Tuesday, September 22, 2009

So, it's come to this, has it?

You know things have taken an odd turn when you find yourself winding masking tape around your child's diaper, explaining to her that it's "magic diaper tape" in a stagey voice that suggests mystery and excitement and privilege beyond her wee level of understanding.

Yes, folks, I did. Before putting her down this afternoon I taped her into her diaper because we've now had three all-out prison riots, in which she took off her diaper at nap time and made murals with the contents. According to my on-line sources, this is not an uncommon problem, and has been solved by many parents through the ingenious use of tape, and also sleepers that are put on backwards. We are trying both. I am simply unable to do more laundry, or scrape the walls and floor in my delicate condition. It looks like the naps are pretty much over for us, I hate to say-- it's been about a week since the last one-- but I think we've found a way to preserve some Quiet Time, at least. A strange way, yes. But I'll take it.

Put this one down in the book of I Sure Didn't Expect THIS When I Was Expecting.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Audrey and Alice at the park

Could this be any sweeter?

These were taken a couple of weeks ago, on one of the last really warm days I think we'll see in 2009. Supposed to get down into the 40's tonight. Time to break out the footy PJs.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ready for the first day of school with her pink "pack-pack"

Today, our little Chickpea became a "Tadpole." Scott brought her to her first morning at nursery school and reports that the drop off went well. Parents were invited to stay for the first half-hour, so he did, although Audrey mostly ignored him after she spied the baby doll and stroller!!! and began zinging around the room with them. No tears when he actually said his goodbye, although she looked a bit nervous.

When I came to get her a few hours later I joined a small group of hovering parents at the door of the Tadpole room, all trying to catch a glimpse of our kid without being spotted. When I went in, Audrey was at a little table filled with cornmeal, shoulder-to-shoulder with three of her Tadpole colleagues, scooping up cornmeal and dumping it on the floor. Actually, only Audrey was doing this, but the teacher who was sweeping it up seemed remarkably un-phased (I just have to interject that I am astonished by, and grateful for, people who teach preschool.) Audrey gave me a friendly, "Hi, Mama!" but ignored me when I asked her if she was ready to go. First she had to do some more stuff with the bead necklaces, oh, and hey did you see this cool toy over here and....

So it looks like she's going to take to school just fine. At least, we've had a very nice start. My one disappointment of the day was that she took no nap again today; I'd really been hoping that school would prepare her for a monster afternoon nap. But no.

Oh, and did I mention the axle grease on her shirt? I'm pretty sure that's what it is, but I'll never know. And she had green marker on her hands, face and clothes too, but that's just a sign that she was having a good time, right? Scott thinks we should try to get her some toddler-sized Tyvec coveralls that they wear for hazardous-waste clean-up. Anyone got a good lead on that product?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Constant Comment

Several people have asked me how much I think Audrey understands about the arrival of a new baby, and it's really hard to say. She talks a lot about babies, and wants to hug and pat my stomach, and is keenly interested in going to visit the "Baby Listens" with me-- i.e., our midwifery practice, where she asks to listen to the baby's heartbeat and loves to assist in measuring my stomach. (She also does this at home with a pretend measuring tape, always saying, "Hmmmm. Thirty-nine. Good.") But the future is such a hazy notion for her, and this baby we're always talking about is so invisible, I wonder if a lot of this isn't merely to humor us. You want to read me the book about big sisters again? Fine. Be my guest.

But more and more of her thoughts are becoming decipherable to us, at the same time. Language unfolds at an astonishing pace. A few months ago it was single words, then it was two-word phrases, and now almost everything is some kind of sentence. A constant stream of narrative, from the plainly imitative-- "Mommy, that is not a toy!" (spoken to me sternly while I was blow-drying my hair), to the exultant-- "Audrey like that!" (for her first taste of plums) to the absolutely inexplicable-- "Mommy need different underwear." (Uh... beg pardon?)

We are not just two adults and a baby anymore. There is now a third member of the household tribe, with her own opinions, and plenty of them.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Have some

A few nights ago Audrey suffered the kind of meltdown tantrum in which she's screaming so loudly that we can't understand what she's saying and even if we could our responses would only be further incitements. She raged and we made guesses and she raged some more and we held our palms up and looked at each other, and then we gave up and cowered under the table.

Our girl, you might say, is a little bit hot tempered.

Finally, Scott pulled her into his lap and tried to feed her some dinner. This restored just enough order to her universe that she was able to get a grip and eat-- a great help since hunger was probably 90% of the problem. The ensuing scene of her trying to stuff her own face and Scott's full of pasta is so mellow and sweet, you'd hardly know that a few minutes earlier this very same child was beet-red and irrational.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Missing Dad, Peeling Edamame

Audrey and I had some take-out sushi for dinner tonight (veggie only) and she discovered how much fun it is to peel edamame. She was tired and wired from a big morning of carousel-riding and arcade games (watching, not playing) with our friends at "Kiddieland" up in Salem, and had only had a little bit of a nap with me, in our bed, instead of the good long nap that she probably needed. Things came off the rails a bit when I sat her down to watch a Sesame Street video called Three Bears and a New Baby. The first few minutes were riveting. She looked from the screen to my stomach and back to the screen again, patting and hugging "our baby." But the sight of the new baby bear crying made her despondent-- I mean, chin-quivering, silent weeping as opposed to the kind of crying I usually hear when she is hurt or angry or wanting one of her parents. I've never seen her cry with empathy before. Hugs, followed by a bubble bath and some stories brought her back to herself. Perhaps it was not very smart of me to give her this delicate and complicated subject matter so close to bedtime, at the end of an already very full day. It's a lot for a tired two year-old: dancing bear puppets, the changing structure of our family, and Telly Monster, who frankly just needs to calm it down a little.

I think her operatic emotions also must have something to do with missing Scott, who had to be away this week. She really misses him. I miss him too. And we know he misses us.