I woke at 2:00am to the sound of Evie stirring in her crib. Indignantly, she whined in her sleep; "Nooooooooooo Abi!! I'm just a baby!"
This is a phrase I have heard repeatedly in recent weeks. It typically coincides with a scolding from an older sibling. When Tristan was mad that someone stole his silly band, Evie casually held up the two halves of a used-to-be-dinosaur, cocked her head to the side and used her favorite get-outta-dodge line. "That's ok Evie" Tristan responded collecting the pieces of his over-streatched silly band.
But its not ok!
Now Evie is reciting this mantra in her sleep.
My sister is insisting that Evie has heard me promote this ghastly excuse.
"she's just a baby"....
How have we gotten here? How has she adopted this over-developed sense of entitlement? Its simple really.
1) Old habits die hard.
Ill be the first to admit my own guilt. We started "spoiling" her at a very young age. As Im sure is always the case, it was by default. When she was tiny, it was unsafe for her to cry. The strain could prove too much for her heart. We would stop the car and attend to her at the onset of a single whimper. She's required special doctors, a special diet and a special schedule. She's not had a day in her life that she hasnt been greeted with an assortment of colorful syringes containing medicines and supplements. She's a summa cum laude graduate from the school of hard knocks....and we have compensated and tried to spare her unnecessary discomfort. She even has her disciplinarian daddy wrapped around her little finger - literally. He puts her to bed every night and holds her hand until she falls asleep.
2) Siblings reinforce diva-dom
Had any other sister stolen her dessert after dinner, Britain would have clobbered them. But, when Evie's slight-of-hand gesture snatched the last cookie, Britain basically asked if she needed some milk to wash it down. Being the baby does come with some benefits! The kids pray every day and thank God that their baby sister didnt die and that God healed her heart. They've sensed in a way, the fragility of her life and hold her to a different standard. Its sweet and sad all at the same time.
We are well aware of the need to instill in Evie, respect for other's property, humility and selflessness. I dont want her to grow up thinking the world revolves around her. It will be to her detriment if she is raised in a home that promotes the notion from an early age that she's an exception to the rules. I hate to break it to you Evie, but you are not "just a baby" anymore.
How do I raise her as a normal child when she is.......well.......different? I look at where I want her to be when she's a young adult. I hope that she will step up to the balance beam, or onto the podium, or out of the plane soaring at 5,000 feet with a parachute on her back. I hope she'll take those steps without the thought of "I'm to fragile. I have to be careful". I want my daughter to embrace life in its fullness with reckless abandon and a thrilling sense of adventure.
Ive been asking the Lord to show me where my own fear is contributing to an over-protective environment that caters to growing a fearful or self-centered child. She will always be a very special gift we feel privileged to be entrusted with. There are just going to be some things in life that we always do differently with her.
We have to.
But, we're praying she will grow in grace and confidence, and flourish with a humble inward beauty that reflects the amazing work of Christ in her life.
...the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. (1 Peter 3:4)