Hazel is upstairs, awake, and was crying. I am downstairs, finally free of being immediately physically needed by either babies or cats, and in some pretty serious need of a few minutes of unencumbered time. I encouraged her to use a regular voice, to work on calming down, and told her I’d be up in a few minutes (through the monitor we have). Ted and I need to have time to keep the house in some marginal state of organization and cleanliness. The babies need to be settled and possibly fed again. I think Ted and I do need to have another talk about our schedule and how to handle bedtime, but one thing I have to keep remembering is that Hazel is only 3.5; she will resist the things she doesn’t want in the ways she knows how. Tonight, I am proud of her for calming down enough to tell me in a voice I could understand that she didn’t want to be alone. That gave me the opportunity to tell her that I heard her, that I knew she didn’t like being alone, and that I was sorry it was necessary, but that Ted and I had things we had to do. It gave us the opportunity for conversation, which, even though it doesn’t change the outcome (I still can’t come up right now), did change the process. I have to remember that a successful evening is not one in which Hazel doesn’t cry, but rather, one in which we can all communicate, support each other, and set loving but effective boundaries. I don’t expect the babies not to cry when they need to. I really shouldn’t expect Hazel not to, either. I can choose my response, and by choosing not to view her every sad communication as DefCon 5, I can moderate my own internal response sufficiently to respond to her in a more adult, and less critical way. And then it’s easier to help her find her ability to make choices about how and what she communicates. Everybody wins.