Friday, January 22, 2010

Not Said Quite Right (Shorts)

In general, I really love the 2-5 age range. I especially love the cute things they say when they don't say things quite right. Here are some that we've gotten to hear over the past year or so.

------------------------------------

When the Pumpkin was younger, we let her try hummus with red peppers and some salsa and other things to see if she liked spicy foods. She did not. After quickly realizing that, we determined that it was easier to tell her not to try something that was "too spicy" for her rather than deal with the mouth-on-fire feeling that she didn't understand.

So for probably about a year now, when the Pumpkin doesn't want to eat something or doesn't like the taste of something, she says, "That's too spicy for me."

We tell her, "I don't think that word means what you think it means."

------------------------------------

Over the last few months, the Pumpkin has been going through that stage of testing out what is scary to her. At first, she wasn't really scared of things, just playing the emotion and motions. Then it seemed like she was actually starting to get a bit scared of some things. And then she started using the word scary simply for things she didn't like or want to do.

For example, at bed time she wanted Daddy to put her to bed. When I said I was going to do it, she said, "No! Mommy scares me!"

Let me be clear: I did nothing that would scare her at all. Another time it seems like the word doesn't mean what she thinks it means.

------------------------------------

Sometimes she repeats things we say or songs she hears, but doesn't get the words right.

Like around Halloween, she and I sang along with the radio (and a CD), "Awoooo. Wearwolves of London!" But she would say something like, "Awoooo. Wear wool of dundun." Cute, but not quite right.

------------------------------------

During this recent regression she went through (and even again last night), it seemed to me that she also regressed in her pronunciation of some words that she used to say just fine. So there would be times I simply could not understand what she was saying no matter how many times she repeated herself or how loud she said it.

So we would ask her, "What does that mean?"

And she would answer, "[Whatever word] is a good idea!"

She would say it as if that's what the word meant, not that whatever it was she was talking about was a good idea to do. So I think she's a bit confused over this one as well.

------------------------------------

Just like Cloud's Pumpkin, our girl has also started talking about when she or me or Londo grow little. As in, when Mommy is a baby, the Pumpkin will feed me. Or when we are littler than her, she will carry us.

I'm sure I could figure out an age-appropriate way to explain time's arrow, but it's just too cute for me to do just yet.

------------------------------------

The Pumpkin has also been working on genders and pronouns over the last few months. Londo calls the Pumpkin his little girl, and she calls him her big boy. But lately she's not getting it quite right. This is partly because she loves to assign us all to play different people, so that I'm Daddy, Daddy is the Pookie, the Pumpkin is Mommy, etc.

But being in a contrary stage, she will totally argue with you when you correct her. So she say that daddy is her big girl. We will try to correct her, but she will say, "No, he is not! Daddy is my big girl!"

I think she mostly gets it, but she just likes to play around or argue or, you know, be Two/Almost-Three.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Smiles in the Night

Originally written in early December 2009.

He is awake
again.
He wants to nurse
again.
I root around my pillow
searching for sleep
as the baby roots around my
breast searching for my nipple.
His wakefulness and fussing
trump my desire for
just one
more
minute
of sleep.
I unwillingly let go of the last
threads of unconsciousness. Tired,
frustrated, I swallow my yells,
my curse words. He senses that I am
awake. His fussing becomes coos. He looks
up at me, his round eyes wide.
He smiles.
His entire
toothless
mouth is wide,
his entire
face
lights up. His nose and eyes crinkle,
his round cheeks become even rounder. His
happiness at seeing me looking at him
is undeniable.
I melt.
I smile
back at him. I help him
find my nipple, get his comfort. This time is
fleeting in the overall span of my
life. For now, he needs
me more than I need
sleep. The love, the smiles make it
worth every missed minute of rest.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mornings with Two Kids

In our family, I've got the morning shift. I have ever since the Pumpkin was born. Londo has a long commute to work that goes much better if he leaves by 6:30, so he's usually gone or leaving right as we get up. So just about every weekday morning, it's me getting the two kiddos and myself ready for the day, fed breakfast, the Pumpkin to school and myself to work.

A few weeks ago, I had started writing a post about the fun mornings we were having. I wanted to record some of the tricks games I use to get us moving, including "racing crocodiles" when we are in a hurry. (I would tell the Pumpkin that we had to hurry and she would say, "Before the crocodiles get us!" So we played that on many mornings to get her moving along.) The Pumpkin also became a little minnie-me for a while, wanting to do everything I was doing from brushing our teeth together to pretending to put on makeup. Meanwhile, the Pookie would hang out in his swing in the bathroom or the bassinet part of the cosleeper where he would watch the mobile or play with toys. And often, the Pumpkin would play with the Pookie by swinging him, reading him book, handing him toys or making silly faces while I finished up one thing or another.*

But before I could finish writing the post and publish it, the good times came to a screeching halt. The regression that the Pumpkin was just kind of in came on full force. The sleeping through the night stopped (of course it did). The steps towards getting her on the potty in the mornings turned into complete meltdowns just trying to change her diaper. Her getting herself dressed in the mornings became frustrated struggles for her and tantrums when I had to end up helping because she just couldn't do it herself anymore. Breakfast was almost always miserable because this wasn't just right or she wanted something we didn't have, and she was unconsolable. The contrariness and meltdowns were constants throughout our mornings from the times we woke up to the times I tried to leave her at school. There were many times I carried her screaming into the car just to get to school, although once I left her at school she had a great time.

Meanwhile, the Pookie was still hanging out in the swing or the bassinet. He did/does have some issues. He was getting too big and heavy for the swing, but he didn't like not being with us in the bathroom. Also, although he is fine hanging out on his own for a good while, he can go only so long before he needs attention and to be held and/or nursed. But during the thick of the Pumpkin's regression, it takes all my energy and focus to get her ready for the day, not to mention I still have to get myself ready.

So mornings were tough again, but we got through them. In addition, the Pumpkin was hard pretty much at all times of the day. It is not limited to mornings, so Londo had his share of frustrations in the afternoons. By evenings and bedtimes, we were all pretty frustrated.

But now? I can see that the Pumpkin is starting to come out of this regression. Even Londo commented that he saw it too. Things are all rainbows and unicorns, but there are significantly less meltdowns.

In addition to her simply moving out of this tough stage, we also did a project this weekend in which we made a chart for her morning routine and bedtime routine. We went through magazines to find pictures to represent each main step of those routines and glued those pictures onto some big paper under the right step. Now, each morning and night, we check the chart to see what we do next, and that has seemed to really help.

The past three mornings, things have gone relatively smoothly (I'm totally jinxing myself, I know). Although she still protests the diaper changes ("I want the pee pee in my diaper!), she's been letting me do them with much fuss once I tell her that she can either scream while I do it and it will take longer or she can cooperate and we can do it fast, but either way I'm going to change her diaper. With some coaxing, she is washing her hands, brushing her teeth (and mommy gets a turn), and washing her face. I have given her the option of two outfits, and she actually picks one of the ones I offer! She has gotten herself dressed and didn't freak out because she had it backwards and needed guidance on turning it around. Breakfasts, getting shoes and coats on, and getting in the car are all much easier.

The Pookie is happier when I am able to focus some attention on him, too. It's pretty easy to change his diaper and get him dressed. He's enjoying breakfasts of oatmeal or rice cereal with toast or waffles as finger foods. Most of all, he loves to watch his sister and laugh when she's being silly.

I'm hoping things stay easier and continue to improve, but I am trying to steal myself in case there is one more set back before true improvement. With better sleep for the Pookie and I (thanks to the sleep training), I think I can handle it. It would be even better if the Pumpkin would start sleeping through the night again, but at least she's stopped having middle-of-the-night meltdowns/screamfests.

Of course, she'll probably get to the other side of this regression just in time for the Pookie to go through one! Ah, parenthood.

*Well, that paragraph sums up my other post, so I guess I can delete it now. It apparently didn't need to be a whole post.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Question of the Week - Parenting Style

I took one of those little quizzes on Facebook the other day. It was What Is Your Parenting Style? It was pretty limited in the questions and answers, but it's just a fun little quiz.

I didn't need to take it, because I pretty much know what my parenting style is. The answer it gave was right on. But it also got me thinking if other people even bother to name their parenting style or can figure out how to describe themselves.

So this week's question of the week is:

What's your parenting style?

My answer to the quiz was Kinda Crunchy. That's pretty much where'd I'd put myself. I tend to fall on the attachment parenting (AP) side of the spectrum, and I am also more of a relaxed parent than a worrier or helicopter parent.

What about you? What would you call yourself? Where on the parenting style spectrum do you fall?