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.


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