Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown and rig a jerry mahber.
That's her adaptation of a classic, and she sings it all the time.
M was out late tonight, so I was home alone to manage the evening. I sat down with L on the couch to nurse her a little before taking her upstairs. E brought her baby doll over to the couch and pulled up her shirt. "I'm feeding Baby Doll, Mommy!" "She's eating from my tummy!" "She's eating beans and applesauce from me!" So that's how nursing works.
I sat L up to burp her, and E ran in front of her to sing. E got too close and L tried snacking on E's forearm. "Look, Mommy, L's eating my arm!" E pulled away and stuck her elbow out at us. "She wants to eat this part of my arm now, Mommy!" She tried to shove her elbow in L's mouth, and L, generally an agreeable baby, started sucking on her sister's elbow. "And now she wants to eat this part of my arm!" And L was offered, and accepted, some unwashed tricep. So that's how nursing works.
There's this line that E has been singing all around the house: SHAKE IT WHILE YOU CAN!! She screams it while jumping and wiggling. This morning I finally asked her teachers if they know why she does that, and Ms. LaToya told me it's from the middle of a song. Mr. Azel started to sing it for me: I was going to Kentucky, going to the fair, when I met a señorita with a flower in her hair. I used that line to find the lyrics on the Internet, and I found so many variations - going to the country, going to Miami, even going to Toronto. Localized adaptations. A familiar context for every singer. People always find ways to adapt.
The mom of one of E's friends saw us this morning, me dropping off the two girls, and asked how things are going. L's six months old, and I answered that we're getting it together. It's taken half a year to feel like we're managing, but it felt good to be able to answer without betraying an underlying overwhelmed sensation. So tonight I got L to sleep with no tears from her or her sister. It's probably the fifth or sixth time that M's been gone and that I had no other help, whether from a relative or neighbor or friend. After five or six times, I was able to prepare for tonight. E had her snacks out, interesting activities laid out, the light on in her bedroom for reading, Emeril on the TV in our bedroom so she could watch her "cookin'," and several reminders that she could come talk to me in L's room if she needed me, as long as she was very quiet. And she entertained herself until L was almost asleep, and for the first time, when she came into L's room, she stayed quiet. And L didn't pop back up awake. It's a little clumsy compared with when Daddy's home, too, but the three of us, me and my girls, we got through the bedtime routine and we did it well. No tears, no pouting, no hurt feelings or feelings of resentment or neglect. Like everything else since we added a new baby, we're getting a routine that works. Everybody remembered the necessary steps. And shortly after L was down, M came home and he, E and I had a picnic dinner on the kitchen floor. And then E went to bed, too -- another successful evening. We're a family of four, and I finally feel like we're adapting well to that.