Thursday, June 09, 2011

little baby big kid

IMG_0521Emmeline is having an identity crisis.  She’s not sure who she is, where she fits in or what she wants. 

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.  E-Mail2

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!).E-Mail1One 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!)

One minute she’ll be totally ocd about making sure everything is just so and in it’s spot.  The next minute she’s gleefully throwing food all over the kitchen.  IMG_0550

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. photo

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.)


Emmeline’s identity crisis.

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…’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?

emmeline laughing

 IMG_0519When I sit to think back on the days behind us with Emmeline I see moments where her sweet little soul has been left unexposed, unfettered by all this confusion, and I love who she is at her core. IMG_1681 

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. 


  1. Oh Saydi! I'm dying over this post!! Emmeline is cracking me up! "I'm not a baby!!!" She is so stinkin' cute! I love how you're just letting her work through things on her own - the potty training, the identity. She has everything she needs from you. You're handling it all so well. And I LOVE the Neruda poem. I don't think it's dramatic at all. Love you!

  2. Oh Emmeline! How I miss that girl. You're right, before you know it you'll forget all this and be so glad that it's engraved forever here on your blog. She'll love reading it when she has a whiney, demanding two year old!

  3. Ahhh, I love reading about my experiences through another's eyes literally just three months after I go through them- the first trimester funk, birth, newborn phase and now this. Elsie had / is having the exact same issues. Tons of crying, demanding, fits, sadness, happy silliness, all rolled into one. It seems (seems being the optimal word here) that it starts to level off at about six months. Maybe they forget what being the baby was like then?

  4. Your baby is soo cute! enjoy those days!soon they will be over!

  5. The binkie story is amazing and for that she deserves to wait on the potty training bit! I can't imagine Patrick just turning those things over, no matter what the elf looked like.
    She is so sweet and you know she will figure out where she stands in her own time.
    Hope you are all doing well and having a great summer.

  6. Saydi you are such a great mom! your kids are so blessed to have you as their mommy. Congrats on your new arrival. I love the name Peter, he is so cute! and emmeline! What a character, i just want to squeeze her and eat those cheeks with besos. your oldest reminds me of my older one, she is a sweeheart, alot like you actually. Let me know when you are in town, I would love to have you over for playtime and lunc. Love you! and thank you for inspiring me to write about my children more.



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