Recently, my two girls were playing so nicely in my 3 year old's bedroom. She has a great basket full of baby doll accessories since her favorite "game" is playing "babies". They had invited our neighbor over who is 4. The playing was going smoothly, everyone was happy when suddenly I heard screams. They were shrill and I knew they could only come from the mouth of my six year old. I am certain that one day she could win a screaming contest where she breaks the most glass bottles with her piercing scream. I went to investigate, trying not to act too rattled by the situation. "The girls don't want to play with me anymore," she pouted. I could only imagine that since she was the oldest, she started telling the girls what they had to do and how they had to play and they were fed up. "Why don't you go ask one of the other girls in the neighborhood to play," I responded and then returned to my sewing. It was suddenly quiet, but my daughter never left to go play with someone else.
Ahhh, silence. All were happy and my sewing resumed at it's previous pace. About 40 minutes later I went to check on everyone. As I ascended the stairs, I started to notice little pieces of fluff, the cotton type that is used to fill kids toys, littering the floor. Weird! As I walked towards the bathroom, there was more fluff, until I arrived at the kitchen table. Resting sadly on the table, as if something out of a horror flick, one of my 3 year old's baby dolls was lying completely mutilated on the table. Her soft middle had been severed in half and all of her insides were missing. The little voice box that used to say things like, "feed me" and "I love my mommy" was dangling from a half cut cord out of her body. Her plastic arms and legs lay limp at her sides. She was naked. Hmmm, I thought. I wasn't exactly excited about what the girls had chosen to do to occupy their time, but everyone was happy and quiet and they were playing so nicely.
I remember as a child being fascinated with my dolls and loving to cut off their hair just to see what would happen. "Maybe they would come alive, like in Toy Story, and regrow their hair", I would think. I could see this act of violence being similar to my childhood obsession of cutting my doll's hair. I let it go while they were playing. Afterall, noone was crying, noone was fighting, everyone seemed happy. About 25 minutes later the girls came in and requested a snack. As I fixed them cheese and crackers I thought this would be a nice teachable moment, "Girls, that's really sad that you decided to cut up that doll. I know it's going to be really missed. Now you don't have it to play with anymore," and I picked it up and dramatically dumped it in the trash can. Suddenly it was revealed that my 6 year old had done it. She wasn't playing with the other girls at all. She was seeking revenge on her sister for not including her.
She had maliciously mutilated the doll. I was furious. Of course I wanted to know why she had done such a thing. My daughter really couldn't explain her actions, she only hung her head in embarrassment. I'm sure it felt really good while she did it, getting revenge on her sister, but then having to admit that she did such a savage thing didn't feel so good.
"This was a very sad and mean thing to do. You chose a very expensive doll to destroy. You know you will have to buy her a new one," I informed her. I could tell she felt badly about ruining the doll. "That's okay if I have to buy her a new one, I have lots of money in my wallet" she said. "Yeah, but it will take all of the money in your wallet to buy a new one, " I responded. Suddenly her eyes looked sad and her head was spinning. She wouldn't have leftovers to buy herself something. Ruining her sister's doll wasn't such a good idea afterall.
The next week we made the trip to the store to find the perfect doll. All 3 kids went along since we needed to do some other errands as well. My 6 year old kept trying to convince my 3 year old that she didn't actually want a doll. A small toy would be better (and cheaper). "Oh no, we are here to replace a doll, and you are going to buy a doll. It's going to be just like the one you ruined," I kept telling her. I was on to her and she knew it. There truly wouldn't be any money left in her wallet. After examining all of the dolls, we found a great doll for my 3 year old. She couldn't wait to get it out of the box. We made our way to the cash register. The cashier was a friendly lady and my son immediately said, "My sister has to buy this doll. She cut the head off of my little sister's doll." The cashier started laughing. I shot her a look as if to say, "Hey, you're ruining this situation. There are lessons to be learned. This is not funny." Her face immediately turned somber. She looked at my daughter and said,"Oh, that's really sad that you hurt your sister's doll. I bet she was really upset." My 6 year old was embarrassed. I chimed in,"Yeah, and she has to use all of the money in her wallet to replace it. It's very sad." We continued to go back and forth about how terrible the situation was. In the end, my daughter got the point that what she had done was wrong. My 3 year old is the proud owner of a new doll and everyone seems happier again (maybe a little poor, but happy again).