I've sadly neglected this blog. I should have anticipated this at holiday time, but too much good stuff is happening and I need to get at least some of it down.
In short, living with Elaine is like living with Tigger. Bouncy, but tiring. Living with Lucy, is like living with a tempermental opera singer. Extreme high notes of happiness along with dramatic bouts of weeping. And a lot of dress-up and make-believe in between.
This is the first year she is really enjoying Christmas. The other day, we decorated the tree together. Last year we didn't put ornaments on the tree because I was having Elaine. We just put lights and then forgot to water the tree during the week of her birth, so when we got home it was a stick with lights--a genuine Charlie Brown Christmas tree. But this year I dragged out the boxes of ornaments, and Lucy was thrilled. She exclaimed over each one and distributed them all on the bottom branches of the tree (of course control freak Mama rehung them all during naptime, but she never knew the difference). She asked me to sit in a chair by the tree with Elaine and then said, "Mom, please say, 'Elaine, what is Lucy doing?' Then tell her, 'Decorating the tree, Elaine! Did you not know that she could do that? Doesn't it look so wonderful?'" [A side note: later on during snacktime, she decided to also decorate the tree in various places with...shredded mozerella. And yes, if you were wondering, it was lots of fun to clean up. Then we learned that if we have what we think is a fabulous idea, we should run it by Mama before executing our plans.]
After she was finished decorating, she gave a deep sigh of satisfaction and said, "We need to sing some Christmas carols now" and proceeded to give us her renditions of "Silent Night," "Away in a Manger," "Twinkle, Twinkle," "Once in Royal David's City," and "Jingle Bells." She informed us that Daddy had told her, "It's 'Oh what FUN, Lucy' because I was singing 'Oh what FARM.'"
We've been trying a new church, and she is practicing in the Christmas program. They've even given her her own line "...and the baby lying in a manger!" She marches around the house saying, "Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel has come!" and singing a mixture of carols. We're reading the book "Room for a Little One" where a Kind Ox invites each different animal in the stable and tells them "Come inside--there's always room for a little one here." Each night before bed, she stands before our nativity scene in her little footie pajamas and puts a different figure inside. Then she whispers, "Come inside! There's always room for a little one here!"
In case your teeth are aching from all this sweetness though, rest assured that just as all good operas have their tragedy scenes, so does our house--at least three or four a day. Yesterday was particularly trying. I should have been prepared that Elaine's birthday was going to be hard. We're always reading "A Birthday For Frances" where Frances the badger has such difficulty coming to terms with the fact that it's her little sister Gloria's birthday. "That's the way it is--your birthday is always the one that is not NOW!"
Maybe I should have prepared her more. But she seemed so excited beforehand and picked out a ball and some rubber ducks to give Elaine. She bounced out of bed in the morning and said, "Is it Smoochie's birthday today?" It was all downhill from there. By the time of the party, she was doing that thing that drives both Darren and me completely nuts where she acts as though each tiny sliver of food we've asked her to ingest is being shoveled in by a frontloader. She crumbles everything up and pushes it around and scatters in on the floor. I finally took her in the other room to have a little talk, and I asked her, "Are you having a hard time because we're having a party for Smoochie?" "YES" she wailed at the highest octave anyone's ears could possibly tolerate. "And I don't want to eat any of HER birthday cake!!! Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!"
She rallied of course for the cake and the ice cream, but the presents. Oh the presents. Elaine got clothes, a blanket, and her personalized book quilt. Boring. Then she got her own Groovy Girl. Then she got a dollhouse. Whatever Elaine got, Lucy wanted. Elaine can't snatch, but she can hang on with all her might. By the end of the evening, both girls were weeping copiously. Brenda Lee didn't sing, "It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To" for nothing.
After everyone had left and I was getting Lucy ready for bed, she was holding on to the new Groovy Girl for dear life. I said, "Lucy, you remember that that Groovy Girl is Elaine's, right? When are you going to let her play with her?" "Not tonight, Mom. She's not ready to play with her. Besides," she continued as she danced the doll around, "this doll says, 'I don't like Smoochie, I don't like Smoochie."
But this morning they are happy together again. They're laughing and kissing each other. Elaine is playing with her new ducks and rubber ball, and Lucy is rerererearranging the furniture in the new dollhouse and undressing the new Groovy Girl, and all is well. For now.