Monday, January 30, 2012


For the past week, Willow has been talking nonstop about her cousin Francie.  "Willow and Francie go to Science Center to see the stingray!"  "Willow and Francie go to gymnastics!"  "Willow and Francie eat some pear!"  You see, Francie, along with her mother, father, little brother, and grandmother were all coming to visit for the weekend.  Kate and Pat were going to a wedding, and we New Jersey Duntons were going to babysit--with Nama along for extra hands, because oy. 

It was...a resounding success, in many ways.  And very hard, in others.  Mostly because poor Francie wasn't feeling very well, and so all Willow's plans for Francie ended up being cast aside (we did offer up the pear, but Francie doesn't like pear as much as Willow does).  And while Willow loved both the idea and the reality of Francie, she wasn't quite so taken with the way Francie just went and played with her toys without asking (though frankly, had she asked, I'm quite sure the answer would have been a screamed "No!" anyway).  36+ hours of uninterrupted sharing was a little bit beyond Willow's underdeveloped sense of generosity.

And then there were bigger things being shared than just a kitchen.  There were times when Mommy was not really available for hugging and comforting (and during a rather stressful situation, to boot) as she was hugging and comforting another small person.  The first time Willow encountered me sitting with Baby Charlie, she immediately began climbing on my lap as well, determined to shove him off if she had too.  I turned to Charlie's father and said, "Uh, it's going to be interesting." 

Not to mention, Charlie was crying inconsolably at the time--Dave and I kept looking at each other, thinking "I know we've done this before...but I'm not sure how."  But, oddly, we both got our groove back fairly quickly.  Charlie slept on Dave for the better part of the afternoon, and on Saturday I remembered how it is babies differ from toddlers. 

First of all, there's a lot more sitting still.  I remembered the gas-relief positions Willow preferred, and my body shifted into the infinity-sway (as opposed to the gently-rocking-boat-sway she enjoys these days).  I remembered the monotonal monologue, and the surprisingly forceful back-pats.  And after that first time, Willow was totally cool with Mommy being somewhat occupied with another tiny human.  She inquired about him often, and stroked his feet and head and ears oh so gently.  I was proud of her.

And I was proud of her in her dealings with Francie too, to an extent.  This was her first time, and sharing not just a toy, but a house, a day, and the attentions of her parents and brother and sister is a hard thing.  So despite occasional snatches and screams, I was pleased that she saw the benefits of all that sharing--that it brought fun things like dancing, and taking a bath together, and chatting in nonsense language, and watching Elmo with someone who feels about Elmo the way she does.

And so maybe when, in a few weeks, it's Francie's turn to share, Willow will remember and refrain from screaming and snatching quite so much.  Maybe.

No comments: