One of the good things that happened today was that I was better about being present and involved with E and L when they weren't getting along. I tried to remember everything I was thinking about last night when I wrote about them experimenting. When we were in the car, E was grabbing L's hands and making loud noises while L was trying to sleep. In the past, I have sometimes responded by yelling "Leave your sister alone! Don't touch her!"
Today I said, "E, it looks like L is tired. What can we do to help her sleep?"
E: She needs a toy to help her sleep.
Me: Like a soft toy she can cuddle with?
E: Yep, I'll find her one!
Unfortunately there were no soft toys within reach for either of us. So I asked her what else she thought we could do.
E: Let's sing her a song!
Me: Ok, what song?
So, we sang the ABC song several times. I doubt our singing actually helped L sleep, but it did distract E from bothering her. After a while she said, "Mama, L is sleeping! We need to sing softly." So, we sang once or twice more, nearly whispering.
Then tonight, I was helping E with something, and L was standing by E's chair fussing. E put her face right in L's face and yelled "AACCHHHOOO!!" like she was sneezing. That just upset L more. Rather than assume that she understood that L was upset and knew what to do about it, I chose to talk to her about it.
Me: How do you think L is feeling right now? Do you think she's happy?
E: No, she's sad. But she's happy when I say "AACCHHOO!"
(Sometimes that's true. E and L play a hilarious game where they both pretend to sneeze. It's really cute! But it wasn't working this time.)
Me: Hhhhhmmmm. It doesn't look like she's liking that this time.
Then she grabbed a cracker off the table and handed it to L. L liked that!
E: See! She's happy now! I helped her to be happy.
I didn't do so well every time today, but those moments give me hope. If I can just do a little better this time than last time. Be a little more present. Have a little more patience.