For about a month after Thanksgiving, Abby was more prone to foul moods. I partly attribute it to her getting sick after the trip and not getting enough sleep afterwards, but it lasted for a while. Manifested itself in semi-tantrums, lots of yelling and screaming when things didn’t go perfectly her way. I think she just didn’t know how to deal well with her emotions when she felt frustrated.
Recently though, she’s been positive and sprightly. And the reason? Joshua’s started to enter a defiant phase, where he says no and refuses to do things. This gets him in trouble, and when Joshua gets in trouble, Abby gets happy. When we’re disciplining him and talking to him about what privilege we’ll be taking away, she shouts out suggestions of what to take: “His Pillow Pet! His car toy!” In fact, she makes these suggestions even before we’ve begun to discipline him. Sometimes she’ll even eagerly bring them over for us to take away.
I have no idea why it makes her so happy to see Joshua get in trouble, but it does. On one occasion, after arriving at the library, I had to keep Joshua in the car to talk to him a bit about his behavior so she left with Jieun. And Jieun tells me she was so happy she was skipping to the library. Skipping!
It’s nice to have good mood Abby back. But it sucks that this is what puts her in a good mood. I’ve been trying to instill a more team-mentality in her. They don’t get to read books until they’ve *both* changed into their pajamas. They don’t get dessert until they’ve *both* finished their meals. Basically trying to get her to encourage him instead of taking glee in his discipline.
I’ve been thinking about it though, and I realized that we all have these tendencies. Even married couples who deeply love each other can’t resist the temptation to occasionally say “I told you so.” It’s such a powerful phrase. In 4 words, it communicates: I was right, you were wrong, I was right that you were wrong, and I hope you learned your lesson. Why do we take satisfaction in other people learning their lessons? Truly we are fallen.