Monday, April 9, 2012

The Joys of Quality Time

My in-laws are still in town, so I took advantage of their presence to spend some quality time with HeyMama. I had a meeting at Ruth House and didn't really want to inflict my defiant and loudly opinionated two year old on anyone unnecessarily, so MeToo stayed home with Grandma and Grandpa. Not that she was thrilled with the idea. Actually, ear-splitting wails ensued. But my attempt to let her "help" me prepare Easter stuff at church was a spectacular failure. I actually turned around and took her home before returning to the church on Saturday. And I wanted to spare myself the gas and time today.

So HeyMama went with me. She entertained herself appropriately during the overly-long meeting. Then we went to Ikea for lunch. I somehow managed to not buy more Samla. But I did buy a few picture frames. We did a few more errands, then she fell asleep on the ride home. So here I am blogging in my driveway while HeyMama sleeps in the back seat, thinking about how I view my children as individuals, and as a unit.

As a unit, they are an extremely chatty and demanding entity. While they are occasionally delightful to observe playing together, they are also occasionally enragingly quarrelsome. I'm glad I had them 14 months apart, but they are exhausting. 

Individually, without the conflict and whining, they are a lot more fun. When they're not busy arguing, their personality traits come shining through.  HeyMama is such a planner. She doesn't forget a thing. She remembers that the dogs' birthday is in April. And it's April now. So she was planning a birthday party for them: what kind of cupcakes we'd have, what we'd eat, who we'd invite, etc. We need balloons. Definitely balloons. She'll wear her pink tutu and a party hat. She'll make them cards. It's all planned out. HeyMama's got it covered.

Her sister is quite different. I swear that MeToo has her own personal soundtrack in her head. She is always singing. You don't need a radio in the car when MeToo's in the back seat. And now that her speech intelligibility has significantly improved, you can actually recognize the songs and sing along. She's not quite on the same generative level as HeyMama, who can make up songs on the fly. But she's getting there. And it's a hoot!

I'm coming to the realization that I enjoy my girls more and can engage with them more as individuals when I'm actually just working with them as individuals. Hmmm, it's taken me 28 months to realize this? But I feel lately as if I'm doing more disciplining and redirecting than having fun with them. Ok, so MeToo is just doing her job of presenting a larger-than-life caricature of the "Terrible Twos". But I'd like to spend more time with her as "my life-of-the-party daughter" than "my spirited and punky two year old". I know that this is a phase, but I'd like to find ways to enjoy it a bit more. 

So anyone want to take a 3 or 2 year old for a few hours once a week? I promise you'll have a good time. And I will too. 

We girls went out for lunch and drinks. 

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