If those of you in California hear a child screaming in the far distance, it's probably Lily. That kid has unbelievably loud vocal cords. So if you hear her, say a prayer for me.
If I tell her that she's had enough milk for now, she throws herself to the ground and screams.
If I tell her it's time to go and she does not want to go, well....screaming.
If we are at school and my hands are full so I can't pick her up, she turns herself into jelly-legs and makes herself a puddle on the sidewalk. I pick her up by the arm and drag her along, forcing her to walk, and she screams. I'm sure every student on campus thinks I am torturing the child.
And then there's World War III, which has broken out between Josiah and Lily. If he just "happens" to bump into her (which "accidentally" happens multiple times a day), screaming ensues. Then Josiah gets punished and he tries to compete with her in volume. In the last couple of days, she has attempted to retaliate by coming at him with her teeth. I discovered I have a vampire child.
All three of my children are in major transition right now. Grace loves school but comes home exhausted and emotional, Lily is adjusting to.....everything, and Josiah...well, Josiah tells me every day, "I don't love my sister. I want a brother." And once again I explain that a brother wouldn't be any different and that he must show love even if he doesn't feel it.
Of course, it's not all bad. It's a delight to see her discover things for the first time. Her joy in taking a bubble bath. The way that she asks me all day long, "What is dat?" The hug she gave me yesterday which for the first time, felt personal, and not just because I was the closest person around to give it. Amusement from watching her turn down hotdogs and chips because she's never had them before (But the girl can wolf down a PB&J!) Hearing from a friend about how Josiah tenderly cared for her in the back row while I was speaking in assembly on Monday. Her complete love affair with shoes and sunglasses.
She is a typical two-year-old in so many ways. I know that the tantrums are totally normal for her age. And I realize that she used to be in a place that was completely child-friendly and had very clear boundaries, so she was rarely told, "Don't touch that." She had a schedule she was familiar with, she ate food she had grown up on, and she rarely, if ever, went to new places. Now she is being bombarded with new places and people and experiences, yet she is being given all kinds of new restrictions. And the sinful two-year-old within her does not like those restrictions!
The hardest part for me is disciplining her when we don't have a relationship. It kind of feels like disciplining someone else's kid--of course she isn't going to respond well! Two-year-olds are trying to gain independence from their caregivers, and she has that instinct, yet she is pulling away from something that has never really been established in her life. I constantly beg God for wisdom. When she cries, is she just being stubborn and need to be disciplined? Is she grieving and need to be comforted? Is she afraid and need reassurance? When does she need grace and when does she need law?
It's not easy. But I'm guessing that bringing home a newborn isn't easy either. Is it worth it? No question. Would I do it again? I'm already thinking about it.
Her big brother just did something silly and Lily giggled. He said, "Mommy, I like to make my baby sister laugh!"
Of course it's worth it.