She's always been a bit high strung, a bit more needy than the norm. I didn't realize exactly how needy of a baby she was until Ava came along. Caring for Baby Ava is simple. She's laid back, she's happy most of the time, she's already pretty much on a schedule at not quite four months. People tell me that first babies are like that because you as a first time parent project your insecurities and worries onto your firstborn. I think there is a lot of truth in that, but I think Raegan was going to be this way regardless of anything I did.
2014 has been a challenging year as far as raising Raegan has gone. Starting about November or December last year, she started to demonstrate some new behaviors. In talking with other moms of four year olds, and from my own experience of four year old girls getting ready to head to kindergarten, I know it's not abnormal. I've seen it in action in plenty of other four year olds. When I see a mom at the store being sassed by a child that looks to be about four, I just want to hug her and say, "I'm in your club. I know." Four is hard. Everyone talks about two and three. No. Just no. Four is the trial by fire. And no one talks about how hard four is. I think it's because we all though they should be over these behaviors by now, and no one wants to admit that their four year old is throwing tantrums. And screaming at you. And throwing and kicking things. Obviously we have the added factor of Raegan no longer being the center of the universe with the addition of Ava. She loves Ava. Crazy, unconditional love. She never says a thing against her. But I would say there are a lot more attention seeking behaviors now, and a lot of them directed towards me. A lot of insecurities about her new place in our family. I'm trying as hard as I can to be patient, to be reassuring, to do the right thing, but some days. Oh, some days I just want to turn on the TV all day so that I can have a break.
But with the bad comes the good. Raegan feels everything. EVERYTHING. Deeply, vividly, intensely. So when things are WRONG AND BAD, they are the epitome of WRONG and BAD and no one will ever understand how painful her life is as it ends. But when things are good, they aren't just good. They are AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL and THE BEST. And for this, I wouldn't change her for the world. Because even though her lows are low (so, so low) and challenging to deal with, her highs are so high. She is so excited about every small thing. She is so thankful for everything you give her or do for her. I hear daily that I am the best cooker. She is still thanking me for her new pink sparkly shoes a week later. Raegan is so joyous and so easily excited, and has so many plans for her life.
So I'll take this trial. This walk through the desert. I hope I can support her and help her to the extent that she'll come out of the challenging stage a better person. That she'll learn lessons that will stay with her, and become more mature in her emotions and behavior. But I wouldn't change Raegan for the world. Because maybe one day my little girl won't throw fits, but she also won't have stars in her eyes over everything. She'll become older and not see the world through the rose colored sparkly glasses that she does now. I'm going to try my hardest to help her keep her intensity and joy, and hopefully some of her emotion will smooth out a little.
It's quite the rollercoaster, parenting is. We'll see what comes next as we take the next hill towards five years old and kindergarten.