Today Natalie skipped out the front door as I finished pouring my coffee*. I could hear her chirp from down the path “I’m leaving for school without you, Mama! Goodbye!” Luckily she realized she’d forgotten her backpack, so she quickly returned, and we headed out the door together. When we arrived at her school, she paused only briefly outside her classroom and said, “I’m a little shy.” Then she cheerfully walked in and started playing. As we built a tower together, I gave her the usual “I’m going to leave soon” warning. She looked up at me and said, without a pause, “Go.” So I did. No tears, no hesitation. We may be (knock wood) past the worst of the separation issues. For now anyway.
Teddy is begining to explore activities besides eating, sleeping, and pooping. He now opens his eyes and looks around, finding some of the same high-contrast objects that fascinated his sister at this age and staring at them. He’s still sleepier than Natalie was, but is slowly discovering the outside world. Sadly, he’s also gassier than his sister was, so we’re having to learn how to burp and de-gas a newborn, something we lucked out of the first time around. But he’s sweet and deliciously snuggly, makes heart-meltingly cute squeaky noises, and at his pediatrician appointment last Wednesday, had gained a pound in a week. He’s doing well, and we’re loving the process of getting to know/falling in love with this little guy.
We’re frequently asked what Natalie thinks of her new brother. My stock answer has become, “Oh, she adores him. It’s her parents she’s not entirely sure about right now.” Which is half true and half exaggeration. She does love him. She wants to see him and know what he’s doing at all times, gives him hugs and kisses, tells him she loves him, snuggles with him, and when she’s been away taking a nap or visiting a friend, comes back and says to him “I’m so sorry you missed me.” The sweetness makes us teary sometimes.
The hard part has been that she’s more volatile than we’re used to, having messier meltdowns and fiercer demands. I guess when lots of things change at once, you try to take control where you can, whether you’re a grownup or a two-year-old. Makes sense to me. She’s gradually finding her equilibrium again, and we’re doing what we can to help her with that. While we were prepared for regression, and ready to support whatever she needed, she seems to be loving chances to be more independent, and reminds us that she’s a big girl. Sure, she loves to play with the floor gym, and wants to be in charge of the other baby items that have re-emerged, but she’s also loving her baskets of books, stickers and wiki sticks. She’s been more willing (and excited) to run off with the neighbors without a mom tagging along. Her use of the potty seems mostly unaffected at this point, probably largely thanks to the toilet “just the size for me!” at her school. So, in short, some challenges, slowly resolving (or evolving), still our loving, imaginative, silly, wonderful girl. And while everything could change at any minute, we’re pretty happy with where we are right now.
*Coffee is becoming part of the morning routine around here. We’re just accepting the fact that it’s a necessary part of getting through this transition. While it’s probably better for me not to drink it, it’s better than the alternatives (cranky-ass mama, speed…) 🙂