Have your kids ever said something so unexpectedly mean that it made you recoil with horror?
When our second daughter, Claire, was born, it was immediately clear that Sarah, our first born, was not a fan.
She put on a good show initially – at least as a good a show as you can when you’re 2-1/2 and your world has been turned upside down. She claimed to love the baby; she would pat Claire’s head, try to feed her Cheerios and read her board books in a high-pitched, sing-songy voice.
Soon these charitable acts were interspersed with minor acts of terrorism. Pinching. Yelling. Failed attempts to tip over Claire in her baby bouncer.
I couldn’t leave the two of them alone in a room. All of my pleas to Sarah to love her sister fell on deaf ears. I envisioned a future where my home looked more like a war zone filled with mean kids than the peaceful, compassionate haven of my dreams.
The low moment came one day when Claire was napping.
Sarah was keeping me company in the kitchen while I cleaned up from lunch. As I wiped down the highchair tray, Sarah wrinkled her nose and suggested that the baby was way too messy. In the broken English employed by three-year-olds, she confided in me that the solution was to take that baby, dump her in the garbage and watch her “head crack open like an egg.”
This was the solution my three-year-old offered me to put an end to messy highchair trays, forever!
I don’t think I can fully capture the horror of the moment.
How could my sweet little angel say such a thing?
How could she be – I could barely summon the word – so MEAN?