I read a thousand books with my first two children. I started with Harvey Karp’s Five Ss. Then I moved onto sleep books. With The Middle One I read every discipline book that was every printed for every age he was at the time.
None of them fit now. Now I need a book about how to effectively raise The Youngest. I am technically The Youngest, but I was born so much farther behind my siblings that I grew up a virtual only child. Not that they weren’t around, but they weren’t young enough to fight over my toys or really influence the way I acted as I grew into the kid I was.
That is not true for my youngest. He has two, very vocal, very colorful siblings to show him the ropes. This means, at age 2ish he comes up to me after dinner and says things like, “I’m going to kick this door if you don’t give me a grape.” Yes, open threats are the norm at our home.
The problem is, even though they are very strong-willed and creative, the other two never dared to do most of the things The Baby does on a daily basis. So,I have no context for what the heck to do with this crazy behavior. Also there are no books that tell you how to raise a ridiculously advanced vocal, yet completely developmentally appropriate behaving two year old. He’s like Stewie on Family Guy, except without the British accent (most of the time).
My normal reaction is to laugh. My husband too. He actually calls The Baby- Generalissimo because he likens the behavior to that of an angry (short and loud?) dictator. Of course, the older two laugh heartily and often. As you can imagine all this only serves to encourage Stewie. I’ll admit, it’s usually fun -for now. But I worry. Am I creating a monster? I mean, Stewie’s great in half-hour increments, but I don’t want to live with him for the next 18 years. The problem is, how do you discipline a tiny dictator? More importantly, how do you discipline through fits of laughter? I think I’ll ask for help.
Dear Dr. Karp,
Do you think you could work on a new book for me? I would like some tips on parenting the youngest in a family of three, close-in-age children. Perhaps it could be titled something like, Raising the Youngest So That He Doesn’t Turn into a Smart Ass Brit or the Oppressive Leader of a Small Foreign Country?
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