Archive for the 'Behavior' Category

Tag, I’m it.

I’ve been tagged!  Meme tagged, that is, by my friend Carly.  I have to list my quirks, but only six.  Hmmm…so that means I have to narrow them down to six.  Okie dokie.

(p.s.  I love lists)

(p.p.s.  That doesn’t count)

  1. In between bites, I have to lick my fork/spoon clean.  I have to be eating with a clean utensil with every bite.  I can control myself to not lick the knives clean, but only at restaurants.  I lick those at home.
  2. Nails (as in finger and toe) gross me right the eff out.  I have no idea what the point of them are, so I cut them down to the pink.  God invented husbands for getting itchy backs and pennies for playing Instant Bingo so why haven’t nails been evolved out of us?  Toe nails with french manicures make me heave. 
  3. Speaking of nausea triggers – I can’t drink ginger ale.  Ever.  Because it’s the drink we’re typically given when we feel sick, it reminds me of feeling sick.  And then I feel sick even if I didn’t feel sick before.  Also, The Killers first album came out when I was pregnant with Eirinn and Anonymous Husband loved them and played them, especially during the horrid first trimester.  Now I can’t listen to that album at all or I feel sick even if I didn’t feel sick before.
  4. I’m going to bulk my quirky physical capabilities into one point because there are a lot.  I can fold my tongue in half and stick it out.  I can also flip it upside down.  I can make a pop sound with my tongue and mouth that is so loud people don’t believe that I did it.  I can push my chin out like a frog (you have to see that one to know what I mean).  I can suck the skin in around my neck you can see all my bones and tendons.  I can wiggle my ears.  I can cross my eyes one at a time as well as the typical both at the same time.  My fingers are double jointed at the first and third knuckle but not the second.  I can turn my left foot backwards with only minor assistance from my right foot.  I think that’s it.
  5. I have to watch a movie all the way to the end, no matter how awful it is.  I even watched the last half of The Worst Movie in The History of Motion Pictures, AKA Gerry, in fast forward because I couldn’t bring myself to turn it off.  I feel like I would be disrespecting that first wasted hour of my life by not watching the rest.  And besides.  Maybe the ending will be awesome?  Oh, and for the record, it doesn’t count if I fall asleep.  Don’t know why, but it doesn’t.
  6. I cry when I’m mad.  Even the slightest bit perturbed.  I can’t even have a mildly heated conversation with someone because I either burst out crying or get too distracted with trying not to cry that I cease to make valid points.  Like a good Canadian, I excel at strongly worded letters.  And to make this a true quirk, I didn’t cry when I was proposed to, at my wedding, at the birth of my child.  I’ve never cried at a funeral or during a sad movie.  But get me angry and I’m a blubbering bucket of wuss-juice.

There.  Is that quirky enough for you?  Probably not worthy of being institutionalized, but a bit strange, no?

Seeing as all my blogging friends (all…two of them) have already been tagged, I’ll leave this meme un-tagged.  Very uncouth, I know.   

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Go green or go home

Hope you all had a very green St. Patrick’s Day.  Eirinn did.  A girl whose name means “Ireland” has no business not having a green St. Pats.

picture-024.jpg

And, of course, by “green”, I do not only mean the colour of her shirts, socks, and hair elastics.  I also mean that she was a raving, moody lunatic.  As though she had been binging on Guiness all.  day.  And she did not nap.  And she got sent to bed half an hour early. 

But she sure can take a cute picture.  Just don’t believe the smile.  The smile lies.

Two

Dear Baby Eirinn,

You are two.  My God, you’re two.  Two years ago today, I gave birth to you with Daddy by my side, all your grandparents in the waiting room, and Ellen DeGeneres on the tv.  Not that I was watching, the choice of programming was all your father and the doctor’s idea.  I was too busy, you know, doing the required birthing activities.  Two years may sound like a long time, but I can still smell the hospital smell, hear the hospital sounds, and envision the hospital room perfectly.  Especially the fold out instrument of torture chair your Daddy had to sleep in while I laboured away all night.  Kind of a fair trade, if you ask me.

One was an unbelievable year for you.  When I think of all you have learned and how much you’ve grown and who you now are, I can barely recognize that One and Two are the same Eirinn.  One year old you still toddled cautiously, spoke only a few English words but babbled on in bab-ese, and was as bald as a jaybird (nearly).  Two year old you runs as much as humanly possible, is fluent in English (there are just some words you haven’t tried yet) but with a strong toddler accent (which sounds like a mix of Irish and Brooklyn), and you are currently working on a full head of hair (“working on” being the operative phrase).  You know the alphabet (the song, not the letters), can count from 1 to 16 (with the exception of 13, 14, and 15, which are all 14 to you), can dress yourself in your outerwear, and can throw a temper tantrum like nobody’s business.

Leading up to two, you mastered sentences and are now telling us stories and relaying them in paragraph form.  You are learning about cause and effect, action and consequence, crime and punishment.  You are learning about these things but you have yet to allow such concepts to stick.

Skills we are working on, in a very non-boot camp type way:

  • Colours.  Some days you know them, some days you don’t.  I think you know them perfectly and are just messing with Mommy and Daddy.  Maintain control by allowing the adults to believe they are still smarter than the kid.  Smart.  I like it.
  • Potty training.  We’re still hoping against hope that you’ll show some sort of interest in the going diaper-free soon.  You’ll sit on the potty just long enough to warm your bum then it’s off to see how much toilet paper you can fire off the roll onto the floor before Mommy loses her cool.

And that’s about it.  I have taken a new laid back approach to my parenting philosophy (not that I’m laid back, I can throw my own temper tantrums too you know, but my philosophy is laid back).  We’re not pushing much onto you right now.  You are ahead of the pack developmentally and you are still above average physically, so we’re not worried about how you learn and how much you are willing to learn.  We also know that when you are ready to move forward with certain skills (*cough* peeing and pooping the proper receptacle *cough*), you’ll let us know.  We just hope you’re ready before June when the number of daily dirty diapers will increase exponentially.  We’re just saying, if you’re looking for the perfect Mother’s Day present, that would be it.

Two has a ‘tude.  Because you know everything, of course.  You know everything and you should be able to do everything and who are we to try to tell you otherwise.  This is mostly frustrating, but occasionally amusing.  Especially when you try to assert yourself but mispronounce just enough of the words to sound adorable instead of mean.  For example.  One of your most frequently used phrases is ‘I don’t like it anymore’ except you pronounce it ‘My don’t yike it neny-MORE.’  I’m sorry for laughing.  I know you were trying to be authoritative.

You don’t like it anymore because you don’t like anything anymore.  Well, anything that involves consuming any sort of mineral or nutrient.  Food can be rather offensive to you.  Unless it can be tagged “snack.”  Then it’s cool.  But if it’s only label is “meal”, then it’s a non-starter.  Even if you were perfectly content eating it, say, a week ago.  Or even ten minutes ago.  If it’s offered to you under the guise of “meal” then “my don’t yike it neny-MORE.”  Except for breakfast.  Like me, you eat 90% of your daily recommended caloric intake before noon. 

Two is also unbearably sweet.  Cavity-causing.  You often tell us you love us (‘My lawb Daddy!’) without prompting.  And your hugs have improved tremendously.  They used to be a simple lean in with your head and the accompanying ‘aw’.  Now they are a simple lean in with your head and the accompanying ‘aw’, but they last much longer.  You greet us enthusiastically, with hugs and kisses and lawb, making us feel like we’ve done something right in this parenting biz and also letting us forget the aforementioned ‘tude.

I’ll miss One.  You were still a baby for One.  But Two will be fun (please God, let Two be fun) with your better grasp on language and proper behaviour (better, not perfect).  Because now you are officially a Big Girl, growing and learning everyday.  We’re about to get your Big Girl Room ready with a Big Girl Bed and your own mirror and everything. 

But when we sneak into your nursery at night, to make sure you’re all tucked in safe and snug in your crib with your soother where it belongs and your two ah-lankies by your side, you’re still our little baby.  Our Pumpkin.  And that, that won’t change no matter how Big a Girl you are.

Love Mommy and Daddy

ps — Sorry about the length.  I know Two instantly transforms your attention span to that of a gnat.  If I lost you somewhere around Ellen DeGeneres, skip down to the ‘Love Mommy and Daddy’ part.  It’s the only part that matters anyway.

Tidbits and Timbits

Driving in the car with my mom and sister.  Dead silent.  Eirinn, out of nowhere:

“Everybody has a head.”

This is so true, it blows my mind.

***

Sitting down, presented with a special treat dessert of two Timbits.  Carefully examining one.

“Bubba?  This is perfect.”

a) Where did she learn the word ‘perfect’?  b) I am choked up with brilliance of this child.  Yes, Baby Eirinn, doughnuts are perfect.

***

Eirinn is now taking Flinstone vitamins.  Did you know they have a whole line of vitamins based on the category of fussiness your child fits into?  I did not but I think it’s genius!  Eirinn is in the Doesn’t Consume Dairy category.  She also fell into the other categories, but not as consistently as she fell into Kids Who Don’t Drink Milk Good.

She’s (mostly) off the bottle now, although she teeters on the edge of the wagon at Bubba’s house for nap time (but that’s ok ’cause sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get the kid to sleep).  And because she is who she is, milk in a cup or a sippy cup is remarkably offensive and, when it’s offered, she immediately wants us to ‘clean it’.  As in ‘You’ve soiled my precious, pure water with a vile white liquid, you inconsiderate, disrespectful moron’.  Shame on us and shame on those who allowed this to happen.

She likes yogurt but we would need to feed her 7 a day in order for her to get her recommended daily calcium intake.  The vitamins have 1/4 of what she needs.  Which is great.  I was worried she would grow up to be a toothless shrimp with bendy, brittle bones. 

So now, every morning, she takes her “medicine”, the same as Mommy and Daddy.  She doesn’t mind them.  In fact, she kind of likes them.  The only problem so far is keeping her from overdosing.  (Back off trolls; we’ve only ever given her one a day.  She just wants more, more, more.)

***

Have I ever mentioned how little hair Eirinn has?  I mean, it’s really quite sad.  She just recently can brag about technically having a full head of hair, but only in the most liberal sense.  Yes, there are hair follicles sprouting nearly everywhere they should be.  But, wow.  She’ll be two next Friday and I would guesstimate that the majority of 6 month olds have a great deal more than her.  The stuff at the sides, right at her temples, is still just newborn fluff.  And that’s because it is newborn hair.

The hair coming in looks like it has the potential to be very pretty.  It is a nice medium to dark blonde with natural subtle highlights.  It’s curly at the back but I think that will relax over time and settle on slightly wavy (like her Mommy).  And it’s also very shiny, which makes me want to shave off what little she has and crazy glue it on top of my own head.

On one hand I’m anxious for her to grow her hair so I can put it in a pony tail or, as my dad calls them, Zeep-Zorps (pig tails).  On the other more dominant and strongly opinionated hand (probably my right; my left is useless for anything other than balance), I’m glad she’s still a bit of a baldy.  It means some days we can get away without brushing because who would notice?  Also she still looks like my little Baby Eirinn, even though she’ll be two next week and already knows that everyone has a head and that doughnuts are natures perfect fruit.

Don’t like it

Eirinn’s new, over-used phrase du jour is “My don’t like it.”  But she pronounces it with some indecipherable drawl.  It is “My don’t loyk it” to be exact.  Also, on occasion, “My don’t loyk it.  Any.  More.”  We’re pretty sure what she means to say is “My don’t want it” because since she started using this phrase a couple of weeks ago, she ‘no likes’ the following, among many other random things:
pants

stripey socks

non-stripey socks

shirts with a turtleneck

shirts with buttons

shirts with zippers

shirts with sleeves

shirts with sleeves rolled up

her pink coat

her other pink coat

her pink mitts

her other pink mitts

her boots

food, including that which she has already consumed a good deal of

drinks

movies that she asked to be played

tv shows which were her favourite less than five minutes ago

hugs

kisses

tickling

Mommy

Daddy

Bosco

going to bed

blankets
All of this is somehow magically and similtaneously cute and unbearably frustrating.  We absolutely adore her new found accent (which includes pronouncing Donkey from Shrek “Don-kay”) and selfishly hopes she keeps it, despite the fact that she will be made fun of terribly when she enters school.  She’s tough; she can handle a bit of ribbing.  But on the other hand, it’s awfully tiring never knowing what will please her, even after she asks for something quite specifically. 

I’m sure most toddlers go through a phase like this.  Seeing how far their parents will go to please them and how far they can try their patience before it snaps.  Luckily for Eirinn her parents think she’s painfully adorable and little things like this, while not tolerated (she does get reprimanded for being impossibly finicky), are filed away under Things We Will Remember Fondly.

Like a carousel, except not as fun

Ups and Downs of the weekend (you are warned – there are more downs than ups)

Up: Getting our family photos done on Saturday morning.  We get ours done at the Real Canadian Superstore.  We have found that, for what you get, they are much cheaper and of better quality than other big box portrait studios.  We’ve been happy with them so far and this was our third time going. 

Eirinn did very well, considering she is an almost-two year old and it was right before lunch.  She smiled for many shots so we had a few to choose from.  She also didn’t smile for many shots, but we could only pick three poses so she gets a pardon this time.

She wore her most beautifully adorable dress ever.  Ok, so it’s her only dress.  OK, so I actually had to buy it for her the week before so that she would actually have a dress.  Sheesh.  She’s a rough and tumble tomboy and her wardrobe reflects as much.  But this dress, a brightly flowered jumper and a pink shirt, was perfect for the pictures and she’ll wear it again for her second birthday party (not her birthday marking her second year; her SECOND birthday as in she’s having two this year…spoiled?  yes.)  And I also had to buy her shoes because she has grown out of all her shoes in this, the season of only boots.  And she got a fresh new hairdo, which was thankfully free.

So, overall, she looked cute as a bug, smiled as many times as required, and we made it out of the studio alive.

Down: Out of the studio, into the lobby.  Immediately following the portrait session, Eirinn jumped head first into the Single Worst Temper Tantrum EVAH!!!  This event deserves its own title and exclamation marks because it truly was the worst tantrum I have ever seen any human being throw.  She out-did any she had ever thrown herself by entire categories; her worst previous now being labeled Minor Blip on the Attitude Radar.  Seriously, you would have thought we were literally torturing the life out of her right there in the middle of the Superstore, instead of just, say, trying to reason with her that dumping a container of fishy crackers on the floor probably isn’t the most polite thing to do after they so kindly took our pictures at a very reasonable price.

We put up with the blood-curdling screams, kicking, and thrashing for less than a minute before we decided Anonymous Husband would take her to the car while I make the final decisions and pay the nice (patient) lady.   And I got the easy end of the bargain.  Apparently AH was lucky he didn’t get arrested or violently accosted on the way to the car because Eirinn (our little darling) kept up the screaming, yelling for “Mommy” now, refused to let him carry her in any civilized manner, forcing him to carry her like a football.  This scene looked like nothing but a man kidnapping a distressed toddler.  And, for a reward for not leaving her standing in the parking lot alone while he drove away as fast as my car would accelerate, she dumped the fishy crackers all over the car (on purpose) instead.

When we got home, she had lunch and went straight to bed as a punishment.  No rocking, no songs, no lovely quiet time routine that we normally have for nap time.  Straight to bed.  And she didn’t complain, so we know she knew she was bad.

Up: Um…

Down: She has a new favourite.  She forced us to watch Alice in Wonderland, the All-Star, made-for-tv, 1985 version (which is my All Time Favourite Movie, right up there with Goodfellas and The Fugitive), four times this weekend.  Did I mention that this movie is OVER THREE HOURS LONG?  No?  Well, it is.  Which, I suppose, is probably a good thing because if it was the usual hour and a half, we probably would have had to watch it eight times, increasing the likelihood of us tearing our own eardrums out and melting our eyeballs with a barbeque lighter by exactly double.

She has absolutely lost all interest in any other tv, including her long time love, Diego, and his cousin, Dora.  They are officially ex’s now.  The only image on the television that she will tolerate is that of Alice and/or the White Rabbit.

So far I haven’t had to officially remove the movie from my favourites list, but if this keeps up for too long, I might.  That will be a sad day.

Up:  Hmm…

Down:  We had dinner at my parents’ house last night, which was great, but the leaving part initiated another tantrum.  Not as overly dramatic and violent this time, but it lasted from their house, the whole ride home, as we were getting her ready for bed, during her (undeserved) quiet, rocking time, and for a while in her crib.

Then she crashed…

Up:  …for the whole night.  She has rarely slept all the way through the night, especially the past few months, but she did it last night.  From 8pm to 7:15am, she didn’t even stir.  She even woke up still tucked in and her soother still in her mouth.

And Thank God, because after that weekend, I needed a full night sleep.

No amount of training

It started out all frayed nerves and tested patience.  It turned into fighting regrets, wavering self-trust, and lessons learned.

***

I’ve always been fairly confident in my parenting abilities.  I have a mother who, while raising us in a home that doubled as a daycare, provided us with more education on parenting than average.  We saw, come and go, dozens of children over the years, all of differing behavioral dispositions, receptiveness to discipline, even levels of intelligence.  And my mom was and is a fabulous parent and daycare provider.  She has always treated her charges as she would her own kids – no better, no worse, no more or less attention, and the rules that applied to us, applied to them and vice versa.  And the kids were (and are) always there.  They arrived before we were awake in the morning, and didn’t leave until dinner time.

Like I said, this meant I was involuntarily enrolled in a 26 year course in parenting before I had my own.  At the time I was living at home, when I was still a kid myself, this was a burden at times.  Just at times, not always.  We benefited from always having someone to play with, nevermind the fact that our mom was always home; a privilege, no doubt.  We constantly had fresh baked cookies or muffins, a hot lunch at home everyday, and a parent always present for anything we needed.  But this also meant we had to share her for the majority of the day with other people’s kids.  We had to share our toys with other people’s kids.  We had to share our home with other people’s kids.  By the time I was in my teenage years, I was ‘over it’.  A little bit of quiet would have been nice.

All of this is just to say, in theory and on paper, I know about this parenting deal.  I’ve been witness to pretty much any challange a child can throw at you and I’ve seen an expert deal with it appropriately.  But, as we as parents all know, in theory and on paper is dramatically different, like worlds apart, from having to put the knowledge into practice.  With a real, live child.

***

Eirinn was tough this morning.  Not the worst she’s ever been, but she had her moments.  She begged me for oatmeal (as a second breakfast) and after I made it she insisted she “No Like It.”  She ran up the stairs when I asked her to sit on them to get ready.  Nothing horrible, just naughty.

And then she hit me.  Smacked me square in the nose with her finger, hard.  It certainly didn’t hurt, but she meant it to. 

So I slapped her hand.

This is where I have been fighting with myself.  One moment I regret it deeply.  I have always said “how can you teach a child that it’s wrong to hit by hitting them in return?”  And really, how can you?  It’s all fine to say do as I say, don’t do as I do, but a two year old won’t ever understand that.  All she knows is that she did something Mommy didn’t like, so Mommy slapped her.  So, if she were to learn from this lesson, if someone does something she doesn’t like, she should smack them.  Not exactly what I was hoping she’d learn.

Yet in the next moment, I’m ok with what I did.  She has to know why we don’t hit and that’s because it hurts*.  And we don’t want to hurt people.  After the hand slap, we had a long, heart-felt discussion, which she understood so well it brought tears to my eyes, about how we shouldn’t hit people, that we should be friends and we don’t want to hurt our friends.  We discussed how if she doesn’t hit anyone, no one will hit her.  We discussed how much Mommy loves her and how it hurts Mommy’s feelings when she is mean to Mommy.  And in the end, with no provocation, Eirinn said “Poor Mommy,” apologized, and gave me a huge hug and a big kiss.  It was all I could do to not stay home all day and hug my precious little baby. 

It’s so hard to remember, as an adult who has mastered all of these basic theories, that starting out, we have no idea.  How is she to know, without being taught, that hitting is wrong, or that we shouldn’t throw toys at the dog, or that food belongs in the bowl or in our mouth?  So we have to be patient.  She has so many lessons to learn, all at the same time, that I can see how it would take several mistakes before she fully grasps all of these new concepts.  But it’s so hard to remember.  After all, I’m new to this parenting thing and parents have just as many lessons to learn.  The difference is, as a parent, we have to learn these while acting like we already knew them.  We have to be instant experts.  Or incredible actors.

Looking back now, I don’t know if I would do anything different.  I know in an ideal world where children only needed to be told once and their parents kept their cool under any circumstance, I may not have raised my voice and just given her a time out and all would have been peachy.  But my child isn’t like that and neither am I, so I slapped her hand to get my point across, we had our discussion about why I did what I did (because she did what she did), we apologized to each other, and if you ask her now, she knows not to hit.  So under the circumstances, I don’t think I could have done anything differently and still come out with the same result.

But I’m still beating myself up inside, and why is this?  Because there’s always self-doubt in parenting.  We can’t escape it.  No matter how much training we had before our kids came.

***

* I most certainly did not hit her hard enough for it to hurt.  Absolutely not.  She was shocked, for sure, but not in pain.  I would never, ever purposely hurt my child.  Ever.