All I have to do to become completely enamored of my children is to spend time with someone else’s.
First, I volunteered to babysit a neighbor’s 2 year old, Veronica. We have watched her before, and last time she was quite a charming, extremely bright little girl.
This time she was an evil tyrant.
We watched her two different days. Both times, it’s not really me watching her, it’s really Thing 2. Thing 2 played very nicely with her, but Veronica absolutely does not get the sharing thing. Thing 2 would be playing with a toy, Veronica sees it, wants it. Thing 2 shares with her, but then if Thing 2 ever wants it back, the little girl gives it up as if she understood, then starts to dramatically cry, and sulks off like we stole her only precious toy from her. When I quietly told Thing 2, in my normal voice, she’s just two, there’s no way we’re going to teach her how to share in one day, Veronica came back and chastised me for “telling Thing 2 off” and said “She’s my Best Fwend!”
It got worse the 2nd day we watched her, which I hadn’t intended to agree to but apparently had accidentally and then felt uncomfortable getting out of it. Since I had pretty much exhausted Thing 2’s endurance the first day, I decided that we would take Veronica to the park. Turns out all we did was to change the focus of who she was tormenting.
Veronica insisted on taking these two plastic horses she had. They are nice, German plastic horses, one white with brown spots, one reverse. Shortly after we got to the park, Thing 2 gravitated toward another little girl who was there, about Thing 2’s age, very friendly, and they shortly found they have a lot in common. They became instant friends, chatting and talking and giggling.
Veronica hovered on the sidelines with a profound pout. At one point she put down her horses to glare. The girl whom Thing 2 was talking to had a little brother, who apparently loved horses, or so his mother told me. He was a little younger than Veronica, and toddled over to pick up one of her discarded horses. Veronica screamed, and lunged, and grabbed her horses back.
The rest of the time we spent at the park, Veronica tormented this little boy. She would make sure he saw she had the horses, then not let him have one. His mother and I watched at one point where she sat down a couple of feet away from him, and then put one horse in her lap and the other on the ground next to her. She proceeded to move it closer, then closer, to the little boy, taking her hand off of it each time, like you would offer something to someone you weren’t sure would take it. She finally was leaning over almost laying down to put this horse right next to him. The minute he went to reach for it, she would scream and lunge at it. At one point he did actually get it, and as he held it above his head out of her reach, she launched herself at him, knocked him over to get her horse. I was very embarrassed, and wondered what in the heck do you do with this kid? I took her to the school to pick up Thing 1, she did the same thing, lurking on the playground glaring at Thing 2 because Thing 2 went off and was playing with the other kids she knows. Yes, I should have pointed out to Thing 2 that she should play with Veronica, but it was such an interesting study watching Veronica. It turned out she left the horses on the playground, which is death to me because her mother has pretty strict ideas about what is right and what is wrong, and I expect losing her daughter's toys for her fall into the wrong category. The girls and I raced back later and found one. To my joy, the next day we went back and someone had put the other one at the top of a pole, we found it too, and we dropped them off at their house. I haven’t heard back from Veronica’s mother, maybe I have finally made it off her charmed list.