Stella: "Baby W likes to eat boogers."
Me: "Really. What makes you think that?"
This excess energy gets taken out on Baby W. Many times I have left the room just for an instant and returned to find Stella grinding Baby W's face into the floor. "Stella!" I say. "Are you being gentle to your brother?" She stares at me in bewilderment. "No," she says, because, hello genius, does it look like she's trying to be gentle to her brother? Gentle is not in the portfolio these days.
When Stella gets in this kind of mood, I try to make sure she & Baby W are never alone together, and bring Baby W into the bathroom when I take a shower. Stella likes to come in too, and I can see through the frosted glass of the shower door that something is happening out in the bathroom between them but I can't tell quite what. It's a lot like Blair Witch in that you don't know exactly what's going on but you know it's not good. This morning when I got out of the shower I found Baby W fairly unmolested except for a return address label stuck on his cheek. Might be Stella's way of dropping a little hint to her parents.
If I were Baby W I would run as fast as I could in the other direction when I saw Stella coming. But of course Baby W is basically as mobile as an avocado (and shaped a lot like one too), plus he's crazy about Stella. The cats on the other hand, somehow manage to maintain a perfect five-foot radius from her at all time, and then take revenge on everybody in the household for their trouble by meowing at jackhammer volume the whole damn night. There have been many nights when I am awoken by the cats desperately meowing somewhere in the house, and I get out of bed because because I am mistakenly convinced they are trapped in a room and can't get out. They're trapped, all right. But by their own scarcity of brain cells.
There has also been backsliding from the moderate success we had in Operation Sleep In Your Own Bed Already Please Please Please. Our policy has been that she needs to start out in her own bed, but if she feels sad or lonely in the middle of the night, she may come upstairs and join me in bed. (David doesn't go to bed until 4 AM, so it's just me in the bed for most of the night, with Baby W nearby.) I don't mind this policy, except that having Stella in my bed requires what I call defensive sleeping techniques. If you think that sounds like something from a combat manual, you'd be right, since there is a war going on -- a war for bed territory. It's like Ypres, only with pillows. My approach is to spread as much as I can and start out as close to her side as humanly possible, so as to preserve maximum maneuvering space for myself when she starts climbing into my pajamas. Above all, I've learned that whatever happens, do not show weakness by getting up to go to the bathroom. She will instantly reclaim any of the ground I've fought so hard to protect, and have the Treaty of Versailles negotiated and signed before I even flush.
I sometimes spend part of the night sleeping with Stella on her single futon, which is not very restful. I have had that futon for a long time, and in fact when I first met David that futon was the bed I was sleeping on. When he stayed over at my place, we both slept on that futon together so I know it can be done, although come to think of it those nights were not very restful either. But for an entirely different reason.
David and I are both fretting a little about Stella's sleeping situation, which is unusual in that we like to fret about different types of things. I like to fret big, and David frets small. I fret about massive currency devaluation, riots in the streets, the crumbling of public systems, and whether I need to learn how to shoot and skin rabbits. David, on the other hand, worries about earaches. Also, he does not like Baby W to wear socks to bed because he is afraid they will come off his feet and somehow asphyxiate the baby while he sleeps. But I think there's one more thing that we can both agree to fret about: What if it turns out our son really does like to eat boogers?