little power struggles


The slow, melodious cry came wafting up the stairs, reaching my ears as I sit in front of my computer typing. I grin. It’s Ulap again, complaining about Dahon. It’s a familiar sound these days, because Dahon is always pushing Ulap or trying to take her toys.



In fact, it has become so familiar that even when something or other makes Dahon cry, when we ask her what’s wrong, she’d also say, “Daaaa!” And one time, when something made Ulap cry and Dahon was nowhere even near her, when asked, she still said “Daaaa!” “Da” has become the official scapegoat.

I was worrying (as Moms do) if Dahon would grow up to be the bully twin, but fortunately I remembered that right around this time last year, it was Ulap who was actually capable of making Dahon cry. They were just barely learning to flip on their backs and stomachs then, and sometimes when one would flip, she’d end up crowding or squishing the other one. Some squirming and struggling would ensue, with Ulap screaming at Dahon in frustration, and after a few moments Dahon would end up crying. Now, Dahon has turned the tables on Ulap. Dahon is almost always winning the toy tug-of-war because she’s bigger and stronger. Ulap, on the other hand, is learning to be craftier. She can sometimes tell when Dahon is about to come take her toy away, and she’d get up and run all the way to the other side of the room. When Dahon fails to get what she wants, she’d cry. But when she succeeds, of course it’s Ulap who would cry, point at her sister and wail “Daaaaa!”

But because they’re babies, they don’t know how to hold grudges yet. They’re always happy to see each other after being separated for a bit of time, like during their naps. Upon reuniting, Ulap would still say “Daaaa!” but in a sweet, happy tone instead of a plaintive one. And they’d rush at each other and start playing or even clumsily bump/hug each other. And all is right in the world. And Mommy’s worries would be put to rest for the moment, even as she tells herself that she’s probably going to log a lot of mediation/conflict resolution hours in the years to come.


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