“Wuke. Wuuuuke! Wuuuuuuuuuke!!”

This is what our little 15 month old Jane yells while sitting at the top of the stairs while extending her arms out in front of her and making grasping motions with her hands. Translation: “Luke. Luuuke! Luuuuuuuuke! Come and get me and carry me down the stairs!”

Oh, she can climb down the stairs all by herself, don’t worry. But her six year old brother has spoiled her and endeared himself to her in such a way that she no longer wants to climb down the staircase all by herself like a savage and risk carpet burn on those tender knees of hers. She’d rather have her slender fairy-like 20 pound figure scooped up in her big brother’s arms and floated down the steps like a true fairy princess should be floated. And what fairy princess wants, fairy princess gets.

This cute little symbiotic relationship of theirs has been going on for months now (she gets a free ride down the stairs and he gets someone to dote on) but last night, he’d had enough. It was late in the evening and he was watching a movie projected up on the big wall in the basement, in no mood to be interrupted, when he heard it.

“Wuke. Wuuuuuke!!”

He ignored her calls for a few minutes, then finally…

“Jane! I’m not your servant!!”

It sounded so harsh but we couldn’t help but laugh. My, my, my, how the tables have turned, I thought.

Find me my shoes, fetch me a drink, get my toy out of the car, bring me a fork, make my brother share, the list goes on and on. For years I’ve been pouring bowls of cereal and hunting down AWOL socks for all of my little ones because I thought they were well… too little. For years they’ve been too little to brave the dark garage to search for their lost toy AND remember to turn off the car’s interior lights when they were through. They’ve been too little to see the lost church shoe staring straight at them from the bottom of their closet, who knows how they missed it. Too little to broker their own toy sharing deals with their siblings. Too little to reach the tap to get their own drinks of water.

Yes, I’ve spent years slathering them with the kind of exceptional service that would rival any concierge worth his salary. Everything from cutting up their pancakes to clearing their plates for them, you name it and I’ve snapped to it.  And like Luke, one day it just hit me:

Hey, you’re not so little anymore.

And wait a second….I’m not your servant! 

I’m sure it was a rude awakening for them, just as it was for poor Jane last night. After all, I had built some pretty hard habits to break. But sure enough, they found they could quite easily fetch their own drinks of water, cut their own pancakes, and locate their own shoes (most of the time anyways.)

You see, I realized that my acting as a servant was not doing them a true service at all. Any idiot can learn to boss people around. Now I like to think of myself as their resource, a figure full of information on how to do things for themselves, happy and ready to guide and to teach.

But there’s Baby Jane, whimpering at the top of the stairs again wishing someone would carry her down. So little. So sweet. Poor thing. Oh, those eyes….Really guys? No one is going to cart the princess down? Fine, I’ll do it myself. You just come right here fairy princess….yesss…Mommy will carry you down. We don’t want those wittle precious knees getting a nasty carpet burn on them now do we? 

Don’t judge. She really is that little. Besides, you didn’t see those sad eyes…

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