The Pipsqueak grokked the whole idea of teasing pretty early (probably because Grandpa's really good at it). Not the nasty kind, the silly kind where everyone knows it's a game and no one gets their feelings hurt; stuff like, "Are you going to ride in your special seat today?" "No, in the trunk! <giggle>" She's also been pretty good about wrapping her mind around what's right vs. what's wrong, and (even though "ouch" is still The World's Funniest Sound Someone Can Make) is very sure that hurting someone is wrong -- if she even thinks she might have stepped on a toe, or that Uncle Brian made a funny noise because she accidentally poked him with an elbow, she'll immediately apologize entirely of her own accord.
So I got a bit of a surprise the other day when we were all out shopping together. (I had planned to catch up on horribly overdue yard work but there was a great sale on curtains & I've had white plastic trash bags taped up cafe-style over the windows for over a year now...)
AJ had bent down to test-fit some shoes on her slightly over-tired daughter's feet when the Pipsqueak reached out and purposely scratched her cheek. She didn't even leave a mark, but it was hard enough to hurt, and AJ let her know in no uncertain terms that this was unacceptable behavior, that it hurt, and that it had to stop RIGHT NOW.
But the Pipsqueak seemed to think it was funny and kinda-sorta tried again.
At that point, Grandma stepped in and asked Miri if she remembered how they had talked just yesterday, when she & Grandpa picked her up at school, about how one little boy was running around scratching people and that it was wrong, and that it hurt people, and that Miri had agreed that hurting people that way wasn't a nice thing to do....?
And my guileless niece looked her right in the eye and replied, "No."
[insert silent cry of anguish here]
After Grandma, and then Mommy, had a quiet but no-bones-about-it talk with the Pipsqueak about how she was not to hurt people like that, I was able to piece together more of the story. It seems that one of the little boys who's recently joined the day care group (which seems to have exploded in size almost overnight to our consternation) is a bit of a a discipline problem. He runs, interrupts, takes things, and will push and/or scratch other kids for the fun of it.
I'm pretty sure my niece now has a better understanding of what behaviors are unacceptable, and how hurting people is something she should not do even if she thinks it's funny (and that it's not funny)... and I think the lesson "took" because later in the evening when she thought she'd stepped on my foot she immediately apologized and made sure she hadn't hurt me.
But now we know she's learned some not-so-nice behaviors... and she's learned how to lie.
My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅-- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!