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Growing Pains

Cora’s had a rough week so far, and
my heart’s breaking for her. I’m afraid it’s one
of those bad congruences of lots of big events going on with a
significant change in routine, and I’m not sure how
we’ll we’re going to come out of this.

First and foremost, Cora’s been taking swim lessons. This may
not seem like a big life change, but it’s the first time
Cora’s taken instruction from anyone other than me.
She’s just begun tolerating babysitters (that she knows
REALLY well) for the last few months, but since she’s only
recently turned three, she’s never taken solo ballet or
gymnastics or soccer or whatever. So these sessions exhaust Cora,
mostly because she will play happily in the water until the
instructor turns to her – at which point she’ll begin
crying furiously.

On top of the swim lessons, we’ve
had a big schedule change. I’m getting the girls up for those
lessons almost an hour earlier than they used to get up for
Maddie’s preschool, and it’s hard on them. I’ve
also had to wake them from naptimes to get to a play date or a
class I need to teach, so their normal sleep patterns are
completely disrupted.

And for Cora, whose sleep is never great, that’s no small

Finally, Cora’s having to adjust to a completely new routine
– one that includes sharing Mommy with Maddie 24/7.
Cora’s beginning to realize that as fun as it is to play with
Maddie in the backyard, it’s even more fun to have Mommy all
to herself, something that never happens now. She’s craving
alone time with me, I can tell: she tries to climb up me like a
monkey at the oddest times, and clings to me randomly, like at
lunch or something.

Part of this is unavoidable: it’s necessary for Cora to get
used to other authority figures, after all. She’s three now,
and though it hurts, it’s better now, during a half-hour swim
lesson, than during her upcoming two-hour summer ballet camp.
Cora’s growing and stretching, and change is never easy.

But part of it’s also bad mommying on my behalf. I need to
carve out more time for me and Cora – say, while
Maddie’s coloring or doing a puzzle. I take advantage of
their independent play time to do stuff like clean the kitchen or
get laundry done, and while that’s necessary, so is focusing
the laser beam of my attention on Cora. So I’ll simply have
to figure out this new pattern and get going on it.

And maybe hire a maid.


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