Normally everywhere we go, people stop to coo and fawn over Ari, she's a baby, what can I say? Well, when this happens, Ellie is most often found standing by making mean faces and being rather disagreeable to anyone who's in her path. I attributed her behaivor to a bit of sibling rivalry.
Yesterday, we were taking a walk and a young woman walked right past us without smiling or even acknowledging us. Ellie was shocked. With an indignant look on her face, she yelled out, "HEY, she doesn't like our baby! She didn't want to look at her or talk to her!" And then she ran over to Ari and held her hand reassuringly. In that split second I caught a glimpse of the future. Of broken hearts by mean, mean ole boys and a pair of sisters comforting one another and reassuring the other of their respective charm and beauty. The preciousness was palpable.
And then there's the babbies......
Ellie calls the pacifier a babbies, I dunno. Anyway, we had broken her of them before I went back to Indiana recently by letting her cut the ends of them into the trash with "grown up scissors". She was free of them, like a junkie come clean, and THEN. And then driving back from my In Laws one day, she was bawling like you had just dismembered a kitten in front of her while pooping on a DVD of Toy Story. Yeah, it was THAT bad. She didn't want to go home with ME, her MOTHER. She wanted to stay at Grandma's where she is the sun and we are all just caught in her orbit.
Well, if that didn't make me feel like crap, so I did a terrible thing. I had a pacifier in my purse for Ari (who wants NOTHING to do with them) and like some back street pusher, I offered it to her to quell the pain.
"Here man, take some a this, you know, in a few minutes, you'll forget aaaaaaal about Grandma's. Yeah, thas right, just set back and enjoy."
And oh boy, had I started something. The addiction came back tenfold. It has been a battle of nearly apocalyptic proportion every time I try to take away the bakers dozen she carries around at all times.
I sat and contemplated how to deal with this. The subtle ways it could be handled with a minimum of tears and heartache. I was at a loss for any good ideas. But I knew one thing. They had to GO. And it needed to be yesterday! So I explained to her that she was too big for them now and we were going to go to the toy store and let her pick out a new toy that would take the place of the babbies.
As we pulled into Toys R Us, her eyes filled with tears and, grasping at straws, she hurriedly said, "That's OK Mommy, I don't need any new toys. I have good toys at home." I explained to her that this WAS going to happen and wouldn't she like a new toy to make the transition easier?
"B-B-B-But I'll really miss my baaaaaaaaaaa-biiiiiiiies!" She cried.
"It WILL be OK Ellie. I had to give mine up too and Uncle Gordon and Daddy and we were all sad too, but we were all OK. You can hug and snuggle your new toy when you feel sad about your babbies and that will help you feel better."
"OK", she said in a small voice.
As soon as we entered the doors the babbies were all but forgotten. She ended up picking out a tiny family of tigers that came with a plush little sofa. When we got to the car she reluctantly handed over the pacifiers and I traded her for the tigers.
Bedtime went off without a hitch partly due to the mound of unicorn books we checked out of the library, and this morning she asked me for them once and when I reminded her that they were gone and, well, she was fine. She was MORE fine than I would have given her credit for.
Moral: A few tears initially are worth enduring to spare yourself a mountain of them later.