Friday, September 26, 2008

The New Alphabet

The Pumpkin loves songs and music. Over the last few months, she also loves to sing parts of songs with us, usually the last word of the line. But there is one song that she LOVES above all others lately. And she sings it on her own all the time. It's the alphabet song!

She will look up at me and say, "Mama? A, B, C?" To which I reply, "Go ahead and you sing it." And then she proceeds to sing it to the best of her ability.

Her ability to sing it has gotten so much better over the last few weeks, too. Not that long ago, she was singing it in all sorts variations. Some variations took twice as long as the real song. For a while, most variations included 4, which of course is not a letter. And some variations drifted off into Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star--an easy mistake because they are set to the same tune.

But now, she's got pretty much the same song she sings. It goes like this: "A, B, C, I, K, Mono, Mono, P, Why-oh-why, Dupple, Eck, Z!"

And we clap and laugh. Then she says, "Again?"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bath Time Breakdown

It's official. I hate giving my child a bath lately. I didn't used to, but lately I hate it as much as I used to hate my mornings. (My mornings are so much better, by the way. I actually really enjoy them now that the Pumpkin is older. Especially when she sleeps in her crib until after 7, giving me time to get ready all by myself!)

I think part of the problem is that I've been doing the majority of her baths over the last few weeks. This is due to a combination of Londo's being extremely sick for over a week and my getting home to late to give the child dinner. We have always traded off dinners and bath time, so if Londo gives the Pumpkin dinner, then I give her the bath. When I'm home to late for her dinner, then it's only fair for me to give her the baths.

Except lately, I'm about to lose it at bath time. There is something about this age, this 18 month fussy period, this tempermental, grabby, whiny, pushing-her-boundries, run-away-from-what-she-doesn't-like-while-screaming phase that is especially pronounced for me when she's in the bath. It's probably because we don't have enough bath toys to really do a good job with distraction and because there are things I need to get done in a limited amount of time and space.

Unfortunately, all she wants to do lately is drink gross bath water, run away from me when I try to wash the shampoo out of her hair, and fling her legs out from under her so she lands in the water on her bottom with a big splash. These three things drive me absolutely nuts. Let me tell you why.

I didn't think her drinking the bath water would totally drive me crazy. I also didn't think it would be so hard to get her to stop doing it. But for some reason, she just LOVES to lean over in the tub and drink the dirty, soapy water straight from the bath. And for some reason this. makes. me. crazy. I have tried many different ways to get her to stop, including saying no firmly, distracting her with other things, playing with her, pulling her up, ending the bath, yelling, etc. It simply does not seem to matter. She laughs at it all, and goes back to drinking the water with a little smirk on her face. Grrrr.

The Pumpkin does not like water to get in her eyes, so I try to be very careful when I rinse her hair. She is great about getting is shampooed, and sometimes she is even really good about letting me rinse. However, my girl cannot sit still, so sitting still with her head leaning back and eyes closed is simply not going to happen. I end up having to chase her around the tub with the special pour cup (it has one side that is flexible to put against the forehead just so it won't get water in her eyes!), trying desparately to get her to hold still and look up. When I finally get her to pause for a second and get one pour, she's off again. I'm keep trying to grab her slippery, wet arm to get her to hold still, but it's not easy. Rarely, she actually sits down and leans her head back so I can put the soft part of the cup against her forehead and use correctly... in that moment, things are perfect and we are both happy... and then she leans forward and tries to drink the bath water.

Finally, she also basically falls on her butt from standing, making a huge splash. This is so much fun for her, and I usually find it very funny. However, it is not so funny to me when I've just been trying to get her to stop drinking the bath water or rinse her hair and am sitting so close to the tub that I get soaked. When I'm already frustrated, getting soaked and mopping up a flood of water around the tub is not so fun for me. She still thinks it is hysterical, so I let her do it. It's not worth the fight.

After writing these, they feel like such little things. So why do they combine to drive me so very crazy? I'm not exactly sure, but they do. And I hate bath time.

Luckily, after my last fit about it in which I needed him to take her so I could cool down before reading her books, he said he would do bath time for a while to give me a break. That is good, cause I really really need it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Question of the Week - Autumn is in the Air

Before you read the Question of the Week and thrill me with your answers, why don't you check out my fond reminiscing of babyhood and the cool Online Baby Shower for two awesome bloggers. I was going to make the Question of the Week a continuation of that post and ask you all what your favorite moments or aspects of babyhood were, but then I realized that if you wanted to talk about those things, you could comment in that post where Kristen and Rebecca can find it more easily.

But today is Autumnal Equinox. That means that there is equal amounts of day and night on this day, which happens twice a year (the other is Vernal or Spring Equinox). This day is tough for me because it means that winter is coming, and I will be having less and less daylight. As a person with Seasonal Affective Disorder, that is not good news.

But some of you, including Londo, LOVE the fall! So it's up to you people to cheer me up with your answers to this week's Question of the Week:

What is your favorite thing about the fall?

Mine is the leaves changing color and Halloween. Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I do get excited about October because of that.

But what else is there? What things to do you love about the autumn?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Why My Baby Was Worth It

As part of the Mo' Babies Online Baby Shower for Kristen and Rebecca, and in honor of so many other bloggers and friends having babies and one of my best friends who recently had her first (hey, limboland la la!), I'm writing this post about how wonderful babies are! Because they are! If they weren't, why would I be trying so hard to have another? I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it eleventyfour thousand times more, they are worth it.

I'm sure I've written before, and I've gone on and on IRL, about how my baby girl was not an easy baby. But what I remember most fondly about those early months are actually directly related to ways in which the Pumpkin was difficult. And even at the time, I realized it. Those two ways were: 1. she would not be put down for the first three months of her life (except swaddled in a moving swing, and then only at night); and 2. she was very fussy. Now let me tell you why those two things were really wonderful.

Because my girl would not be put down even for naps, Londo and I had to hold her all the time. Let me rephrase that. Londo and I got to hold her all the time! I think back to those early days, weeks, months and what I remember most fondly is holding that little lump of a baby. I held her in my arms or my slings, on my lap or laying cuddled next to her, I walked with her, rocked her, held her gently. I had three different kinds of slings, and Londo had one sling and a baby carrier. I have never in my life been as physically close to another being as constantly as I was then. And that was truly a beautiful thing.

For naps, I would tuck this little being into a sling and walk around, bouncing and singing, until she fell asleep with her cheek pressed against my chest, her hand curled around the neckline of my shirt, her body tucked into me. There was no transferring her into anything else at this point. To keep her napping, I held her. This meant that I sat down somewhere comfy, picked up a book or turned on the TV or played on the computer, and settled in while she slept against my heartbeat, each precious breath making her ribs rise and fall.

How could I not fall in love with this child? That little lump of warmth and softness wanting nothing more than to be held and fed and comforted. How could I not feel an intensly close bond with this snuggly baby? The bond started at birth, really before even, and just got stronger with every passing minute of holding her in my arms, against my body. Yes, it was hard to hold her all the time, and I needed breaks from her and I dreamed of the day when I could put her down without her freaking out. But I also knew I was lucky to have a baby that I could hold, that wanted--even needed--to be held by me, and I was lucky to have the help and support and understanding and time to just hold her.

The other aspect of my difficult baby which was also a wonderful thing was her fussiness. I realized early on that she was fussy, but that I didn't want to label her as a "fussy" baby and only a fussy baby. I also realized that it was more than her being fussy. My little baby was simply very in touch with her emotions. This became really clear once she started to interact with her environment, especially when she started smiling and laughing. When my child is upset, she is FUSSY! But when my child is happy, she laughs loud and clear.

The Pumpkin is active, sensitive and emotional, and she expresses her joy and frustration with equal abandon. I really believe this is a wonderful trait to have. So she wasn't an easy going, laid back baby. She was a baby who knew what she felt, and she let everyone know. And I realize that I'd rather have a child who lets me know how she feels than one who internalizes it or doesn't know how to get what she needs.

What I find the most fascinating about this ability of the Pumpkin's to express herself is that understanding this about her made me realize I was seeing some of her personality traits since her birth! The active, sensitive, emotional and expressiveness of my little girl was not simply baby fussiness that melted away like the baby fat on her chubby thighs did. That early fussiness was a building block of her future personality that I have been able to witness from soon after she came into the world to her current toddlerness, and I will continue to see her personality develop throughout her life. How cool is that?

So I had to hold my baby and had to deal with a fussy baby. I was so lucky. This raising children is hard. But it's easy to be Mrs. Brightside about those little sweet babies when I think about how wonderful even the toughest aspects were. When I think about how it was all worth it. And I, for one, am looking forward to doing it again.

Good luck to all the new mamas and the about to be mamas and about to be again mamas! I hope you all are able to cherish every part of the newborn phase, because it's over so fast. At least we have our fond memories and the amazing children they become!