Don't get me wrong, I will take the emergence of sass and back-talk and epic meltdowns in Isabella any day of the week over the virtually non-stop screaming of Loud and Louder. But, this month I've noticed a big jump in intensity, stubbornness, and Big Big Emotion out of my eldest.
Mommy is not a fan.
But first, the good.
Isabella has taken to calling the babies "my sweethearts." She asks to hug and kiss them before bed each night, wants me to bring them in her (not-babyproofed) room to play, and wants to be the first to charge into their rooms in the morning to wake them up.
That said, she's also more rough with them now that they're both up and walking. She's been known to shove them or push them down when they get too close to her stuff, or interrupt her while she's reading. I get her frustration. I really do. But, everyone has to play nice in the pond, so I've had to lay down the law about physical violence against Luci and Nico.
Isabella has taken a huge interest in letters and spelling this month. One day a few weeks ago, she just started saying words, and then figuring out which letter the words begin with. We were driving past The Bagel Bin, one of her favorite places to go, and she said, "B-B-Bagel Bin. Starts with "B!" She does this sometimes dozens of times a day now. "C-C-Cold. Starts with "C!" I am so completely proud of her for doing this all on her own, and honestly, I think a lot of it has come from this video, which I recommended before, but seriously-she hasn't watched it in at least a month and yet still remembers what it's taught her.
She's also constantly writing the letters in her name, especially the "I" and the "Ls" (which are obviously the easiest ones). The "S" is still very difficult for her, but again, she's taken the initiative on this, and I am so impressed.
Isabella has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of dinosaurs, thanks to her favorite show, Dinosaur Train. She even pronounces them correctly, which is something even I can't do. One of her favorite new games is "preschool." She takes her stuffed animals and dolls and places them on the floor in our dining room/Isabella's Baby-Free Zone. She then gives them snacks, paper to draw on, and crayons, and "teaches" them.
When my mother comes to visit, Isabella commandeers her iTouch to play a puppy game on it. Yes, my almost-60-year-old mother who is so techno-phobic that she can barely email has an iTouch and I don't even have a cell phone. What's wrong with this picture?
And now, the bad. Or "the challenges."
Isabella has become more strong-willed, opinionated, and sassy over the past few weeks. I cannot imagine from whence this came. Everything I ask her to do is subject to negotiation "How about I finish drawing first and THEN I will pick up the puzzle." Her patience level is non-existent and everything is, "Nooooooo! I want it NOW!"
Perhaps the most frustrating new behavioral attribute is her penchant for asking for something 4,000 times in the span of two minutes.
"Mommy, can I have more apple?"
"Sure, Isabella. One minute. Let me just finish this up."
"Hey, mommy. Can I have my apple, please?"
"Just a second, Isabella."
"Moooommmmmmyyyy. I want it noooooooow."
Considering the fact that I feel like an indentured servant to three small children whose needs are never, ever fully met, even when they're sleeping, this kind of badgering does not sit well with me. However, I most likely only have myself to blame for this one, considering my well of patience doesn't exactly runneth over.
But my most favorite behavioral tick of the month has to be the bedtime threats. Usually, I start Isabella's bedtime routine while the hubs rocks Luci to sleep. I wash Isabella's face, brush her teeth, and read her a story or two.
Apparently, one or two stories before bedtime is less than adequate, because she's begun threatening me:
"Mommy, you will read me these books (gestures to enormous stack she's placed on her bed) or I'm going to wake you up in the middle of the night."
And then, there's the saddest development of the month. I believe her afternoon nap is well and truly dead. In the past few months, she'd nap maybe once or twice a week. The rest of the time, she would read books in her bed for about an hour-and-a-half, and then call for me because she wanted to get up.