Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Emmeline- Bear Lake - 2011

IMG_6611Don’t let this happy face fool you…..Emmeline did not have her best summer at Bear Lake this year.  IMG_6620She looked more like this a lot of the time, reaching for me, frantic, crying, whining, throwing fits, going ‘boneless’.  She would seriously throw the worlds greatest tantrums and they’d go on so long that by the end of them even she didn’t even know what she was mad about.  She has this LOUD BARBARIC yell that is low and forceful and I’m sure pretty annoying to everyone stuck in those close living quarters for a whole month.   She’s mid-terrible twos and the environment there just made things rockier for the poor girl.  She’s just trying to figure out who she is and where she fits in and that’s not an easy thing to do in a new strange place, with lots and lots of new people around, no structure, siblings who abandon you for new cousin friends and a mother who keeps disappearing to who knows where leaving you to be watched by who knows who.   I heard from various sources that she was angelic when I was elsewhere, but the minute she’d see me that angel would disappear and the screetcher would be back…..grasping to my little finger, not wanting me to move an inch without her.       IMG_5997Emmeline is just going through an extremely obstinate phase.  She is Little Miss Stubborn and the thing she was most stubborn about at Bear Lake was letting people persuade her to like them.  She got it in her little head that she didn't want to be won over and she got some serious attention for it.  Winning Em over became a quest for cousins and aunts and uncles.  I’d walk by groups of cousins talking to each other, bragging about the things they were able to coax out of Emmeline.   “I got Emmeline to [say hello, wave, give me a kiss, smile, come play with me].”   Most of the time when people talked to her she’d shrug her shoulders, put on a mad pouty face and turn her head away.  IMG_5767 Bless my family, they tried and tried and tried and when they succeeded in gaining her good graces she’d forget all about their progress and make them start from scratch the next day.   IMG_5770IMG_5747Aunt Julie was the first to win her over (at least for a day).  She sat by Emmeline and did this artwork for nearly an hour. It was easy as pie to capture that priceless expression on Emmeline’s face because that was pretty much the expression she made the whole time.  IMG_5782Oh, and she picked her nose. IMG_3812Uncle Jared pulled some pretty impressive moves out of his bag of tricks that impressed Emmeline, I think he had her for at least a few days.  IMG_6206And sweet Ashton (Saren’s oldest) should get some kind of metal for his miraculous power over her.  He had her eating out of his hand for a few solid days (perhaps my favorite days all summer, I didn’t know what to do with myself without Emmeline’s clinging).  He did crafts with her (made her that adorable little piggy bank), read to her, got her ready for bed, changed her diaper.  They were little buddies until, after a few days, for some unknown reason she turned on him.  Just like that, she gave him the cold shoulder.  I felt so bad for him, after all that hard work.  IMG_62092011-07-16 Bear Lake 33695To be fair to sweet Emmeline, she did have some really really happy moments at Bear Lake.  Lots of them.  In fact, she was great about 75% of the time.  It’s just hard to remember that when her behavior for the other 25% of the time is so blindingly horrid!   It was so fun to see her really connect with her group.  They are group #5 and she got it.  She called Lyla and Lucy and Elsie “my friends.”  She was mostly kind to them, excited about sharing, thrilled to have a little identity there.  They are such sweet little girls.  Emmeline is the youngest, but she can certainly hold her own. IMG_6273IMG_6502IMG_3799She and Lyla got to spend a lot of time together since Lyla stayed till the bitter end with us.  They were great little buddies by the end.  I loved watching them negotiate their relationship, try on different behaviors, work it out without adult help.  They did pretty well most of the time.  IMG_6831IMG_6837IMG_6840IMG_6605We had a smattering of different friends and families come up while we were there this year.  For the most part Emmeline did an amazing job making new friends, just as long as those friends weren’t pushing her into anything.  IMG_6724IMG_6726IMG_6729IMG_6732IMG_6735One of the biggest challenges this year with Emmeline was getting her to stay in her bed.  It’s the first time that she’s been without a crib to keep her contained and, although she wanted to obey me when I threatened to put her in all kinds of dark scary places if she got out, she just couldn’t make herself do it.  Her desire to get out of bed, and for drama was just too strong.  And this wasn’t just at bedtime, it was in the middle of the night too.  On numerous occasions I was up in the night trying (with whatever brain power I possess at 3am) to figure out ways to keep her in bed and quiet so that she wouldn’t wake everyone up.  I had put her in the laundry room, in the hallway, in Peter’s pack and play in a dark closet, in my brother’s bed in the room across the way when he and his family were gone for a night.  She was always pleased as punch to be put in a new place to sleep.  One night, after putting her to bed 10 times, I told her that if she got up again I’d have to put her out in the garage to sleep.  I was really hoping that would be a wing dinger of a threat and do the trick because I really didn’t want to put her in the garage to sleep.  But, no such luck.  She got out again.  So, I made a nice little bed on a crib mattress out in the garage.

{imagine picture of garage with a little bed made in the middle that I forgot to take}

may be a good thing, wouldn’t want to get reported to DSS.

And, because she didn’t seem phased by this new sleeping arrangement (here comes the really embarrassing thing to admit)……I told her there were spiders in the garage and she’s terrified of spiders.  Yes, I did.  I felt like a horrible mom as I was doing it.  I can’t believe I’m even admitting it.  Please say we’ve all done things that dumb in our desperation.   I told her not to get out of her little bed and she’d be safe.  She was a little nervous so I told her that as soon as she fell asleep I’d carry her back to our room.  My heart dropped as I closed the door on a dark garage and a crying child.  She cried for 30 seconds and then was quiet.  Once I knew she was asleep I carried her back to our room and tucked her in.  

The next morning my brother-in-law overheard her standing in the doorway of the garage with Lyla and boasting, in her most adult voice, “Now, this is my room.  That is my little bed.  And, there is a spider in here!”

Not sure how to get through to this girl, but new sleeping arrangements isn’t the way to go.  Maybe she was just so psyched to get a little space to herself that it didn’t matter that it was in a garage with alleged spiders.  IMG_0878This is my friend Amy’s little Mila and she and Emmeline had the exact same shoulder shrugging expression…..the real deal doesn’t include those happy faces….it’s more of a pouty face, sometimes with the tongue stuck out.   I need to get a real picture of this particular whole body expression.  Shoulders shrugged, pouty face on, heavy feet.  She does it a lot lately and I know it’s to show that she’s upset, but I have to work hard to suppress my grin.  I think it’s adorable. IMG_6714Emmeline took whatever attention she could get from Hazel and Charlie who were often so engrossed in their own cousin “groups” that they kind of forgot about little Em. IMG_0897

Before leaving for Bear Lake my friend Heidi (who is Emmeline’s favorite person in the world) reminded me that Emmeline is just going through a stage.  She predicted that once we make it through this stage Emmeline is going to be a “jewel in my crown.”  I think she is absolutely right, there is a sparkly, extraordinary diamond in the rough buried in this little girls soul.  But, I have to admit, there were a lot of moments at the lake this year where I had to run that phrase over and over again in my head.  “A jewel in my crown….a jewel in my crown…..a jewel in my crown.”   It became a mantra that helped me stumble through some pretty tough moments, some patience trying times.  But we made it through and I’m certain that with a little more structure and routine and love and time time time I’ll start to see more and more of Emmeline’s bling shining through in my crown.  IMG_6743


  1. sweet emmeline! i have a 4 year old jewel in my crown-- not pouty, just VERY strong willed. (i pray a lot!!) when i was a younger mother of toddlers who wouldn't sit reverently in sacrament meeting i once whispered, "If you don't stop talking I'm going to take you into the parking lot and feed you to the dogs." (gasp) yes, those exact words came out of my mouth?! the dogs?! and, to make matters worse, the recently released STAKE PRESIDENT was sitting behind me. i looked and saw his shoulders going up and down as he chuckled. oh my! what motherhood brings out of us...
    carry on friend!!

  2. Hi Saydi, my name is Jennifer Faas but my maiden name was Trendler. You probably don't remember me but I was a friend of Josh's and we came to see you one time in Boston before you were married. Can I just say that one of the things about that that trip that I've always remembered is that you had the genius idea of dragging mattresses out on your roof and sleeping outside under the summer stars. I loved that and it's always stuck with me as a reminder at how much fun it can be to seize moments and do things out of the ordinary. Anyway, I've stumbled upon your blog and I love it. Our kids are about the same ages and I can relate to a lot of the stuff you write about. What's even crazier is that I have a 2.5 year old Emmeline too! I didn't even know there were other Emmelines out there. So fun. Anyway, sorry for the lengthy comment but I just wanted to introduce myself as one of your fans. :)

  3. Saydi, these pictures are priceless. Thanks for showing me a lot that I missed. With so many people, I didn't even know that a lot of this happened. I knew about the garage of course because Em left me a thank you note thanking us for letting her stay in the garage. And she did give me one huge unsolicited hug around my let one morning. That meant a lot because I know we're going to be great friends next summer!

  4. This post had me chuckling from the get-go. The nose-picking, that quirky half-smile while she's coloring, "the little miss stubborn book" (loved those as a kid!) It's all so precious. You're so great to record all of this. I love you!



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