Skip to main content

One Thing We Did Right

“Mommy, you’d just better be glad that you had Phoebe,” Mallory said a few days ago.

“Well, I am glad, but why do you say so?” I asked.

“Because if you hadn’t, I would’ve been stomping around the house every single day, so mad at you that you didn’t give me a baby sister.”

Admittedly, I wanted a second child mostly because I didn’t want Mallory to grow up without a sibling (which speaks well of my own siblings, doesn’t it?). I also realized, though, that whether or not you will have a good relationship with your sibling is largely a matter of luck and innate personality, no matter what the experts may say about child spacing and birth order and so forth. And, luckily, my girls do seem to get along about eighty percent of the time – not bad, really.

Mallory has always been impressed by Phoebe and Phoebe’s accomplishments. I remember how excited she would get when Phoebe met a milestone as a baby – held her own toy, sat up, learned to crawl. Now Mallory will sometimes share an indulgent smile or a conspiratorial giggle with me and Chris when Phoebe is being unintentionally adorable (telling herself a story, mispronouncing a word, twirling). The other night, when Phoebe said, “I know how to say brown in Spanish – café!”, Mallory was just flabbergasted. “Phoebe’s so smart!” she said. Then Phoebe said something about taking all of her young daughters to Argentina, and Mallory said, “How does she know about Argentina? That is so smart! Phoebe should be in the Olympics of Smart!”

Phoebe, on the other hand, appears less worshipful of her big sister than I remember being of my big sister – I think because Phoebe is so very…self-possessed? Self-sufficient? She doesn’t automatically want to do everything that Mallory does, or like everything that Mallory likes. But nothing makes her sadder than when Mallory won’t play with her, and nothing makes her more indignant than when Mallory accuses her of wrong-doing.

I remember sitting on the front porch one afternoon a few weeks after Phoebe was born. Mallory was playing in her wading pool – or rather, she was scooping up cups of water from her wading pool and dumping them out along the curb. Phoebe was sleeping in her carseat next to me. I was thinking about how I was now a mother of two, and reflecting on my fear – before Phoebe was born – of how I would manage to love them both. Suddenly I was just overcome with a wave of fondness for Mallory, for the familiarly of her and her three-year-old antics; and I realized how different that was from the fiercely protective love I felt for Phoebe, of whom, I admit, I was not that fond, in part because she was only three weeks old and not an easy baby, but mostly just because I didn’t know her well enough yet. I regarded my two girls and thought, as I often think, I just want them to be happy. And, I just want them to be happy with each other.

So far, that’s working out okay.


Anonymous said…
You certainly wouldn't want Mallory stomping around mad all the time - what a funny statement from her!

Cute pictures.

aimee said…
That was a sweet post. I am glad you had Phoebe too. And Mallory!

Popular posts from this blog

New Math

This word problem was on Mallory's math homework last week:

Lesia has 32 stickers. Diana has a few stickers. Lesia adds their stickers. She has to regroup when she adds. How many stickers does Lesia have? Circle the number.

We puzzled til our puzzlers were sore, but we still couldn't figure out the answer. I wrote a note beside the problem: "Mrs. G., this problem didn't make sense to either Mallory or her parents."

The next day the paper came back with a note from Mrs. G. She circled the last line of the problem and wrote:

"Misprint! This should have said Diana."

Okay! Whew! I was relieved to know that I wasn't, in fact, dumber than a second grader.

Except then I realized that I still didn't understand how the answer could be 3, 5, 6, or 8.*

I can't wait til she gets to algebra.

*Unless what they're calling "regrouping" is what we used to call "carrying the ones." In which case the answer would be 8. I think. Maybe.

Yard Sale. YARD SALE!

Anyone who doesn’t hear Tom-Hanks-as-Woody-the-Cowboy screaming that line…hasn’t spent much time around small children. Or at least around small children who like to watch Disney movies.

We had a yard sale this weekend – we being me, Chris, his sister Amy, and his mom. Yikes, it was exhausting. There was much hauling of boxes and furniture and standing around and chasing Mallory and Phoebe about the driveway all Saturday long. I made a hundred bucks – not too shabby, I guess. Chris made about $75 selling the “dregs” of his toy collection. The main point, however, was to sell our old living room furniture because we’re getting a new sofa and chair today (it’s being delivered as we speak!). We did sell our beat-up love seat for $25, but there were no takers for the beat-up sofa sleeper or the recliner. Alas, but that’s the way it goes.

Most of what I sold was baby stuff – clothes, bouncy seats, playmats, and so forth. It was a relief to see it go. Right after Phoebe was born I had the urg…

Confederation, confederation, confederation

Mallory has a big Social Studies test today. She’s not doing well in Social Studies, this year. When I asked her why her grades were so low, she said, “I don’t like Social Studies. Besides, no one can be good at everything.” I thought this was a fair point, but let her know that it was not acceptable for her to do quite so poorly, whether she liked it or not.

We studied for hours for this test. We read the chapter twice, summarized main points, went over vocabulary words, filled in blanks and did true/false quizzes. There were moments when I despaired – as when I asked, “The villages of the Cherokee people came together to form a...” and she said, “Um...bison?” But I think she knows the material pretty well; honestly I’m not even sure what else we could have done to get her prepared. I told her we would like for her to get at least a B.

I know she’s nervous. I’m nervous for her. I slept poorly all night.

But, I also know more than I really wanted to know about the early peoples of …