Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sometimes Only the Dog Can Hear Her

Ah, toddlerhood. The joys, the playfulness, the communication, the tantrums, the emotional chaos, the inability to truly use much reason. Fun, isn't it?

Amazingly, I find myself able to handle the tantrums. I was a very emotional and sensitive child (and still am as an adult in many ways), so I really feel sympathy and understanding for her overwhelming emotions--her personality didn't fall far from the tree. As was discussed on Ask Moxie the other day, her tantrums at this age are really due to being overwhelmed and frustrated, not trying to get control or partake in a power struggle.

I figure we are at stage one of the tantrums. To me, this is when she is not able to control her emotions and doesn't know how to deal with it, and what she needs is sympathy and safe arms waiting to hold her. The next stages will be learning other ways to handle the overwhelming emotions and learning how to feel it coming and be able to head it off, when those lessons are age appropriate. But always, I will let her know that all of her emotions are good and sometimes you really just need to have a good cry.

Until she's better able to handle the emotions, I have to find humor where I can. One of the things I find very funny (although I DO NOT laugh) is how she escalates when she wants something.

The Pumpkin starts off with a normal, maybe little whiny: "Hey Mommy (or whoever), I wan a fru bar [...I want a fruit bar]."
Londo, the nanny or I respond: "Not right now. It's time for breakfast. You can have one later*."
The Pumpkin then goes up an octave and adds more whine: "Mommy! I WAN a fru bar! I wan! I wan!
The response is still no.
The Pumpkin goes up another octave: "Bud [but] I WAN one! I WAN one!"

At this point, the dog runs from the room. We are either able to distract her with something else ("Hey, look! How about some oatmeal!" She loves oatmeal) or we have to deal with a tantrum.

I haven't yet tried to deal with the escalating octaves. Right now, I just treat it as if she's using the same tone of voice so she won't think she gets things just because she used a higher, whinier voice. Soon, I will begin to work with her to use a normal tone of voice.

Luckily, it doesn't bother my ears (although I think Londo is in a different boat), and I just find it funny. Who knew that higher octaves meant you REALLY REALLY wanted something! Maybe Mariah Carey...

*And the Later trick really doesn't work anymore. Drat!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Big Weekend for My Big Girl

There was a time, pre-Pumpkin, when I didn't understand why people measured their children's lives in months, or even weeks with infants. There was a lot of other things I didn't get either. This age-by-month/weeks was one I didn't judge but didn't understand. Now (and for a while), I totally get it.

My daughter is officially two now. She is a two year old. Yet I have a really hard time telling people she is two. I will often say, "She just turned two" to most people. To people who also have young kids, I'm likely to say, "She is 24 months old." This is because there is really a huge difference between a child who just turned two and one who is two but about to turn three. There is even enough of a difference between just turned 2 and 2 1/2 that I feel the need to distinguish the Pumpkin's age.

Physically and verbally, she is on level with a lot three year olds, including her cousins. But emotionally and developmentally (outside the physical and verbal), she is very much 24 months old. She does not have the reasoning abilities of an older 2 year old. She does not have a grasp of all the concepts that an older 2 year old has. She does not have the independence of an older 2 year old. She is only 24 months old.

And yet, she's truly becoming a big girl. I see it coming in so many ways. This past weekend was just full of examples, which warm my heart and make me slightly nostolgic for the baby days.

This weekend, the Pumpkin had her birthday party and moved into her new room.

On Saturday, we had just family over for a little birthday party. Because the planning had to happen while I was still in a rough spot and Londo was doing EVERYTHING around the house, we decided to keep the party small in number of guests and have it for only 2 hours, prior to toddler nap time. We didn't invite any of the Pumpkin's friends or mine, just the in-laws who could come up and my immediate family. And there were still 15 or so adults (don't make me count!) and 4 toddlers! Next year, we'll do a bigger party, when it starts to become important to her and there are all sorts of fun party things we can do.

We had a great time. I got the Pumpkin all dressed up in a party dress and matching sweater and put her hair in pigtails. She was SOOO FREAKING CUTE!!!! We went downstairs, where Londo had put up Winnie the Pooh decorations everywhere, as I continued to tell her about her party. She started to put on her shoes, but I told her she didn't need them. Her face started to fall as she said she wanted to go to the party. I tried explaining that the party was here and people were starting to arrive, but she didn't get it! She looked heartbroken, about to start crying, and said, "I want to go to the party!"

Luckily, one of her aunts who was there next to her swooped her up and said cheerfully, "The party is in the dining room!" And with that, they went into the dining room, more guests arrived, and the fun began! (Thank you, Aunt, for quick thinking!) We ate, we talked, the kids played and played. Finally, we had cupcakes. The Pumpkin, who usually loves to be the center of attention, was a bit overwhelmed when everyone was looking at her and singing to her. Luckily, she made it to the end of the song and then blew out her candles. She really seemed to enjoy her first real cupcake (last year, I made low-sugar cupcakes), especially the frosting.

We opened presents later, after everyone had gone, and she loved them all. It was a really fun day and great time. The Pumpkin was her exuberant self, having a great time playing with her cousins, spending time with her family and eating blueberries (my goodness, the girl can put away some blueberries!).

It was so different from last year's birthday party, when she didn't really get what was going on and didn't participate much. This year, she understood what a birthday party was and seemed to love being at the party. Like a big girl.

On Sunday, after trying unsuccessfully to put her down for a nap, we made the big move into her new room! My mom, MIL and others helped me finish moving all the stuff out of the room. Londo, my dad and brother painted the room the perfect shade of yellow (I'm good at picking colors) a couple weekends ago, and painted one of the shelves that had been in there white with yellow on the back of the shelves. Once the room was cleaned up from painting, we let the Pumpkin run around in there a bit, regularly referring to it as her new room.

Saturday after the party, we let her play in it a bit. I had brought out the adorable (but thick plastic) tea set my MIL got her for Christmas and put it out on the shelf in her reach. She loved the tea set at Christmas time, but I put it away when we got home. She's been playing with another set that came with other plastic cups and a pitcher down in her play kitchen. But this one I had set aside so all the pieces would stay together. She LOVES it. She didn't want to leave her new room that afternoon because she wanted to play with the tea set! (I've made a rule that the tea set has to stay in her room so that pieces don't get lost or spread out. I hope that the rule sticks!) The only things in the room were a bin with it's top on, a small side table, and the shelves with just the tea set on them. And she didn't want to leave!

So, back to Sunday... After my nap (not the Pumpkin's), we all went into her new room to get it ready. Londo brought in her bed/mattress and box spring, which she had been sleeping on in the nursery. We haven't bought a new bedframe yet--or dresser, or radio, or bedside, or toddler table and chairs--but we realized that those things were not required to move her in. In fact, it made more sense to bring in the mattresses she had been sleeping on to help with the transition.

I was putting out things on her shelves. She was playing with the tea set and other random items she'd find. She also helped me bring books from the nursery into her room. She got to pick which ones she wanted to bring into her new room, and we'd put them in the basket I set out for books. Londo put the closet shelves back in the way I wanted them, and then the Pumpkin helped me move her clothes into her new room. Then Londo hung up the two pictures of Winnie the Pooh and friends which I had showed to the Pumpkin and asked if she wanted them in her new room. He also hung up a mirror that will go over the eventual dresser, two shadow boxes that I will put other decor in (probably Pooh-related), and a pretty little board with pegs on it at her height so she can hang up sweaters and a set of Winnie the Pooh "keys*" and whatever else she wants. We also brought in some other toys for her to play with in her room, such as a couple of baby dolls and the bassinet for the dolls.

I'm not doing themed wall paper or themed sheets, since I do want the room to be able to transition from Winnie the Pooh as she gets older. Instead, we are doing accents and some decor, mainly from things I already had with Winnie the Pooh (I was a big Pooh fan) and a quilt her Great-Granny made for her when she was just a baby. Oh, and all the stuffed animals of Pooh and friends that she got for her birthday!

The room? Is adorable! The Pumpkin? LOVES it! She's starting to understand that the toys in her room should stay in there, and she's starting to play in there... even BY HERSELF! Monday evening, while I was in my room, she was playing in her room by herself for a while (both doors open, but babygate to the stairs closed). She would come in my room and check on me or call down to daddy to check on him occasionally, but then go back in her room and play!!! Did I mention she was playing in her room BY HERSELF??? Like a big girl!

The sleeping is the same crap shoot it was in the nursery, and we're just happy it's not worse. She seems to be handling the transition pretty well so far. I expect that there will be some rough patches, but overall she tends to handle change well.

A super long post about my little girl who is becoming a big girl. I needed to write it all out as I process her growing and so I can document some of these big occasions. There were too many things this winter that I wanted to write about and record for posterity that I just didn't have the energy to write. So I may overdo it for a while now. But she's so adorable and I'm so in love with her, how can I resist?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I'm Back, Baby!

You may have noticed, as my friend paola did, that I've been around a lot more. Not only am I posting more on my own site, but I'm also jumping back into conversations on Ask Moxie, catching up with all the blogs I used to read (and I really do go back and read most of the posts, depending on how many I'm behind), and even commenting more frequently again on other blogs.

I recently said that I felt my spirits lifting because I could tell I was about to feel better. Well, now I can officially say that I feel better. The fog that was in my brain has melted away. I'm able to think more clearly and plan things to do and even do things like run errands after work! In other words, I'm feeling like a normal human being again.

However, the exhaustion? Still here. But I truly believe that's due to the pregnancy and a toddler who is not a good sleeper, rather than my SAD. Considering I was exhausted pretty much my whole pregnancy with the Pumpkin, I'm not surprised to be exhausted this whole pregnancy, especially considering how rare it is for me to sleep through the night.

I'm 27 weeks and starting my third trimester. The due date (June 19) is less than 3 months away!

Anyway, I just wanted to make a note that I'm back in the blogging world. I'm interacting with people again. I'm feeling like my social self again. So if you see me around, don't be too surprised. I used to be around all the time. It was just a rough winter.

Oh, and I would like to plan a DC Area Get Together for sometime in April or early May! Who's with me?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Question of the Week - Those Girls and Their Cookies

One good thing about being pregnant is that I don't worry about how many cookies (or ice cream or candy bars...) I eat. And being pregnant when the Girl Scout Cookies come out for sale? Ohhhhh, it's very good timing!

My only real problem is that I bought the amount I normally would buy, and that's not enough for me while pregnant. Not nearly enough!

So this week's question of the week is:

Which is your favorite Girl Scout Cookie? If you don't get Girl Scout Cookies, than what is your favorite packaged cookies?

I actually don't usually like packaged cookies. Any of them, even when they are stuffed with icing or have chocolate in them or fruit flavors. But for some reason, the Girl Scout Cookies are an exception. In fact, I've loved two of them for as long as I can remember.

Since childhood, I've had a tie for my favorites: Tagalongs and Samoas. I love them both so very much, and I could never pick one over the other. Until this year. Maybe it's just due to pregnancy, but I think I was leaning this way last year. No matter way, my absolute favorite is now Tagalongs!

Though I love the coconut and caramel goodness of Samoas, there is nothing better to me than the chocolate and peanut butter with a bit of a crunch. Mmmmm.

Unfortunately, I've only got one last, single Tangalong cookie. I'm saving it, savoring it, trying to make it last. I want it sooooo bad. But then I'll have no more, and what will I look forward to in the realm of packaged cookies?

How about you? Do you have a favorite that you can't get enough of? And do you know where I can get another box (or five) of Tagalongs?