Monday, May 26, 2008

The joys of children

A few stories from the trenches of parenthood ;-)

Saturday Sierra had a friend over. They were playing in her room and being really good. Too good. I finally check on them (rule #1: if your kids aren't right under foot, something is wrong and it's your own dang fault for not checking it out). They have colored all over two different baby dolls (a cabbage patch kid and another cloth bodied doll) with markers. So I tell them I'm disappointed and that I know they both know we only color on paper or the white board. Then I ask who did it. The other little girl immediately says, "sierra" (smart kid ;-) Sierra says, "we both did. first I did, then she did". Of course, it all boils down to what was I doing thinking it was a good thing for two 3 year olds to be entertaining themselves? ;-) I take away both dolls and all the markers and we go about our day. Today (two full days later), Sierra asks me for the dolls back....
S: momma, can I have my dolls?
Me: I'm sorry sweetie, but you colored all over them and ruined them
S: I can't have them back?
M: no, you ruined them
S: You're going to throw them away?
M: Well, they're ruined now
S: But momma! I'm just a kid!

Gah........In case you happen to be in the middle of the "terrible two's" at the moment, let me enlighten you about what happens at 3 and 4---the tantrums are less frequent, but WAY more intense and the child develops LOGIC. This gets me every time. My overarching parenting goal has nothing to do with obeying my authority ('cause heaven knows I don't want her blindly following some of the authority figures out there these days), it centers on teaching them to think for themselves. Big time centers on teaching them to think for themselves. I'm one of those parents that sees her struggling with something and just kinda hangs back and waits to see what will happen (unless there's risk of more than minor injury). And along those same lines, if I tell her no, but she can give me a good enough reason to change my mind, I change my mind (and let her know why). Slight downfall to this is that I may teach her to follow the beat of a different drummer, but may also be creating an evil genius. hmmmmm....

Story 2: Sierra eats quite a bit of food and proceeds to run around the house (this is one of those "karma" lessons--we warn her not to run, if she continues to do so and falls the only sympathy she gets is "told you not to run". She claims she has to run to "get the injury out"--quite an interesting thought, don't you think? In reality, she can't keep the syllables straight in ENERGY). Anyways, she finally stops, is holding her tummy and says:
S: momma, do you know why my tummy hurts?
Me: Gee, because you just ate all that food and now you're running around?!?
S: nope, because I have a baby in my tummy and she's about to hop out (she still insists Sedona "hopped out"--oh how I wish)
Rule #2: if you make a living teaching other people about breastfeeding and childbirthing, your child is going to pick up on some things. It's not a bad thing to know a little biology (she is quite, quite blank on the details), but it will throw you for a loop sometimes.

Then, she tells me she is going to go to the hospital to have her baby. Now, this is the same kid who only one month ago found out one of my friends was having a baby and asked me, "here?" and when I laughed and told her at the hospital, she said, "why would you go to the HOSPITAL to have a BABY??" She was truly bewildered. So, I decided to have a little logic fun:
Me: Sierra, why do people go to the hospital
S: b/c they're sick
M: well, are you sick when you have a baby?
S: no
M: then why would you go to a hospital? (and don't get me on my soap box here--the infant and maternal mortality rates in our "highly advanced western medical model" are abysmal)
S: well, ms. veronica had HER baby at the hospital and I'm gonna have my baby at the hospital
M: yeah, but her baby was sitting criss cross applesauce (the new term for what we called "indian style" when I was a kid) and they had to cut her tummy to take him out, so she had to be in the hospital (breech baby, c-section)
S: I want them to cut my tummy too
M: yikes! don't you think that will hurt?
S: nope, my baby will just hop out!

This child slept through the night I had sedona (maybe 50 feet down the hall from her) without a peep and woke up to a new baby sister in the house, guess it makes perfect sense to her that there's no work at all involved in birthing! ;-)

Story 3: Sedona has mostly moved into Sierra's room, but last night was the first time Sedona was ready to move to the crib (we put her down in the stroller) while Sierra was still awake. This necessitated turning off her radio (she likes to listen until she falls asleep) and created quite a bit of resistance from Sierra. She wanted sister out. I put my foot down. Sister stays, you're quiet or YOU leave the room, and all the toys in it. So, she went back to her room. Unfortunately, Sedona had no interest in sleeping. I hear something weird over the monitor so I creep down the hall to find Sedona standing in her crib, and Sierra at the foot of her bed (as close as she can get to the crib and still stay in bed)---Sierra is whispering, "Sedona! we have to go to sleep!" and Sedona starts bouncing and laughing at her. Sierra just gets more and more desperate, "Sedona! we're supposed to sleep!!" And every time she talks Sedona just thinks it's hilarious. Poor Sierra was so frustrated.
Rule #3: when you threaten to kick a kid out of her own room, have the courtesy to clarify that you only expect her to control her own actions, not everything that's going on in the room.

Story 4: Sedona has learned to clap. She thinks she is just the cutest, smartest thing ever too. She'll clap and then get SOOO excited with herself, that she starts waving her arms and legs (while sitting down) and fall backwards. Quite, quite funny to see. Rule 4: never trust a baby, or their physical skills...always be ready to catch them! Thankfully, we now have something that comes reasonably close to the sign language sign for "more". So, instead of ear splitting screaming every time you take more than .256 seconds to shovel another spoonful of food into her mouth, she claps once. Now we just need to teach her "all done" or "finished"--she ate at least a cup of pureed lasagna (a cup after it was pureed!), lots of cheerios, half a slice of bread, 4 ounces of apple juice and 2 ounces of water and was still signing more and grabbing for food on the table. I'm telling you, crazy quantities of food.

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