I was on the phone last night with my cousin Becky, and Julianna was in the living room with a new toy. The older two kids were in there with her, insisting on playing with her, and they weren't doing it the way Julie thought they should and she let loose with this screech. Becky was horrified (because to most people, it sounded like someone just ripped off her arm) and I explained that no, that was just Julie's preferred method of communication these days. She's relatively mild mannered, but don't cross her. Because she'll kill you. Becky asked what happened to my peaceful, happy, relaxed baby girl, and I sighed and explained that the other two had ruined her.
And I was kidding. Only a little bit. Because the fact is that Julianna is the youngest of five (or three, depending on the day) and if she hadn't developed the skill to stand up for herself, she'd be completely mowed down by them. Each one of her older siblings love and adore her, and want very much for her to do what they'd like her to do. Whether it's to perform in the dance they are choreographing, or sing the song that they're trying to teach her, or spin around in a circle to impress their friends... realizing that Julianna is a person in her own right, deserving of respect and dignity and honor is a major step for the kids. For a long time, she's been their plaything - she was so obviously delighted in her older siblings, and still knocks herself out to please them. But she's also becoming a much stronger willed character these days.
She's adamant about most things, picks out her own clothes, objects strenuously to a bath, and is still insisting on wearing her batman hat just about everywhere.