Saturday, December 12, 2009

Night of Leonids

His snores
keep me awake.
I lie there with my eyes
open, body aching,
waiting for sleep
to fall.

My thoughts keep me
awake. Will the baby wake?
Will he need to eat? How much
time do I have
to sleep?

Outside, meteors are
streaking through the sky.
I see nothing.
I am up. I look out
windows. But I don't see
any sudden fireworks of
starlight.

I want to go out,
walk down to the lake
in the hopes of seeing
comet debris hit the Earth's
atmosphere, of seeing
falling stars to wish on.
To wish for sleep.
I lie back down.

The words keep
me awake. I debate
getting up to write them
down. My muse is so
fickle in these days of kids
and work and responsibilities--
more fickle than even
sleep.

The cat keeps me
company, happy to
be up, nocturnal. He
purrs and rubs and follows
me. The house is
silent and dark. I've
written the words. Maybe now
I can fall asleep and dream of
falling stars.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Contrary Nature of Being Two

Ah the Twos. Each age and stage has certain characterists, good and bad, that seem to affect just about every child in the world. Each child has their own personality and interests that shapes the experiences of the age/stage. But I think we can all agree that there are many things that are simply common to an age/stage across the board.

I often think of a post that Becoming Mommy wrote when her son was one. They were at a party and she spent the whole time chasing her son around. An older girl at the party asked her mother what was wrong with Becoming Mommy's son, and the mother answered that he was just being One.

Well, my daughter is absolutely being Two these days. The contrariness, the tantrums, the unwillingness to do things that she didn't have a problem with before, the headstrong determination, the willfull disobedience... I could go on and on. But those of you who have or have had a two year old know exactly the Twoness of her behavoir. Those of you with younger kids? Prepare yourself. You'll get it to some degree also.

What's really surprised me during this age/stage is my ability to handle it all relatively calmly. Or maybe it's the fact that I've usually been able to handle it pretty well while my usually-laid-back-roll-with-the-punches husband gets so frustrated. If someone told me pre-kids that I'd get less frustrated than my husband at the tantrums and whining and contrariness, I would have called them crazy. This is not saying that he's not handling it well, because he is. But I believe he would even tell you that some of this behavoir drives him up the wall, especially the contrariness and tantrums and when she doesn't answer when he asks her something.

While I don't love the behavoir, I think that I understand it and am perhaps "closer" to it than other people might be. I've always been emotionally sensitive. I really feel my emotions deeply, and when I'm upset, I understand the rage that rises and I remember letting go of tantrums. I remember how hard it was to calm down. I remember being told no and not understanding why and really wanting it anyway and getting SO VERY FRUSTRATED that I couldn't. I think it's my memories, my understanding and my sympathy/empathy with the feelings that keep me calm in the face of some very frustrating Twoness.

That is not to say that either my husband or I just let her freak out over everything or get away with her boundry-pushing. We enforce the boundries, even if it means she screams in protest. We also enforce politeness as much as possible.

Because if the child is going to yell no at everything we ask her? The least she can do is yell "No, thank you!" (Incidentally, it can be hard not to laugh when your child is deparetly yelling "No, thank you!" over and over again, even though you have to wash the shampoo out of her hair despite how politely she is telling you not to.)

And if the child is going to demand that she wants yogurt--that she NEEDS yogurt for dinner? The least she can do is say, "Please have yogurt."

And if the child is done with her food and wants it away from her immediately? The least she can do is set it aside without shoving it or throwing it on the floor.

And if the child is going to throw a tantrum because we won't let her bang and destroy play with our computers? The least she can do is let us know when she is done having her tantrum and ready to talk to us again using her words.

I actually have strong feelings about tantrums, including the fact that children should not be sent off on their own or reprimanded for having these strong emotions (the book Playful Parenting has some really good information and advice on how to handle tantrams without making a child feel guilty for having strong emotions). I get down to her level on the floor or whereever and let her know I understand that she is really upset. I stay nearby when she is having a meltdown, and I tell her that when she is ready, I'll be whereever I am nearby. I tell her that when she wants a hug, let me know. But I also tell her that I can't understand her unless she calms down and uses her words. I stay as calm, patient and understanding as I can be.

I generally don't let the contrariness get to me either. Let me give you an example of why. She's been learning the difference between school days and weekends over the last few weeks. The other day SHE asked ME if it was a school day. I said that it was. And she said, "No. It's a weekend." I replied that actually it was a school day. And she said, "Actually, it's a weekend." I think we had one more iteration before I just gave up and said whatever. A little while later, we go downstairs and she says to her daddy, "Daddy, today is a school day." So even though she was arguing with me just to argue with me, it did sink in that it is a school day. So I just tell her the right answer and let it go when she argues more than a couple times.

I understand these emotions and boundry-pushing behavoir. But that still doesn't make dealing with the Twoness easy. It helps that the Pumpkin is incredibly loving and happy and fun to be with most of the time. It really helps that I know it won't last forever.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thank Goodness His Feet Don't Smell

In theory, I've known that babies like to pull of their socks. The Pumpkin did pull of her socks sometimes. But the Pookie? That baby is CONSTANTLY pulling off his socks! I can't count the number of times in a day when I, Londo and/or the nanny put those socks back on his feet--just to watch him reach for them and pull them right back off.

It's comical, how often he does it. Lying down, sitting up, nursing, playing with toys, even sometimes being held--that boy grabs hold of the toes of the socks and yanks those suckers right off.

I probably wouldn't care so much, except it's winter and we keep the heat down in our house. When he doesn't have socks on, his feet get cold. And we can't have that. What would the grandmas say? I would certainly be blacklisted from the Good Mothers Club. So we put those socks back on his feet most of the time every single time.

Once his socks are off his feet, there are a few things he does, like try to stick his feet in his mouth or just grab his feet and start to roll like a turtle on his back. But my favorite thing he does is pull a sock off and then stick it right into his mouth. Apparently he thinks I told him to stick a sock in it. hehe. It's a good thing I wash his socks occasionally all the time.

I know what the solution is. The sleepers with feet attached. No need for socks when those are on, since they cover from neck to toes. We do have a few of those, including one with monkeys and one with frogs which both have the face of the animal on the feet--very cute. But what fun are those footed sleepers for him? He tries to yank the feet off, and he gets no where.

Besides, it drives Londo crazy to keep having to put on his socks. Because if I come in the room and Londo has the baby but his socks aren't on? I scowl and ask where his socks are, which makes Londo sigh and go searching for them both, because they are hardly ever both in the same place. When he's not looking, I snicker with the Pookie. I've got to have a little fun at my husband's expense somehow!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Question of the Week - Bedside Tables

I am a curious person by nature. Will you let me peek into your lives by answering this week's question of the week?

What is on your bedside table?

Since we got new bedroom furniture two year ago, I have a pretty small bedside table. All that is on it right now is my alarm clock, a box of tissues and about 3 or 4 cups of water.

I used to keep more on it, but because it's small and because my daughter loves to take things off it when she's on our bed, I have really minimized what's there. I used to keep books on it, but now I put them on a shelf next to it. At night, I also have my glasses on it, and sometimes my nightgaurd (I have TMJ). I used to keep my hand cream and lip balm on it too, but now those are in the bathroom out of the Pumpkin's reach.

How about you? Is your bedside table overflowing or minimalist? What do you need handy in the night and in the morning?