Poor girl, she was adjusting so well to little Peter for the first 6 weeks (when we had help around), but as Peter has settled into life here at the Shumways, Emmeline is having a hard time finding her place.
One minute she’s clingy and whiney and moping. The next she’s furious, barking at all of us for looking at her the wrong way.
One minute she’ll be happily doing her “job” and the next she's blown up into an all out tantrum about who knows what (I don’t think she even knows sometimes!).One minute she’s potty trained and the next minute she’s standing in a puddle of pee. (don’t have a picture of that one!)
She has this totally adult persona that comes out every once in a while, where she nods her head while she explains things and says actually a lot. But that little adult gets swallowed up by a baby who can’t say a word beyond a big loud, “NO!!!"
Two days ago she lost her voice, and I’m not certain if it was from a chest cold or from all the yelling she’s been doing, but it was a rare and dreamy peaceful morning.
She is constantly telling us what she is or isn’t.
“NO!!!! I’m BIG!!! I grewed up!”
“NO! I’m a baby.!”
“I can’t, I’m too little.”
“I want to do it MYSELF!!!! I’m BIG!”
“No, I’m not Emmeline, I’m the Biscuit.” (Jeff’s nickname for her)
“No, I’m not a biscuit, I’m Emmeline!”
Jeff has convinced her that she is a “little baby big kid.” I think that got her a little more confused.
One thing she never waffles on though is how utterly sweet she is to Peter. She is so motherly and loving towards him. So proud of any thing he does. So interested and enamored. I’m starting to see a beautiful little relationship form between them. I’m hoping for something Hazel and Charlie-ish and I think it’s budding. Peter is even starting to relax a little when he hears her voice.
And, as if Peter rocking her world wasn’t enough, she keeps taking on new challenges (not really encouraged by me)
A few weeks ago she decided to give up the binkie. She was beginning to get more and more attached to that darn thing, sneaking it into her mouth when she wasn’t in her crib (a big no no for her). One day I told her that if she wanted to be a big kid she could give the binkie to the Brownie (our little imaginary house elf). I told her the Brownie might bring her a little present. I didn’t expect her to understand this, let alone want to do it, but she immediately gathered up all of her binkies. I showed her the Brownie (a little garden gnome statue) and she got a little startled. I think she may have thought she was giving her binkies to the pan of brownies in our kitchen. But, she plowed ahead and laid them all at his feet. He left with them for a day or two (took “him” a while to scrounge up a present) and then reappeared with a sticker book at his feet. She was delighted and hasn’t asked for a binkie since. Any time she finds a lingering one in a dusty corner of the house she insists that it belongs to the brownie.
I was trying to figure out why in the world this worked for her the other day, I mean seriously, that kind of determination isn’t normal for a 2 1/2 year old. She was genuinely addicted to that binkie. Then it hit me that she could be really terrified of the Brownie (he is a little eerie looking)……so I hope this whole experience hasn’t scared her for life.
And, then on top of that she’s waffling between diapers and underpants. I keep trying to give up on potty training but her identity crisis is getting in the way. One day she’ll insist on underpants and do ok, the next she’ll decide that diapers are really much easier. And then I’m flip flopping around too, once she pees in her diaper she walks around with a zombie look on her face and her feet spread 3 feet apart, but on the other hand, there are only so many puddles of pee you can clean up before losing your mind. So, for now we’re waiting. Maybe Bear Lake will be the place for her to really become a big kid. (I’m also open to any suggestions here people.)
Really you can’t be too mad for too long at a person whose laughter is golden, whose smile is utterly contagious. There were quite a few days there right when Peter was born and things were so tough where Emmeline was the only little thing that drew out a genuine smile from me, and that smile felt so good, so soothing. I know it’s a bit dramatic, but I love this part of a poem by Pablo Neuda…..it’s almost exactly how I felt about Emmeline’s laughter on hard days over the past few months.
Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.
Do not take away the rose,
the lance flower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in joy,
the sudden wave
of silver born in you.
My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.
Click on this video, you’ll see what a mean. Is there a more magical sound?
My little baby big kid’s going to come out of this stage before I know it so I’m trying to embrace the whole (loud, demanding) package.