Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tunnel Vision

Abby is the sweetest little girl that you might ever meet, but she is still a toddler, and subject to toddler whims.

I can deal with the insane amounts of energy, the endless curiosity, the odd notions of ownership, the messes, the mischief and the noise (most of the time). What really makes me feel like I'm losing it, though, is the constant pushing of boundaries, with no regard to my attempts to push back. Few things frustrate me like having to repeat myself, to absolutely no effect, in a futile attempt to steer her clear of certain behaviors. Add to that repeated failed attempts at physical redirection, and you get one flustered mama.

Usually, the behaviors I'm attempting to curb include jumping on inappropriate surfaces, destroying books, throwing objects, getting into things she's not supposed to, and attempting to climb on shelves and other things that can't support her weight or are otherwise unsafe.

Lately, though, she's turned her attention to roughhousing with her brother. I don't mind a bit of it- it's only natural that the two of them should play physically, and Michael is small, but he's sturdy. However, I'm constantly in fear of accidental joint dislocations, or (God forbid) head or neck injuries. After all, Abby does weigh nearly twice what Michael does, and has no concept of her own strength. Beyond that, Abby's increasing attempts to steamroll over her brother are hindering his efforts to crawl, pull up, and ultimately, stand, which is both frustrating for him and, I fear, may prove detrimental to his development if I don't intervene. And perhaps most of all, I'd desperately like to find a way to make Abby see that when she makes Michael cry, she's gone too far, and needs to stop. Immediately.

She does have a developing sense of empathy, and she knows when people are upset, so I'm not sure where the disconnect is now, with her brother. Perhaps she simply gets too caught up in what she's doing with him to respond appropriately, at least within the time-frame that I'm expecting of her.

This morning was chock-full of Abby-bullying incidents, and by lunchtime, I was so ready to get her in the crib for a long nap, just to get a break from it all. Thankfully, she not only complied by sleeping for over 2.5 hours today, she and Michael managed to line up their naps so that I could catch a quick one.

Michael never naps for long, however, so he was up well before Abby, and had the run of the playroom to himself for awhile this afternoon. When he began to get fussy, I began brainstorming for some way to amuse him. My eyes fell on our little fold-up tunnel, which has remained folded for a long while, since it takes up so much space, and Abby grows bored with it when it's out for too long, anyway. It occurred to me that now that Michael can crawl, he might want to give it a try.

He was a natural. Here he is, emerging from his first run-through.

He was so proud of himself!

On the second (or third, or fourth) go-round...

Made it through again! (If only I'd gotten that face in focus...)

Shortly after I brought out the tunnel, Abby awoke from her nap and joined in the fun.

I have never before seen her so excited to use the tunnel. I think that she was thrilled beyond belief to see her brother crawling through it.

And he was having the time of his life watching her do the same.

This was the last shot I took before switching to video, instead.

I just had to get a record of all the giggling, too. It was the most beautiful sound.

Seeing my two babies play together like that; the morning was all but forgotten.