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Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Littlest

Several times I've mentioned that I would put together a blog post about Clara and some of what makes her tick (and sometimes, what just ticks her off), so today I'm here to deliver on that promise. This won't be one of those fancy monthly updates where I talk about what she's up to developmentally, but more likely just a series of ramblings about what life is like with her. (And of course, to keep things even, I will be writing one for Colby in the near future, so stay tuned.)

As you may recall from previous posts, ever since the twins were born, we have referred to Clara as "the Littlest," or simply, "Littlest" for very obvious reasons: born weighing just 5 pounds and 1 ounce, she was tiny in the beginning. Of course, she has since surpassed Colby in size, but as is often the case with nicknames, she's stuck with it- for now at least.

I often think back to a quote I first heard when I was still pregnant and there were concerns about Clara's size:

And, oh, how true this has been for our little girl. There is nothing little about her personality or temperament, and whatever mood she's in is contagious. If Clara's smiling, the whole world is smiling with her. But if she's mad?

Seriously. It's kind of terrifying. And because she's a girl (stereotype alert, but also let's just be honest, ladies), you never really know what is going to upset her. Remember a few weeks ago when I posted a video of one of her more memorable tantrums? The cause of that was the fact that we woke her up for the day. Yep, that's all it takes.

Sometimes it's about more serious matters, like wanting apple sauce in place of her dinner or us not picking out the correct bow for her to wear. But regardless of the issue, once she has been set off, there's no turning back. 

With Colby, we can generally reign him in when he's upset (usually by means of a time-out) and redirect him, at which point whatever made him mad is long forgotten. With Clara, it takes her much longer to snap out of it and to get over it. And what's even more challenging is that you never really know what will work to get her to snap out of it: some days it's ignoring her, some days it's holding her, some days it's redirecting her, and some days it's a combination of all three!

Yes, it's exhausting, but it's also one of the things I love most about her: whenever she commits to something (whether that be eating her yogurt or pitching a fit), she commits to it fully and she will devote 100% of her effort to the task at hand- rational or not.

Another trait of Clara's that has proven to be challenging for us is what I can only refer to as social anxiety. I would normally classify her as an extrovert- she loves to ham it up for others and is not uncomfortable being the center of attention. However, in certain settings (and much to our frustration, pretty consistently with Brian's family), being around a group of people turns her into a clingy, anti-social, anxious mess.

In these situations, I become her personal jungle gym and I'm fairly sure that she would crawl under my clothes and hide there if she could. Truthfully, she probably isn't so much anxious about being in the group setting as she is about the possibility of us leaving here there. And because Brian's family babysits them the most, I think she is convinced that any time they come around, Mommy and Daddy must be about to ABANDON HER FOREVER. 

I wouldn't label it as separation anxiety because she obviously does just fine being away from us 40+ hours/week, but I'm sure it's related. Regardless, as any of you that have or had similar children know, it's equal parts endearing and maddening all at the same time!

So yes, Clara tests our patience. I would most certainly describe her as strong-willed, but with me as a mom (and a dad that's more stubborn than you might think!), she never really had a chance to be anything but, now did she?

But I wouldn't change a thing about her, because she's also goofy, enthusiastic, thoughtful, helpful, loving, and loyal, and we're so very thankful that she's ours!


Emily said...

So excited for this post. :) What a complicated little girl! I love how she devotes herself 100% - she will most definitely accomplish amazing things later in life. Also so interesting about the separation anxiety related to Brian's family; perhaps its the unpredictability of the babysitting versus the routine of daycare? Aaron BRIEFLY hated my sisters because they babysat him the most, but that was short-lived. Does your mom ever say things like "you were just like her?" or any of that?

the blogivers said...

She's a sweet crazy little lady :)

Brittany said...

I loved reading about your spunky and adorable littlest! :)

Brittnie said...

Sweet, crazy little thing!! Love the pic with all the bows!

Erika said...

Ahh so precious!! She makes the cutest expressions! And I also love the picture with all the hairbows. Way to commit, girlfriend!

Natasha said...

Just remember that eventually these traits of Clara's will be great attributes for her to have and that you will get through these harder times of parenting her. She's never going to let anyone walk all over her and that will be awesome!