Friday, August 28, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
For me, the most difficult part about the “terrible two's” is how to handle those tantrums. I've read all the advice, and I know I should ignore it or put her in time out or just wait it out. I know it's best to try to head them off by making sure she's feeling like we're spending enough time together, she's getting enough rest, making sure she's had enough to eat, etc. but I still struggle with it. Unfortunately, it feels like nothing works, but it does make it a little easier to know I'm not the only one with a kid I adore but who I secretly want to briefly disown at these times. Certainly not a thought I expected to have when I envisioned motherhood!
In that respect, having a child has been more than I expected - more exasperating, more fun, more frustrating, more joyful, more heart-wrenching, more fulfilling. It has also given me more empathy and knocked me off of my When-I-Have-A-Kid-She'll-Never pedestal. I think the biggest surprise has been that it has opened up my mind in so many ways. As we grow and age, we learn things and file them away in categories in our brains to make life simpler, but narrower. Watching a child start learning from the beginning, all those things we once knew and decided weren't important, or we had made a decision about, and forgot the other options, are back on the table. One of issues (I thought) I had pretty well ironed out for myself was the old nature vs. nurture debate.
When I was in high school and college, I took Intro to Psychology, I read my Freud. I actually have a friend who's an identical twin who was adopted by a family separately from her sister, and they've had studies done on them. Through all this I determined that while there are certainly good arguments for both sides, the environment plays a slightly larger role in the personality department, including temperament. I've done a complete 180 since we had our daughter. When she had that first tantrum, though I was sleep-deprived and had spent a bit of time crying with her when she was colicky, I had not raised my voice or been angry in front of her yet. This was clearly not something she had learned from us. Well, then maybe it wasn't really a tantrum, I mean, what baby has a tantrum at that age? At first I was taken aback by the thought, too - surely she was just colicky. But no, after a minute or two, it was very clear - our little redhead was definitely having a tantrum.
Knowing my own (also redheaded) temperament, and that of the rest of my family, her surprise tantrum started to explain things a bit. My dad and I are both hotheaded. I remember as a kid having screaming matches with him ending in doors slamming as we went our separate ways to cool off. But when we had calmed down and rejoined the living room, we would apologize when needed and move on. My mom and my sister are more stewers who, when upset, are quiet and short with their answers, but take much longer to really stop being angry. I think because growing up I was more of a Daddy's girl and my sister was closer to my mom, I thought a lot of that was learned. And I'm sure a fair amount of it was - if I had been adopted by two mellow parents, I probably would have managed to control my temper earlier in life. But seeing our baby girl enraged at such a young age, I realized that more of it is innate than I had thought. Maybe the idea that redheads have tempers isn't so much because they are redheaded, but because they are genetically predisposed to have short tempers in equal proportion to the odds of their hair color being red?
Regardless of the genetics behind it, the tantrums are a trial for us, as for any parents. But witnessing her tantrums, and struggling to stay calm and not overreact to them, brings those faded memories of my own angry times to the surface. And that combined with my newly revised opinion about nature's role in her temperament has helped me to have a more understanding perspective. It's also testing my own anger management and providing a learning opportunity for me - as most parenting issues do! At this point, when she's having a tantrum, I just try to give her space and time to get it out of her system. And I'm working on teaching her words for her feelings and how to handle them appropriately. It's very difficult, and I don't feel like we're making any progress. But I also realize that I need to give it time for her to start understanding these concepts. I know it was many years before I was (better) able to control my temper. That's a depressing thought in some ways (dreading the inevitable teen years!), but encouraging in the sense that I know that through the counterpoint of nurturing, it's not an permanent character flaw; we will be able to help her corral it and use it as a strength. And for me, I just try to hold on to the small signs of progress, like how I've been telling her for 6 months not to throw things in mid-tantrum, and now sometimes she won't. Other than that, I just pray for patience and remind myself that this, too, shall pass...
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
My friend's husband had played in a church band performance and gotten a parking pass, so we decided to try our luck at using it even though it wasn't officially valid Saturday. I'm not normally in favor of cheating, but I feel like paying for parking is a complete ripoff. Particularly when the "lot" is a grass field, and I'm under a tree. And the cost to park was the same as the cost to get in! Ridiculous. Anyway, we made it through four parking attendants without a problem - woo hoo! We got in the gates and stopped to see the bunny rabbits first. I think S was a little overwhelmed by the rows of cages and sheer quantity of them. There were white ones, black ones, brown ones, spotted ones, big ones, little ones. It was bunny heaven! She also got to see geese, baby chicks and ducks, and pet horses and cows and a baby goat. There was a race car there that she was able to sit in. Unfortunately, we didn't realize there was water in the seat, so she had to spend about half the day in just her diaper. A plus to her not being potty trained yet! She rode her first midway ride - a little merry-go-round type thing where she sat in a car. The woman working it clearly does not have small children. She took about 15 minutes to load them. By then, S was done with the car she was in and was trying to get out. Luckily, she just wanted to move to the bus instead. Got her moved, and they got going. When she got off, I asked her if it was fun, and she smiled and said, "It spinned!" Then we grabbed a corn dog and some cheesy fries for lunch. I had thought we would need to head back for her to nap, but she actually fell asleep there. We walked around for awhile and then checked out a talent show. The clapping woke S up, but at least she'd slept for an hour. On our way to see the butter carving in the Ag hall, we passed a one-man band - The Bandaloni. He was amazing! S was enthralled with him. We got to the Ag Hall, and I couldn't believe the line. Having S with us, we didn't want to wait in line, so I took pictures but from several rows back, so they didn't turn out too well. The last thing we did was go through a Helping Hands Learning Center. The kids wore an apron and carried a basket. They got a coin type thing for a "seed" that they planted in the ground, then they "harvested" the crop they had planted farther along the line. They got wool from a sheep, milk from a goat, etc., then turned everything in at the "farmer's market" at the end. Then they got paid a fake dollar that they could spend in the store. S decided she wanted raisins. It was a very cute set up. She was ready to go by then so we headed to the car. Or at least, where we had left the car.
As I had mentioned, we were parked in a field under a tree. I'm not very good with directions when I'm in an unfamiliar area, but I would guess we were facing south. Admittedly, I'm sometimes a bit flaky about remembering where I park. However, because we were under the tree, we had remarked that was fortunate because it would keep the car shaded and cooler. So on our walk back to the car, I was telling my friend thanks for such a fun time, and we were talking about how much we had enjoyed the day. Suddenly we realized, my car was not parked where we had thought it was. We doubled checked that we were in the right "lot"; we double checked the tree. My friend's first thought was we'd been towed for parking there with an invalid pass. That never occurred to me. S pointed farther down the line and said, "Mama's car right there!" I said, "No, sweetie, that does look like Mommy's a bit, doesn't it, but that's not it. There are a bunch of silver cars, like that one," and I turned and pointed to one by a fence facing east, "and that one." Then I paused because it had a window shade on the rear passenger window and something pink in the back - just like my car. My friend and I were talking about how it couldn't be my car, but I thought it didn't hurt to check. I walked a little closer and saw that it had Kansas tags - with my plate number - it was my car! At first I was panicked. How did it get there? Did someone break in and move it to play a prank and they were watching and laughing? (An odd thought for me - I'm not usually paranoid.) My friend said maybe they needed to move it to get to someone else's car - we realized that we had been parked two deep there and there wasn't really a way for the person in front of me to get out. I thought, yeah, but how did they move it? The doors were locked, nothing was missing. I was feeling very disconcerted. As we left, my friend suggested we stop and ask the parking attendant about it. We got to her and I rolled down the window and said, "Excuse me, but my car wasn't in the same place I parked it when we came out? Do you know anything about that?" She said, "Oh, are you the one from Kansas? Yes, they had to move you to get someone else out." I asked her how they had moved it and she said they had towed it. Question answered, felt better, but still a little uneasy about the whole thing. What if we had stayed til dark, and I hadn't been able to find it, and a different attendant was working? So we headed out of the fairgrounds and when we passed the last gate, the attendant motioned for me to stop. She said, "That parking pass isn't valid for today. I'm going to have to charge you." Are you kidding me? Who charges people on their way out? If I had been thinking, I should have said, "Well, since my car wasn't where I left it, I'm not sure I should have to pay." But my guilty conscience at knowing I had just tried to get away with something got the better of me. What a bummer of an ending to an otherwise wonderful day! But it certainly made it interesting.
That night we had Jimmy John's for dinner, S went to bed pretty easily and on time, and my friend and her husband and I watched some tv and chatted. It was really nice. Sunday morning, we got up and tried to get on the road early. S slept the full night again! DH and I had tickets to the 1pm T-Bones game. S did fantastic in the car - she stayed awake the whole time, watched a couple of videos, played, chatted with me, and we sang along to her CDs. She only fussed about five minutes. I was so proud of her! There was a bridge out on the north side of KC, so traffic was stopped. It took forever to get through, so I ended up having to take her straight to my in-laws' house as they had agreed to watch her while we were at the game. I felt terrible about it - she wanted to go home first. But when I picked her up later, my MIL said she was fine, didn't protest her nap too much, and slept for two hours. Yea!! I was encouraged that after two good nights of sleeping and two decent naps, she'd be set for Sunday night at home. Uh, no. It was 10pm before she went down!! So Iowa was fun, but we are definitely back to reality...
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Yesterday afternoon was S's 2 year checkup. She woke up with a cold, poor thing! And I had to get her up early from her nap to get her there on time. But she was really good for the appointment. She had to do a finger prick test and get two shots which she wasn't thrilled about, but she was pretty easily pacified by a sucker once we got the Band-Aids off. I know the day will come when she wants a Band-Aid for everything, but at this point, she can't stand them. Having them on was more upsetting than the shots, it seemed.
She's still on the same growth curve - 90th percentile for height, 50th for weight and 25th for head size. She's 35 3/4" tall, weighs 26 lbs (Coulda fooled me! She sure feels heavier than that.), and has a head circumference of 18.5". Everything looked good; thank you God for blessing us with a healthy child!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Saturday I had arranged for a play date for S for two hours before her nap so I had hopes of about a 4 hour stretch to work on unpacking. But I had completely forgotten that my MIL had tickets for us to go to her company picnic. S really enjoyed it; they had a big blow-up slide and a moonwalk. She went on the slide a few times. There were clowns making balloon animals and doing face painting and a sno-cone maker and games. Then I got her home and down for a nap, and a friend came by to see the house, so I didn't really get anything done that day.
Saturday night I was trying to get S to sleep (it was 10pm before she FINALLY went down!), and I was lying in bed with her, and she was holding Elmo. I heard her say, "Elmo, go time out. No, time out. Two choices, Elmo: time out or spank a bottom. Elmo, time out or spank a bottom. Two choices, Elmo. Time out - Spank a bottom!" And she spanked him. I was trying so hard not to laugh, I had to cover my mouth. That must be what happens with my dad. I do spank her once in a blue moon, but there's no discussion. I just tell her one time to quit it, or she's getting spanked and then she gets it.
Sunday, I relived my college days and headed to Mom and Dad's to do a load of laundry to get us through til our new washer and dryer get delivered today. I planned to leave S there napping and go home and get work done, but she wouldn't go to sleep, so that didn't work out either. DH has been sick, so he wasn't feeling up to doing much, so ultimately, we got very little done on the house this weekend which is frustrating. But I think I'm going to try to go home at lunch every day this week. Getting the washer and dryer will help a lot. A bunch of the boxes are clothes.
After we left there, I took S home and she took a short nap, and then we went to a friend's house for a bit. I dropped off some gently used kids shoes for a fundraiser she's doing, and she loaned me some maternity clothes. And we got to see their baby girl! We hadn't seen her for a long time - she's six months old now - time flies!
I had my glucose test this morning - yuck. It's hard to do something like that that requires exact timing when you have a toddler who runs on her own schedule. :) But it's over with. For now, anyway. I'm sure I failed it and will have to do the three hour one. I also got my paperwork to send in to the hospital. Crazy to think it's time for that already!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Poor S - things were such a whirlwind for her. Saturday I took her to my in-law's to nap, but she was too wound up, so she didn't nap that day. On Sunday afternoon, I took her to my parents' house to nap, so I could get some stuff done at the house, and she didn't sleep then either. The hand-me-down washing machine we moved in ended up not working, so when I went to pick her up, I brought the bed sheets and some towels to wash at my mom's so we'd be set for the night and morning since that was our first night in the house. In the meantime, I'd asked DH to hang a curtain in S's room (she really can't sleep when it's so light out), but he couldn't find the drill bits. So I asked my dad if I could borrow his. He couldn't find his either since stuff had been shuffled when we moved our stuff in. So I asked my half-sister if I could borrow hers. She was fine with it, but was in the middle of something, so it was 6:45 before we could meet up. So, I took S to meet her, and on the way, she fell asleep. I got the drill bits, took the laundry home, got there, and DH was gone. I didn't want S to wake up, so I left the car running and stayed out front with her. I had to wait for DH to get home to put up the curtain and make the bed. Finally got that done, carried her upstairs and she woke up when we put her in bed. Poor kid was disoriented - last time she'd been in there, there was no curtain, and she didn't know where she was. I told her we were in her new pink room, and it was night-night time, and she started crying saying she wanted to sleep at Papa's. I finally got her settled down and to sleep. But she woke up in the night, so I just stayed in there with her. So I didn't get a very good sleep. Plus she woke up at 5am Monday morning. Ugh. Tried to get her back to sleep for an hour, but gave up at 6am and got up. But the two or so hours I spent in my bed, were heaven! Back to a queen instead of a full, nice firm mattress, ahhhh.
Last night she did better, but it was about 9pm before she fell asleep. She stayed that way til about 5am, though, and then I went in and laid down with her for about an hour. She slept til 7am - yea! Hopefully it will only take a couple more nights for her to get on track. Some of it is legitimate, but some is just her getting better at stalling. Either she really developed a fear of the dark overnight (which I have heard can happen) or she was just messing with me last night. She wanted her nightlight on, then the door left open, then the hall light on, etc. And every... single... step... of our routine was stalwarted in some way. Amazingly I was very patient with her. I had not been the previous Thursday night. The "one time" stall has been going on for quite awhile, but lately she's been wanting to give everything kisses good night. Which is fine, but the box her toys were packed in? I don't think so. I was trying so hard not to laugh at her different farfetched attempts.
Friday, August 7, 2009
That said, here are the three things S said this week that I feel are noteworthy:
"It'll go away." - This is a result of me trying to keep her from being a wimp. When she falls down, I cringe inside and want to run to her and make it all better, but I say, "Whoops! You're all right. Shake it off. Be tough." And if she says she has an owie, I tell her I'll kiss it but not to worry, "It'll go away." So the other day I bumped my head, which really hurt, by the way, and she said, "Mama bonk head. It'll go away." Got a taste of my own medicine.
"Drive careful." - My mom always tells us to drive careful when anyone leaves the house. So yesterday I guess my dad told S he was going to the bank and when he came back they could go to the store together. She replied, "Ok, Papa. Drive careful!"
"cooperating" - This morning my dad called and said that my mom was trying to get a fly with the flyswatter and she kept missing and said, "This fly is just not cooperating." And
S said, "Fly not cooperating." Those words are just getting bigger and bigger....
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
That evening we went to watch DH play softball for a little bit. She enjoys going and the weather was beautiful. We only go to his early games and just stay for the first two innings so she can get to bed on time, but he hadn't had an early one for awhile. We got to see him get a base hit before we left, and when he got home he told me he had driven in the game-winning RBI! Way to go, baby!
Friday morning I went out to the car to discover a flat tire. Boo. Luckily, my father-in-law was able to put the spare on for me. We thought we could patch it, but I knew I needed to get new tires and that happened to be one of the old ones, so we decided I should just replace it. Nothing like big, unexpected expenses when you've just bought a house...
Friday night I baked cupcakes for the party - I had seen this cute idea online somewhere to do a balloon bouquet (see below), so I decided to just do a balloon theme in general this year, only with colors that were a little more girly. Since we were homeless I wanted to keep it simple, and S likes Sesame Street and Curious George, but I think she will still like them next year. So I went to my parents' house and whipped up some Magnolia Bakery cupcakes. I had made the frosting on Wednesday night, and had accidentally put tablespoons of vanilla in instead of teaspoons, so I'd already had to redo one part of them, so I was extra careful when mixing the cupcakes themselves. Unfortunately, I didn't look at the clock when I put them in the oven, just set the timer, and it never beeped when it got done. So the cupcakes were overdone. I didn't have the materials or time to remake them. I was so frustrated and tired, I just went to bed. But Saturday morning, I was in a much better go-with-the-flow mood and just bought some cupcakes at the grocery store. They didn't quite look like balloons since the frosting was white with sprinkles, but it was ok. The party was fun - just family at a park, and the weather was really nice, although a bit windy.
After the party we invited everyone over to see our new house! We got possession at 5pm Friday, so we were able to show it to them which was nice since my sister and brother-in-law and DH's sister were all in town.
That night S and I spent the night at my parents' house since my in-laws were having a Jimmy Buffet party. I thought it would be a good introduction to sleepovers at Grandma and Papa's since I was there, and we're going to start having her stay overnight once every couple of weeks so she gets used to the idea for when I'm in the hospital having baby R. It was awful. It took 3 hours for me to get her to sleep and she had one of the worst tantrums she's ever had. Plus my sister and half-sister were there and could hear everything, and Mom and Dad were trying to help but it just made it worse. I was so stressed out and exhausted and frustrated, and I know S could tell. It was 11pm before she fell asleep. And of course she was up at 6am. We were both wiped out Sunday.
Sunday morning, we went to the pool with my sister and then to buy paint - my half-sister and my mom offered to paint the girls' rooms in the new house! So sweet! Then it was back to the in-laws to celebrate DH's sister's birthday while she was here. DH, S, and DH's sister and I all went to the T-Bones game that evening - S's first game! She was really good (especially considering she only napped for an hour that afternoon after having hardly gotten any sleep the night before), and we left in the 6th inning so I could hopefully get her to bed more easily. It was MUCH better, but it was still 9pm before she went to sleep. At least there was no tantrum involved. I've got to get this kid sleeping before baby R gets here. Hopefully once we get moved and settled, that will resolve most of the issues. After that I went to the house to wipe down the walls in S's room and the nursery so they would be ready for Mom and my half-sister to paint. So by the time I got that done, got home, took a shower and got to bed, it was midnight. Whew!
So last night I had planned to just relax and hang out with DH's sister before she left town today. I went by the house after work to take dinner to Mom and my half-sister, and DH since he was waiting for the cable guy. Sam had a terrible tantrum when we left. She got to bed around 9pm again, but miraculously slept until 8:30am!! I was so excited! I let her sleep in and was a little late to work today, but it was worth it. I hope she can keep her time table and I can just shift her schedule back a bit.