May 28, 2015

Another week slipped between my fingers. Getting old sucks!

This week it has become apparent just how completely she realizes that letters make words. She will point to writing and ask, “A-dah?” (What’s that?) until you tell her what it says. She’ll point to letters she recognizes and make the associated sounds: “O! Ooooh. P! Peh peh peh! A! Aaaaah!” She’ll point out the letters that she knows and then demand to be told the rest. And then, the other day, we were outside playing with her new chalk and I decided to write her name in chalk. So I started writing and saying the name of each letter as I did: “J… O… S…” and when I was done, she took a piece of chalk, scribbled on the ground and said, “A… B… O… … …B… O… O…” I’m so excited for her tablet to show up, so I can let her play alphabet games that can feed that hungry mind! She’s also trying hard to count past 3. It’s so exciting! I’m eager for her to be able to read so that she can enter my wonderful world of books and all the places they can take you and all the amazing lives they can show you.

She’s also well and truly into the toddler phase where all rules must be obeyed. She gets so upset when Dad sits in my chair, or I wear his watch, or one of her classmates doesn’t do what they’re supposed to! It makes her really frustrated. We try to accommodate her on some things. Primarily, we try to make sure that she has a consistent set of rules and routines so that she knows what to expect next. It seems to help her have a better overall day if she’s not constantly trying to figure out what’s going on (hey, I would too). The other day at school, there was an enormous puddle on the playground and one of the teachers asked J to help her friends avoid it. J proceeded to very carefully take the hand of the twins* in her class and walk them over to a different part of the playground. Sometimes her desire to have everyone do what they’re supposed to backfires. When the kids in her class don’t follow instructions fast enough, sometimes she tries to help them in the same way we “help” her when she’s not doing what she’s supposed to. In other words, she uses her hands to try to move them to where and what they’re supposed to be doing. In other words, she pushes them. So many euphemisms in childcare! Well, euphemism might be the wrong word. For an adult it would be a euphemism. When we tell her we’re going to help her do something she doesn’t want to do, yes, it’s a little bit of a euphemism for force her to do it anyway. But I do really think that the regulatory systems of a two year old aren’t advanced enough to be able to deal with too much delayed gratification or how to do something negative now for a positive result later. So it really is helping! Or am I just convincing myself? Anyway, when she pushes the other kids it is clearly done in imitation of when we use our hands to put her body where it’s supposed to be. (“Use our hands to put her body?!” WHO EVEN TALKS LIKE THAT)

Tonight is a Thursday night. On… Saturday, J started to poop in the tub so dad quickly moved her to the potty, where she was no longer able to go. Then she continued to not go until Tuesday, when she had a difficult time of it, but was able to poop on the potty. The only reason I mention this is really for my own record, because Tuesday night she started throwing up despite the Prevacid that she’s currently on. At her 2-year well check, the pediatrician mentioned that if she has reflux, we might have regular bouts of vomiting alleviated by Prevacid, but that it wasn’t a good idea to keep her on Prevacid long term. So the fact that she was vomiting with Prevacid is worth noting, as well as the surrounding circumstances. So anyway, she vomited every 2ish hours from about 8pm until about 4:30 or 5am. And of course, we kept her home with a nanny on Weds. She seemed totally fine. This morning (Thursday) she gagged a couple times in the car on the way to school, but I decided to chance it and drop her off anyway. About 30 minutes later she had diarrhea, but they were willing to keep her as long as she didn’t have another bout today. Of course she didn’t. So is this a stomach bug, or more of the unexplained GI issues we’ve been facing? I have no idea. I’m not eager to subject her to a whole bunch of tests that I rather expect will turn up nothing, which is the next step should her unexplained vomiting continue.

Not much else to say this week. Lots of rain. She has enjoyed splashing in the puddles and finding snails and worms and pill bugs. I’m still working with her on being gentle, so sometimes it’s a little bit of a massacre :(. But she’s getting the hang of it. In the Dino Buddies room (where she starts Monday! EEEK!) they have a really sweet little hermit crab who will walk on anyone’s hand, and she’s been working her way up to holding him. Pretty adorable!

Okay, nothing more for this week. Since I got to type at a keyboard anyway, this was a rambly post already.

* She and those two are some kind of awe-inspiring whirlwind of toddlerhood. They love each other and the three of them get so worked up about each other! They run through the halls and shout at each other about having their water bottles. They always want to leave school together and never want to separate when we get outside. The goodbye hugs, followed by various parents carrying off various fussing toddlers, is almost inevitable. Apparently her name is the only name of other children those two will say, and they’re always the first people she mentions when you ask her about her friends at school.


How… what… where… She’s two?!

I have this terrible habit where I don’t get around to doing something like emailing/writing/calling a friend until it’s really gone on long enough to be uncomfortable. And then rather than just deal with that, I let the awkwardness build until it’s almost like a staring contest with the mirror.

Eventually, usually, I recover. Sometimes my correspondence lapses for egregious amounts of time. Blogging is the latest edition of this terrible disease I have. It’s like a big open-ended correspondence. Who reads it? Some people. But the more I post the more people would read it! Post! Post dammit! But now I have so much to talk about! I don’t have time to post it all!

Okay, so I’ll post some of it.

Like how she’s the most beautiful, amazing, sweet, helpful, adorable, curious, bright eyed little girl I’ve ever met?

No, not like that. Every parent feels that way (it doesn’t make it any less true, though).

So, the basics! Her 2 year appointment went great. No shots, yay! She’s totally normal, except for the things we already know about like speech and gross motor delay. I got a referral to make sure that her speech delays are not related to minor hearing loss from the non-stop fluid behind her ears. Otherwise, 34.2lb (97th percentile) and 36.5in (98th percentile).

Her birthday also went really great! Recently there have been a lot of birthdays in her room at school, and so she definitely knows what they are. I woke her up singing happy birthday and she was ALL SMILES. When we went out into the den to get ready, I’d left a single present on the floor for her to open. It was a book. She tore into it and then we spent the rest of the morning trying to get her ready while reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears. At school I brought 4 pints of raspberries in for her birthday treat, and when I picked her up 3, almost 3.5 were gone! I let her eat the rest as a snack before we went home. Then, home! Daddy was there and dinner was ready, but she wasn’t ready to eat. So we opened the rest of her presents from Grandma and Grandpa, all of which were books. She was thrilled! For dinner she had leftover beef and broccoli, which is one of her favorites. Then we put two candles in a chocolate pudding cup and she blew them out immediately! Pudding for all! After pudding, she got to open a present from us. It was a small toy stroller for her dolls, and she spent from that moment all the way until bedtime strollering her dolls and trying to climb into the stroller herself. So sweet! Then a bath from Daddy-o and reading some of her new birthday books, and off to bed. A few times during the day she would stop what she was doing, look up at me, and say, “Jojo happy!” At first I thought she was trying to say how it is her birthday, but then later she said it was her birthday, and then even later she clarified: “Jojo happy! No sad Jojo. Happy!” I told her I was happy too, and she got a very satisfied look on her face and said, “Yeah. Jojo happy. Mama happy. Daddy-o happy.” I agreed with her, and she went back to playing.

This weekend I’m planning to have a very small bubble-themed get together, with a bubble machine, a bubble-cake, and champagne for the grownups and sparkling juice for the kids. I’m also going to give her the rest of her presents (except for one or two that will have to wait until my parents get here in June).

YAY! I love having a two year old!

Recently she’s really started to talk a lot. Her confidence in her own speech is exploding. The doctor asked her to say stethoscope and she gave it a good solid try!

She’s also moving up to her new room at school in June. I’m so excited, I think it will be fantastic, and she fits in so well there! But it’s also hard because the transition is a little difficult. They’re doing it over the course of two weeks, but it will definitely be strange not to go see her in the Owls anymore. She’s also one of the first to move up, even though she’s the youngest in her class. She’s ready, and I have no idea how they figure out how to transition all these children! What a job scheduling that must be! Her biggest issues with it seem to be communication (all the kids in Dino Buddies right now talk just fine, and many of them are transitioning out and up as she transitions in). She also seems to get confused on the playground, because the Dino Buddies share a playground with the Owls, and when she gets out there she seems to miss her friends and want to play with them. I hope she makes new friends soon! It’s only been a week but she still spends a lot of time latched to the student assistant she recognizes from the Owls room. In many ways, this transition is probably harder for me than for her.

That’s all I can think of. Commence non-awkward regular posting… NOW!

April 2, 2015

She’s figured out that keys go into locks and you turn them to make things happen. With my help, I’ve been letting her unlock the door when we get home. Potty “training” is progressing pretty well. I’m not pushing it. I ask her if she wants to pee in the potty, and when she wants to, I let her. That’s pretty much it. Nice and low key for everyone.

Oak season is here in force. My white car is a delicate shade of greenish yellow and the inside of my head feels like a vise. J has also had a runny nose, and I’m pretty convinced she’s got my allergies. We were trying to give her claritin liquid for a while, but she wouldn’t take it reliably. We had to mix it into pudding and every kid likes pudding but maybe not every day. So we tried Nasonex and Flonase, and both are giving her nosebleeds. But! Today I remembered the existence of Claritin Reditabs! Ever since we were giving her a daily dissolvable tablet of Prevacid, she’s been eager about medicine. You’re not supposed to use claritin tabs on children under two, so I called the pediatrician’s office and they gave me the go ahead without even needing to put me on hold to check. Hooray! So tonight we start those and I have high hopes.

This weekend is Easter weekend. I’m going to see if she wants to dye eggs and on Sunday, have an egg hunt! I put together an adorable basket that I’ll try to remember to take a picture of and upload here.

For easter, her Aunt Janine sent her a doll that has open and close eyes as well as “real” hair. She loves it. We gave it to her last weekend because she was having a rough time, and we have a LOT of easter presents for her. She’s been carrying it with her everywhere she goes since she opened it.

She’s discovered that people have different color eyes! She pointed out a baby with black eyes in book and I told her they were black. Then she pointed to her own eyes and I told her hers were blue. She pointed to Daddy and I told her his were blue too. And mine are brown! Then she pointed to her new “baby” (doll) and declared that her baby had black eyes. They’re brown, but close enough.

3 word sentences are now the norm. She’ll regularly express things that require combining 3 distinct concepts (for instance, daddy blue eyes).

She’s also discovering, or at least expressing, much more complex social understandings. Last week in the bath, she saw Dad take a pill. Remembering her medicine (the aforementioned Prevacid) she asked him for some. He got very stern with her and told her that no, she wasn’t ever allowed to take medicine without mommy or daddy. Ever! I happened to glance into the bathroom right at the end of the speech and she looked frightened :(. A moment later she burst into huge, frightened, sad tears. Poor baby! I took over for a while and pulled her out of the bath for a hug and explained to her that Daddy wasn’t mad, he just wanted to keep her safe, and it’s okay it’s okay. Eventually she calmed down. Definitely the first time we’ve made her cry with tone of voice :(. I think she’ll be as sensitive to other people’s nonverbal communication as I am (If Dad had talked to me in that tone, I might have cried too!).

We’re working with her on being more assertive. When she says “no” and “stop” and “mine” at school, sometimes the teachers don’t hear her defending her toys or whatever, and the other kids take them from her. She does the same thing all toddlers do and tries to take them back, but because she’s so much bigger than the other kids, it ends up looking like she’s pushing them around. So I’ve been trying really hard to get her to say, “NO!” and “STOP!” very loudly. We practice at home. It’s starting to work, I think!  Then last night, while we were at home playing, she was trying to put something on Dad’s head and he said, “No thank you J.” She started to put it on him anyway, and so I stopped her and asked her to listen to his words, because he said no. She looked SO SAD and SO ASHAMED. I felt awful! Poor little girl was just playing :(. I’m not sure if it was my tone or if she’s just realizing that “no” goes both ways and wanted to keep doing what she was doing. Anyway, she came and sat with me for a few minutes, near tears. I told her that no one was mad, and that I know she was just excited to be playing, and that she did a really good job of listening to Daddy’s no. She gradually got her playfulness back and was even ready to go give Daddy a hug after a while. (At first, she didn’t even want to look at him. I think her emotions were too strong and she was struggling to figure them out). So hard for me, but I feel like I handled it appropriately.

Another Chapter Ends

I wash my hands, close my office door, turn off my light. I sit down and my hands autopilot their way through a routine so familiar that I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. Bottles. Adapter. Valves. Membranes. Converter. Flange. Massager. Backflow preventer. Tubing. Machine. Go.

The quiet hissing fills my office, not loud enough to cover the sound of milk splashing into the bottle. This is my last pumping session. Tomorrow I will give away my pump to another mom in need. (It’s a closed system pump, so I can feel entirely good about giving it away.) I’ll be honest, I’m scared. This is a tangible expression of my parenting choices, of all the struggles I went through to breastfeed in the first place and then continue breastfeeding because it’s what I felt was best for my daughter. I’m scared of the hormonal shift that I’m about to experience. I’ve always been oversensitive to hormonal shifts and I think this will be a bigger one than just dropping a daily session. And yet. No more of the endless washing of parts. I can reclaim part of my counter that is dedicated to drying my pump parts. No more trying to schedule meetings around when I’ll be tied down in my office. No more awkward conversations about whether I’m still nursing, since there will be no obvious sign that (or if) I am. I am not excited to give it up, not the way so many women are. I think it’s universal to hate pumping, but I have responded well to it and while it’s not pleasant, it’s a small price.

As I sit here, I look back on the spreadsheet of pumping sessions that I’ve maintained for 18 months. The “notes” section has changed over time. At first, it was full of details:

9/20/2013: “Left side still plugged, last ate at 6:15, went 5 mins past letdown, no compressions. All Medela parts.”

That didn’t last long, though. Mostly, once I worked out those early kinks, I just tried to track when J had last nursed.

11/21/2013: “last ate 6:00, HAND PUMP

12/02/2013: “Last ate 5:30?”

I also tracked how much I pumped and what I did with it, whether it was frozen, sent to daycare, or (sometimes) spilled. Sometimes, none of those things:

02/14/2014: “forgot to bring it home, had to dump it. what a waste

In September of 2014, I dropped from pumping 4 times a day (every 2 hours, religiously) to 3 times a day. And then to 2 in January of 2015. In February, I dropped again, to only once a day. Now March is winding its way into the hot summer, and I’m pumping for the last time. I was going to pump until she turned 2, but I was also planning to send milk to daycare until then, too.

I shut off the pump. Disconnect the tubing. Catch the last few drops into the bottles (tap-click-drop, tap-click-drop). Count the ounces. Pull out the flanges, unzip the specialized bra, get dressed. Turn on the bottle warmer, pour the milk into the scalding bottle, wipe down the thermometer. Scald the milk, label the bag, pull off the perforated top. Ice down the milk, pour it in, close the bag along the edge of the desk to get out all the air bubbles. Update the spreadsheet. Unlock the tab and close it.

I open my office door. I remove the tattered sticky note and out of habit, stick it to the back edge of the door. Then I stop, turn around. Pull it from the back of my door and drop it in the trash. My coworkers all know not to come in when the sticky note is over my handle. I won’t be needing it anymore.

I pumped for 19 straight months. Every (working) day. And now, I’m done. The last 5 ounces will make its way to my freezer at home. I hope she never stops growing. I hope it gets easier for me to let go, though. Another cord cut, another door swinging gently closed, another chapter ending.

March 27, 2015

Oh god, so far behind! So much happening! So little time!

I stopped sending milk to daycare. This has been hugely emotional for me and I don’t have the time to suss out all the feelings about it in a post just now. But it’s been a pretty big change. As a consequence, I’m not pumping every day at work anymore. Queue more hormones! This also means I’m free to have caffeine if I have it early enough that it’s gone by the time I see J again. How did I go nearly 3 years without caffeine? It’s like I can think again. I can concentrate. I can remember things. I am so much more me! My mother points out that this might also be hormonal. That would be nice, since I’m planning to still take it very easy on the caffeine.

She can jump with both feet! Yay!

3 and 4 word sentences have arrived! Things like, “J baby hat” (wearing her doll on her head) and “Mama sit down.” So far the only 4 word sentence is, “Mama, sit read book.” Speech is improving slowly. She’s getting more confident, and will say things even if she knows she can’t pronounce them. And she’ll make real efforts at making certain sounds. “F” and “sh” are the most successful so far. Still not much luck with multisyllabic words.

My sister got married! It was fantastic! She was radiant and her now-husband looked madly in love and a wonderful time was had by all. We got to see some friends of ours who have a 4 year old and a newborn, and oh my god, I need to find some friends with kids J’s age. It was wonderful to have the play together while F and I hung out with the parents. I need to work harder at finding time to hang out with the friends I DO have that have kids the right age. Being a working mom totally sucks sometimes.

Other things, I’m sure, have happened, but if I don’t write and post this now, my blog will be even further behind. I’m glad I’ve started including vignettes on my daily pictures.

Developmental Evaluation

Age: 21 months, 1 week

The big news this week is her developmental evaluation. I took her in yesterday for a sensory and motor delay evaluation. I’ll provide links for the tests I know the names of, for any readers who know about (or want to read about) Such Things. For motor skills, they used the Peabody Developmental Motor Scale 2nd ed., which was interesting to watch but didn’t give me any idea how she was doing. For the sensory evaluation, I simply filled out a pretty short form about how she reacted to various things (I didn’t catch the name). Some of them were difficult for me, questions about whether she reacts more strongly than most children. Of course, she’s my only child and I frankly don’t have a lot of experience with children except for her, so I have no idea. I haven’t heard back about either of those evaluations. I guess they have to add up her scores to figure out what they think. The therapist who was doing the testing said that she guessed J’s score would come back borderline. She could probably benefit from some occupational therapy, but doesn’t need it.

Partway through the occupational evaluation, they asked if it would be okay to have a speech therapist take a look too, since it seemed to the therapist that she might benefit from getting her speech evaluated. Sure, why not. It would be nice to have her thoroughly evaluated. So the speech therapist came in, and started testing her using the REEL-3 booklet on receptive and expressive language. She did fine, no issues there. 84th percentile for receptive language (what she can understand) and 70th for expressive (what she can convey). No real surprises.

Then the therapist pulled out the Goldman-Fristoe Articulation book (here’s a video of this test). It’s basically a book of pictures and you evaluate how well the child articulates each word. It’s designed for children 2 years and older, so J at three months shy of 2, she wasn’t evaluated at a standardized level. However, she definitely did not articulate. In actually trying to get her to say a series of words, it became plainly obvious that she refuses to attempt any word with 3+ syllables, and most words with 2 syllables. Of the words she does say, most middle and all ending consonants are just elided entirely. If she were 2 years old, J would be well below the 50th percentile. That’s really more of an interesting note, since the test isn’t designed for children under 2, and 3 months is a really, really long time for a toddler, especially in terms of language development.

Given how able she is to understand and especially to communicate despite her articulation skills, I’m not really concerned. I think she’ll respond super rapidly to speech therapy. She’s generally very compliant and enjoys doing things for others. The therapist checked to make sure there was no physiological cause (hellooooo tongue tie) underlying her speech issues, and there isn’t. So it’s really just a matter of teaching her how to use her tongue. I’m really excited for her to start therapy, since everyone involved seems to agree that it should really help her with her tantrums/frustration level and with the aggression she’s showing other children (biting or shoving because she can’t tell them to stop doing something). We should be able to start next week.

**word list removed**


Not So Weekly Update: February 18, 2015

Age – 20 months 4 weeks

It’s going so fast. I can’t slow this childhood down at all and I’m struggling  to keep up with posting!

Last week, J got really sick. She started throwing up at 1am Friday night/Saturday morning, and threw up every 10-20 minutes for hours and hours. We finally got a doctor appointment and he gave us some Zofran (an antiemetic). We got it into her about 3pm. Poor girl was puking pretty much constantly for 14 hours. Once the Zofran hit, she was down to every 1-2 hours. That lasted a day or so before it dropped to every few hours, but after 3 days she was still puking pretty regularly. She wasn’t keeping anything except a little bit of breastmilk down. We had an urgent appointment every single day last week, mostly to make sure she was still hydrated enough. (I’m convinced this whole ordeal would have been much much worse if she wasn’t still nursing. I was able to keep her hydrated despite the near-constant vomiting, and I am convinced that’s the only thing that kept us from going to the hospital for an IV.) Each time the doctor saw her, I was told it should clear up within 24 hours at the most. On Wednesday, she’d been puking for 5 straight days and we were almost out of Zofran. I finally got to see one of her regular pediatricians, who gave us more Zofran and had an X-ray taken to make sure there wasn’t a blockage of some kind (there wasn’t). But things didn’t really improve much. By Wednesday she was puking every 5-6 hours, and that was unchanged by Friday when we saw the pediatrician I like most in her practice. She sat down and talked with me for a while, and ended up diagnosing J with “retch” or mechanical gastritis. Basically, she had thrown up so much that her body couldn’t stop. Her stomach was too irritated and her whole system primed to respond to that irritation with vomiting. She said it could take up to a month to clear up (UGH!) but it wasn’t contagious and J should be able to go back to daycare, as long as we sent her with a bland food diet. She also said J would regain the weight she’d lost from not eating for a week (nearly 2 pounds) with no problems. She also gave us Prevacid, to help calm J’s stomach down. J got her first dose Saturday morning, and by Saturday afternoon she wanted to eat again. Demanded to, in fact. I was so excited that she wanted to eat one that I gave her a strawberry without thinking about the bland food order. Oops! She demanded many strawberries and ate about 1/3-1/2 a pound of them before she stopped screaming for more. Fortunately, they stayed down. Yay! She had thrown up just before I went to the grocery store, but that seems to have been the last of it. It’s now Wednesday, and she hasn’t thrown up since! And her appetite has come roaring back. She’s definitely doing everything she can to put those 2lb back on.

Since going back to daycare, we’ve been having a lot of trouble with biting. I think her molars might be moving around. What a crazy time the last few weeks have been! A double ear infection, then gastritis, now teething?

Oh yeah, not sure I mentioned that.. The other week the daycare was complaining that her balance was really off, and asked me to take her to the doctor. Turned out she had ear infections in both ears! Ow! A quick round of antibiotics cleared that up, and we learned about how to give a toddler liquid medication when she refuses. After she had spat out two doses, we called the pediatric nurse line and asked for alternatives to the vile pink goo they expected her to take. They told us to mix it with chocolate pudding, which would disguise the flavor of just about anything. It worked! Sort of. She hated it less, but realizing how much we wanted her to eat the pudding was enough to keep her from wanting to. I ended up swaddling her in a towel, then once I got a single spoonful into her mouth she would calm down enough to eat it. She wouldn’t take it unless she was wrapped in a towel though. One evening, near the end of her 10 day course of antibiotics, she actually got out a towel, spread it out, and lay down on it so I could wrap her up! Silly girl! But whatever, it made getting liquid medication into her so much better.

So recently, she’s been biting. A lot. Not interested in teethers, only people. She’s biting her arm, her friends at school. The other night, she bit me while nursing. Ouch! I told her no, absolutely no biting, and I don’t want to snuggle with her if she is going to bite. After talking to her about how it hurts me when she bites, I let her nurse again. She bit me again, I think to test me, and I did the same thing, only this time I waited a much longer time before letting her nurse again. She was pretty upset, but so was I! Then last night while she was nursing, she kept unlatching and saying, “no bite. No bite. no bite mama.” It was really cute. Every time she said it I told her that was right, no biting mama, thank you for being so gentle and not biting. And she didn’t bite me once! It was very sweet. But, she’s still biting at school and still biting herself. I’m not sure what to do about that. I’m hoping it’s just teething and not part of something larger and more serious.

Like, for instance, developmental delay. The daycare talked to me a while ago about getting her evaluated for motor delays. She’s more unaware of her body than they would expect, and seems very clumsy for her age. She’s also biting herself (and others) and will do things like jab her hands and arms with her spoon or fork. The clumsiness I’ve always attributed to her genes. Like my mother always said about me, she comes by it honestly! She does come home with a lot of bruises on her shins and knees and bottom, all clearly from falls. We’re having her evaluated next week, and I’m honestly not sure what I’m hoping for. It would be nice if we could improve her clumsiness and address anything going on for her, but it will be hard to get her to a bunch of occupational therapy appointments and it’s not well covered by her insurance.

Otherwise, things are going well. Her vocabulary has really taken off in the last couple weeks, and I think everyone is enjoying how much better at communicating she’s getting! She’ll point to new colors and sign, “blue” and look at me, repeating until I tell her the color and the sign. So far I’ve learned blue, red, orange, pink, green, yellow, purple, black, white, grey, brown, silver, and tan. Some of them she can sign back, some she can’t. But she tries all of them! I think soon I’ll have to stop updating the list of words she knows. It’s getting hard to remember them all unless I update the page every day. Many of the words she uses now seem to have a few different meanings. “Mine” means mine but it also means, “I want to do it.” “Bye bye” means bye bye, but it also means, “Let’s go” and “I don’t want this” and “Go away.”

January 28, 2015.

Age: 20 months, 1 week.

– All stuffed animals are “Ah-boo” (which is Elmo).

– Most foods are “Ah-poo” (which is apple, and also indistinguishable from “Ah-boo”)

– Sometimes it’s pretty frustrating to figure out what she wants. Frustrating for her, too!

– Doing things herself. I tried to buckle her into her carseat this morning and she wanted to do it soooo badly! “Mine! No mama! No! Miiiiiiine!” I gave her a couple minutes with it, then offered to help. She said, “Hap!” and then when I reached for it, realized that helping meant touching the buckle, and insisted it was hers some more. I had some extra time before we had to leave, so I decided to give her 5 more minutes with it before I did it for her. I figured she’d get bored or ask me for help before the 5 minutes was up. But another couple minutes, and she got it all by herself! Of course, she then immediately wanted me to unbuckle it so she could do it again.

If I don’t post this now, I won’t get it posted this week.

Running through my head

What was that?
What’s Elmo done?
Where is that music coming from?
Elmo’s singing!
Why is Elmo singing?
Elmo doesn’t mean to sing!
Whenever Elmo tries to talk
a song comes
a song comes singing out!

So Much Internet

I read a lot about parenting. I like to think about parenting and I like to be prepared for the things my child(ren?) will go through before they happen, as much as possible. So, like my family does, I read up. Books, internet, blogs. I talk to my parents, my husband, my friends, my siblings. But mostly, I read stuff on the internet. Today, I was reading a blog entry about how to discuss death with children. And suddenly, it clicked.

So many of these things I read cover one small aspect of parenting. How to potty train. How to create “natural consequences.” How to deal with death and tantrums and picky eaters and the struggle for independence vs. protection. How to do this or that and there are a million hints and tips and tricks to each one. It sometimes feels like I’ll never be a good enough parent because I won’t ever be able to memorize the thousand best things to say to my child when she is teased. So I was sitting there trying to grind into my head all the suggested phrasings explaining death, and going crazy because they all amounted to the same thing.

All of these articles are just saying the same things, over and over, about different situations.

  1. Kids are, first and foremost, people too. Listen to what they say they need, and ask if they’re not saying.
  2.  Be honest in an age-appropriate way.
  3.  Be consistent.
  4.  Chill out and save getting concerned for the things that are truly concerning, like medical emergencies.
  5.  Have fun, because holy shit being a parent is awesome.

What do you know, almost exactly what the book my parents got me has to say about the whole affair. And pretty much what my mom has to say every time I talk to her about a specific thing.

Will this stop me from attempting to absorb the whole internet about parenting? Of course not. But being able to take some of my gut feelings and turn them into a set of simple rules that make sense, are flexible, and don’t treat children like a math problem with one right answer is going to help a lot. I don’t need to read an article about how to deal with death, because I already knew. Be honest, be consistent, be calm, be kind, and always listen. Those are things I can do and believe in with my whole heart.

So there’s today’s revelation.

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