This past month has been a challenge. Like her mother, Isabella is headstrong, opinionated, and very, very strong-willed. When combined with the antics and emotional upheavals that are part of being two, these qualities are exaggerated and have led to many tantrums and many more episodes of undesirable behavior.
Isabella is a pretty smart little girl. When she sees me stuck in our living room chair feeding both babies and therefore unable to move, she often takes these opportunities to engage in behavior she knows is not allowed. She climbs the stairs. She throws her toys and books around. She starts pressing buttons on the DVD player. She starts yelling or singing at the top of her lungs. I'm left to beg and plead her to stop with absolutely no way to redirect her behavior other than my voice, and she's highly adept at tuning me out.
I know why she's doing this. She wants my attention and knows I'm unable to give it to her. This makes me feel simultaneously guilty and frustrated with her antics. I've taken to turning on the tv* while I'm nursing the babies just to keep Isabella safe, on the couch, and occupied. Of course, doing so creates another wave of guilty feelings over not being able to play with her.
Her recent bad behavior isn't always relegated to the twins' feeding schedule. She's throwing her fork at dinnertime. She's refusing to pick up her toys. She's deliberately yelling and making noise when we ask her to use a quieter voice. The tiniest perceived injustice sends her over the edge and into tantrumland. If she doesn't get what she wants, she whines and cries. She's like a walking and talking grenade. If you don't handle her carefully, she's likely to explode at any time.
Admittedly, my patience with her has been shorter than it normally is. I'm trying to find small pockets of the day to spend uninterrupted, one-on-one time with her, but the twins' never-ending needs make this really difficult. This is one of my worst fears coming true: there's just not enough of me to spread amongst three kids.
On the lighter side of things, Isabella has taken an interest in dressing herself over the past month. Of course, this process takes at least four times as long as when I dress her myself, but she insists on putting on her socks and shoes each day, and taking them off at night.
I am seriously considering taking Isabella for her first haircut. The front isn't too bad, but the back is a mangy mess. I think she'd look cute in a haircut similar to Matilda Ledger's.
She's become very nurturing with the baby doll I bought her for Christmas. She's swaddling her, taking her for rides in her stroller (sometimes to "restaurants" in addition to "Dunkin Donuts") burping her, and feeding her a bottle. I'm waiting for her to nurse the doll. It's only a matter of time.
*Thanks SO much for all the tv show recommendations. We've tried a few of them, and so far, Isabella loves Wonder Pets and she also likes Curious George. She's also a fan of Martha Speaks. I like Word World, but so far, she doesn't. How is it possible that we share a bloodline?