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    Space

    “Language… has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone.  And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.”

    Paul Johannes Tillich, The Eternal Now

    Pip and I were snuggling together in bed one morning while Big-Daddy-O and Fig were getting a fire started.  “Mama, are there some families where each Mama has one kid?”

    “Sure, Pip.”  I cited a couple of examples of friends of ours.  One family consists of a brother and sister who have two mothers, and the other family has one child.

    “That’s what I want, Mama, just one kid and one Mama.  You can be my Mama and Fig can have another one.”  Instead of explaining the impossibility of her suggestion, I tried to probe Pip’s mind a little deeper.

    “Why do you want that, Pip?”

    “Mama, it’s hard to be a big sister.”

    “Tell me what’s hard, Sweetie.”

    “Well, all the sharing, I have to share all of my stuff and Fig can reach everything in my room; she wrecks my set-ups and takes the skirt off of Dorothy.”

    I promised Pip that we could find a place in her room to store the special toys that were just for her.  I then told her that Fig was a part of our family, we loved her like crazy and she was here to stay.  I reminded Pip of how Fig makes her laugh and how much fun they have dancing together, riding (pretend) horses together, and chasing each other around the house.  By the end of the conversation, Pip had a smile on her face.

    fig and pip 2

    It was a good conversation; a good reminder for me that Pip needs her space.  Pip’s bedroom is on the main floor of our home and is much larger than the nursery which is upstairs, so Pip’s room is ‘the toy room.’  She’s never really allowed to shut her sister out of her room because then Fig wouldn’t have access to the toys, puzzles, books, etc.

    On top of that, we always insist that the girls share everything.  If they aren’t willing to take turns, then the toy is removed for a period of time.  It’s a decent rule, but I also appreciate that there are some precious belongings that Pip would rather Fig not handle.  Our youngest daughter is not the gentlest toddler in the world and she’s been known to rip the antlers off a moose, de-pop a few ‘pop-up’ books and chew on puzzle pieces.  Pip deserves to have a few toys that are out-of-Fig’s-bounds.

    I am a big sister, and I remember spending a lot of time playing with my younger siblings, but I also remember shutting the door to my bedroom and spending time on my own.  I needed my own space.  I still do.  I can certainly relate to Pip’s wishes, and I’m a bit surprised that I haven’t made more of an effort to ensure that Pip has a place to retreat to.  Ah well, sometimes I need to be hit over the head, and luckily Pip was gentle.

    pip and fig

    9 comments to Space

    • Marnie

      How perfect is that last picture for this blog entry?!

    • Aurora

      I was thinking the same thing about the picture Marnie. Absolutely perfect and I know it wasn’t planned because the picture was taken before the blog…. Yes, your own space but also time in the home by yourself for each parent. I would like to suggest a book – Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s “Gift From the Sea”. A small book with a big message.

    • Karen

      Thanks Marnie; Originally, it was the only photo I had attached to the post, but it seemed a bit melancholy, so I added a fun-loving pic as well. I agree though, it is pretty perfect.

      Lindbergh’s book is a great recommendation Aurora…and there are MANY messages within its’ pages. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Amy

      Hi cousins!
      What a lovely story and great picture. I sure enjoy the blog. It’s amazing how similar our stories are even with boys. V is still too young but boy oh boy is she going to be a force! xo

    • Karen

      Hi Amy!!! I was so excited to read your note! Excited and mortified because I HAVE to get a package off to V!!! Any chance of a Christmas holiday visit???

    • Amy

      I would love to see you guys over the holidays! I can’t wait to celebrate V’s first Christmas. D has the 22 – 1st off some maybe we can find a day that works for all.

      A

    • Thanks for this post. I think I need to do the same thing in our house. Our oldest daughter is 4.5yrs and the twins are 22 months so they get into all her stuff. She has been pretty good about it so far. We are lucky in that we have a “play room” so most of the shared toys are there, but still doesn’t keep them out of A’s room. I think we need to start closing her door more to. Plus the little ones like jumping on her bed, which is only going to end up in tears.
      Thanks again.

    • Karen

      I envy your playroom, Lisa. I’ve been thinking of rearranging things eventually so that both girls sleep upstairs & we turn Pip’s room into a common playroom on the main floor. It must be challenging for your oldest daughter at times because she’s not only a big sis, but she’s outnumbered! Regarding the bed/trampoline issue; we actually enforce a ‘no jumping on beds’ rule. I know it sounds cruel, but there were just too many bumped heads etc. It’s challenging to enforce, (the girls now bounce on their knees at times,) but I’m glad we did it.
      Thanks for reading Lisa!

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