Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Love: a verb

Lately Abigail has been a pill. She is suddenly prone to throwing fits over simple things, like being asked to pick out a spoon for breakfast cereal, or "can you get a diaper?" Even "help Daddy set the table" which used to be a favorite 'chore' is grounds for a knock down drag out crying fit rarely witnessed in our house after she mastered the English language. (Before she could clearly express herself she would get hysterical when her grunts or pointing didn't convey her messages clearly enough. I always thought she was equally annoyed at herself as well as us, but that's another story.) The best that I can figure is that she is acting out against the attention that Isabel is getting. As Izzy gets older she takes more of my time; to stop her from climbing the stairs, to feed, play with, cuddle, etc. Abby clearly does not appreciate sharing her Mommy. So I've started putting Isabel down to bed 30 minutes before Abigail and taking that extra half hour to play one on one with Abby. Almost instantly the crying fits are fewer and shorter than they were 2 days ago. Which is saying A LOT!

It is a revelation to me that Abby feels like her sister is a threat to her time with her parents because I know that I love both my girls deeply and equally. Of course I'm also an adult who can rationalize that an infant is likely to take more time to care for in a day than a toddler. Since I can't exactly make Abby understand such an abstract concept I can do the next best thing: give her my undivided attention so that she sees how much I love her.

It's been a good lesson for me - a refresher course I didn't know that I needed:
Actions speak louder than words.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Going long distances with small people

We have survived our travels, but barely. By the skin of our teeth we managed not to leave any horrendous headlines in our wake. (But only just barely. There were moments when MSNBC might have lead the 8 o'clock news with "Parents leave a toddler and infant on plane, claim they 'thought they were right behind them'.") But we made it back, in one piece, all children we started with still present when we got to the house.

Some things I have learned through this experience:
-Do not wear white jeans on plane with the baby in your lap. You will get off 5 hours later looking like a stripped graham cracker.
-Do not let the kindly stewardess top off your eldest daughter's frist apple juice of the trip unless you would like her to wear it for the remainder of the 12 hour day.
-Also remember to pack outfits for BOTH your children in your carry-on. 6 outfits for the infant will not help when the apple juice crisis hits. (Men's undershirts will work for toddler clothes in a pinch.)
-Have a camera on hand to take photos of your toddler looking like a biblical character coming off the plane: long white shirt-dress, black blanket tied around neck cape style, brown sandals on. So cute, sadly no evidence except in my memory!
-Bring a pack mule to help you get from baggage claim to the curb to load the car as 2 car seats, stroller, port-a-crib, 1 large bag, carry on, laptop case, backpack and kids are hard to manage alone.

The moral of this story? Vacation is (and was) fun, but hauling 2 kids across America and back on a plane? Is a fight I may not be willing to undertake again. Or, at least not until the momory of my eldest hollering "I don't want to go on a plane!" (while sitting on the runway) stops ringing in my ears.

Give me a year. I'll be ready to try again. Maybe.