Being a big sister has its up side, but when you are (almost) seven and your little sister is four, it is darn hard. I have to hand it to Eliza that she rarely chooses to use her physical size to her advantage over Ani - to be honest, there have been moments when Dan and I have almost wished that she would serve it back to her just once, instead of feeling like the victim all of the time. She does share with me (as an older sister) the tendency to tease relentlessly, provoking her sibling into fits of anger (with which comes the pinching, hitting, hair pulling...). I am trying to help Eliza see the connection between the way she treats her sister, speaks to her sister, looks at her sister, and the way she is treated in return. There is a slow learning curve on this one. I often admonish her to "look for the peace", to ask herself if the way she is behaving will bring more peace to our home? (Yes, I am simultaneously asking this of myself!!)
She hears me enough to stop and respond when I ask this of her, and I can tell the idea is percolating inside of her.
One day I sent the girls out of the kitchen where they were bickering with each other - I was probably trying to get dinner ready, was ready to start yelling myself, and wanted them to take it outside. They did, running back into the kitchen to get a mason jar and disappearing outside once more. I heard them working on something - together! - but didn't know what it was until after dinner, when they gathered around this jar, filled with dirt, pebbles, clover, and water. I asked if they were concocting a magic potion, and they told me they had made a stillness jar. They demonstrated how it works - you swirl the jar, causing the water to cloud and muddy like your emotions and thoughts when you are feeling stressed, and then you watch as everything slowly stops swirling, each layer settling down until you have what you see below:
I think they got the idea from a book we've had for years called "Peaceful Piggy Meditation", but I love that they took it upon themselves to work on this together. It was around for a week or so, and every once in a while one of them would walk over, shake it up, and sit to watch it settle...