I haven't figured this out yet . . .
As G has been sick the last few days, he finally got out of the house today to go to school. Exposing himself to the elements after spending three days indoors resulted in some chapped lips, which is never good because he likes to rip the skin peeling off his lips until they’re shriveled and red. Luckily, he loves putting on chap stick just as much, so his self-mutilation is usually averted by presenting him with a stick.
It’s always cool to see your children learn new things, and when G learned how to put on chap stick for himself, this was no exception. It’s even cooler when older siblings teach younger siblings something, which, when you think about it, can have lifelong consequences.
I’m going to interject for a moment to present, somewhat briefly, something one of my siblings taught me.
When I was five, I learned that my sister was duplicitous and unscrupulous, even when dealing with family. She’s four years older than me, and at the time we were sharing a bedroom, and virtually all of our toys. There were a few prized possessions that were off-limits to me despite several desperate attempts at getting my sister to share with me.
One such of these items was a Skittles dispenser (about the size of a large bottle of lotion) that resembled a gum ball machine. Given the fact that it looked and operated just as a gum ball machine did, and was full of Skittles, I was naturally drawn to such a magical object.
I was forbidden to look at the Skittles dispenser, much less touch it, and like most children who are forbidden to touch something, I wanted nothing more. Sure, she’d let me play with her My Little Ponies, but lifting the lever on her Skittles dispenser was out of the question.
I’m rather proud that I was able to think of even doing this at age five, but I thought to buy the dispenser from my sister. Surely she would think money, which at the time represented no value to me, would be better than a Skittles dispenser (which, she barely touched herself). Well, she was nine so she did understand the value of money, and she took advantage of that.
When I presented my offer to buy it from her, she refused to take any less than five dollars for it. I was hesitant because I only had five dollars, but I figured I would get much more joy out of Skittles than having a funless, five dollar bill.
It was only after the transaction had been completed that I realized what a huge mistake it was to trade with my sister. For one thing, there were no more Skittles left in it, so I had to refill it. Secondly, I had just given my sister all my money and therefore had no money for replacement Skittles. No matter, I found some other candy to put in the dispenser, which is when the lever that dispensed the candy, broke. I didn’t even get to use it. I don’t think I’ve ever wasted such a relatively large amount of money on anything else in my life.
When I demanded my money back, my sister laughed and counted it in front of my face to taunt me. The only positive that came out of this horrible lesson is that I learned to never trust my sister again. Which is why it is so important that elder siblings do right by their younger ones.
Now, back to what I was saying about chapped lips. G, becoming ever more increasingly kind toward his younger sister, volunteered to show her how to put on chap stick when she showed an interest in what he was doing.
Now, a younger G, if given the opportunity to get close enough to his sister’s face, would hit it, or shove something into her mouth if she kept it open. The consequence of this has been a sister who’s sometimes very afraid of her brother and unwilling to trust him when approaching her with something in his hand.
Fortunately, he seems to be mostly past that stage and resisted the impulse. When C tried to eat the chap stick (because she thought he was trying to feed her), G pulled it away and said, “no sweetie, like this,” and demonstrated on himself what she should do.
And here is what happened in pictures.