It’s been three and a half years since my baby was delivered. My baby who didn’t cry and made my heart sink that something was wrong. My baby who couldn’t get warm so couldn’t be brought for me to hold her, until several hours later. My baby who had a hole in the roof of her mouth, and two feet turned in, which was explained to me before I even really got to get a good look at her. My baby who was the size of a preemie, despite being full term, because something had gone wrong inside the womb, and the placenta was abnormally small.
We’ve been through a lot, but really, she’s fine. She’s had so many doctors visits that she thinks of them as a field trip, with toys and adventure. In fact, she was so excited to go to the hospital for her ear tubes surgery, that she couldn’t wait for the day, and got up with me in the early hours with joy instead of grumbling. But she continues to grow and learn and improve and for the most part it’s a history that has left very little stain on her present. Most people have absolutely no idea that anything was ever or could possibly be wrong with her. She’s bright, sociable, lovable, kind, talkative, energetic, funny, clever and all around a wonderful and, in the best way possible, normal little person.
But for some reason, when I go through her medical documents my heart still lurches. I keep a running medical diagnoses document to take with me, so that I don’t have to remember the last time she had an ear infection or what she took for it, or try to remember the date of a specific surgery. Or the medical names for things we’re tracking with blood samples or sonograms or whatever. I keep it all written down, modify it as needed and print a copy before a visit. It makes keeping up with her history painless for me. And yet, my heart still hurts.
I can’t fathom why. She’s such a treasure of a child, and none of that past impacts her day to day life now, really, so why do I get squeamish when I’m filing her papers? I should be used to it now. She’s here, she’s my snuggle bunny, she drives me nuts in a typical threenager temper-tantruming type of way. Why does my heart still go up into my throat when I think about her past? My five year old has had surgeries.. she’s had adenoidectomy, tonsillectomy and tubes, all because the poor thing couldn’t hear in school or breathe well at night, but I don’t get the same sinking feeling when looking at her old photos. Granted, she is a strong, brave, spirited child who doesn’t know the words ‘slow,’ ‘quiet,’ or ‘calm.’ I love her just as much, but she doesn’t make me ache.
I wish I could get past this because I don’t want my feelings to make my baby think she’s not strong or that she’s somehow not whole.
With the brief hiatus of nearly three years of child rearing out of the way, I’m finally ready to get my brain back into writing mode. The intention is two-fold: document the stories of my bitty girls’ childhood for remembrance always, and to hopefully gain the capacity to someday be an actual writer.
I frequently regret that I haven’t been keeping up with sharing the daily anecdotes. I have those moments of, “oh gosh I need to tell someone what they did, it was soooo funny/cute.” Instead I wait until I’m only left with the residue of the memory, just that it was something really share-worthy, but heck if I can remember what it actually was.
And that’s just awful. It’s the bitter after-taste of forgetfulness instead of the flavor of a memory well shared.
I can’t tell you the number of times I call Eric and say, “Aria asked the funniest thing in the car this morning!” and he’ll go, “yeah?” and I’ll pause and then, “yeah.. it was.. it was something about dinosaurs.. and it was really clever.. but I can’t remember what it actually was..”
I guess motherhood really zaps the memory cells or something.
So anywho, Aria is in Kindergarten and Avery is in daycare pre K and both love school and the new house and snow and being each other’s sister (most of the time) and life is constantly chaotic. Aria is involved in a few activities and I’m working on getting Avery back into activity-mode. She regressed upon turning three – or maybe upon our move into the new house – and has been unable to detach herself from my leg long enough to go do paid-for activities. Therefore, she hasn’t been enrolled. But I’m thinking we’ve turned a corner because when she sees Aria doing “kicking and punching” or hockey or whatever, she asks if she can do something. I think dance was great for her when she participated, so I’m hoping we can try that again with better success.
Ok well, this is my official first effort to get back into it, let’s not push it.
Last night I was attempting to manage both girls while Eric was down for the count with some illness, and I told Aria I was putting Avery to bed and to stay downstairs. She was good at first but managed to find her way onto my lap when Avery and I had reached the storytime part of the routine.
We read a few books then I told her I was going to give Avery her bottle and she needed quiet to settle down. So Aria very reluctantly left, but only managed to go over to our bedroom and I could hear her saying in her highest, most motherly voice, “daddy sick?? Sick daddy?”
I set Avery on the floor and left her lying next to her crib still drinking her bottle (sippy cup). The floor is safer than the chair or changing table now that she rolls, and she freaks out if I put her in her crib before we’re done with the entire bedtime ritual.
I decided to go ahead and start Aria’s bathtime so that would be underway and it would keep her occupied. Once she was in I went back to finish feeding Avery, and the little doll was lying on her side, curled up in a little ball next to the crib, assuming that this must be where she was going to sleep tonight. Granted, her rug is super plush and soft, but still. That made me feel so bad that she thought she was going to sleep there. 😦
Then tonight I had to set her down on her floor again to get her a refill on formula. She was beyond mad because she was still hungry on top of being tired since it was way past her bedtime. So as I was in the bathroom preparing another bottle I was watching her in her room, watching me and squirming and struggling and throwing a full blown tantrum from her belly, up on her elbows.
And it gave me a terrible idea.
She is 10 months and still not crawling. Yes, she’s had more setbacks than most babies will ever have to endure, from having her legs casted, to having back surgery, to just having systems not all functioning up to par… but since the tethered cord release she has no physical reasons why she shouldn’t be able to crawl, so I turned into PT mommy. The mommy I usually struggle with and instead cave to her pitiful sobs when she struggles so hard and just can’t manage.
I put her bottle down on the floor…just out of her reach.
It felt awful. The whole time she was reaching and writhing and stretching I was both cheering her on and apologizing profusely. My heart broke at least 50 times during those 30 seconds.
She tried so hard. She squirmed and pushed and managed to get close enough to knock it over, and that was about all I could take. I tried setting it back up, but when she tried again and couldn’t grab it she buried her face in her carpet and cried and I picked her up, snuggled her close with her bottle, and told her how very sorry I was.
But don’t you worry. After she finished her bottle she lie there for a second all content with her full sleepy belly, sighed a big sigh, then turned and looked at me with her big beautiful eyes. She cooed once at me as she reached out her little hand and grabbed my nose. Then squeezed it with her fingernails digging in and tried to rip it off my face.
Oh my little baby girl that puts me through emotional acrobatics. I love that little squishy baby so much, and she’s just so stinkin’ cute I just have to absorb her cuddles into me.
Ok, that’s out of the way.
Ok now really.This last week was a good week. We learned some new news, but pretty much all positive.
We first visited the hospital’s NICU developmental program, who wants to follow Avery to track how she’s developing, and whom at first I was somewhat hesitant to visit because we are already visiting specialists for everything and it seemed a little redundant and like a potential waste of time. That being said, this was only the second appointment, the first having been at 3 months when I first learned about her chromosomal abnormality, so I did kind of have a bitter taste from that experience. But we went anyway, with the intention of trying again and if it wasn’t helpful, then I just wouldn’t schedule a follow-up. Well I’m glad we went. There were three ladies, one who played with Avery, one who sat and took notes, and one who sat next to me and asked a bunch of questions as well as narrated what the one who was playing with Avery was doing. They put her in a highchair and gave her different objects, like a ring with a string attached. The narrating lady explained, “she’ll put the ring out of her reach and see if Avery can figure out that she can use the string to pull it closer.. see, there she figured it out. This is a problem solving skill and is part of a next step ability, a skill you would need when driving, or when they figure out they can push a chair up to the sink.” Oh great. Another child that can push furniture around and get into things, just what I need!
They kept gushing over how pleasant she was and how sweet and adorable. I’m pretty used that that kind of talk and I tend to assume people say that to all the cute little babies, but the one who was playing with her said so many times that I actually lost track, “why can’t all my patients be this good!” They asked me if she’s always this easy-going and I replied that she was, unless she was hungry or sleepy (which when I told her pappy he said it with me verbatim in stereo when I was telling him the story). They noted that when she did something they asked that she looked for approval with a big smile, and it made me think about how we’ve been working on different skills and how when she does them we (PT, OT, grandparents, myself) all make a big deal with lots of applause. They asked about her motor skills and I did warn them that she might give heck if they put her into a crawl, so they saved that for the very end. And she did. She was so sweet and complacent the whole time, and sure enough, when they tried to force her onto her hands and knees she raised heck, but stopped the minute they put her back into a sit.
Because her back surgery caused her to be immobile and basically stuck on her back with little to no stimulation to her gross motor skills for 7 weeks, I joke that her 9mo adjusted age is 7 months. I told them that too, because I know that she’s doing roughly what Aria was doing at 7 months and that she’s a little delayed on getting to a sitting up position on her own as well as working on crawling.
Well sure enough, she scored at 7 months on her gross motor skills. But she scored above her age on her fine motor skills, and at or above her age on cognitive abilities! So basically, when she couldn’t move around much, she focused her efforts elsewhere 🙂 She’s not a lazy one, that little tot! They think she’s doing wonderfully and they had no concerns about her mental capacity. They do want to continue following her for her vision, as she seems to have some strange tendencies, like taking a vision break and looking over your shoulder or at your forehead, or tilting her head back to look at some things, which in all honesty I’m so glad someone else observed because I often feel like I’m the crazy one when I bring up quirks of hers and I get brushed off. It seems like some of her uniqueness is either out of everyone’s specialty or unexplainable.
So yeah, really glad we went, they saw all the things I and PT/OT see, I’m not crazy, and my baby is on track to being a normal healthy baby girl (and the cutest!).
Next we went and had her head scanned for her plagiocephaly (flat spot) and they said she could go without the helmet during the day but should keep it on at night for another four weeks. Yay for helmetless baby girl!
After that we went and saw the Cleft Palate folks and prepared for the surgery coming up in June. It was pretty straigtforward, and the doctor explained the risks and whatnot, and said, “less than 1% in my hands” which sounded both odd and comforting to me. Typical recovery is 2 nights in the hospital, but if she’s doing well the doctor said we might be able to be discharged after the first night, but my mother-in-law and I agreed that it would probably be best to just stay so that Avery can focus on recovering and not trying to keep Aria from jamming things in her mouth. Which she does, like play food. Plus Avery will be restrained to keep her from putting things in her mouth. Upon reviewing the appointment summaries on our Children’s account online, I found that the surgeon had left her review of the appointment, including my consent and her evaluation of Avery, which included, “On exam Avery is an adorable, alert, interactive 9-month-old female in no apparent distress. She is well cared for and well groomed.” 🙂
Last was ENT and after the doctor asked about her past Audiology appointments and based on his finding fluid in her ears that day, he recommended we move forward with putting tubes in her ears when she had the cleft surgery. So backing up a second: we’ve seen Audiology twice, but the first one was kind of a loss because her ear drums weren’t moving and she wasn’t responding to the tests consistently. So we went back in April and while her left eardrum didn’t move properly, she did hear mostly normally out of that ear, but her right ear drum was moving but she failed all of the hearing tests on that side and the audiologist said it appears she has hearing loss. But she did recommend that at the very least we repeat testing several more times with different audiologists to get the most accurate measurements, and ideally we would have an ABR test, which can only be administered while she’s sedated but would be the most accurate as it would actually measure brain activity so we’d know whether the brain could hear the noises or not, instead of just measuring Avery’s reactions. Back to the present: While talking to the ENT doctor he explained we couldn’t coordinate the ABR with the two surgeries (cleft palate and tubes in the ears) and I gave my hesitations about having her sedated again later, as it would be so many times (with these surgeries we’ll be at three in less than a year 😦 ). BUT, he said that even though the last audiology appt showed her right ear as being healthy but hearing loss, it could very well be that she did in fact have fluid in there and it may be why she couldn’t hear. SO, the tubes might actually improve her hearing on that side and she may not have the hearing loss.. or at least not as bad as we thought! After learning this Eric and I discussed waiting to schedule the ABR until we let the tubes work and follow up with Audiology again and see what we get. I would feel much better about that.
So that was one day, then another day we went to Orthopedics and learned a lot more! So her scoliosis is due to the plates between her vertebrae growing at odd angles instead of square/rectangular shapes. Its based on the cells growth and I’m not 100% sure I understood how that all works or how it would be corrected if it continues to grow wonky, but based on her last x-ray and this one it had not changed, and currently the scoliosis is very mild and he would be perfectly happy with her in 10 years if she continued growing the way she is now. He explained why, from his perspective, it was so important that we had the tethered cord release. From what I had understood, it was more about the future potential damage that it could do as it pulled and stretched where it shouldn’t, but from his perspective it was causing her nerves to not communicate with her body the way it should. So it impacted her scoliosis, her clubbed feet, her hips not moving correctly.. and now corrected it will take time for it to communicate properly so her body has some catching up to do. Wow! He couldn’t explain why her hips won’t abduct out flat the way they should, but said that might correct now. He kept using the words uniquely made, and God’s design when talking about her, like her extra rib that is fused with another rib. I brought Denise, my mother-in-law, with me to absorb whatever he might tell us because I was prepared for it to be a lot (which it was), and she brought up how Avery can be sitting there and reaching for something way out in front of her and her nose will pretty much touch the floor as she stretches forward. I hadn’t thought anything of it because babies tend to be flexible, but he actually explained that she has extra laxity in her joints. This means she will be more flexible than most, and may very well be a contortionist when she figures out how to move her body, and it will both be blessing as well as problematic as she’ll be more likely to dislocate joints. Speaking of which, she doesn’t show any signs of hip displaysia which everyone’s been watching for. He said her legs and feet looked beautiful, and he recommended we leave the special shoes on for another year to help them set and allow the muscles in her feet adjust but we could also swap out for regular shoes on the wrong feet. Otherwise he said she has a great structure and he had every belief she was going to be able to walk, run, jump, climb and do whatever she wanted and otherwise be a normal little girl!
So. This week. My baby is going to be ok. Normal. Uniquely made but capable of being a normal little girl. That’s all we really wanted.
And it finally sank in that God really does got this. He gave me her lullaby when we were in the NICU, before we ever learned all she’d undergo or how intense the first year of her life would be, or even before we knew she didn’t have calcifications in her brain.
My little Avery
just so small and sweet
you are so dear to me
my precious Avery
You will overcome
all that was undone,
And may the Lord be true
and bring new faith through you
He’s done exactly as I asked and he told me through song that He would. She’ll always have little tale-tale signs of her unique makeup, like her eyes and the one crease on her left hand, but maybe those are so she can share the story of how God healed her and made her whole so that she can plant many many seeds of faith for Him.
So now my emotions are just coming to terms with looking at Avery as “normal” and not thinking of her as special. She’s been so special for such a long time now, and has had to be treated as delicate, that it’s hard, but I don’t want to set her back or expect less of her or overcompensate for her when she has every possibility of doing more than I ever imagined she’d be able to do. So the new normal is thinking of my baby as a perfectly normal baby girl, like most parents expect their babies to be, with just a little bit of an interesting history behind her 🙂
This little girl is trying so hard to become mobile. She rolls around and then checks out her surroundings.
Avery playing the piano: (about half way through the video Aria takes the phone off of me, so stop watching if you get motion sickness!)
My pretty, precious little girl is devilishly deceitful. Adorably astute. Cleverly cute. Maddeningly manipulative.
Anyway, she gets these reports from daycare that come home each day that list things like what she ate and how much, if she used the potty, diaper changes, etc. At the bottom the teacher puts stickers and always writes “clean up stickers” so that the parents know if and how many times they helped clean up. Aria always gets clean up stickers because she enjoys cleaning up (note: at daycare; NOT at home unless there’s a huge song and dance number that accompanies the process).
The other day I was working from home so walked down to the daycare to pick her up. Eric was there when we arrived at home and as we were headed in I was perusing her report and noticed there were no stickers! I made an offhand comment to her about not getting any stickers today and she took it from me and said, “I got clean up stickers!” to which I replied “… mmnnoo you didn’t..”
She took it and ran inside to show Eric. “Daddy! I got clean up stickers!”
Her joyful enthusiasm spilled over to him, “You did?!!”
Mommy’s willful determination to squash all bubbles and rainbows, “no she didn’t. She’s lying to you.”
Daddy’s hesitation, “you didn’t get clean up stickers Aria?”
She grabs the paper from him, runs in the other room and I find her sitting in the middle of the kitchen putting her OWN stickers on where the teacher would have put them. She then takes the paper back to Eric.
“Daddy, I got clean up stickers!!”
Eric looks at me with the same look I’m feeling.
Our two year old is already forging report cards!!!!
PS I told the teacher about this experience the next day (who found it utterly amusing), and when Aria did earn stickers and the teacher put them on her paper Aria said, “I got Real clean up stickers!”
I just love my babies. When singing lullabies to them sometimes I’ll sing “You are my sunshine” but instead of “my only sunshine” I say, “one of my sunshines” because it just wouldn’t be true! In my world there is more than one sun. And they’re so sparkly and girly, and one has little bitty curls.
Anyway, my girls confound me at times. Aria can spout off any rule she’s ever been told while deliberately disobeying it at the same time. I watched her in the baby monitor one night as she leaned on the edge of her bed to reach the light and said, “no Aria, leave lights off or mommy will take out the lightbulbs” as she turned it on. “Turn the lights off, Aria.” “Lay down, Aria” as she sits there fluffing her blanket. At daycare she apparently sits on the potty and says, “no sticker if no pee on the potty,” which amuses her daycare teacher. She is constantly rattling off things she’s been told.
She had Eric and I in stitches one night, even though she just would NOT go to bed. I had put her back in bed countless times, had tried completely ignoring her but she would just come out of her room, I tried closing the door but she can open it now, I tried threatening her with spankings but she is very clever and manages to do the exact bare minimum of what I ask to avoid it (like sitting on the edge of her bed so she’s technically “in bed”).. Finally I just gave up. She came in to our room and crawled in to bed next to me and I just rolled over with a “whatever” and tried to tune out her babbling. She kept sitting up to do something or other and I was about to leave her to torment Eric alone and sleep on the couch when she sat up and said, “mommy, put Aria to bed” and climbed down and went to her room. “Come on mommy!” So I followed my very-awake-at-11:30pm-child to her room and tucked her in to her bed for the umpteenth time. And left the baby gate open because Eric and I agreed it did absolutely nothing anyway.
The end of the world happened. Just as I was crawling back in to bed we hear her yelling, “Mommy! Close the gate!” I grab the baby monitor and Eric and I watch as she stands in front of the baby gate which is mostly closed, just not latched, as she cries and screams about how her gate is open. Mind you, she can close the gate herself. She does it all the time. It is completely within the realm of her capabilities. But instead she stood there with her blanket around her shoulders, crying at the top of her lungs “mommy close the gate!” over and over again. Eric and l looked at each other like she was insane.. which she clearly is. Eventually it became clear she wasn’t going to stop freaking out over the gate so I went and closed it. And of course then she crawled over it. *sigh* We were wondering what would happen if the baby gate were to disappear completely.
Speaking of OCD, I made it a goal of mine to make ties for her curtains but I’ve only managed to make one so far. I tied her curtain back and she had a conniption fit. She literally cried and freaked out over it and threw it away she was so upset. So it hasn’t gone back up but Eric suggested I keep putting it back until she gets used to it. I figure I will once I get the other ones made. Maybe then it will have more order and she’ll be ok with it.
Avery is developing her own personality as well. She thrives on routine but isn’t OCD like Aria. It’s amazing that, when I watch her, I can lay her on the blanket on the floor with a blanket over her when it’s naptime, and she’ll just go to sleep. Sometimes it takes longer than others, sometimes she has to babble a bit first, or even cry for a brief moment just as she’s dropping off, but she always takes a nap eventually. And I don’t mean eventually like, hours waiting for it to happen.. more like minutes. The longest was probably 20 minutes of her playing on the floor before she went. She also tells me when it’s time for bed. She’ll be super sweet and playful and happy and all of a sudden she looks at me all devastated and starts fussing a little and I say, “ok we can go to bed” and she’s calm as long as she sees that I’m starting to get ready to put her bed. Even if it’s past her bedtime, once she knows we’re headed upstairs soon, she’ll chill. She sometimes cries out when she sees her bottle, but she still waits patiently for it. We’ll go upstairs, change her diaper and clothes, put her shoes and helmet back on, we’ll even read some books and the bottle will be sitting right there next to us, and she’s totally cool. But once we turn out the light she starts freaking out. She gets squirmy when I pick up that bottle and everything is flailing until she can snatch the bottle from my hand and jam it in her face. Then she’s calm and quiet and content again. Even if she’s still awake when the bottle empties, she’ll usually sit there in my lap all quiet until I flip her over and snuggle her. Or she’ll take it upon herself to try to flip over and snuggle. She’s an excellent snuggle. Probably the best snuggler that ever lived. Ever.
So she doesn’t have a soft palate in the roof of her mouth. And yet somehow she makes clicking noises. Sometimes I’ll be holding her in my lap and she’ll be sitting there contemplating life and I’ll hear the noises that you can make when you create suction in your mouth. I’ll look at her and say, “Avery! How did you do that?” and she’ll just look at me all nonchalant like, “I just do. Why do you ask?” Then I’ll do it to her and she’ll smile and find me amusing, but still won’t explain how she does it. She’s mysterious like that, keeping her secrets secret. She can also suck down a bottle in nothing flat when she’s feeling ravenous. She can hold her own bottle now and I’ve even seen her squeeze the nipple part to refill it when it’s empty if it’s not refilling fast enough on its own involved (special bottle, one-way valve that creates pressure in the nipple so she can essentially bite/chew on it to get milk out instead of having to suck). I’m not sure if it’s possible for her to understand that concept or the physics, but I have definitely seen her squeeze it to refill it more than once.
She does other things that she shouldn’t be able to do. She’s been arching her back to help you lift her out of her car seat since she was conscious of the world.. so like since 2 months or so. She has been pushing her arms through sleeves (VERY consistently) and, again, arching her back when you pull the shirt down behind her since she was 6 months. She started banging objects together and passing objects from hand to hand at 5 months. All of these early, some, like the helping to dress herself, ridiculously so. Meanwhile she was delayed on a lot of motor skills like rolling over and sitting up, but the thought is maybe because she was restrained by things like casts and devices or surgery restrictions, she just started working on other stuff instead.
Since she was restricted from nearly all physical activity for almost two months it was really hard work for her to sit up or stand once we got the all clear, but within days she was pretty much back to where she had been at 6 months and is continually improving. I was able to sit her up and leave her for roughly five minutes at a time, with her able to look around and not tip over. She’s even started to figure out how to catch her balance. She’s also willing to stand again; the first couple of days she just wouldn’t, but if you sit her in your lap in front of an activity table she’ll pull herself up and stand hunched over it. So I’m hopeful that with the progress we’ve made so quickly in a week’s time that she will just keep pushing forward. She does still have scoliosis to deal with, but hopefully it’s not too severe (we learn more in May).
I have such a hard time with my feelings towards Avery. Sometimes I look at her and think she’s going to be fairly normal, maybe very similar to her sister, and will have a normal childhood and life after she’s done with all of this stuff she has to endure right now. Other times I think she’s going to be special. Not sure how special, but somehow special. I mean, obviously both of my girls are special, but while life seems to be ridiculously easy for Aria, who rarely meets a challenge she can’t force to comply to her will and therefore gets frustrated easily when something is above her capacity, Avery is a hard worker who rarely gets frustrated and who seems to adapt amazingly to overcome her disabilities.
One thing though that I’m so blessed with is that they are both such sweet little girls. They adore each other, and they both know how to make me smile and laugh. They are such joys to be around and I’m so blessed to be their mommy. I don’t want to wish away Avery’s babyhood because she really is, no joke, the best snuggler of all time and I just love holding her, but I do also look forward to watching them play together and Aria teaching Avery how to get into mischief. 🙂
- It’s important to exert your independence as early as possible so that they know you are capable of taking care of yourself. Never allow help when getting dressed, changing your diaper, or going to the bathroom as it shows weakness. If you absolutely cannot do it on your own, and you’ve tried screaming and rolling around on the floor already, then and only then accept help but make sure you demand it in a loud whiny voice.
- Always say “No” first when answering any question someone asks you, then actually listen to the question to make sure it’s not something you really want.
- Actually, you don’t even have to always listen when someone asks you a question. Sometimes it’s better to just tune everyone out and pretend you don’t hear anything, because at some point someone will say Cookie or Go Play Outside or something else awesome to get your attention, so get really excited about it so they feel guilty and have to give you whatever they said.
- When mommy or daddy count numbers in the wrong order it means something very bad is going to happen. It’s best to hold out as long as possible, until they get to 1, before actually doing whatever it is they want.
- A plate is just a general suggestion of where food should go.
- Procrastination is your best friend. Make sure that you wash your hands three times, brush your teeth for 10 minutes, and play dress up with all of the clothes in the bottom drawers before bed. It may mean no story time or only a 20 minute nap, but it’s so worth it.
- Your sibling’s life is in your hands. Make sure mommy knows every time your baby sister is crying, and what it is she needs. If mommy is taking too long to give her a bottle, go ahead and make one for her.
- Because of all that you do for your sibling, half of her dinner belongs to you. Make sure you remind mommy every other bite that it’s your turn.
- Mommy needs lots of help cleaning. If she gets out the vacuum cleaner, go ahead and take over for her so she can watch but not go anywhere else. If she starts sweeping, you should take over that responsibility too. If she’s doing dishes that for sure is something you can and definitely should help with.
- Be careful, things on the stove may be hot. Make sure everyone knows this.
- Frequently remind people of what belongs to who. Tell mommy that she’s wearing mommy’s shirt, and tell daddy that this is daddy’s cup and make sure they know what stuff is yours. And be sure mommy knows that she is your mommy. Catastrophe may happen if she is not fully aware that she is your mommy, so remind her often.
- Be sure you keep everyone in line. If daddy gets up from dinner empty handed, go ahead and scold him to take his plate to the sink. If mommy isn’t singing and dancing along with the song you just learned in daycare, be sure to cry at her because she’s definitely doing it on purpose.
- Never get left behind; if mommy is more than three steps ahead of you, tell her to wait for you, and if she doesn’t, have a meltdown on the stairs, or in the kitchen, or wherever you might be that you could definitely get lost.
- Rules apply to everyone except you. If you aren’t supposed to step in grandma’s flower bed, make sure you trample some flowers while telling your cousin to get out of the flower bed. Pull mommy’s hair but then reprimand your sister when she does it to you.
- When daddy decides to watch TV it is optimal timing to put in a movie. Go ahead, try out three or four movies before walking away and leaving daddy to watch Dumbo or Sing Along Songs without you.
- The cat is not allowed to sleep in past you. If you catch him sleeping in his cat bed in the morning, make sure to tell him it’s time to get up as you dump him from his cat bed. Then make sure you throw the cat bed in another room so he can’t sneak back to bed.
- On random occasions, completely baffle your parents by being the most angelic perfect child ever for a little while, just to get them off their guard.