Monday, May 17, 2010

It's Hard To Be 2

In the past 6 weeks since the birth of our second daughter Violet, our older girl, Lily, underwent an amazing transformation. I have mentioned before how much she loves her little sister and enjoys helping taking care of her. But her transformation is much more than that. Our friend Cat, the girls' grandma, said that it seems as if Lily had matured about 6 months in these 6 weeks. And it is true, that she loves to take on a lot more responsibility. She watches us taking care of Violet and imitates. These days we watch her often when she puts diapers on her bunny, straps him in the car seat, or rocks him in the swing. She also holds him on her chest and burps him, just as we do with Violet. It's too adorable for words. She also loves taking on responsibilities for her sister, wants to hold her all the time, goes fetching the pacifier or a pillow, and always runs to help carrying the supplies to change Violet's diaper.

On the other hand, we see a lot of defiance in her behavior. She refuses to listen when told something, insists on sneaking in our room to go through our drawers, throws tantrums when not getting her will, and even taking every opportunity offered to sneak out of the house. The first time almost caused us heart attacks, the second time was almost funny, but it definitely shows us that we need to be more careful around her, our little girl is not a baby any more, but a 2-year old toddler with an ever emerging personality. These days she starts to pick out her clothes, choosing interesting combinations and making first fashion statements. We even suspect a first crush, which is very sweet to watch!

These days, watching not only her transformation from only-child to big sister, but also her developing personality is both interesting and, at times, difficult for us as parents (especially on a much reduced sleep schedule). We spend some days yelling at her a lot for running from trouble to trouble without a break, while on others she is just our big girl, helping out and being as sweet as could be. I am able to cuddle up in front of the TV with her and watch chick flicks, we stand in the bathroom together, brushing our teeth and combing our hair; once or twice she even pretended putting make-up in, it is just so adorable! At the moment we never know what the next day may bring. Some evenings I am simply emotionally exhausted; on the one hand her defiance drives me insane, on the other hand I feel very guilty for yelling at her or punishing her, since she can be a very good girl if she chooses to be. Sometimes I wonder if she feels as if we don't love her any more and uses her defiance to get attention from us. It might just be the normal "Terrible Twos" stage, but paired with the addition of a new sister. From the beginning she was very good at accepting that while I am taking care of Violet, I cannot get up to play with her, and she has therefore gotten a lot closer to Richard, which he enjoys as well. Some nights I felt really bad when Lily and I were curled up watching Jeopardy as it was tradition before Violet's birth, and then Violet starts crying and needs attention. Not once was Lily jealous or threw a tantrum for me walking away to tend to Violet, which shows maturity way beyond her age. Maybe for that we expect too much from her. All we can do right now is trying to be assertive with the rules while making sure Lily knows at all times we love her for who she is. The next weeks with our relocation to Germany will be very interesting indeed for everyone, and I hope that Lily will take this change as easy as she did becoming a big sister. For this, we are very, very proud of our big little girl!

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