She giggles again and throws arms wide, run walking to arms she knows are waiting. I scoop her up, pressing foreheads close.
Not yet, Sissy Bug. Back to bed. Oh, I don't want to. Let's sneak downstairs while Daddy and big one sleep on. Cuddle under a lofty blanket. Pretend she's staying newborn and snuggly and I'm her favorite forever.
Tough parenting is putting your grinning toddler back in bed and shutting the door. She's still comprehending this rail-less bed, freedom and responsibility. Must stay the course.
Small one doesn't want that designation any more. She wants to be big one with her sister. She cries because I forgot to ask her opinion. Not expression. Just respect. Just consultation. Even if she blinks uncomprehending, just to be asked.
They fight more. Unintelligible battles over seemingly minor grievances. I listen as small one screams a list of wrongs committed. Big one walks through her. Eight pounds decides every fight between toddlers. Big one is oblivious to the bruised heart in her wake. Sometimes, I am too.
Little sisterhood is hard. As the big sister, I recognize the first-born challenges: setting the example, living in a fish bowl, always taking more responsibility. But being left behind, always having the lower hand in the fight, someone else calling the shots. Just as hard. I pray protection for their tender hearts, kindness and love for each other.
This morning's troubles aside, they're still best friends. Plead to dress alike, to nap in the same bed. I need my Sissy, Mommy.
My job on the tough mornings, remind. You always have your sister. Treat her well. Love her carefully and deeply. God gave you to each other. Enjoy this good gift! With God's grace, they will.