So the joining of two sisters didn't work out exactly as we'd planned.
We had thought (hoped) that Shira would adjust to some lengthier sleep cycles once she moved in with Alyce. Since Shira always seemed to stir (which would often lead to waking) when we came to bed or got up to yell at a cat, we thought she might sleep better without these distractions. Maybe she'd even be comforted by the presence of her big sister! Yes? No.
Last night was our third attempt at Shira and Alyce in the same room. After Shira woke up screaming for the third time before it was even ten, and because I found Alyce in her bed, softly crying, with her hands over her ears, I decided to get over myself and bring Shira back in our room, or more specifically, into our bed (since her crib was now in her new room). Matt was asked nicely to sleep on the couch (or he got the hint when we arrived home later that night and found our bed full of baby), and Shira and I spent the night awake in our bed, she, poking my eyes and eating her sleep sack, and me, begging the child for sixty minutes of sleep. In a row. By morning it was settled: Shira needs to learn how to sleep, and she needs to not do it with poor, tired Alyce in the same room. So right now Shira is sleeping in the portable crib that is set up in our room, and will do so until she can go a few hours without waking up to yell at us. It's one thing to feel this miserably tired, and another thing entirely to feel this miserably tired while arguing with an equally miserable three-year-old.
I should mention here that in order to have the girls share a room, we needed to switch bedrooms. Alyce and Shira now have the big room, while Matt and I squeeze into the small room. The crib and the bed couldn't fit in the smaller of the two rooms and we were happy to give them some extra room for tea parties and the like. But you see where I'm going with this? Alyce is now enjoying the very large room all to herself, while the three of us are wedged in the other. Alyce's grin is threatening to overtake her face.
So now we are in many ways back where we started, faced with a baby who won't sleep. I am so tired that I can't even waste any energy on being pessimistic about all this (though I can't make any promises about how I'll feel tomorrow). I know that Shira will learn how to sleep and we'll do whatever we can to encourage it. I'm now at that silly stage of tired. I am giddy and vulnerable, a dangerous combination for sure.
For those of you who sent messages and comments of encouragement, thank you so much!