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While the baby is driving us all insane with her FULLSPEEDDEVELOPING, the other children are still making quieter, if equally spectacular, transitions:

Alfie with the grown up and Esme more with the grown down.

When I’m parenting younger children, I always get the feeling that I am only seeing them in glimpses.

Imagine running through a forest; you get a clear sense of who they are, but you get it by looking through and around and over and under the emotional noise.

I’m not saying that as a criticism, watching the emotional turmoil of two and three year old is like watching an elephant roller-skating down a mountain towards a brick wall.

Parenting a child through that turmoil is like standing between the elephant and the brick wall.

Esme is a magnificently intense little girl. Everything in her life starts with a capital letter and is filled with boundless excitement. Like her mama before her, anything that threatens to dampen that excitement feels like a personal and very mortal wound.

Her challenge is to understand that the battle is long, and not won in a single day.

My challenge in parenting her is to remember that she’s only two.

She has recently started wanting a dummy at bedtime again, flirting with the idea of nursing and asking to go up in the sling.

I know Keith finds that frustrating. In his mind our children make lineage progressions, but while that may have been largely true of Alfie, it isn't true of Esme.

She is our middle child orbiting twin moons, one pulling her onward, the other back towards babyhood.

I am happy to watch her ebb and flow between the two, some days running ahead with Alfie, and some days hanging back with her baby sister in the familiarity of her toddler world.

Alfie has stopped looking back: For him there is only running ahead, just like his papa before him.

Alfie is quietly self possessed, strong and determined. He has maturity, and gentleness, and intensity and stubborn. So very much stubborn. Just all the stubborn. All of it.

His challenge is understanding that his sister is only two and doesn't mean to annoy the crap out of him.

My challenge in parenting him is to remember that he’s only four.

Some days it’s hard not to think he’s fourteen.

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