September 2009

Ok, so just between you and me, I am losing my mind. Dealing with a two and a half year old day in and day out is taking its toll on me. From the first whine in the morning to the final negotiation at night I am constantly on edge, waiting for the next meltdown, trying to figure out the best way through the morass of emotions that is my child these days.

So far my strategy has been brute force. I set limits, I give time outs, I count to three and I yell. I yell way too much. And at the end of the day my head hurts and I am cranky and exhausted. And then it starts all over again.

Something has to give. I can’t keep going like this, and surely it isn’t doing her any good.

So as of today I am trying a different strategy. No more yelling. I’m going to kill her with kindness. I’m going zen on her butt.

I will be like Buddha himself, calm, wise and thoughtful. When she resists, whines and challenges me, I will be like water instead of a brick wall and will bend her to my will gently. I will still use timeouts and limits, but I will do it without yelling.

I figure at the very least my head won’t be pounding as hard at the end of the day and maybe, just maybe, she will be so caught off guard by my new affect that she will forget to whine about what I am saying. I’m not counting on it though. I just need my blood pressure to go down a couple points, and in the end life is just too short to be so cranky all the time.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

You know how when you are driving somewhere for the first time it seems to take forever? You are completely fixated on the directions and making sure you don’t miss a turn, and the trip seems to take a really long time? Then, on your way home, the trip seems to go so much faster? You sort of know the way now and can look around a little bit, and you aren’t so worried about making a wrong turn.

That is how it has been for me having two kids. Maybe it is because I am not as worried about the milestones this time, or maybe it is that I simply don’t have time to worry about them, but these six months with Will have completely flown by. Every time something milestone-y happens I think to myself, “Wow, are we there already? He’s already rolling over? Wasn’t he just born for gosh sake?”

Will is, in fact, rolling over these days. Lots and lots. Way more than Emma ever did. She did it once and was all “Ok, did that. What now?” and hardly ever did it again. In contrast, Will seems to be thinking “Are you KIDDING me? I can DO that? Rock on.”

He is huge. HUGE. I know I say that in every update about him, and we don’t have six month measurements yet, so my evidence is merely anecdotal, but believe me. Huge. We just bought a new car seat for Emma, so that Will can start using hers, because we are pretty darn sure that when we have him weighed in two weeks he going to come very very close to the 22 pound weight limit for his current seat. I will keep you posted.

Which actually brings up a question for me – what exactly do you do with a non-walking, not- quite-sitting-up-on- his-own infant who no longer fits in his infant carrier? Where do you stash him when you need a few extra minutes to do something before you leave the house? Emma didn’t outgrow her infant carrier until after she was walking, making transporting her oh-so-convenient. Right now I nurse him, put him in his car seat, he falls asleep, I get ready to go, I carry him to the car and he keeps sleeping. Once I don’t have the handy dandy infant carrier, where exactly do I put him in the morning before we leave, when I still have a million things to do so we CAN leave? If anyone has an answer please let me know. Otherwise I will just have to let you know what we come up with. Maybe a strategically placed bungee cord…?

But I digress. Will! He is very active and continues to be very strong. I can definitely see that in the months ahead, as he becomes more mobile, I am going to have to keep a very close eye on him. He is just beginning to sit up on his own. I stay close by to spot him but he can stay sitting for a good minute or so before he teeters to one side or another. He hasn’t started crawling or even scooting, but he is happier during tummy time these days than he ever has been. Of course, the rolling makes it much more interesting.

He loves to smile and has become a huge flirt when we are out, batting his spidery lashes and flashing a full-face smile at anyone who stops and talks to him. We recently started him on solid foods and he seems to have gotten the hang of eating pretty quickly. He loves apple sauce, as well as rice cereal and peas, as long as there is plenty of apple sauce mixed in.

His sleeping patterns have been a little wacky. He went from seriously considering sleeping through the night a month ago to being up every two hours. Prior to a few weeks ago he was sleeping 6-8 hours between feedings and twice went for 12 hours before waking up. His pattern these days seems to be about four hours between wakings, although in the last week or two there have been a few nights (far too many) where he is up just about every two hours. We have been successful at transitioning him into his crib though. Baby steps I guess.

It is interesting to note that we had similar issues with Emma when she was the same age. We have never been the “cry it out” types, even though we made a valiant effort with Emma, plus we now have a slumbering pre-schooler to think of, something which was not a factor when we were trying to get Emma to sleep. I would rather be up all night long with Will than deal with a cranky sleep deprived Emma in the morning.

I am going to talk to the doctor about this sleep thing when we see her in two weeks. My second-time-around mommy instinct is telling me though that this is nothing to get too worried about, that he will be sleeping through the night solidly by the time he is eight months old, just like Emma was, and that someday, probably not too far in the future, I will be wishing for the nights when I got a few extra minutes to snuggle with him in the quiet dark.

Will’s basic attitude these days seems to be one of sheer wonder. He approaches the world with a jovial curiosity and is delighted by most of what he encounters. Almost as much as those of us around him are delighted by our encounters with him.

Buddha apparently once said:

There are these four ways of answering questions. Which four? There are questions that should be answered categorically [straightforwardly yes, no, this, that]. There are questions that should be answered with an analytical (qualified) answer [defining or redefining the terms]. There are questions that should be answered with a counter-question. There are questions that should be put aside. These are the four ways of answering questions.

Emma is full of questions these days. No, I mean REALLY full of questions. As in, asking questions all the time. To the point that I am often left literally speechless. And most of her questions are the tough kind, the ones that according to Buddha should be answered with an analytical answer. No yes or no questions for my girl.

Here is the conversation we had this morning while driving:

Emma: We are behind a truck.
Me: Yes, we are behind a truck.
Emma: Why are we behind a truck?
Me: Um, because the truck is in front of us. But I am going to stop being behind the truck now.
Emma: Why are you going to stop being behind the truck?
Me: Because when we are behind a truck I can’t see anything. Except right now there is a lot of traffic, so it is hard for me to get into the next lane (cursing softly under my breath at the jackass who won’t let me in.)
Emma: Why is it hard for you to get in the lane?
Me: Because there is a lot of traffic.
Emma: Why is there a lot of traffic?
Me: Because there are a lot of cars.
Emma: Why are there a lot of cars?
Me: Because there are a lot of people going places, like school or work or running errands like we are.
Emma: There are a lot of people going to school or work?
Me: Yep.
Emma: Why are a lot of people going to school or work?
Me: (CRAP.) Um, because people have to go places, just like we do.
Emma: But why do they have to go places?
Me: I don’t know honey, they just do.

You get the idea. It is exhausting. You are probably exhausted just reading it right? That conversation went on until we reached our destination, at least 7-10 minutes later.

Obviously the questions have a strong purpose. She is trying to get to the bottom of things, to make sense of her world. And that is awesome. She is growing and learning and becoming such a strong, smart, questioning little person. I love it.

I am just not sure I am up to the task…

I know I owe you a post, or two or three. I definitely owe the good people at BlogHer a post since they are kind enough to throw a little advertising my way.

You will probably laugh when I say that I think about blogging at least once a day, but I really do. I think about it much in the same way I think daily about calling friends and family that I have not spoken to recently. If you are wondering whether that means YOU, it probably does.

Please know that I carry great guilt about my lack of blogging AND my inability to call regularly. Actually, the guilt that I carry is probably more exhausting than it would be to figure out how to blog and stay in touch more often.

But life happens. Every day it seems. And sometimes when life does finally slow down, for a couple of minutes anyway, I am usually too exhausted to figure out what to blog about, let alone blog it. And pick up the phone? Fuhgeddaboutit.

In the end, I guess I don’t really know what this post is about. I just wanted to blog. Just so I could say I did. So I could stop wasting time feeling guilty. And maybe to see if I could blog about nothing at all.

Which I think I just did.

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