I have gotten some great suggestions from seasoned mamas and grandmas regarding this post. Thanks, ladies! I am working on applying that advice, which ranges from reminding myself that "This too shall pass" to getting Miss A a special mama's helper apron that she can wear when I need to focus my attention on her sister (and to then remove that apron and give her my attention at the next opportunity). All these were sent to my e-mail (I guess so I wouldn't be airing all that dirty laundry in public!)--but remember that you guys can always just click on the COMMENTS tab at the bottom of any post to leave a message, if you wish (your private e-mail will not be displayed!). Anyway, thanks to all who replied, and please know that I do value and read your comments!
But lest you think I am experiencing nothing but frustration on my parenting journey, I will reprint here a little love letter I sent my girls on our private blog "Twinlake Farmhouse." (Which, incidentally, if you are interested in gaining access to, you can do so by e-mailing me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org ) So here you go:
Miss A, I love your laugh. And the way you adore the darkness of black ink. And how your face lights up over stuffed animals, however homely they may be. Your gangly feet. How you always ask about a new word when you hear it. I adore your affection for our critters, the way you hold the chickens close to you and pat them on their backs. The way you tuck Zeppo gently beneath a blanket. I love how you wear pink and sparkles as if they were a religion. Your obsession with cat-mice. The faint dusting of freckles on your cheeks. How your hair kinks up after we wash it. The concentration in your eyes as you do your "work." The radical creativity of YOU is astounding. I love you as you come into your own in this moment, swinging high, with your long, restless legs stretched out before you.
And my Little Bean, you are beyond darling now. Every bit of the earth that you step on becomes new under your feet, which are unsteady, like those of a little sailor on this earth-ship, the decks bucking beneath you. You say "hi" to us each morning, scooting around the bed, the seats worn right out of your pants. You are a cautious daredevil, not wanting to walk until you were sure, but wanting to climb like a monkey now and always. You are beautiful, your sweet pert face both absolutely present in every moment and completely timeless. Your occasional word is always a surprise, like "strawberry" or "definitely." You can make a friend with anyone. Your gift in this regard astounds me and humbles me. That fearless smile. I love that you are here, that you are healthy, that you are ours--or, more accurately, that we are so helplessly yours--for this fleeting moment.
And our holiday book of the week!
Toot and Puddle are the best of buds (the details of their relationship are kept ambiguous), and long to be together for Christmas. This is the tale of how they are reunited . . . involving a certain mysterious someone who appears out of the snowstorm in a sleigh. I can't wait for Christmas each year so that we can read this one!
I am a mama, Certified Professional Midwife, dancer/choreographer, gardener, photographer-in-progress, collector, yogi, and lover of the quirky/wild/wierd/wonderful. Myself, two daughters, one dog, two rats, two hamsters, and an ever-changing number of fish reside in an old farmhouse on two limestone-ridden acres in the Hill Country of Central Texas.
My irrational obsessions include: bright blue borage flowers, embroidered pillows, tunics, vintage tablecloths, shoe lasts, rusted iron, my daughter's smile, and the sunshine on my face.