Thank you to all of my wonderful real friends and cyber friends who have provided advice for how to handle my fiercly determined little lady. You will see from the picture at left, in which she has picked out one of my shirts and some pink converse tennis shoes I got a yard sale, that she has her own way. Her own wants. Her own desires. We absolutely love this about her. She is spunky and determined and funny and opinionated. Did I really expect to have a daughter that wasn't like me? You don't become a Division I athlete without a work ethic. Without a fight in you. Without knowing what you want. My father, who was my coach, told me that he never had another player who worked as hard as I did. I wasn't the best, but I gave it my all. I hope Abigail is the same. It appears she will be. (And the big cut on her nose is from the two cement stairs she tumbled down two days ago.)
I wanted to follow up by saying that the next morning, the morning after I wrote this post requesting advice from all you smart people out there, Abigail had a fever. She also had diarrhea something awful. And still does. Last night, it was 3am before she finally nodded off. Which meant it was 3am before I did too. She kept waking up, either burning up or pooping out her diaper. For a little lady who sleeps 7pm to 7am every single night, without fail, this was surprising. She was also not taking her naps regularly. Usually, I can count on two naps a day for a total of about 5 hours of rest time. Not so the last few days.
So while the problem still exists, the sickness was obviously a huge factor in why the problem seemed worse.
In response to all the great advice, here is what JB and I have decided to do
Continue to require Abigail, who currently has no words (other than Mama and a very warped version of Ball) to use her signs. She has the signs for please, more, all done, night-night down pat. Because she is talking slower than my boys, I need to be pushing these more to help her communicate.
Remind myself that the boys will not remember me not being able to give quality one-on-one time during this short period. Being there and providing activities, will be enough.
Attempt to try different activities for Abigail -- especially putting her in her high chair with something fun to do or eat when I need her to be occupied.
Remind myself that I know best. I am separating to keep her safe or give the boys freedom. That is okay.
Wait anxiously for Connie to arrive this weekend. She will be here for at least six months. This will give me ample opportunity to spread myself more between the kids.
Not give in to Abigail's screaming. Simply ignore, walk away, attempt distraction or redirection. Attempt to keep my blood pressure down. Hold her. Hug her. But don't give in to what she wants.
Bring a pack-n-play downstairs to use, not for discipline but for moments when I need to get something done and she is refusing to allow me to do it. To keep her safe.
Going to borrow The Happiest Baby on the Blockfrom a friend or the library -- whichever has it available first. I have read some excerpts and it appears this is actually what JB and I have done with our kiddos already. I think our "modified Babywise was actually The Happiest Baby on the Block and we didn't know it. I think we are really passed this stage, but I still want to glean some knowledge.