Monday, March 26, 2007

Building a Case for Worst Father of the Year

Recently, we've been having issues involving Kailey's decision making abilities when it comes to resolving conflict with her younger sister. Forsaking our constant reminders to "use her words" to settle issues, Kailey has chosen instead to pummel the crap out of Kyra, or at least that's what you'd think when you hear Kyra's horrified yowls from the other room. In reality, Kailey merely pushed, hit or kicked her out of frustration, but Kyra is such a sensitive soul that Kailey may as well have danced on her face. Still, pushing, hitting or kicking is not acceptable, and Diane and I set a course to put all such activity to an end.

Six months ago I seemed to find a solution. Time outs weren't working, and my spanking her for hitting her sister seemed to be a little inconsistent. One afternoon, totally exhausted after putting Kailey into time out for the umpteenth time for hitting her sister, I decided to give the "eye for an eye" solution a try. "The next time you hit your sister," I explained, "Your sister gets to hit you. Do you understand? Your sister gets a free shot. Then you'll know how it feels." Now I understand that there's inconsistency here as well, but at least it seemed more appropriate than me hitting her. I also explained to Kyra that it did not give her free reign to hit back; she was only to hit Kailey when I TOLD her to. Yeah, right. I was hoping that the mere threat would scare Kailey out of her hitting mode, and for a while, it did. But one day Kailey decided to test my threats, and I finally had to call her bluff. I called Kyra over after Kailey hit her in the arm and told her to hit Kailey back. Kyra is such a sweet girl that her idea of "hitting" was to give her a love tap on the arm. Kailey fell on the floor wailing and wrything in pain as though she had just taken a right hook to the kisser. Problem solved. After that, Kailey "used her words" or consulted Diane or me when Kyra was bugging her.

Last week though, Kailey relapsed into her old behavior and forced my hand to return to the "eye for an eye" technique (Super Nanny would be so proud). Yesterday after enduring two time outs and two threats of Kyra's retaliation, Kailey finally forced my hand. She had just kicked Kyra in the hand right in front of me, and I asked her if she wanted Kyra to kick her back. Kailey cast a defiant gaze at me. "Do you want Kyra to kick you?" I repeated, hoping she would back down. She didn't and gave me a nod. "OK, Kyra. Come here."

Now I was envisioning the love tap Kyra gave Kailey six months ago, but Kyra had apparently had enough of Kailey's bullying. Kailey was stretched out on her back across the chair and ottoman. Kyra walked up to her and, in a flash reminiscent of a ninja warrior, drew her leg up to her head and karate kicked down directly into Kailey's stomach. WHAM!! Kailey doubled over and started bawling.

"Holy crap!" I exclaimed, mortified. "Kyra, she kicked you IN THE HAND!!"

"You told me to kick her," she rationalized.

I had, indeed, told her to kick Kailey with no instruction as to where or how hard. She had me dead to rights. I sent her over to the couch and turned my attention to Kailey. Huge wet tears rolled down her face, and I suddenly felt like the world's biggest jerk. She was crying freely and I was surprised that Kyra's abdominal blow hadn't knocked the wind out of her. Kailey calmed down after a minute and I realized that the whole incident looked and sounded worse than it really was. It was at this point that I started laughing uncontrollably, which DID worsen the situation. It sent a mixed message to Kyra, who joined in my laughter, and to Kailey, who began crying harder. I collected myself and explained to the girls that there would be no more hitting, kicking, or pushing of any kind. They were also told not to tell their mother of this incident or they would be shipped to Siberia.

I later confessed my stupidity to Diane, and we agreed that if this didn't teach Kailey her lesson, nothing will. I know I learned mine: always give detailed instruction to a six year-old who is poised and ready to exact revenge upon her older sister.


The Beast Mom said...

Posts like these are why I read dad blogs. Dads handle things differently.

I see nothing wrong with the tactic you tried. Girls need to know how to physically defend themselves (and be smart about it) when someone is hurting them on purpose.


the battered ham said...

Thank you! In fact, um, that's exactly what I was thinking when I, uh, came up with this brilliant plan. Yeah. Exactly what you said.