This was the last picture taken on Eliza's birthday. Anika wasn't looking at the camera (I'm wondering if she hadn't figured out how we were taking the photos? Dan thinks she knew, but was characteristically uninterested in the staged photo), and Eliza decided to move her head with her hands, and received a sharp tap on the noggin with a (closed) pocket knife in return, moments after the shutter snapped. Ouch.
It was a long day, this birthday - moments of joy, peace, love, but so much more of the other stuff - impatience, frustration, anger, jealousy - you know, the purely human junk we all go through. I took a few photos of the morning - our traditional circle 'round the sun candle, photos of the birthday girl, stories, present opening - but honestly, Dan and I were so miserable juggling the giddiness of one girl and the frank meanness of the other that I wanted to toss the camera in the back of the closet for the day. I am recognizing a need to reach for more help with Ani right now. She is expressing herself in pinches and gritted teeth, and my response deteriorates too quickly to animal instinct - I just want to growl her away by the end of the day, when I know I should be drawing her close, finding the way in, connecting. Our days are near-constant erupt and repair, erupt and repair...She had a terrible time sharing the day with Eliza, which I know is probably age-appropriate, but I didn't expect it. She brushes off my words, my processing with "I know, I know" and I start to grit my own teeth.
We did have a good morning today - Eliza went to Girl Scout camp all day long (man, I feel like she's in school! 8:30 - 4:30 and no time for free play!!), and we had our little buddy Izekiel with us for the morning, so she got to be the big sister, and she was awesome. She was gentle, amused, helpful, happy...it was a real pleasure to be with her. I can't quite see through to the clues here, other than the obvious of her getting to be the big one for a while and therefore not needing to assert her power over him (is that all? really?). She just adores Eliza, talks about her all the time, is heartsick on days like this when we see her in the car as we pick her up from camp, from rehearsal, but then she is quick to anger her, even when Eliza is being generous and loving with her.
Sigh. I will let you know, with a concise and eloquent post, when I have four (and this girl) figured out...till then, I will keep on keeping on, because what else is there to do?