Saturday, April 30, 2011

I might be her new hero

Where she sat for an hour, eyes on the princess.
Yesterday morning Matt had already left early for the gym and both girls woke up on the early side of six o'clock. Since Alyce was already wearing her crown before I opened her bedroom door (one ought to be extra careful and sleep with one's crown, because one just never knows), I thought it was time. Time to experience a princess whose last name isn't Disney. I leaned in close to Alyce, still in the dark of early morning, and whispered, would you like to watch a real princess get married?

It was so much fun just speaking those words to her. She was out of bed and in her TV watching chair before I could even turn on the lights. It felt like such a special occasion that I even gave Alyce her breakfast in front of the TV, something I'm kind of stickler about. But who cares of such things when there are princes and princesses getting married? Not me! Shira and I settled on the floor next to Alyce's chair, me with my coffee and Shira with whatever she was chewing on that day, and sat for over an hour watching the second half of the wedding. I discovered that Alyce does indeed have patience, when it involves princesses that is. She waited through long breaks without a real princess in sight, sitting quietly while the choir sang their beautiful songs, asking about 100 times where the Princess Kate was (instead of her usual 1000 times).

But the best part, my absolute favourite part of the morning, was when Alyce asked about the sparkly fabric hanging from the princess's head. I explained that she was wearing a veil as part of her wedding dress. Oooooh, said Alyce, that's so beautiful. I looked her in the eye, and with a look that let her know that what I was about to say was very important, I told her. I told her that her I also wore a veil when I married Papa. And that is when her big eyes got even wider. Wow, she said. I know, I said.

Friday, April 29, 2011


I found this video over at dooce this morning and I needed to pass it along. Kind of amazing, right? Out of nowhere it just seemed to stop me in my tracks.

Symmetry from Everynone on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


 We've all calmed down since Tuesday, me especially. Alyce and Shira have been up to their usual sisterly negotiations and some of the tension has left the air. This is a good thing. I've been using this time to think about what I can control in these moments of aggression and frustration, and of course, after getting Shira out of harm's way (Alyce's way, that is), the only thing I can control is me. It turns out that when you become a parent you aren't magically gifted with unending patience and serenity. I have some work to do. Thank you so much for all the good thoughts and truly helpful suggestions. It made my week.

Oh, and Alyce, please just use your words. I promise that I will listen to you. Promise.

Today we got outside. Between moments of strong wind and rain, we enjoyed the absolute green of our backyard in full bloom. And is there anything quite like the thrill of power washing on a beautiful spring day? I can't think of anything at the moment. Alyce insisted that we clean the spiders out of her enormous plastic house, and I can't blame the girl for wanting a home free of spiders. I didn't even tell her about the giant spider I saw crawling away from her slide, a spider so big that it broke blades of grass. I kid you not. But mostly we just carried our babies around for some fresh air, me carrying Shira and Alyce carrying Elmo.

We might have some moments, but she's an awfully good little mama.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


 I don't know how to help Alyce right and it's killing me. I've mentioned before that we've had some rough moments since staying home together full-time. Truth be told, we've been having these moments since the day Shira was born, but they were spread out a lot differently when she was going to preschool. In the weeks following Shira's birth, when I was busy relearning how to breastfeed a hungry newborn and falling in love with our newest daughter, I tried to take Alyce's outbursts in stride (that is, between fits of my own crying. Mama hormones+former nursling+new nursling makes for many tears). She wouldn't hug me for a week, and for the first time in her life she was hitting me when she got mad. I hated that she did it, but at least she was only hitting me. Shira, it seemed, was the greatest present we'd ever given Alyce. Alyce's eyes lit up when Shira woke up from a nap and I'm pretty sure that she quietly fantasized about all the ways in which Shira would eventually become her slavebest friend.

Alyce still loves her sister. She worries about her feelings (like today, upon hearing Shira crying at nap time, she wondered if maybe Shira was feeling scared by a monster in her room) and is exceedingly proud that she knows best what Shira wants ("give her milk, mama. From your breast." Thanks, Alyce). But that's not all. She also knows how to use Shira to her advantage, and lately, this means hitting Shira, very hard, in order to show that she's angry. At me. I don't want to get into the details, but it's getting bad. It was not a good day. Some days are fantastic, but today was not. Today I watched my big girl doing everything in her power to get my full attention, while my smaller girl, literally, took a beating. Shira's fine, Alyce is upset, and I'm feeling terrible.

It's strange, I've meant to call my mum all night and tell her what happened today, but I just couldn't bring myself to talk about it. So naturally, here I am, telling the internet. Well, not really the internet. I'm telling you, hoping that you'll share some kind words, as you always do, that will make me feel better.

Monday, April 25, 2011

We needed some quiet

Hello, everyone! It's been quiet around here lately, but it's a new week. We had some family stuff to deal with (not to worry, everyone is just fine!) and we ended up stealing a few days with my mum. Alyce and Shira enjoyed the quiet themselves, even taking a quick moment to share a snack together.

I hope everyone's Mondays are treating them well See you back here tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Another one

Make that seventy-five percent of our house down with a cold. Alyce has been dragging her feet now for a couple of days, and just this morning said, do you know why I'm coughing? Because my head is sweaty. You said it, sister.

Shira is feeling much better today. Our visit to the doctor resulted in another lecture (kind) lecture about how viruses just have to run their course. See I know this, but I also know there was that time I didn't take Alyce to the doctor last year when she had a cough and a few weeks later we were using nebulizer to help stop her wheezing. So now we go the doctor, even when it might be just a virus.

Fortunately, Alyce has her elephant to get through the day, and an episode or two of Dora. And see that pillowcase? This was my pillowcase when I was little, that has for some reason moved with me wherever I've gone in the world. I even took it with me to the hospital when I gave birth to Alyce. Now it's her favourite and I can't tell you magical that is. How is it that I am the mother now? It is still endlessly shocking to me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We need a little warmth

The week is already is running on empty in our house, with fifty percent of us sick with a rotten cold. Shira sounds a bit like a cross between Kathleen Turner and what I imagine a baby donkey might sound like. I'm nowhere as sick as she is, but I'm complaining a lot more. We ended up having to cancel our first night of Passover plans (with a friend and her family in Baltimore) on account of one very sick baby (to confirm that we made the right decision in not going, Shira began projectile vomiting at bedtime last night. Poor wee babe). I'll be taking her to the doctor, again, this afternoon. I'm sure he'll roll his eyes and tell me, again, that it's just a cold, but no matter. This is what we do.

It's a strange thing to have sick baby (and by sick I mean run down with a cold or flu. We have been blessed to the moon and back with two healthy kids). I've become accustomed to being physically attached to my babies. Between the nursing and the wrestling to get them dressed, we always seem to be in close physical contact. My children know no boundaries when it comes to their mama, and as much as I can feel irritated at times when I'm nursing one with the other one climbing on my back (a regular occurrance these days), I've come to appreciate and depend on this closeness. But when they are sick, an entirely new no-boundaries relationship is formed. Over the past few days with this bug, Shira has insisted on being held, snuggled, and rocked at all times. And yes, she's up nursing every two hours at night again. But I don't mind getting up this week. It's in our contract that I'll bring her into bed with me when she's sick. So for now she is attached to me with a very strong glue (and vomit!) until she feels back to normal.

It's a bit cold and rainy today, and as much as I love the rain, I wish it were more warm and rainy. I'm tired and chilled and I would love a little warm on my skin. The forecast seems pretty set on the cold and the rain, so my only option is to relive a day from last week, when it was 80 degrees, sunny, and the perfect opportunity for a backyard picnic. If it's cold where you are, I hope this makes you feel a little warmer.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It was a good day

(Bottom image courtesy of Dani--three very tired children.)

I'm still exhausted from our very, very long day. There were fevers, lost phones (and found phones), car rentals, late lunches, and multiple clothing changes. But it was so much fun, because there were dinosaur bones, ice cream, Central Park, pigeons, in-flight DVD players, and one of the best coffees I've ever had. I had great company (as I did for the last trip) and a ton of fun. It was completely worth the getting home at eleven. 

Shira came down with a rotten cold that day, but was agreeable nonetheless, because that is what she does. I now have that same rotten cold, but I am less agreeable. I'm taking this non-agreeable self to bed. 

Who else is with me--New York best city ever?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NYC, here we come. Again.

Tomorrow I’m taking the girls to NYC. We’re renting a minivan with our friend Dani and her little boy, Finley, and heading to the city just for the day. (We need the minivan to accommodate the three enormous car seats. And it’s cheaper than a train.) The children’s fathers have abandoned us and are staying home, apparently to work, or something equally dreadful. Fine, we say, we’ll have all the fun.

To recap, the players will be:

Me: A grown-up, relatively capable, has visited NYC twice before (see more below), aspiring calm and collected Mama.

Dani: Also a grown-up, very capable, and infinitely cooler than me.

Alyce: Three years old, exceedingly cute, asks a question every 4.3 seconds.

Finley: Eleven months old, handsome, and maybe also cooler than me.

Shira: Eleven months old, delicious, and teething.

I’m really looking forward to the trip. I love New York. I’ve always dreamed of living there, though I don’t expect that will ever happen (and I’m good with that. I have lots of other ideas to try out instead). When it comes to New York, I am happy to settle for lots of visiting. My first trip, a glorious three days, took place a few weeks after Matt and I got married. He was doing research at the Jewish Theological Seminary and had sublet a wonderful faculty apartment right next to Columbia. I was teaching in Toronto that summer and flew down for a long weekend. We were both still glowing from a fantastic wedding, and at twenty-one weeks pregnant with Alyce, I was glowing all by myself enough for the two of us. We spent three days eating, strolling, sweating, and gazing (in MOMA). A truly exceptional holiday it was.

My second trip was less idyllic. I know that I sometimes have a tendency to exaggerate now and then (for the sake of a good story, no doubt), but the following description of events is entirely true. I know good people who can vouch for me.

We had recently wound up in Delaware and some good friends from Canada, Kaylie and Jay, were in our neighbourhood getting ready for a big trip to Ireland. (It turned out that in a few short days, during their trip, Jay would propose to Kaylie, in the middle of a downpour, I think. Kaylie, please correct me if necessary.) They were flying out of New York and wanted to spend the day nosing around Manhattan. Being the nice people they are, they invited me along for the day. Matt had to stay home so it was just the three of us, plus ten month old Alyce. The logistics of the trip didn’t scare me. We’d drive 45 minutes to Philadelphia and hop on a train to Penn Station. And Alyce? The two-hour train ride each way was going to coincide almost exactly with her morning nap and bedtime, respectively, so obviously I would just nurse her to sleep each time and we’d be on our way. La la la la la, everything will be fine. Sure she’d probably miss her afternoon nap--or she could just nap while we ate lunch, or wandering around in her carrier if she really wanted to sleep--but she’d be fine. I felt brave enough to invite her along on our day of fun and I didn’t mind schlepping all her stuff around with us (umbrella stroller, ergo-type carrier, diaper bag). And we’d be in good company, able to lean on Kaylie and Jay when we needed them. Mostly I just wanted to be that kind of parent who didn’t think that babies and kids had to stand in the way of a little adventure. I still want to be that parent, and in many ways, I am. But sometimes adventure turns around and bites you on the baby.

It was on this day that I learned not to depend on babies for consistency of any kind. Yes, I could usually rely on Alyce to nurse willingly around her nap time, and that said nursing would induce Alyce to accept the inevitability of said nap, but I was truly delusional if I thought all this would happen on a train. With lots and lots of people. As our train moved closer to the city, I realized that her morning nap was not going to happen. I instantly panicked, and everyone who has ever spent time with a baby who likes her regular naps will understand why. Sleep begets sleep, right? So you know where this is going.

We arrived in New York and I tried very hard to imagine that Alyce non-nap never happened. I was so happy to be back and the four of us decided to start our day with a wonderful tourist stop: the Empire State building. Minus a tiny anxiety attack in the longest elevator ride of my life, it was a successful visit. It was stunning up there, and Jay took one of my favourite photos of all time, that of a pigeon casually hanging out on the edge of the building, seemingly unaware of the gizillion foot drop at his feet. (I know, birds fly, but it still makes me nervous.) I can’t remember what we did next, but soon it was lunch. I always remember the food. Jay had some things he wanted to do (like maybe escape my overtired Alyce), so Kaylie and I shared a great lunch. The rest of the afternoon is a blur, between me worrying about Alyce’s eleven minute nap as we wondered around the MOMA store and worrying even more about what was to come in the non-sleeping department. Yet I continued to have hope for our train back to Philadelphia, which would just be the two of us since Kaylie and Jay were taking off for Ireland.

Let me just take a moment to speak to the non-parents of the world. For many of us, from the moment our child is born, we obsess over sleep. These wee babes come into the world needing just the right amount of sleep (no more, no less) in order to make it through each day. Miss a nap? I wouldn’t want to be in that house. Babies--at least my babies--develop a terrible case of crazies without one of their naps. Miss both naps? Run fast. You might as well be running, since you won’t be getting much sleep that night.

So fast forward to my train home. It’s around seven, an hour past her usual bedtime. Alyce and I board the train, having said good-bye to a grateful-to-escape-us Kaylie and Jay. We settle into our seat next a kind-looking woman in her fifties. I unhook my nursing bra, maneuver Alyce into nursing position, and get ready to relax for the two-hour trip home. Of course, this did not happen. Not the nursing or the two hours. Alyce instantly lost her mind. LOST IT. She refused to nurse, refused to sleep, and refused to even look me in the eye. She was an angry, tired baby. My kind neighbour tried to lighten up the mood a little bit, smiling at Alyce, even rubbing my arm. But after the first two hours of Alyce screaming (remember, this story is exaggeration-free), stuck somewhere in New Jersey because of a broken something, I finally broke down and lost my own mind. She wouldn’t eat, she wouldn’t stop screaming, and I didn’t know what to do, or how to defend myself if my train mates ganged up on me. At this point I called Matt and told him that I didn’t care how he did it, but I needed him to meet me in Philadelphia. With the both of us crying I was in no position to find my car, late at night in a city I had never been in before, and drive home. I was worried we wouldn’t make it home. So my most amazing husband found the only cab in Delaware (why does this state not have taxis?) and paid the nice man one hundred dollars to meet his wife and daughter at the train station. And he never said another word about it.

So naturally, we’re going back. I like an adventure. I’m now have a few extra years of experience under my belt (and another baby, but who’s counting), and were driving our own car. I also have episodes of Dora and the Wonder Pets on my phone that I’m not afraid to use.

P.S. Could this post have been longer?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I don't want to be bossy or anything (because that would be so outside of character for me), but you should all go out today, find a copy of the book Room, and then empty your calendar for a day or two. You won't regret it.
I started the book about a month ago and then put it down (silly me). I found it hard to get used to the narrator's five-year-old voice and I thought it might get in the way of the story. I was very, very wrong. Once I finally picked it back up (with thanks to my new favourite toy) I devoured the rest of the book in two days. The book tells the story of a young woman, kidnapped at nineteen, and her son, born in captivity. And the incredible thing about the book (well, one of them) is that the kidnapper plays virtually no role in the story. I repeat: this is not a gruesome "let's describe every violation imaginable that we can do to women and children" story (I'm looking at you, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Instead this is a story about a little boy who loves his Ma and the world she is able to create for him. You know how you sometimes hear those stories about mothers who lift cars off the ground or fight tigers in order to save their children? It's that kind of story.

Ok, get moving. And then can you come back and tell me what you thought of the book?

Image found here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Eleven Months

Shira is eleven months today. Eleven months ago I was a very happy, round pregnant woman. Eleven months ago I was convinced she was coming early (she didn't). Eleven months ago I was sad that we were all alone in Delaware. Eleven months ago I had no idea just how much I would adore this little one.

Sometimes I'm running around doing all the things that I do and Shira will raise her baby arms for ride on mama, and I'm stopped in my tracks by the softness of her cheeks.

I am determined not to let this last month of her first year disappear without notice. We are in the middle of making so many plans and I don't want to forget that soon it is her first birthday. Soon she'll be more interested in her big sister than she is me. Soon she'll choose a cup over nursing. It's not much of a secret, but I right now, she's all mine. She adores the rest of the world, but she still chooses me. And I want to keep it that way for a little while longer. Maybe another twenty years.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ten Things About My Week

1. There is very little I enjoy more than a girl committed to her personal style. This ensemble took Alyce to the library.

2. I do not enjoy writing my resume. What is it about people (ok, me) that makes this kind of work so completing irritating? I could feel exhilarated by new opportunities instead of being annoyed, but I'm finding it so painful trying to describe how my hundred years in graduate school make me qualified for other work. And I can't seem to find the right place to include my three years studying Sanskrit and Tibetan. Or that first chapter of my dissertation. I'm sure I'm the first person in the history of employment to say this, but why can't someone just give me the perfect job already?

3. I'm a big sister but I didn't end up that way until I was twenty-six. This means that I'm completely clueless when it comes to growing up with siblings and I'm having to learn right alongside Alyce and Shira as they figure this stuff out. I really have no idea what I'm doing. I do know that I have said "gentle hands, Alyce" roughly 5,786 times this week alone. We've also instituted a new family rule about hands around other people's necks. But we've also had moments like this one:

Shira might not have necessarily consented to a morning playing dress-up in summer clothes, but she's not screaming (and, the rolls). And Alyce seems to be enjoying her new role as stylist.

4. Grown-up dinners with good girlfriends are the absolute best way to get over a long week. There was wine, good food, no children, and did I mention no children?  Next time I might even wear my big-girl bra and leave the nursing tank at home. Thanks, Dani, for a much-needed night out. (We had so much fun that I forgot to order take-out for Matt before the kitchen closed. Sorry about that, Matty.)

5. I've had a hard time keeping Shira in clothes this week. Because, the rolls.

6. I'm in the middle of a losing battle against sugar. I have found myself completely addicted to it and my addiction might be worthy of a period of rehabilitation, or maybe even an intervention-type reality show, but then I would be exposed for the addict I truly am, and I'd probably have to stop eating sugar. Which I can't do because it is so delicious. I blame, in part, my new Kitchen Aid mixer for being such a damn fine baking partner. And the internet, for enabling my search for new and delightful things to bake. Like this bread.

7. I have thrown myself into some big knitting plans for the summer with the recent purchase of this book and this one. I'm thinking that knitting all summer will 1) help me pass the time* while Matt is traipsing around Europe with his study abroad students, and 2) result in clothes ready to wear when winter begins in a very, very, very long time from now. Do you hear that, winter? In a very, very, very long time.

8. Matt took the girls to the park while I had a nap. Enough said.

9.  Speaking of Matt, he is currently preoccupied with a ongoing trade (involving Adam Dunn, Marco Scutaro, Hiroki Kuroda for Travis Snider, Madison Bumgarner, a second round pick, and salary relief) in one of his two fantasy baseball leagues. To this point the trade has involved thirty emails. I'll be sure to keep you all posted. UPDATE: trade accepted. Everyone can breathe again.

10.  Shira slept well for another week. This still qualifies as news.

*Because I will have so much free time on my hands after looking after the girls, looking after the cats, looking for a new career, and finding a new place to live.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Greetings, Toronto

I'm in Delaware, thinking about Toronto. Thinking about home.

This postcard, taped to our bathroom mirror, greets me each morning. The house is a mess, there is so much to do before I'll make Canada my full-time home again, but I just wanted it to know that we're on our way. Yes, Toronto, we all be there soon.

Shira's napping, I have coffee and breakfast, Alyce is with Matt running errands, and I have a piled of boxes in the basement with my name on them. Fortunately for me, I have a new label maker to make all this packing even more fun. Oh yes, I do. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some organizing to do.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ups and Downs

The day had its ups and downs. I'll get the downs out of the way first: a few too many Alyce meltdowns for my taste, and that time at the mall this morning when she sprinted through the mall after I calmly alerted her that it was time to go. Thank you to that woman who stopped her for me and held her down in front of the The Gap.

But the ups were good: we enjoyed a beautiful spring afternoon at the park with good friends. Highlights included Alyce hanging from the monkey bars, daffodils, Red Light/Green Light (to which we added Purple Light), and swings. Downs, at least for Alyce, included spiders.

Is it just me, or does Shira on the swing look like a retired grandmother in Florida?

How did you spend your afternoon today? Working or playing?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dear Alyce, Concering You Being Three

Dear Alyce, Concerning You Being Three:

My Alyce. You have grown into a delicious little girl. Yesterday you informed me that when you grow up you'd like to be both a princess and a dragon-catcher. I appreciate your combined desire for luxury and adventure. I am happy to support your ambitions in any way that I can. I do hope, however, that you permit me to be something else besides your prince, which is the title you bestow on me when we're playing dancing princesses. I guess being a prince is better than only being your lady in waiting, especially if as your prince I can join you on your dragon-finding expeditions. But I like beautiful gowns, too. Let's make Hille your prince. He won't mind. In fact, I think he'd kind of like it.

But your sometimes your world is more than twirling princesses and chasing dragons. Sometimes your days are filled with the most powerful emotions I've ever seen, soaring up and down at a moment's notice, catching the entire house off-guard. One moment you are Sleeping Beauty, dressed in your best pjs and crown, and the next you are losing that crowned head because I asked you to wash your hands after using the potty. You aren't just annoyed that I'm getting in your royal way with my tedious requests, you are collapsed in a heap of despair. This despair is the most intense, chaotic, melodramatic emotion I've witnessed. Ever.

Just yesterday I was loading the dishwasher, and when I asked you to wait before pushing in the racks (seeing as my hands were still inside the dishwasher), in what I thought was my perfectly patient parenting voice, your response felt catastrophic. I don't want to even get into the details of what happened next, as neither of us come out looking good. Let's just say that later, when we were both done crying, I appreciated how you gave me your best bunny to squeeze and how you rubbed my face.

At three, your days are often dances between two worlds, between dancing princesses and an exceedingly cruel reality where your parents insist that you wash your hands/don't sit on your sister or hit your mama/put on your dress/ok, put on your other dress/ok, fine, put on that other dress/please don't collapse into another tragic heap/and other seemingly ridiculous demands. Sometimes I forget that you are so busy learning how to do everything that you don't have time to worry about pleasantries. You are three. You are excited, impatient, curious, and sensitive. You are three.

EverydaySomedays I forget that you are three and I expect you to comply with my very reasonable demands. And everydaysomdays I forget that I am the grown-up and that I should limit my own meltdowns appropriately (one, maybe two, per day). I expect that we will figure this all out sometime soon, hopefully before Shira turns three. At the very least I'll make you deal with her. Speaking of Shira, I think she'd make a very fine prince.

Yours sincerely,

The woman who grew you in my belly and then pushed you out after more than one day of labour. Without painkillers. Also known as Mama. xxx

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A little rain

You might disagree, but I think the weather today is just perfect. There is plenty of rain, low grey skies, and just that hint of darkness that strangely enough seems to make the world glow. I could look outside all day long, especially when the view includes this Alyce attempting a world-record breaking jump. In her frog boots.

We're enjoying a quiet day around here today. There was some melodrama surrounding getting dressed this morning, but since we overcame that dreadful hurdle, we've been puttering around the house in a manner fitting a rainy day. We've danced to princess music*, read some new favourite books, and Alyce is just finishing up with her newest obsession, The Frog Prince. Next up, some very serious colouring.

I hope everyone else is able to enjoy a little rain today!

*I embarrassed myself attempting what I thought was a simple twirl and twisted my ankle. My ankle is fine, but my pride, as someone with years of ballet in her past, is suffering quite a blow.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

We're working on it

Alyce and I have had a tough couple of months at home. We've stolen some wonderful days together, but her time spent at home with me and Shira since leaving daycare has sparked a new round of sibling jealously. Daycare gave Alyce a place of her own, with teachers who loved her and lots of little friends she looked forward to seeing each morning. I know that she felt special there and at times I feel guilty for bringing her home with me full-time, but then I remind myself that there are worse things for a three year old than staying home with family who love her. I know she's enjoying our new routines at home, but to say that the transition has been rough is an understatement. I imagine that the trials of being the older sister are defined by the sometimes tragic reality that your younger sister is going to get in your way. It's a lot to get used to.

I really have no business thinking that I can teach a class about preparing siblings for the birth of a new baby.

When Shira was first born, Alyce wouldn't hug me. For a week. She was very happy to have a little sister, but was less happy that I had agreed to be a mama to them both. Maybe she expected us to bring home an additional mama for the new baby? I'll admit, I wouldn't turn down the extra set of hands. In Alyce's first few weeks as a big sister she started hitting me, and only me, all the time. I was a bit devastated (and hormonal) that my sweet, sweet Alyce was acting a bit like a thug. With her mama. Who gave birth to her and nursed her for twenty-two months. Her hitting and general disdain for a shared mama disappeared after a month or two, though at the time it felt like a year or two. Well, now it feels like a decade or two because she's back to hitting me again, and now she's hitting Shira too. To be clear: sometimes she's just standing on top of Shira, or bending her arm backward, or squeezing very hard, but however you classify it, it's feeling out of control some days. 

Friday, the day of this photo, was one of those days. In an effort to reign in the crazy we bundled up and started on a walk, only to be greeted by heavy rain. So we returned home, build a fort in the living room, and collapsed under it. At this point I had lost count of how many times Alyce had hit the two of us, sometimes in anger, sometimes for no reason at all (though I don't actually believe that. I just don't know the reason). Alyce is a delicious child who entertains so many people with her sweet silliness. Just today friends told us that watching Alyce makes them want to have their own children. I beam, of course, because I know it's true. She's an amazing little thing of a girl who I couldn't love more. I know she's special. But I also know that this week she hit me and her sister constantly. And it sucks. I look at this photo and I see just how exasperated I feel in these moments, but I also see how much I love her.

I think the best thing to do now is to keep reminding her that we don't hit and remind her of the consequences of her actions (I just need to figure out what these consequences should be). I don't ever want Alyce to think that hitting is good way to show someone that you're mad. She will have to learn how to use words (I'd accept a poem, too, or even a typed list) to express her feelings and that's that. And then I should probably relax and just admit that parenting is tricky some days. I should remind myself to cut me some slack when I react poorly in these moments. I don't know about you, but telling myself to relax about something rarely works. I can be very stubborn. But I'll be the first to say it:


Anyone else have experience with hitting? Should I buy protective gear for Shira?