Now that the girls are three, they are learning so many new things.
Laurel likes to sing songs that she makes up her very own words to. Sure, these songs sound more like annoyingly high-pitched recitations of every toy we have in our house, but the point is that she is using her imagination and creativity to create something new.
Ellie really likes to draw and color. She likes to color in coloring books, on plain paper, on grocery lists, on the coffee table, on the walls, and on herself. Does it make more work for me? Yes. But as I’m cleaning up the mess (Did you know that baby wipes get Sharpie off of skin? You do now.), I appreciate that she is expressing herself artistically.
Unfortunately, their creative sides aren’t the only things that have grown over the past few months. So have their tempers, their senses of independence, and their stubbornness.
Laurel has officially entered the “MINE!” stage. Everything is hers. Especially anything that her sister happens to touch. Even if Laurel hasn’t played with a toy for three weeks, and has probably forgotten its existence, the second Ellie picks it up and is contentedly playing with it, Laurel realizes that her life is empty and meaningless without it. She has to have it. She MUST possess it. She wants it. So the cry of “NO SISSY, THAT’S MINE!” rings through the house, as she charges across the living room and attempts to rip the toy out of her sister’s hands.
This leads to the next recent development…
Ellie has discovered that she can fight back. For the first three years of her life, she was very passive and laid back. She never minded when Laurel took her toys; she would just find something else to play with. Now, however, she is realizing that she can say no to her sister. Not with words, but with actions. If Laurel tries to take her toys now, she latches on with a death grip the likes of which you have never seen. They yank the toy back and forth until Laurel (who is quite a bit larger) manages to over power Ellie, stealing the toy and often shoving Ellie to the floor.
And now the fight is on.
Ellie, in retaliation, storms over to Laurel, growling like a lion. She grabs her sister either by the hair or the shirt and tries to knock her down. Laurel starts swinging like a crazed boxer until she frees herself from Ellie’s grasp. Then Laurel runs away and climb the cat tree, knowing full well that Ellie can’t catch her or climb after her. And then….
Ellie angry! Ellie smash!
My sweet sunshine girl at this point transforms into the Hulk. Nothing is safe from her wrath. Anything in her path gets picked up and thrown across the room while she screams out her frustrations to the sky. Strawberry Shortcake dolls get lifted by their hair and chucked against walls. Army men get kicked and stomped, which hurts like hell, angering our little She-Hulk even more. The doll house gets knocked over, spilling miniature furniture everywhere. The dog cowers in the corner. The cats run in fear. The world trembles. And Laurel screams.
Torn between the need to keep the toy she has stolen from her sister, and the fact that Ellie is touching all of the other toys, Laurel’s sanity explodes. Ellie is touching all of the toys. All of the toys are Laurel’s toys. But if she gets down to try to take all of the toys from Ellie, she will likely lose the toy she originally stole from her. What can she do? How can she cope? By screaming so loud and at such a high pitch that dogs six blocks away start howling.
This is a mistake, because now Ellie has remembered who has caused her so much angst.
Stomping to the cat tree, Ellie starts throwing anything she can get her hands on at Laurel, who is a sitting duck. Laurel, unable to contain herself any longer, jumps down off of the cat tree to meet her adversary. The square off, circling each other, growling and screaming and crying. Ellie lunges. Laurel dodges, but NO! It was just a ploy! Laurel has forgotten the toy in her hand and dropped it. Ellie throws herself on top of the toy, squealing with joy, while Laurel, who is thrown off balance, falls to the floor beside her. Both are crying, laying on the toy-strew floor side by side, exhausted from their efforts.
Suddenly, a voice rings out through the room, “Time for lunch!”
Both girls get up and trot to the dining room, all of the toys forgotten in the promise of vanilla yogurt and blueberries, while I am left to wonder how the hell two little girls can make so much noise and so much mess in the five minutes I’ve been in the kitchen.