Parenting is a NEVER Ending, Humbling Lesson

So my wife and I have noticed a recent change in our youngest personality. Annabelle has been more vocal and defiant lately. But not defiant like the “terrible two’s”, more defiant in a subtle way. I have noticed that my wife has been losing her patience more with her lately as well, which leaves Annabelle just standing there screaming and crying.

So this past Sunday, the day after my birthday, I tried something different. Ayanna and Damary were napping downstairs when Annabelle woke up from her nap. She came downstairs and asked me to put “Robin Hood” on in her room. I asked her if she wanted to watch it down here, and she looked at big sister and Mami sleeping, and said “No”. I asked her if I could come up and play with her in her room. She lit up and said “Yes”.

So we went upstairs, and I put “Robin Hood” on and then sat down on the floor. She got out her big sister’s Hannah Montana Uno Cards and proceeded to give me the Blue and Green cards and she kept the Red and Yellow cards. Then we put them away and played. Her face was lit up the whole time, and I was grateful I could give her some happiness.

At some point she asked for water, and I told her to come downstairs with me, and I’ll get it. As soon as I gave her the glass, she looks up at me, grabs my hand and says, “You’re coming back upstairs with me, right Papi?” with this BIG smile on her face. I reassured her we weren’t done playing by a long shot. She skipped up the stairs, and I followed.

Well, we played for a while, until Ayanna and Damary woke up and then she was so excited to tell her sister and Mami how she played with Papi. She wasn’t bragging as much as she was proud.

It hit me. I have played with the girls PLENTY of times, read them stories, watched movies with them, etc. But I realized I haven’t done stuff with JUST Annabelle too much. And some of this rebelliousness is her screaming for an identity in this family unit. Not just Ayanna’s little sister, but being her own person.

Let me back up, when we found out Damary was pregnant with Annabelle, we told ourselves we would make sure (since Ayanna was so young) that Ayanna would not get left behind in the “new baby” scenario. The problem is I think we over-compensated for that, and worried too much about Ayanna not feeling special; we may have (figuratively speaking) left Annabelle behind.

Thankfully, Damary agreed with my opinion and we are both making changes to make things better. Now, one of us will go and do one errand and take one of the girls, while the other runs a different errand, taking the other daughter. We used to ALWAYS go as one big family. We’ll still do some errands like that, but this way; they each get to feel special because they will have one-on-one, uninterrupted time with Damary and me, on different occasions.

I am on only child, so this sibling relationship thing is new to me, but as much as I want the girls to always feel a strong sense of family, I DO know what it is like to also feel a strong sense of self. I hope that this changes, only make the girls stronger and better…I mean isn’t that what any parent wants for their child? To have a better life??

-Until the Wheels Fall Off


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