Thursday, January 26, 2012

Status report: Chloë, month 30

Oh, my big funny sweet smart strong silly two-and-a-half-year-old girl. What fun two has been so far, even with the tantrums and the discipline issues and the total insistence on a lack of potty training. It's not hard to focus on the positive when your little girl calls out, "Mama I really like you" (even though what she seems really to be saying is "Don't go") or listens to you tell her to dream about the good things that are planned for tomorrow and adds, "And cats and dogs. And rainbows. And cats. And Olivia."

Chloë starts every morning lately asking to have milk and be buried (sit against the green cushion and have her "friends" and blankets piled around her until she's enveloped by them). But beyond that, it's anyone's guess what will happen. Maybe we will blast off! by counting "ten, nine, eight, teven, eight, fibve, torr, twee, two, one...blast off!" Maybe we will get on a carousel in the kitchen (the bouncer again) and ride around and around. Maybe we will play with the candy game (Candyland) or the Elmo game (Memory, Sesame Street version). Maybe we will play with Legos, or in the winter house, or read the map to get through the cornfield while we see Swiper.

I'm totally digging the imagination thing, though it bugs me slightly that she's mostly cribbing from her shows (is it a problem that we don't let her watch a greater variety?). And the repetition can get irritating. Oh gods, the repetition. But then she does things like insist everyone wear helmets for going to outer space:

Outer Space is very in mode right now. The Purple Planet Dora episode is still tops, and the space book (or books with space in them, such as "The Einstein book," actually titled Starring Lorenzo, and Einstein Too, in which a theater family's misfit son goes to outer space with Albert Einstein) gets frequent rotation, and Chloë's always putting on a space suit or a helmet or finding new rocketships. Or making them.

She's so talkative, so eloquent; I've stopped keeping track and started to accept that she just talks now, like a real person. Even if a lot of her sentences are taken from things we say...but isn't that how most language works? "When we go to the fabric store next time I will see the rabbit," she says, referring to a sign on a gas station. "I didn't mean to talk with my mouth full," she'll say, after answering some question I've asked at the dinner table. "I'll try to remember next time." "Will you sing the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo song?" she says, and when I do, "That sounds like the Rudolph song from my Christmas show." When asked why, she'll say, "Just because."

Though her constant repeating things hasn't gotten any better. She cut herself at the grocery store the other day, and had to have a bandage, and all night, and all the next day, it was "I need another Band-Aid," "I know I need another Band-Aid," "Daddy I need another Band-Aid Daddy," "Mommy, Daddy got me another Band-Aid," etc. She was very upset about this "ow," expecting it to be gone much sooner than it unfortunately will. She hasn't had many bad scrapes or sores.

She made up her first song the other day. Something about "I am Chloë, I am Chloë, I am Chloë, and I am two," and then I think it went into something esoteric, but I'm not sure. I was too busy being admiring.

I drew kites on the tub wall at a recent bath, and she colored in the triangles--surprisingly well considering the medium and her age. She's always asking me to play now, when before she wanted a book, or a show. Even when I suggest baking, mostly she'd rather play. She even beat Eric at a game of Candyland tonight, and me at a game of Memory (two-year-old's edition, in which we put rejected cards down face-up and I gave hints so broad a semi could have driven over them). She likes to play with Maia when Maia will, but if not, she'll play around her.

(You'll see her "winter house" in the background there, the little fort I constructed out of her blanket on a whim and haven't been allowed to take down. Why is it her winter house? I don't know, but I find it a charming name.)

She continues to do well when Maia has demands on me, though I continue to feel that I'm giving her attention more than I am Maia, which worries me. But then Maia has particular ways of requiring my presence that Chloë can't compete with, at least not for the next few months. When we nurse Chloë will hang on my knees, or play with Maia's toys, or ask me to read, or if she's tired or unhappy lay her head on the Boppy while I stroke her hair with one hand, keeping Maia at the milk with the other. I feel very motherly in these moments. A week or two ago, after nursing the three of us played on Maia's floor a while, and Chloë decided Laughing Baby was thirsty, so she gave her some milk:

"Elmo is thirsty, too," she said afterward, and put him to her chest. Then she gave him to me. "Mama, give Elmo some milk." So I put him to my chest. "Mama, you have to open your shirt," she told me, but I refuse to nurse a Muppet, so he went thirsty.

The potty training thing would drive me insane if I let it. She would be potty-trained now if she wanted to be. She just doesn't want to be. She says she likes her diapers, though I prompted her for that answer so it's not trustworthy. But she's so totally ready, and she's got control. She'll wait to poop until she's finished her food, or until we go upstairs to the bathroom (she was reluctant to do this until we made it clear she was not expected to sit on the potty, just be in the room). During naked time at night she'll hold her pee until she gets back into a diaper again, asking for one if it's gone too long.

Her Grandpa and Halmoni sent a package of underwear to help motivate her, and yesterday I asked if she wanted to practice wearing some. She said yes excitedly, and selected the deep blue-green ones (other options: sparkly Ariel, and seahorses and stars), and ran around in underwear for a while, and even sat on the potty twice (and demanded the stickers to go with it). We ended up in the bathroom for something and Chloë said, sounding surprised, "That's pee," as she wet herself. We got her (and the floor) cleaned up and into a new pair (seahorses and stars), and sometime later she said, "Mommy I need a diaper." I put her into a diaper. She peed into it. I sighed. I'm wondering if we should just have a "boot camp" sort of weekend: tell her "Okay, we're getting you potty trained this weekend," and take away the diapers except for at bedtime. The pediatrician suggests a stepwise approach, getting a reward chart and rewarding her for doing her business in the bathroom, and then while sitting on the potty whether clothed or not, and then eventually for doing it in the potty. We'll see. I'm trying not to let it get to me. I think when she decides she wants to be trained, it will take hardly any time at all, so that's a good thing. Right?

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