Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Status report: Chloë, Month 33

Our girl at two-and-three-quarters is full of defiance and trepidation, "why?" and whine, silliness and fun. I got a newsletter from Pampers today informing me my 30- to 36-month-old should be forming four- and five-word sentences now. I refer them to Chloë herself: "Mama, you're silly. You're silly and I am silly and Maia is silly and Daddy is silly. Our whole family is silly."

She asks--states, really, "Why," whenever I refuse something and often after I merely say something. Where before she would ask for what she wants, now she demands it. "Put on my bib and scoot me in to the table." "Put on my shoes and my jacket." "Change my diaper." (I've started telling her she's going to have to learn to change her own.) We're working on fixing this, and otherwise she's very good about please and thank you, sometimes to ridiculousness. At bedtime she often hangs out in the nursery doorway while I'm feeding Maia. The other day she appeared, saying, "Hello Mama." I said hello. She continued, "How are you?" I said, "I'm a little disgruntled. How are you?" She said, "I'm a little digwuntuud too." There was a short pause, and then she said, "Thank you." I said, surprised, "For what?" and she said, "For hello."

She continues to be a good big sister, though a bit of a tattle-tale sometimes too--but Eric pointed out that it's good to know when she perceives something is wrong, like "Maia is in the garbage," or "Maia is going toward the stairs." She likes to share Maia's food, and is happy to share her own drink as long as she gets some too. They giggle together sometimes. Crawl over each other, too.

Her imagination continues to soar to new heights. The living room is a spaceship, sure, that she and Maia use to blast off. But now she goes to work in the office and does homework, then trims her beard (like Daddy) with a bubble wand, then makes me a Lego cake and takes pictures with a Lego camera. She makes clothes and cooks food, fixes cars, and pours pretend sugar on the floor so she can pretend vacuum it (and then ask me if she missed any).

This one's for Grandpa and Uncles James and Nels.
She's still very keen on her bedtime story, and if possible a naptime story if I'm in the mood on the weekend. She came to me with a piece of paper the other day and told me she was going to tell me a story. "Once upon a time there were Goldilocks and the Three Bear Pirates," she began. "They went to the zoo and the park." The switch to afternoon naps was a necessary and probably a good step, but otherwise sleep has been bad this month; for a while she was getting to sleep between ten and eleven after hours of whining or crying or lying awake, kicking the walls or playing with her turtle nightlight on the floor. When I invited her to bring the turtle to bed with her she stopped getting out of bed, and the past couple of nights she hasn't put up a fuss at bedtime. I don't think the turtle was the true root of the problem, but we'll take what we can get.

She's always putting things in her mouth and nose, often her fingers, and very often licks her hands while I'm telling her bedtime story. I asked her whether it felt good on her mouth or her hands more, and she said her hands. I don't know what to do about that. She's also very keen on washing her hands, especially now that she can reach the faucet and soap to do it herself. She continues to enjoy getting lotion for her hands or her ows, but now it's mostly so she can wash it off afterward "with a lot of soap and water."

Similarly, she's now riding her tricycle well--she still needs practice and confidence, but she can pedal and she's learning to steer. Now that the weather's nicer Eric has been taking them out for walks and to the park and the zoo (hence the story) several times a week, and she seems to be loving it.

We've been having her try to brush her teeth for a while, and she does okay, though certainly not well enough that we're letting her take over. She strips her clothes off easily sometimes, but other times she wails "I can't do it. I need help." She won't go down slides anymore either, and certainly not on swings. We're not sure why she's so fearful. We're hoping it's just the age.

She continues to enjoy bathtime with Maia, though she recently asked for a solo bath so she could play with her bath crayons and have some bubble bath. She dislikes having her hair combed or brushed, so it's getting cut pretty soon. I keep asking if she still wants to do that, since it's so pretty long, but she's sure.

She had a marvelous time on "bacation," in South Haven, and refers to it often--as well as other things that prove her memory is getting longer and better all the time. Not to mention the times when she asks for, say, naked time before bedtime, I say yes, and when we get to 8 PM Eric says "Time for jammies," and she says, "Mommy said I could have naked time!" and I have to explain that when I said that I had assumed we'd be finishing baths on time. A fine memory. 

She's so much fun to play with these days. I do a "horsey ride" thing with the girls, where I'm on my back with my knees bent and they sit on my lower belly and I jounce them up and down while singing the William Tell Overture very badly. Great exercise for my thighs. Anyway, she saw my cowboy hat, I explained what it was, and now she wears it for horsey rides. Today we somehow ended up playing "knock me down"--she'd sit up, I'd push grandly but gently at her forehead, and she'd fling herself over backward like I'd punched her. She likes Ring Around the Rosie and Row Your Boat and Hide and Seek, though she doesn't get the "hide" concept and isn't strong on the "seek," and loves playing Candyland, especially without the cards because then we can send the gingerbread "guys" on adventures instead of just sticking to the path on the board. Such a happy giggly girl. Strong-willed, and curious, and strange, and a lot of wonderful.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dreaming, all right

Chloë is currently passed out on the floor. Sometimes she wants to sleep on the thick double-layered blanket that she likes to keep on the rug by her bed, but before I went in just now she was simply splayed face-down, half on the blanket, half off, hand outstretched to the turtle planetarium night-light she had undoubtedly been playing with after she got done kicking the floor and walls.

As you might guess, we're having sleep troubles.

She switched to an afternoon nap recently--or rather, stopped going to sleep during morning naps and started falling asleep during TV time in the afternoon. So Eric's been putting her down with Maia's afternoon nap, since that way they can coordinate actual activities in the early or late afternoon. But it doesn't seem to be suiting her exactly. She sleeps late and heavily, and then at bedtime, as tonight, she won't go down. We used to have a sweet bedtime ritual: naked time with books, then pajamas, tooth-brushing and nose medicine (Ayr saline gel to protect against nosebleeds), good-nights, and then an oral bedtime story and a song snuggled up in the dark before sleep. We still have it, but she doesn't sleep after the song. She wants to snuggle.  She wants to sleep on the floor. She wants this, wants that. She needs her moon back on. She needs a tissue. She needs to pee. She doesn't want to be alone.

We've tried toeing the hard line, since that worked before--making sure she has what she really needs, then checking on her occasionally as needed but not giving in. Then, not checking on her. That's resulted in lots of wall-kicking, calling for us, crying for us, getting out of bed, and sleeptimes of 10:30 or later. (Bedtime is 8:30-9.) But I don't think indulging her is going to help--or at least, not in anything but the very short term. There was one night I did go in and snuggle with her, I think because she was sick. She fell asleep while I was there, but then she woke up and found me not there and called for me again. Repeat twice and then it was my bedtime. I think that might have been the night I stayed and we were both awakened by Maia in the wee hours (or I was awakened by her and Chloë was awakened by me) and she said, "Mommy don't leave me," and I explained I was going to go feed Maia, and then she finally went to sleep for the rest of the night.

I think that Chloë's napping too late in the day. But Eric has difficulty getting her to lie down any earlier, and has trouble planning activities when they have breakfast and then Maia goes down and then they have lunch and then Chloë goes down and then Maia goes down again; and he's running the daycare. I can and do prevent her from sleeping any later than I get home, but that's still pretty late. Eric thinks the problem is simple overtiredness, which can also (rather frustratingly) delay sleeptime. So all we really know is that something's not right. So we'll try one thing, then another, to try to fix it. Poor guinea pig baby.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

More on milk

Maia hasn't given up the R.I.N.D.S. yet, though I'm slowing down on pumping and today, for example, she only nursed four times (when she woke, before naps, and at bedtime). She also bit me again today, which resulted in her being shouted "No biting!" at and dumped (gently) on the floor, which she seemed to take personally. I've given up reading or playing on my phone while we nurse, partly because she gets distracted by it and partly because I know this isn't going to last long--either the individual session or the activity in general--and I want to be present for it.

It's funny how individual a baby can be in the act of something as supposedly simple as nursing. At this age, as I recall, Chloë was engaged in Extreme Nursing, wiggling and throwing herself everywhere and pushing her butt in the air as she nursed. Maia doesn't do this, though she does tend to end a little early, wiggle around so she's more on her stomach than on her side, and then go back for a last mouthful or two. But when she's lying on her left side, she puts her right leg straight up in the air, sometimes grabbing it, sometimes pushing her foot (so much bigger than it used to be!) into my face so I'll rub it or pretend to eat it or wave it around like a wand to make her smile. But only that side. When she's lying on her right side, her left arm is constantly in motion, groping over and under my shirt and, lately, patting and stroking the other R.I.N.D.S., which is peculiar and irritating and I've been trying to get her to stop it. But it only happens on that side.

She'll grab and play with my hair on either side, which will generally make it swing free and tickle her in the face, which makes her smile. And when she's done she invariably pushes herself upright and reaches for the books, saying earnestly, "Da da da da." I love how her vocalizations are purposeful now, even though I don't know what she means.  She doesn't often demand to nurse, instead getting generally irritable if I'm not getting into position, but if she's thirsty and I happen to be lying down she'll come over and bounce her mouth off the appropriate place a few times to tell me to get a move on.

I'm looking forward to giving up pumping, especially since the lactation room at work is getting a little crowded and will be more so in the summer, I'm told. (I acknowledge this is still better than not having a lactation room at all like last time, especially with the scalding requirement.) I'm not looking forward to giving up nursing, but I think it's going to happen sooner than later, unless I make a special effort. Maia seems to be less interested in it, more independent. It makes me wistful, but it's a good thing, and it's characteristic of her. I'm looking forward to seeing more of her personality, too.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

South Haven

For spring break we went to South Haven, MI, with our friends Matt and Carol, their kids Ellie and Zander, and Ellie and Zander's grandma Terry and cousin Tessa. (I felt very grown-up, renting a vacation house and everything.) It was a great time, even though I went sick and we all came back that way. Chloë had fun running around with Ellie and spying on Zander's video games, and loved the beach.

She was afraid of the stairs leading down first, and "the waves," she explained later; but Matt coaxed her down with shells and promises, and when she got there, she was able to dig in the sand, fly a kite, and watch the seagulls and the boats. We didn't go nearly as often as she wanted us to.

She also had a great time with the Easter egg hunt, running around outside, and being exposed to Play-Doh for the first time.

Meanwhile, Maia discovered a love for swings:

At least one of them likes them.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It seems only yesterday

"I'm old enough to drink now. Watch out, world."