Saturday, January 3, 2009

Where's that Instruction Manual Again?

A big topic lately in my interactions with Jabber has been about being proud of himself or happy with himself without having to compare himself to someone else. For example, it’s okay to really think you have a cool toy race car. It is not okay to point out, with an air of irritating superiority, all of the things that are cooler about your race car than your brother’s race car.

It is okay to express how much you love Daddy and be so happy about that. It is not necessary to discuss how your love for Daddy is so much more than your love for Mama.

Obviously this is a life-long lesson--how many of us can ever truly master the idea? We had a little talk (very little) about how sometimes people are tempted to make themselves feel better or more important by making someone else feel lower or less important. Jabber and his little Cute Girl friend at Daycare are so mean to each other like this, and then it trickles down to the Monkey as well. I just hear that snotty little tone of voice, that, “Oh yeah? Well I have even more than you because I got some from my Grandma, and my Grandma is even better than yours…” It goes on and on. And I hate hearing it.

“So can you try it, next time you feel happy or proud of yourself, then? Can you try to just think about how you feel, instead of trying to make someone else feel worse?”

Jabber nods, seriously, and says, “I bet I can do it better than Cute Girl can!”

Uh-huh. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong to even want to get rid of this tendency. Is this just…competitive spirit or something? Is it necessary to compare yourself to others in order to be your best? To really achieve something? I don’t work like that, maybe, but I do remember David talking about how, when he ran track in high school, how he wished that there had been someone to really challenge him, someone who would run nearly as fast as him or faster than him so that he would have pushed himself to beat that person. Maybe if I had had a sibling closer in age, I’d have learned to compete more?

Oh, and my other lovely parenting issue of the day: how do you get a TWO-YEAR-OLD to stop biting his nails? I mean, gross. Monkey came up to me today, proudly showing me how he can bite off his nails and spit them on the carpet. Nobody does that in my house, and I find it really gross. I really cannot handle him having this habit. I just cut all of his fingernails as short as I could, but he looked so damn proud of himself with his sharp little teeth.

He’s always been a biter…maybe I need to get him some chew toys or something.


cowpops said...

Hey E.

I'm going to email you again tomorrow, but I thought I'd say this quick.

I've always been a very competitive person. A lot of my motivation comes from beating other people's bests. At this age, I keep such thoughts to myself, but I definitely use other people's progress or lackthereof to my advantage. I don't know.

So as long as he learns to not be mean about it, a little competitive nature may just motivate him one day.

*not a parental expert*

liss n kids said...

yeah, I don't know if maybe the competitive thing and the comparing self to others are just two different things, or what. But I just wish he's stop with every single comment he makes trying one-up everyone around him. :P

brittanimae said...

I was looking on facebook to see what state you live in and I found this!

And then I just had to share this: when my little guy was 2, he bit his fingernails . . . and occasionally his toenails. Gross, right? But then one night I went in to say goodnight to both kids. I was reaching up to the top bunk, when I felt something wet on my big toe.

Yup, you guessed it. EW!