Sunday, June 20, 2010

Nothing like a Big Sister!

Most people would probably say my girls are really close. Yes they fight and taunt and toy with each other and push each others buttons. And they steal toys away and push and hit on occasion when they think we aren't looking. But they really love each other. Our decision to have our children so close in age was one we have regretted many times from pure exhaustion and frustration and the wish that things didn't have to be SO hard. And there are times I think I should have waited one more year...

BUT... then I see them playing with each other. And laughing with each other. Actually watching the same TV programs and still interested in the SAME toys (hence the fighting). And nothing makes me happier then to see them hug and kiss when I am not asking them to make up from a fight, or because I have my camera out, but just because they want to do it on their own. Or when I sneak a peak in the rear view mirror and they are HOLDING HANDS quietly as they watch TV in the backseat. Or how when we park at the gym Ryen repeatedly refuses my attempts at holding her hand through the parking lot cause only her Big Sister's hand will do. Oh.My.Heart... Tonight at bedtime Ryen was laying in bed saying "Ella bye, Ella bye!" I said "You want to tell Ella goodbye, goodnight" "Yeah" said her little voice. So we went and got Ella who climbed up and gave her kisses and hugs goodnight. It was so cute.

And something else happens sometimes that makes my heart smile. Like when a stranger gets a little too close to Ryen, Ella will move right in to protect her. She has even said "this is MY Sister" on a few occasions. When Ryen gets hurt Ella is there to help her up and make sure she is ok or tell me about it. And her sweet little voice says "Are you ok Ryen?" And it goes both ways too. If Ella is hurt or crying or in time out, Ryen walks over to pat her back or rub her head or try to hug her.

My kids are water babies. I have always taught them to respect our pool and the water but not to fear it. Maybe that is why I have a 3.5 year old who is in swim classes with all 5 year olds, who has been truly swimming unassisted since before 2.5 yrs. I always watch them closely around pools and they are never outside or in a pool without me. But I am also not afraid to let them explore the pool and the water. Ella learned to walk in our pool at 9 mos old and was walking on land at 10 mos. Ryen was a month behind her on both. Yes they lost balance or stepped off a ledge and went under once in a while and I was there to scoop them out within seconds and make sure they saw a smile on my face instead of a look of fear. I sternly warn them not to lean over pools or not to try to climb into the pool where there is no step (and many time outs have been given for failure to listen). But I ultimately let them "safely" learn from their mistakes and am there to help them when they make them. And today we had the best Big Sister moment of all...

While Ryen and Ella were playing on the steps of our spa, I was trying to shoo a menacing bee away. I took my eyes off the girls for a couple seconds and when I turned to look back I couldn't see Ryen. I was already springing towards them saying "I don't see Ryen" when at the same time I heard Ella yell "Mommy- Ryen slipped into the deep area" Ryen had simply mis-stepped and slipped off her play area (18" deep) and into the shallow spa (3.5 ft deep) But her Big Sister was right there for her. Ella is so tall she can already stand in our spa and she was trying so hard to pull Ryen up above the water as best she could till I could gather her. She actually did pick her up and hold her above the water and since Ryen weighs more than half Ella's weight it was no easy feat for her to hold her baby Sister up like that (even in water). But Ella knew to instinctively grab her for the short seconds it took me to get to her. I was so proud of her. As kids they are taught so many times when another kid is in trouble in a pool you tell a grown up and don't try to rescue them yourself. But she just couldn't resist when it came to her Baby Sister. So I told her how proud I was of her that not only did she immediately tell me when Ryen slipped off her step but that she tried to help her. Ella was smiling from ear to ear and looked really proud of herself as Daddy and I gave her high fives and tens!

Even though I felt bad that Ry Bunny was a little scared after she slipped in, I know she will be a little more cautious next time. And if not, I will be there to remind her that she fell and needs to be more careful of where she steps (it can be hard for them to see where a ledge stops under the water). And Ryen learned how to burp from some water she swallowed- ha ha. She even tried to run her naked but back to the pool when I was drying her off! But what made me truly happy today was how her Sister had been there for her when Ryen "needed" her. It is that kind of protective instinct that these girls have for each other that left me feeling peaceful inside. That lets me know that they will continue to look out for each other for many many years to come. Hopefully their entire lifetimes.