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Katy England Katy England
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Civilized

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These observations are not scientific, they're anecdotal, so sprinkle liberally with salt.

Children do not start out civilized. Heck, some adults still need some lessons in etiquette. My kids have very recently begun to treat each other and Mom and Dad like human beings.

Just like sharing is a learned skill, interacting in a civil manner is also something that takes practice. It's faster to grab than to ask and wait for the other person to respond especially when that other person isn't going to give up that toy. Ever. At least not without divine/mom intervention. The change seeps in slowly, like early dawn you can't really tell it's there, until suddenly: there's the whole world.

One morning, we're getting ready for the bus and it's cold enough to need coats upstairs heat already kicked on once this fall. One of the kids is just having a tough time, needs help but won't ask, whines and cries, but words are in short supply. Then brother comes up with her shoes and coat which initially makes her mad (because sibling proximity alarms go off), but she calms quickly when he gives her the items.

Without thinking, I say, 'That's nice, say thank you.' Instead, she says 'Sorry,' and then her brother parrots the bit about saying 'thank you,' and this time she does say 'thank you.' That was cute enough but then, he steps up and gives her a hug and she goes from having a teary-eyed hard time to smiling and making that laughy-squeak noise that makes my stomach fill with warm butterflies.

They are beginning to respond to each other's words and see each other not as rivals but as people. It is so freaking cool. (And kind of a load off, since it means I don't always have to carry the entire conversation.)

This can also be hilarious. The girls share a room, and we've occasionally heard this exchange in the early morning:

Kid 1: Hey. [Pause] Hey! [Pause] HEY! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!

Kid 2: I'M STILL SLEEPING!

This was followed by laughter, and then, I think, jumping on the beds.

They're expressing concern when someone is sad or gets hurt. They laugh they laugh at everything. Suddenly I feel like one of the Marx Brothers during bedtime. The biggest hit thus far is when someone has forgotten a stuffed buddy downstairs. I go to look for it, and return with said buddy on my head, but telling them I couldn't find him. They laugh and say 'There he is!' and I spin around going, 'where?!' to mad giggles until the stuffed animal falls off and more laughter ensues.

I think it's funny too.

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