I was just telling a friend how I finally feel like I am coming up for air after having these two girls. Three and a half years later, two babies, now toddlers, and I am slowly stating to feel that there can be calm parts to a day and moments to steal away for myself. While one is entering a stage of tantrums and whining, I feel like I see and hear a maturity happening with Remy as a big sister. The other night we were driving to the mall to go to the Disney Store, Nana gave us a birthday gift card and we wanted to get Beauty & The Beast. Arlo was fussing and whining for me to help her with putting her cat ears headband on again. I came to a light, and before i had to explain anything, I heard Remy in the back seat, "You have to wait Arlo. Mommy is driving. She can put that on when we get to the Disney Store." WHAT?! WHERE?! WHEN?!
This past week we mostly stayed home, albeit the couple of runs to the post office and a park play date on Monday, but for the most part we stayed close to home. I keep finding the girls sitting close together in the front room, snuggling under a blanket, SIDE BY SIDE, and reading, flipping through books. I heard a tissue paper sound and peeked in, it was Arlo pushing back the plastic cover on a book. I overheard Remy correcting her, "No Arlo, no. That's a book, and we don't tear books, okay?" Is this my Remy?! It's big sister sayings like this, that I can recall over the past couple of months that make me step back and feel proud. Let's just say it has taken Remy bait longer to warm up to sisterhood.
But, just like that, she also spins her head, and mine, on nights when she hasn't napped and goes completely cray cray. Screaming, crying, lightly kicking me, clearly so frustrated and confused by her own feelings. "I DON'T WANT TO TAKE A BATH!!!" "Okay, let's get out then..." "YES I DOOOO WANT TO TAKE A BATH!" "Okay let's get you in the water then..." "I SAID I DON"T WANT TO TAKE A BATH!!!" Literally. This happened. More than once. More than twice. While there is growth at times in one department, we are unfortunately still experiencing the manic meltdowns that sometimes last 30 minutes, and actually send momma either into laughter from desperation, or an exhausted eruption of emotions myself. Toddlers. Just when you think there might be something worth seeing a professional about, they throw you for a loop again and show you glimpses of how your parenting is really sinking in that same little noggin that just went ape shit on you the night before.
And Arlo...little Arlo.. What can I say except the first thing she wants to do when she wakes up in the morning is climb those stairs, open Remy's door and say, "Goo morning Wemy..." in the sweetest, softest little voice. Only to hear, "GO AWAY! GET OUT!" Every. Morning. Arlo idolizes Remy. Remy says, "Let's do this again, okay Arlo?" As they play AMAZINGLY together at the playground playing a bit of follow the leader, across a bridge and down a slide, up the stairs, over and over again, and every time Arlos says, "Kay..." Always wanting to be sure Remy is okay, getting a little nervous and shaky lipped when she hears Remy getting scolded, always vying for Remy's attention, like throwing herself across the kitchen table in from to f the i-Pad while Remy was watching a show. It isn't all in vain on Arlo's part. The other day I was disciplining Arlo, and perhaps too harshly, and Remy scolded me for being to firm on Arlo and said, "Be nice to Arlo momma! BE NICE!"
I am not sure how to raise a strong set of sisters. While I want them to be able to rely on each other in times of need, to support each other, lift each other up, I want for them, just as much, to be able to stand independently, and non-competitively of one another. I want them to love each others' company, and also respect each other when they need space. So far these lessons have crept up in play. For example, when Remy is playing intently with her Shopkins and miniatures and Arlo tries to come over and join in, I wait to let them handle amongst themselves, but after several shooing-aways from Remy, and please for me to come, "No Arlo, No! These are too small for you! You're gonna choke... Mom!" I step in and explain to Arlo that Remy would like to play alone for awhile and I suggest some things for Arlo to enjoy on her own like her babies, trains or the kitchen. Remy plays very well on her own, but I also hear her invite Arlo to join in on other games and I let her decide that. They don't always need to be able to play together and forced to share. In my opinion. Learning when someone wants your company and processing messages of when someone does not want your company are life lessons, and found at the earliest stages, in play, and what better to teach it then with your sibling?! These are not anyone's teachings or suggestions or thoughts but my own, which don't value to anything, just what I feel. I am by no way using this platform as a how-to, or a you-should, just sharing my experiences.
Well, that's where we are at lately, in our stages of toddlerhood. Here's hoping for a tantrum-free weekend!