Current Season of Life: Pre-Tween & Post Toddler
This has to be what purgatory feels like. The constant bickering. The mood swings. The mess. The inability to share the copious Barbies. Real talk: they have 50 Barbies, why on earth must they have to play with the same. exact. one?
I knew having kids almost four years apart would be a challenge. Just like if they were 18 months a part. Or 10 years. Or 2.5 years. The challenge comes in the daily grind, because, well, kids are challenging. And my girls are exactly the same in the most opposite of ways. They both have this "Hey World! I'm here!" attitude that manifests itself completely different. It's wonderfully beautiful and inexplicably exhausting all at the same time.
Caroline, my nine year old is dramatic and emotional and all. the. feels. She is uniquely her own person, yet, tender. She worries about the world and sees it differently from her peers. She's a lover not a fighter but don't you dare back her in a corner - she will come out swinging, albeit sporadically and without any grace at all. She's completely irrational and terribly temperamental. But she loves Jesus. And her family. And her dog. Right now, she's stuck between being a Big Kid and a Tween. She can't, for the life of her, be nice to her little sister. Except when her Nana died. In the months following her death, Caroline has begged her little sister to sleep with her. At first I'd find them, embraced, tear stained cheeks, night after night until the pain was enough to bear alone. Now they fight all day only to find comfort from the other as soon as it gets dark, Caroline refusing to sleep without the protection of her decade old lovies Baby Bear and Sugars or her sister, just an arms length away.
Lulu is my five year old firecracker. She thinks she's old enough to watch the same movies as sissy and wear lipstick. She asked me last summer when she was going to get a two piece bathing suit that showed her belly and how old did she have to be to get a phone. *Insert eye roll* She loves dessert. And being naked. But, real talk? She unashamedly wore a Pull-Up to bed until the night before Kindergarten, because, well, "it's easier, Mom". She prefers sippy cups because, "I'm just a big mess 'wifout' a top". And last night, she had a legit meltdown because "I haven't seen Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in a thousand weeks!". She has a spunk that can't be denied. There is a zest for life, a desire for fun. And a wicked sense of humanity. She hides her empathy from us and yet I’ve witnessed complete compassion from her - to people & puppies. She gives the best snuggles. The sweetest smiles. And she’s terrified of being left out.
My house is so loud.
The number one form of communication is yelling. Downstairs. Upstairs. At each other. About each other. But I’m convinced it’s part of the confusion.
Caroline wanted a real purse. A big purse. To carry her things. I couldn’t imagine what things she would need a big purse for but I gave her one of my old ones and snuck a peak at what she was carrying around: Barbies, Legos, travel tissues, a poetry journal that explicitly says “Keep Out” and lists all the people not allowed to read it (Mom, Dad & Lulu are listed in the top three), and DIY Lip Balm she made from a science experiment kit she got at Christmas.
Lulu has been carting around Mary Ellen, her American Girl Doll, everywhere we go. And dressing to match her. And telling me stories about Robbie, her imaginary friend who happens to be a wolf. And she cries uncontrollably about a little slip and fall. Or school work. Or not getting to play with her sister.
It seems like we are in a constant state of not quite there and while I don’t want them to grow up I would like this uncomfortable season to pass a little more quickly. I’d like to not have to divide and conquer so much. Or to question if a movie appropriate for Caroline is appropriate for Lulu. Or watch Disney Junior anymore.
For now, though, we will just stay in the in between. And hope that time gives us grace as we navigate almost there.