Monday, December 17, 2007

First sibling dispute

Oliver has a special toy, his Grannimal, Julien the Dog.

He has had him since he was 10 days old, a gift from his God-parents, David and Susan. As a baby we weaned him off his dummy by letting him hug and chew Julien to go to sleep. Today he is still Oliver's comforter and has to be in his arms when he has his bedtime milk sitting on Mummy or Daddy's knee.

In an effort to give Lucy the same start in life, we picked out a suitable Grannimal for her: Lucien the Rabbit.

Grannimals come in 2 sizes and the large variety is impossible to get hold of in this country now, so some friends of ours visiting from Connecticut very kindly brought a large Lucien over with them last week.

Well, Lucien looks even more impressive in real life than on the web, standing slightly taller than Julien the Dog. So when Oliver came downstairs on Sunday morning and saw Lucien, the inevitable happened. "I have it" he told us.

There then ensued an attempt on our part to make him see that it was Lucy's toy and that his removal of it from her grasp was not really acceptable. We even tried to get him to do a temporary swap, Julien for Lucien, but to no avail.

What ensued was without doubt the worst tantrum he has ever had. It took some time for us to convince him of the error of his ways. He was screaming so much at one point I thought he might throw up. I thank the Lord that Hayley went on a parenting skills course for just this sort of situation. There's no amount of watching Supernanny that would adequately prepare you for the reality of such an outburst.

After some time, and a lot of patience, Oliver decided that he would drop his demand for Lucien and settle for reading a nice book with Daddy instead. After that he was as good as gold. He read a couple of Ladybird books with me (The Princess and the Frog; Chicken Licken) and then, seeing I was settling down to watch football (Liverpool vs United) he said he would watch football with me, which was lovely and something he has never done before.

A few minutes later I noticed he was falling asleep. His eyes closed, his head nodded and then he slumped gently against my side. I moved him along the sofa, lay him down and put a blanket over him so he could nap next to me. As he realised what I was doing, a beautiful smile crossed his face and he drifted off to sleep... leaving me to watch United beat Liverpool 1-0. Perfection.