Letter to E: Month Forty-One

Dear E,

You're in kind of a funny phase right now. Maybe you're just trying to help us out by giving us a preview of what life with a hormonal 15-year-old girl will be like so we'll be able to handle it when your sister hits puberty because, um, YEAH.

You are often, as your Uncle Ken put it, all id. You have such strong (and often conflicting) emotions and sometimes struggle with how to channel them. You want to be independent (which you often mistake for contrary) and yet want to please at the same time. I try and give you choices whenever I can but they usually go down like this.

me: "Do you want strawberry or peach yogurt?"
you: "I want to watch a show!"
me: "It's time to eat breakfast right now. Do you want strawberry or peach yogurt?"
you: "I want to watch a show!"
me: "If you don't choose, I'm going to choose for you."
you: "I want to watch a show!"
me: "Ok, you can have peach yogurt."
ME: (strangled scream)

(AND scene)

Fortunately even with all the drama you continue to be a great big brother to Mimi. If she cries you try to help her by popping her binky back in her mouth and if she's fussy when we're in the car you tell her, "It's okay Baby Nomi, don't cry. Look--a truck! Look--a excavator!" It's very sweet to see that you already love your little sister and want her to happy.

You have been really into superheros lately. Sometimes we'll watch a Batman cartoon with you and you have a lot of fun bopping around the family room pretending to be Batman. But anytime there's conflict on the show you get really sucked into it and like to pretend you're a bad guy which usually translates to scowling and glaring at us and announcing, "I'm a bad guy!" We implore you to be a good guy but you already seem to sense that sometimes it can be more fun to be naughty.

This last month definitely had its rough moments: you threw more tantrums than you did in the last six months combined. I'll admit it, at times I lost my patience. It was hard dealing with a new baby and with you acting out. I tried to remember how drastically your world had been rocked and that your behavior was just you trying to deal with feelings that you couldn't articulate or control. It's been hard dealing with you as you vent your frustration at us but it's definitely to your credit that you haven't tried to take your angst out on the baby. It has definitely been a lesson in patience for me as I've tried to look beyond your acting out and give you the extra attention you needed. Some days were more successful and some days I counted down the minutes until your dad came home.

Fortunately, I think we've turned the corner. The tantrums have decreased and you seem more confident that even though the baby's here you still have a place in our family--You always will.