Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Just in time for the political season: my own little Yes-(Wo)man and Tell-You-What-You-Want-to-Hear Deal Maker

Yes, it is true. My girl N. has just learned how to nod emphatically in response to questions, mostly about food.
"Do you want some blueberries?" Up and down goes the head, almost enough to knock her right off balance if she's standing inside the open refrigerator door.
"Do you want some strawberries?" In her highchair, she bobs and nods and bangs her head on the back of the chair.
"Do you want some yogurt?" Yes, and yes again, she says.
After she throws half of her body out the side of the chair, hooks her foot into the side rung and tries to stand up and out: "Are you all done?" Yes, yes, yes!
There are not so many "no" responses as of yet, but believe me, I'm not pushing that issue yet, as I know it will soon enough be her favorite word. Do you want to take a nap? No! Do you want to help me clean up? No! Can I have a hug? No!
I would have tried to get a photo of the cute head bobbing to post, but ever since Monday's disastrous fall from the front porch step and consequent massive brush burn forehead boo-boo, we're avoiding photo-ops, and hoping that she either sprouts some miracle hair quick or has some major healing in time for birthday pictures next week. Maybe we can pass it off as a smear of chocolate icing so I don't feel so bad.
I'm working hard at teaching her to go DOWN stairs now, since she is the Queen of Climbing: stairs, picnic tables, chairs, but has no idea how to get back down.
Also avoiding photos is He Of The New Big Boy Haircut. J. took the clippers to him last week, with my blessing, so that I could perhaps skip a screaming/kicking/'I'm going to bite the haircutter like a dinosaur' session to tame O's hair. It worked out pretty well in the back and on the sides, but then the front got much too short, I freaked out and made him stop. Then we had to endure the whole hair salon visit anyway just to get it all evened out.
It's cute, I have to say, though shorter than I like. He doesn't have his little curl in the middle of his forehead, and most of the blondest blond is gone, so I'm mourning the loss of that, but I keep telling myself "it's just hair, it will grow back."
The haircut is just one of many of the things we've had to start planning strategy sessions for around here. Naptime, dinnertime, staying in his own bed all night and starting preschool are the big other ones. O. is willing to commence wheeling and dealing on any and all of them, even though we've tried not to get into it, just lay down the law and that's it.
Dinnertime has been no fun for anyone for the last month what with the "big boys don't take naps" exhaustion setting in right around then, creating crabbiness, talking back, food refusal, and plenty of time on the naughty step.
Sometimes, though, at naptime I'm just annoyed and go ahead and give him "one more bedtime toy on top of me" and finally say "fine, just have quiet time for five more minutes" so I don't have to go up and down the stairs to haul him back into bed another time. Other times, I'm genuinely concerned that he's not eating enough so I plead for "one more dinosaur bite of melon or cheese and we'll make popcorn later."
However, he knows all the right things to say to manipulate his dear mother's heart. This morning, he asked for the daily update on what day of the week it was, what we were doing today, and what was on the schedule for the other days of the week.
When I told him he was going to go meet his teacher tomorrow to get ready for his first day of school next week, his first response was "I am big now? I can go to school?" But it was soon followed by: "But Mommy, I don't want to go to school. I will miss you. I will miss you so much."
And if he thinks that one is going to keep him home, well...
I'll give you the update on how it all goes. I'm cautiously optimistic after recent successes in separation at "golf camp" and a gymnastics birthday party, but I know better than to count on a three and a half year old to have any kind of consistency in behavior.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Six Unspectacular Quirks

I've been tagged by my good friend MEP at Not to Brag for a meme. Like her, I don't really know what that is, but I'm glad to play along. I'm supposed to list "Six Unspectacular Quirks" of mine, then tag six other bloggers to do the same. I don't have anyone else to tag, so sadly, the quirks stop here.

1. I put water on my morning cereal.

I realize it's not that uncommon to be lactose intolerant, but these are supposed to be "unspectacular" right? I've tried soy milk, but it's expensive, I don't use that much of it, and I end up throwing it out. Also, even though I have no problems with soy otherwise, just the fact that soymilk sort of tastes like milk gives me an itchy feeling in my throat. Psychosomatic, for sure, but I'll choose to have just enough water to soften my Cheerios instead.

On a related note, one of the ways I know my husband really loves me is that he deals with the difficulty of ordering strange food combinations for me due to my milk problems. At Skyline, our entire drive thru order gets messed up about half the time because the workers are so thrown by my requests. But he still very patiently repeats my order for four chili sandwiches, no cheese, no mustard, no hot dog. (I don't have issues with meat, just don't really like my hot dogs boiled). Yes, she really just wants a bun with some chili and onions, he says. Or at an ice cream place, he orders a brownie sundae without the ice cream for me if there is not a sorbet on offer. No, not just the brownie. She wants the whipped cream, fudge sauce and cherry too -- you would want them on your sundae, wouldn't you?

It's amazing how many rewards and celebrations are tied to ice cream, by the way. Free ice cream coupons or ice cream parties at school. Trips to get ice cream on a summer evening (I usually got green onion potato chips and a root beer, or maybe onion rings), ice cream cake on birthdays. Everyone always forgets about my allergy, and I have to smile and pretend like I just don't want any, or else someone feels horrible and spends far too long apologizing about it. It's fine. I'm used to it. I don't miss ice cream, just the participation in the rituals.

2. I get irrationally crabby when I am hungry.

If it's past noon on a Saturday afternoon, and we are still wandering around the aisles of Home Depot without having lunch yet, there better be some snacks in the bag for Mommy as well as the children, or you better get us to Panera pronto, because there will be a meltdown in sight from more than the toddler and the infant. I've unfortunately passed this low blood sugar trait on to my children, so that my husband often has to say "everyone in this room needs to eat a cracker or something."


3. I really don't like the smell of "baby."

I'm not talking about that sweet smell from the top of a baby's head, or the aroma of milk on the breath of a newborn. Those are among my favorite scents in the world. What I can't stand is the manufactured "powder" scent that seems to be associated with baby products and other things associated with "freshness." Even back in junior high, when all the girls were loading up on Love's Baby Soft, the odor made me want to vomit. So, we use unscented baby wipes around here, and though I've not gotten around to it, I have a planned write in campaign to Pampers for them to produce some unscented diapers. Huggies do not have a scent, but since they make my daughter have diaper rash, I've had to bite the bullet and expose myself to the smell of Pampers. I get them out of the package to air out for a time before using them, and that seems to work a little. I may have inherited this sensitivity to certain smells from my mother, though it seems only to relate to this particular one for me. I'm still a little sad that I don't get a new collection of scented soaps, lotions and candles every June from my mom's unwanted teacher gifts ever since she retired from teaching preschool.

4. I do not like the taste of any fish except for the Filet O'Fish.
I've recently learned that this is made of pollock,the same one they use to make imitation crab, so I guess it makes sense that it doesn't really taste like fish so much as fried, or tartar sauce.
But I do recognize that it's a little odd that anyone that's ever accompanied me to McDonald's, where I almost ALWAYS get the Filet O'Fish Value Meal (they change the number a lot, so I always have to double check before ordering) would be very surprised that I'd probably order steak or something at a seafood restaurant.

5. I sometimes get myself lost on purpose.

Not really lost, I guess, as much as I try to find alternate routes, even when it's fairly apparent that turning down a given road is just going to get me twisted around in an unfamiliar area. Since we live in southwestern Ohio, it doesn't take many turns or detours to get yourself out into fields and unmarked roads, and I like the thrill of seeing if my internal compass is working. I don't really do this much anymore, given the short amount of time my children last in their carseats. Also, my Odyssey's GPS takes some of the fun out of things -- I can always just put in my address and let my voiceover copilot guide me home. I do know lots of ways to get around traffic or construction, so if you're ever stuck somewhere in the Cincinnati area, give me a call.

6. I have no idea how to do many "girl activities" like those hand clapping games, cartwheels, hair braiding, intricate notepaper folding. This makes me nervous about having a girl child.

I have no idea why I never learned these things. Maybe it is because I have almost always had short hair (I'm back to something similar to the Dorothy Hamil style that defined my childhood), have few athletic tendencies, or that I'm the oldest child, with no sisters. I don't know. But N.'s going to have to find another female role model long about third grade, or I'm going to have to start doing some research. I've got my copy of The Daring Book for Girls to start, and N.'s doing pretty well with "Patty Cake" so far, so I guess we'll be all right.

That's it for today, anyway. I'm sure someone else could find many other quirks of mine far more worthy of inclusion but that's what I've got today. Since I don't have any bloggers to tag, I tag all of my SILENT readers instead. How about it? Leave a comment about a quirk of your own why don't you? Thanks!