Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Another Year of: Raising Two

Brees Elizabeth will be 2 years old on November 15.  I know that every mother says this,
but I really can't believe how quickly the time has passed.  As I reflect on this last year
and all the adventures and milestones we have experienced, I hope that you enjoy this
series of posts about our family and all the things we have learned this past year.
Another year of raising two... 

As Belle and Brees grow older, their bond continues to grow stronger.  This year, we 
watched as they learned to play together, new concepts becoming a priority in our house 
like sharing and having patience with your sibling.  With a 6 year age difference, 
playing together can sometimes be a challenge with these two.  Brees is a typical toddler 
who does not quite understand the concept of sharing, her way of establishing control is 
by hoarding every toy in sight and making it "MINE!!".  Belle then struggles with 
the dilemma of just giving in to make her happy or taking the power back and reclaiming 
her things that she was in fact playing with.  Shawn and I found ourselves, at times, 
saying "Just let her have it, she's just a baby", mostly to preserve our own sanity so that 
we wouldn't have to hear the inevitable meltdown when Brees didn't get what she 
so passionately wanted.  But we eventually called ourselves to the carpet for that, 
realizing that it's not fair to Belle to constantly have to give in to make her sister 
happy.  Sharing is caring, no matter the severity of the temper tantrum that is sure to 
follow.  And so we encourage them to play with grace and love, to establish their 
individual boundaries, and then discipline accordingly.  Not an easy task by any means 
but a necessary life lesson.

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This year, we witnessed both the similarities and the differences in their personalities,
both of them coming into their own as individuals.  Isabelle is pink and glitter and
sass, creative, artistic, and full of light and personality.  She would rather be
creating elaborate costume parties and acting out some scene from a fairy tale than
getting dirty.  Brees, on the other hand, would rather be naked than fashion conscious
any day.  She loves to be outside, hands in the mud, busy climbing, running, and/or
building.  Brees is shy and timid around strangers while Belle has never met someone
who wasn't a friend.  Belle needs to be coaxed into trying new things, Brees dives in
head first.  They are both, however, extremely loving, affectionate, and
compassionate.  They are each other's biggest fans and look after one another even when
the other sister doesn't know it.  They sneak each other treats, help each other out
of trouble, and can often be found plotting one scheme after the next.  We encourage
them to be who they are and to love each other for their differences.  The dynamics of
this family make us whole, balance us out.  It is important to us that they understand
that, that they appreciate each other for who they are and see the beauty in
their uniqueness.

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This year, we learned to take a step back when needed and allow them the space to work
out issues on their own.  I don't want to always be hovering and solving problems and
being TOO present, curating every minute of their lives.  I believe strongly in letting kids
be kids, using moments as teaching opportunities but not suffocating them.  They have
their own system, these two, and tend to work out their problems very quickly.
Though Belle is older, Brees has found her voice and can make her opinions known
very efficiently.  And so, when they play together, we try to let them run their own show
as much as possible, figuring out their dynamics as they go.

Belle and Brees have a beautiful relationship, a caring and loving bond that I hope
will continue to grow right along with them.  There are moments between them that melt
my heart: like Belle begging to be the lucky one who gets to pick up Brees out of her
crib after nap, or Brees waiting anxiously for "sissy" to get off the school bus, the looks
on their faces when they see each other at the end of the day.  They sometimes fight
over who gets the mermaid Barbie or whose turn it is to watch something on TV but,
overall, they are sweet sisters who show each other so much love, they inspire us to do
the same.  As parents, we can only hope that they grow into sisters who show each
other love, respect, and loyalty, that they are never more than a phone call away from
being each other's superhero.


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Deanna Fike said...

i have definitely learned to take a step back in letting my boys resolve their issues this year too. and they actually caught on so much more quickly than i imagined! after ignoring their bickering one morning, it suddenly stopped. it was the most amazing thing ever. :)

Olivia said...

So true! They have their own language and code and usually work stuff out far better than when we intervene. As long as they follow the "no contact" rule, we let them go!