Markus's sister Ulla and her partner Eckart are here visiting. They arrived last Friday, and the visit has been great from the start. The girls really enjoy playing with them, and all is going smoothly. They haven't even seemed to mind being awoken super-early by a little girl eager to pounce on them and play before sun-up. On Wednesday, they headed out of town, driving north to Monkey Mia to see the dolphins there and enjoy a bit of open country along the (long long) way. They have been missed, but it's funny to note how settled the girls are in their absence.
Because the visit hasn't been stressful or unpleasant or challenging in any way, we didn't much notice the disturbance in routine. We had set up a guest room in my sewing room instead of moving the girls from their beds. School is in session, so their weekday routine remains unchanged as well. But... From the get-go, Ellie used their visit as an opportunity to test every single one of our rules and my firm points. Push, push, push. Test, test, test. Will things stay the same now that there are two more adults here? Let's see what Mama does when...
On the second night of their stay, Ellie started moaning in her sleep quite a bit and waking in great distress. She complained of pain and discomfort, needed to pee, etc...all unusual once she's fallen asleep. Each night it got a bit worse until Markus and I debated taking her to the doctor to check for a urinary tract infection. I was hesitant because she showed no signs of pain or discomfort during the day, but her distress at night was escalating to the degree that "drama queen" diagnosis seemed questionable too. Last night was the second night of Ulla and Eckart being away, and it was the first night Ellie slept through without so much as a peep. Ah-ha.
These girls thrive on routine!
Being so very far from family and friends, our little family routine is pretty iron-clad. We don't stick to it out of parenting philosophy; rather, it works best for us, so it's what we do. A facet of that I do believe applies across the board is children like knowing what to expect. Even when the changes aren't stressful, it's still a big change from a child's perspective.
Sharing this is not my way of saying no more houseguests please. We simply found it remarkable to see what differences have emerged in our big girl over the course of a week, all based on a change at home. I share here more out of accuracy in reporting than any other motivation. Markus and I were a bit flabbergasted to notice at our own bedtime last night how quiet the house was for the first time in days. That's when it hit us (yet again): children heart routine, big style.