Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Easy Days Are Over

Little Greta. From the get-go she has been an easy baby—hardly ever fussy except when tired, a great nurser from the very start, happy to nap in the Ergo, content to go along with whatever Lucia and I had planned for the day, a five-hour-stretch sleeper for weeks when she came home from the hospital.

But the easy days with Greta are over. At nine and a half months, she has come into her own, and she is beginning to let us know it. Mere weeks ago, she’d simply sit quietly and not utter a peep if Lucia came up and snatched a toy from her hand. She’d look at her in confusion, sometimes, but usually she’d just move on to something else. No longer. Now, if Lucia grabs a toy from her or prevents her from playing with something (which happens, oh, a hundred times an hour), she emits an outraged screech—she becomes red-faced, enraged, squawking her protest. It’s hilarious to see Lucia’s reaction to this. The first few times it happened, Lucia just stared at her and then took her toy again a couple of times, watching for Greta’s reaction. There is no middle ground with Greta right now. Happily playing can go to outraged screaming in a millisecond.

I feel for Greta—she is definitely being challenged by her big sister these days—but she brings it on herself many times by being dead set on playing with the exact, specific toy that Lucia is involved with. She crawls right up, gets in Lucia’s face, tries to get her little hands right into the mix. This morning Greta and I were happily engaged with a book in the living room when the tell-tale noise of the play-food bin being dumped out caught her attention. In a second, she was off, barreling toward Lucia and the pile of play food that Lucia was meticulously sorting into various bags.

Today all Greta wanted to do was hold a marker (with cap on) in each hand. Lucia had about twenty other markers, but she NEEDED the yellow marker that Greta had. “I love that one!” she pleaded, then grabbed it from Greta. When I reprimanded her, she said, “We’re sharing!” Which in this case clearly meant that Greta had “shared” it with her. Clearly, we have some work to do. Greta reacted to all this by screaming maniacally, waving her arms in the air in rage.

Greta is also putting everything, everything, everything in her mouth. Leaves, seeds, grass, stones, chalk, markers without caps (her mouth was black yesterday—she looked monstrous), crumbs from the floor (pre-stellar-housekeeping). Truly, this is a baffling evolutionary mistake. How have humans survived when a baby’s instinct is to put everything in its mouth? Mmmm, look at this bright-red mushroom! Look at this windpipe-sized stone!

Sigh. Baby Grets. So cute, so snuggly, so willful. Interesting times are ahead.


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