Saturday, July 30, 2011

23 Months

Um, you turn two years old in a month.
This last month has been one full of transition for us as a family. I'm not going to lie, it's been a tough one for me and I'm fairly certain you'd say the same. Starting daycare has been a big adventure that you are just now settling into. There were always parts of it that you loved - seeing your friend AJ, making new friends, swinging in the backyard, unlimited yogurt at snack time - but spending full days away from family was something that really took you most of the month to get happy about. I really felt for you, but it was also hard to spend all day working and then pick up a clingy toddler who really had no interest in letting me cook dinner before Dad got home.

Speaking of cooking dinner, it's worth mentioning that you are going through a very big "cooking" phase this month. You have set up a tiny kitchen on the living room coffee table and love to stir things in the pot and wear oven mitts. When I ask you what you're making, a few replies have been:
Block soup (you were stirring blocks)
Corn soup (we'd had corn the night before)
Cheese sauce (wishful thinking)
Bird - on this particular occasion you had put a tiny stuffed bird into the skillet and were tucking him in like it was his nest.
While mixing and stirring toys and felt food in your pot you will say things like, "Mmm, it's delicious Mom!"

And for whatever reason (and as long as we're still kind of talking about food) I'm very fond of this photo of you eating breakfast with bedhead:
You're so sweet in the morning, making specific requests (almost always for scrambled eggs and toast with cream cheese or peanut butter) and this photo perfectly captures your big head, messy morning hair, tiny shoulders and your passion for breakfast foods.

We went through a phase earlier in the month where I was really struggling with my patience and tolerance - your disobedience spiked for a few days, and I'm just now realizing that perhaps this was punishment for "abandoning" you on a weekly basis at daycare. Thankfully it was relatively short lived and while we, of course still have power struggles, I either have more patience for them or they are fewer and further between. In fact, being away from you for two and a half days per week really makes me look forward to our time together. I especially love the time from 4:45pm when I pick you up from Jen's house and 6pm when Dad gets home. I try to make that time special - either stopping by a new playground, picking out a new book at the library or (shhh, don't tell Dad) getting an ice cream to share at the lake.


There really are no limits to your language skills these days. You sing entire songs - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (which you end "Like a diamond in a ring!" instead of "the sky"), and can sing the entire alphabet with only one blip (I think Darrah and I are the only witnesses to this skill so far). When you finish the alphabet you sing, "Now I Z, next time won't you sing with me?" You sing the full "ring around the rosie" song when we swing ourselves in a circle and love to do it "again again again Mom!"

And as long as I'm bragging - our next door neighbor is a pediatrician and after listening to us play in the backyard from his deck every evening, says he's only met one or two other kids your age that speak as much and as clearly as you. Despite the fact that I probably have very little to do with this accomplishment, I about burst with pride. You've started concocting more and more complex sentences this month, I've not done a great job of keeping track, but I do remember being on Orcas for the 4th of July when you pointed at a bird on a cliff and said "That seagull climbed up a big hill Mom!" At the wading pool last week with friends you said, "Splashing around in the pool with Adyson."

At the very end of this month, you figured out how to hop by jumping off the ground with both feet catching air at the same time. As seen here while we sing Little Bunny Foo Foo and you jump all over the kitchen.
I'll be very interested to see your height and weight specs at your 2 year appt. It seems to me like maybe your growth has slowed and perhaps you won't tower over me at the age of 10 after all. Your friend AJ has at least 2 inches on you and I'm still able to squeeze you into 18month size clothes on occasion.
Wearing my shirt and playing "snail", which involves you lying on your belly and Dad putting the bean bag on your back while you slowly crawl around the kitchen. Don't ask.
More transitions lurk on the horizon - toddler beds and potty training. But I think we're still a ways away from tackling these. You slept on a twin mattress on the floor on Orcas this month and did a shockingly good job. I really had low hopes, but you went to bed awake and stayed in bed singing yourself to sleep, sleeping soundly until 5:50am when you tentatively knocked on the inside of your closed door. Your Dad went in and was able to fall back asleep with you on top of the queen bed in that same room, each resting your head on your own pillow. He did wake up at 7:30am to the feel and beep of you running your digital thermometer over his forehead (meaning you snuck out of bed, rummaged through your overnight bag to find the thermometer and then found your Dad to take his temperature - all while he slept), but still! The same routine was more or less repeated the second night. So who knows, maybe the transition will be easier than I think? As for potty training, you seem really hesitant about the whole potty situation, so we haven't lifted a finger yet. Maybe in a few more months. (note that this changed about 2 days after I wrote this letter)

Sleeping through the night is weird right now. There's a lot of manipulating in the middle of the night, with requests for more stories, sitting on my lap, rocking in the rocking chair and more blankets. My favorite was last night when you undressed Baby in the bed and begged me to "fix it" (meaning re-dress her in the dark) at 12am. Ugh. You can see why I was so shocked when you slept almost all night in a twin bed without coming to find us for some random request earlier this month. I'm actually really enjoying this age you're at; I still maintain that I'm happier parenting a toddler than I was an infant. But it must also be said that this age is teaching me a lot about patience, bargaining, picking my battles, and not feeling guilty about giving you a cookie in order to successfully complete my grocery shopping.

Lastly, I will leave you with one of your more hilarious habits from this month. May I present to you "The Silly Smile", which you will do on cue pretty much any time for as long as requested:
Until next month,
xoxo
Mom

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Day that Broke the Spell

Well, yesterday wasn't "The Day" at daycare.

But today was!

Yesterday saw improvements - she did a little better at daycare and was great that night at home - no begging or meltdowns. But today when I picked her up, Jen said she'd had a great day with no upsets.

Phew.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Adjustments

I've been meaning to write a post to update you all on how daycare is going for Edie. But the truth is, this shift in our day to day has been harder than I anticipated and my thoughts on the subject get more complicated when I think about putting them in writing.

Edie's first full day at daycare went remarkably well. It reinforced my belief that my child is amazing, well adjusted and adaptable. She even napped! I was most worried that she would struggle with napping in a group setting, but apparently the whole process of getting the nap mats out and getting "tucked in" with all the other kids was one of her favorite parts of the day. She had one little blip when she woke up and was confused and cried for a few minutes, but aside from that, she had a great day. But when I brought her back the following week, things changed. I'm wondering now if day 1 was a big adventure that she didn't think she'd need to replicate. When she realized it was going to be a regular thing to be abandoned by Mom every Tuesday and Wednesday, maybe she no likey quite so much.

My stress over this adjustment is multiplied by the fact that Edie is *desperate* for attention from me (and no one but me) after coming home from daycare. There is a lot of "Mom sit on your lap PLEASE! Sit on your lap!" accompanied by wailing and much sadness if I'm not able to accommodate the request immediately. And heaven forbid Jeff try to fulfill her needs for a lap to sit on. Because he is not MOM and did you not hear that it was MOM whose lap she needed to "pweeeze sit on!"

Oddly, she never panics when I drop her off at daycare, but soon after, things generally take a turn for the fragile and she begs to be carried and to sit in Jen's lap for much of the morning. The 3 days of daycare that followed (over the course of 2 weeks) were hard. I was really busy with work and every time I'd drop her off, I'd think, "This is the day!" but then I'd return at 4:45 to pick her up and I could just tell by how excited she was to see me that she'd really missed me. And all this isn't to say that I don't want her to miss me. I suppose it would be a bit sad if I was so easily replaced by a stranger. But it made me feel guilty. And sad for Edie. I even wondered if I'd done her a disservice by not putting her into daycare earlier - all these kids that get plunked into daycare while still infants don't know any better and never have to make the big adjustment I was foisting upon my child now. But then my friend Darrah kindly said to me that if there was anything to NOT feel guilty about, it's that I've spent the last 2 years raising my own child. It's so easy for me to get all up in my head about this sort of thing, that when she said that, it was sort of like, "Oh. Oh yeah, I shouldn't feel bad that I took care of my kid."

All of this has just raised questions for me though. I'm not going to lie - I even toyed with the idea (very briefly) of pulling Edie out and just going back to the SAHM lifestyle. But the truth is, I'm enjoying working some. It's an interesting balance doing halfsies, but we're figuring it out. It was really silly of me to think that it would all just hammer itself out with no adjustments necessary. Edie never has a hard time being dropped off at friends and families' houses, including for overnights, but this is really different and it was unfair of me to expect that she wouldn't need some time to adjust. I hope to write a separate post about how work is going and this new collaborative lifestyle Jeff and I are leading - my whole life I've only ever worked what my friend Heidi calls "jobby jobs" (which Blogger really wants to autocorrect to Hobby Jobs). And now Jeff and I are both largely working from home - hustling for work and making money on a project basis. It's worth it's own post to explore further some thoughts I've had about this stage in our life.

But to wrap up my thoughts, worries and hopes for daycare: My daycare provider has been great. She sent me the sweetest email last Tuesday assuring me that everything is going to be fine. This may just be testament to my current emotional state, but it actually brought a tiny tear to my eye. Which I hastily wiped away because - I have to maintain my Heart of Stone status, right??

Jen reminded me that because Edie is only doing 2 full days per week, this adjustment is just going to take longer (as opposed to one painful week of full-time immersion). She has a few ideas that she plans to implement this week and I have hope that they will work. The day after she sent me that email, Edie went back to Jen's house and my Mom picked her up right before nap time to take her to Bellingham for 3(!) nights at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I was working crazy hours with 2 events last week and Jeff can't afford to take that kind of time off midweek to care for Edie during the day. Thank god for Grandparents! Jen supposedly told my Mom that Edie had a great morning on Wednesday, so I'm really hopeful that we are currently rounding the corner and maybe tomorrow really will be "the day". Cross your fingers for us.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Under age drinking

This video is particularly hilarious because Edie made everything up herself. We have no idea where she got the idea at all. Anyone that knows us will tell you that we are not beer drinkers. We only really keep beer in the house to drink socially when we have company that favor beer.

video

If she had indicated that she was drinking wine, this wouldn't really confuse me because wine and I are not strangers, but the beer part really hits me in the funny bone.

Friday, July 15, 2011

4th of July

A belated post with photos of our 4th of July weekend. We hit up the cabin for Saturday and Sunday nights and had the only fabulous weather of the summer so far. Loading up our gear to take out to the boat:
On Grandma and Grandpa's boat:

Rowing to shore:
The new hammock got a lot of play.
Reading old books with Grandpa Mustache.


One of Edie's favorite activities is being dragged around on a beach towel. Fast.


Sparklers!

Cutest bath ever. I was mowing the lawn while this was happening, and every time I'd walk by with the mower, she'd point at me through the glass, wave and I could see her mouth "MAMA!" in the most excited way ever.

Playing with the wooden ferry boat that Grandpa made years ago and Jeff's old Sesame Street cars. When she put them on the boat she exclaimed, "They fit!!"


Rowing out to the Whaler for our first speed boat ride of the summer.
Driving the Whaler with Dad.
Trying to replicate a similar photo taken last year in the Whaler. Remember the "Proud Sailor"?
On Monday the 4th, we stopped for hot dogs and watermelon on my parents' deck before driving back to Seattle. Edie spent pretty much the entire time scooping water from the kiddie pool and dumping it onto the deck, relishing the sound of it hitting the driveway, two stories down.



Saturday, July 9, 2011

Motherhood Malaise

It turns out that loving your daughter and being completely annoyed by her are not mutually exclusive emotions. I don't need to say it, but I will - I love Edie. She is smart, funny, adorable and compassionate. I would jump in front of one thousand buses without hesitation if it meant saving her life. I also know that everything passes - the good as well as the bad times. But sometimes I get sick of reading sticky sweet Mommy Blogs that only talk about the good times. It gives such a false impression of parenthood to not share the ugly along with the beauty. Because no matter what anyone says, there ARE both.

It just needs to be said right now that the intense Motherhood Malaise that I've been feeling for the last 48 hours is INTENSE. The way I feel towards Edie today is bumming me out. I'm so tired of her not eating a single bite of dinner when we are at a friend's house or party. She's developed this CHARMING habit of taking bites of things and then dramatically spitting them back out. In fact, spitting in general has become really entertaining to her. And my attempts to curb this habit are the FUNNIEST. To her. Not to me. Because it's not funny at all to me actually.

The last two days have been a cycle of her pooping like 500 times per day, then throwing a total fit when I tell her we need to change her diaper, going limp while I try to carry her upstairs OR if she agrees to walk upstairs herself, stopping on every single step to try and distract me out of changing her diaper. I try so hard to be patient and stand behind her, inhaling the fumes of her dirty diaper while she tries to tell me about the tiny chip of paint flaking off of the third stair for the 10th time that day. I think she honestly believes that this stimulating bit of trivia is going to make me forget the fact that she REEKS. Not to mention the fact that she spends the entire time on her changing table (once we finally get there) kicking me in the chest while I flail around trying not to get covered in shit.

Oh, and she tipped over one of my pots on the front patio this afternoon in blatant disregard of my instructions, shattering my pot. And? She gave me a dirty look while eating lunch for no reason and started chucking her food like I've never seen her do before. I felt like screaming!

Is it possible, Edie is just more annoying these last two days? We took her to an outdoor party tonight for a friend's birthday. Our friends just had their 3rd kid and we knew they'd be there with all three kids so we figured it would be safe to bring Edie too. Their daughter is a few months older than E, so she'd have someone to play with. I also secretly hoped that they would be a hot mess and it would reassure me that having one child was infinitely more manageable by comparison. Rude, but true. Instead, their children sat at the picnic table quietly eating their dinner. They didn't spit all their food out, intentionally squirt their juice box all over the floor, pop 2 balloons, and start running for the door saying, "Edie want to go home!!!" loud enough for everyone nearby to hear. I'm not saying I want to trade Edie for a different model - I don't. But JESUS. She didn't even want the cupcake I finally offered her.

I know I'm not, but I'm feeling like a parenting failure at the moment. I feel I've spent the last 48 hours "telling, not asking" when it comes to necessary actions (ie; "We are putting your pajamas on after dinner" vs "Do you want to put your pjs on?"), offering choices where appropriate to make my child feel in control, explaining everything in detail so that expectations are clear and set early and NONE of it is working. I'm reading Tina Fey's Bossypants right now and I loved the chapter about her dad, Don Fey. I'm starting to think that she's right about a healthy amount of fear for your parents being maybe a good thing. All these modern parenting techniques intended to empower your child are great - but have I perhaps empowered my child a bit too much? Like maybe have I empowered her to feel entitled to spit on my dining room table and kick me in the face while I wipe her butt?

The only real answer that I'm able to come up with at the moment is this: A GLASS OF WINE. Excuse me while I go pour myself one.



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Monthly Letter

FYI, I posted Edie's 22 month letter, but it's back-dated to July 30th, so you'll need to scroll down to read it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Things you'd rather hear about

Probably include Edie's 22 month letter, which was due yesterday. But I just can't seem to get to the photo part of the letter, so you'll have to be patient and wait another day or two.

And may also include "after" photos of our front porch. I have no excuses for this.

But I just felt I needed to inform you that after watching several seasons of So You Think You Can Dance with longing for my old dancing days -- Which I should clarify, never included me dancing as well or looking as fit as any of the contenders on this show, but still... it was at some point a regularly part of my week. But I digress! I meant to say that after watching the show, I found a summer dance class put on by the 5th Avenue Theatre where I will learn full broadway dance numbers taught by the dancers from the big shows here! Pumped. And nervous that my lungs will explode during the first class because, out of shape much? I tried to visit the gym earlier this week (for the first time in a VERY long time) while Edie did her daycare drop-in and my abs STILL hurt from the handful of sit ups I did.