Yesterday was Markus's first day back to work, which meant it was my first day alone with both girls. Baby Stephanie has been such an easy addition to the house, particularly while Markus was home. Ellie is such a daddy's girl that she doesn't want anything to do with me while he's around anyway, so I was able to cocoon my world around our newborn girl for nearly two weeks. By Saturday night, I was starting to worry what it would be like when he went back to work. Why? Ellie has been acting out in new and interesting ways.
Given that she is now two and a half years old, it's hard to say if it's her age or the baby or both (probably both), but she's moved into a phase of what I call "happy defiance" that leaves me ragged. Yes, she has tantrums. Whopper, nasty drama queen tantrums over silly things like not eating cupcakes for dinner, but those can be tuned out to a degree. The happy defiance is all new, and boy, is it effective at making Mama crazy. Ellie has always been obsessed with order. We never had to baby-proof the house. She has always taken good care of her toys and even better care of her books. But lately... It started with coloring on the table and chairs and floor. Within days, she'd evolved into throwing toys on the floor, dismantling the organization of the diaper stand at every opportunity (diapers everywhere!), jumping off of furniture... Yes, we know this is all typical 2 year old behavior, but it's VERY atypical Ellie behavior. The strangest part is she's gleeful about it. She had done similar things in the past while frustrated as part of a tantrum, but now she just seems to make me crazy for fun. She couldn't be happier about making a huge mess, and she just as gleefully refuses to participate in cleaning it up again (or doing just about anything I specifically request). One of her favorite responses is, "No, not today" (AKA: score Ellie 12,345,652; Mama 0). I've never heard the word "No!" so often in my life. So you see, I was feeling a bit of trepidation about this week.
I'm happy to report: so far, so good. Yesterday passed uneventfully, and we all survived unscathed. We did our usual trip to the zoo's Oceanarium, despite nasty gale-force winds and cold driving rain (not fun, but we had to get out of the house). This morning, Ellie went off to school without a care in the world. Maybe she's just happy to have her normal routine back. Maybe it's the calm before the storm. Who knows? We're just taking it one day at a time. Thankfully, baby Stephanie is happy to go along for the ride. She has been very easy so far, and we're very thankful! She only wakes up a couple of times per night to feed, and she doesn't cry much at all. During the night, I wake up to lip-smacking sounds rather than wails, which is pretty nice! Ellie was an easy baby too, so we weren't counting on being so lucky twice.
As expected, I feel behind on just about everything, but I will try to keep the posts coming. Please keep the comments flowing!