so I started doing some chores, but then it got over-used and not only did my foot start to hurt again, my back started to hurt from prolonged use of two uneven feet. I don't have any shoes that are the exact same height as the special shoe, and when I take off the special shoe my foot inevitably gets re-twisted and starts to hurt again. Even just turning my foot the wrong way can make it hurt. I have to wear the shoe when I lay in bed, although I take it off right before I go to sleep.

I e-mailed my assistant department head and told him I would not be back this semester. I prayed about it, and I knew that I couldn't go back no matter how much I needed the money. Sonshine's been making such strides in his discipline, but he's not out of the woods yet. I still have to see what I can do to help alleviate the fighting between Tiny Princess and Sonshine. They fight literally all the time. The conflict is one of personalities, so I'm not sure what I can do to persuade them stop.

Tiny Princess is all about rules and order. She knows she's not allowed to hit her brother, so she prods him and provokes him until he snaps and hits her. She sees this as a violation of rules, and she immediately tells on him, painting herself as the innocent victim. Sonshine values rules and order too, but only for their ability to be stretched. He loves to push the boundaries, just to see where they are. This is what infuriates Tiny Princess so much that she will provoke him. A typical interaction of theirs is: she and he both have toy horses, and she wants to play Horse Wedding. Horse Wedding is, according to her rules, what you play when you have a male and female horse. There is no other play option under those circumstances. Sonshine decides that the wedding would be much improved if the groom blasted off during the ceremony. When the groom goes rocketing around the room, Tiny Princess is deeply offended and tries to manipulate Sonshine into bringing the groom back. Sonshine hates being manipulated, and when she tries to grab back the horse that rightfully belongs to him, he hits her. Or, they interact this way: Tiny Princess is trying to do something important (like homework or violin practice). Sonshine wants to play with her and she doesn't want to play that way, so she does what I taught her to do and disengages from him. He doesn't like this, and he ups the ante by threatening her, doing something disruptive to her activity, or outright hitting her. They really do love each other, though. She reads to him, and even though they have separate beds we can always find them in the same bed every night.

Sonshine is just like his dad and Tiny Princess just like her mom. Favorite Husband and I get along just fine, but only because we were adults going into the situation, and we learned how to deal with it. Even so, it took many years of marriage for me to get past telling on F.H. to my mom, and it took him many years to quit provoking me by making me step out of my box. My days are just chock-full to the brim of Princess' whiny voice saying, "Mom, Sonshine sat on my homework! Mom, Sonshine bonked my violin! Mom, Sonshine says he's going to step on my toys!" The best I could think of was to teach her to disengage from him when she doesn't want to play, or to teach him to play on his own (violating all of Princess' rules in a place where she can see him do it), but as you can see that usually ends up backfiring too.

How do you stop a conflict that's at the basic level of personality? I know how adults do it, but I don't think I can ask children ages 7 and 4 to exercise the level of self-control that adults do when their personalities conflict.