…nap no more…

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

We are at a crossroads with Laura. No big surprise there. With three children the odds are pretty good that at least one of them is in a transitional phase of some sort. Laura happens to be at the intersection of Nap and None. It is time. She is 4 and is quickly approaching the point of no longer needing a nap. A sad fact for Mom indeed…

Abigail gave up her nap on her own at age 3. I was not happy with that but we made do with mandatory “rest time”. Some days that led to a nap but more often it was just a little quiet time for everyone. Hattie stopped taking a nap out of necessity when she started kindergarten. If she could get away with a nap at school she would totally do it. She is the first one asleep at night and the one most likely to fall asleep on the sofa in the afternoon. She gets that from me. Unfortunately she is also the first one awake. At the crack… of… dawn. She does NOT get that from me. But I digress…

Now we find ourselves at the nap crossroads with Laura. She still needs the rest but is starting to resist. If I am able to get her to take that precious siesta she is fun to be with the remainder of the afternoon but fights going to bed for a  l o n g  time. If she does not take a nap, she is a beast. She is tired, whiny, clingy, cranky, whiny, grumpy, short tempered, whiny, annoying and even more impatient than usual. It is agonizing. But bed time is a breeze. No talking. No requests for water. No procrastinating. No questions. No nothing. Just sweet sleep as soon as her little head hits the pillow. It is a lose – lose situation for the whole family. You can pay now or pay later but whatever your choice, you will pay.

We know that Laura will eventually pick a path and move forward yet again. She will adjust to staying awake all day and learn to avoid the trail of the ogre that appears every afternoon at 4:00. Let’s just hope there is a long stretch of road before the next intersection…Mom and Dad need a nap!

tales from the derm…

Monday, December 20th, 2010

We started the first real day of Christmas break with a trip to the dermatologist this morning. YEA! Abigail has been having a couple of issues and we were due for a follow-up visit. She had some bumps on her knee removed a few weeks ago and today we were facing the removal of one on her chin.

Let me begin by telling you that Abigail does not handle shots well. It started three years ago with a flu shot…the least painful injection in the universe. Out of nowhere, Abigail wedged herself behind the exam table at the pediatrician’s office and tried to throw a chair at the nurse. My skinny little girl has a LOT of strength when someone is coming at her with a needle. I was stymied and mortified all at once. Between me and the nurse we were finally able to get the shot. Abigail’s blood pressure tanked and the nausea began. The nausea was followed by many hours of complaining, wailing, moaning and gnashing of teeth…it was a day-long ordeal.

Since then, we have had several chances to discuss ways to remain calm during doctor visits. Abigail is old enough to understand the importance of vaccinations and the like but that doesn’t mean that she is over her phobia. She has been very lucky with the invention of the flu mist. She has also reached the age where she doesn’t have to get a shot every time she goes for a check up. Nonetheless, we have worked on taking deep breaths and trying to calm her mind so she doesn’t get so worked up.

Today our practice was put to the test because bump removal requires more invasive action than a simple flu mist. To our advantage, our dermatologist also has a 4th grade daughter so she is very in tune with how Abigail thinks. She looked at the bump on Abigail’s chin and explained that it had to go. She also promised a less painful experience than the last time. Abigail was not happy about all of this but she took the news well and was using some of her new coping skills to stay in the chair and remain calm. She asked the doctor if she could see the tool she was going to use. It was a small extractor with a scalpel on one end. I was praying that Abigail wouldn’t see it. But the doctor made a deal that Abigail could see it beforehand but she couldn’t back out of having the bump removed. Abigail reluctantly agreed and it seemed like we were going to breeze through this visit. The doctor held up the tool and Abigail stared at it for a few seconds. Deep breath – all was okay. Or so I thought…

At that exact moment, Hattie, who had been quietly reading her book the whole time, looks up and announces “Boy, that sure does look SHARP!” Are you kidding me? Really? REALLY?? The doctor and I glared at Hattie like it was our job…she quickly shut her mouth and went back to her reading. Meanwhile, Abigail’s blood pressure hit rock bottom. What little color she had in her face had been replaced with a light tinge of green. The clock was ticking toward full stomach upheaval. With swift precision the doctor removed the minuscule bumps from Abigail’s chin and we began the recovery process. It took longer to get over it than the time it took to wait for and see the doctor. All of that hard work reversed in less than 2 seconds. We were so close to a perfect visit only to be sabotaged by the 7 year old.

By mid afternoon, Abigail had forgotten all about the doctors visit. She will forget until the next time she has to see a doctor. I can safely say that before the next visit we will have to practice her deep breathing just to get out of the car and into the building. I think I’ll get Hattie a babysitter….

she left 8…and came back 9…

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

As usual, Abigail blossomed over the summer.  This year she started violin.  She read the first 4 Harry Potter books and is halfway through the 5th.  She has made a multitude of crafty masterpieces and science experiments.  It is her favorite time of year.  There is something about getting up with no agenda that brings out the creative spirit in all of my children.  They love to stay in their pajamas all day and “forget” to brush their hair.  It is free and fun.

About a month ago, Abigail went to camp for the first time.  It was a 10 day experience like no other.  She had a ball.  She tried new activities and made new friends.  She also happened to be there on her birthday.  We had a little party before she went to camp and they celebrated during camp so she was able to stretch the occasion out over almost a week.  Joy for her…hard for Mom to be away from her on that special day!

While she was gone, Hattie, Laura and I went to North Carolina with my parents to visit relatives.  We had a great time too.  But I missed her.  Oh, how I missed her.  So much so that when I finally crept my way through the line of Suburbans to find her on pickup day, it was like one of those cheesy chick flicks.  I spotted her and she saw me and I leapt out of the van and we ran for each other.  I couldn’t squeeze her tight enough.  My eyes were filled with tears of joy.  I had reunited with my love.  Of course it only took her about 15 seconds to say, “Mom!  That’s enough!”  I let her know how important she is to me and I almost embarrassed her in public.  I must be doing something right!

She gained confidence and perspective while at camp…two things that are so very important at this age.  Whoever equated children to sponges was a genius.  They soak up everything.  As a parent, I have to accept that they will learn plenty without me.  They do not NEED me to teach them everything.  Of course they get information at school but they glean information from their surroundings all day long.  Abigail is very observant.  She is starting to notice people and their behavior.  She is learning those hard lessons about why people do some of the dumb and hurtful things that they do.  I hate to see her innocent view of the world tarnished but the real world is out there, like it or not.

I am so proud of the person she has thus far chosen to be.  Of course she has her moments.  We all do.  I had several today.  But for the most part, she is a loving, kind, thoughtful child.  Robert and I are completely, unashamedly in love with her and we can’t wait to see what she does next!

gotta love the weekend…

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Weekends around our house are extremely low key.  Everyone sleeps in and stays in their pajamas as long as possible.  Keep in mind that “sleeping in” only lasts until about 7:30.  Long gone are the days of rolling over and going back to sleep until 10!

On school days, there is the hurry of getting Abigail and Hattie up, dressed, fed, combed, brushed, backpack-ed and to the bus stop well before 7am.  Breakfast usually consists of cereal, scrambled eggs or oatmeal.  On the weekends, our chef alter egos are allowed to come out and fix bigger breakfasts.  Sometimes we have egg sandwiches or the full on grits/eggs/bacon/toast menu.  Robert’s specialty is french toast – a house favorite.  My specialties have become pancakes and waffles.  Thanks to one of my favorite cook books, The Best Recipe, I have mastered these two breakfast treats.

When I was younger and needed more sleep (unfortunately after having 3 babies, you learn to survive with less sleep than you should be getting), I dreaded making breakfast.  I would get up hungry and cranky and not wanting to cook anything.  Now, I really enjoy the weekend breakfast.  The girls get up and play for a little while because they know that we don’t have to go anywhere and that eventually, mom and dad will get up and feed them something yummy.  It’s nice to get up, get some coffee going and just go with the flow.

This morning, I gave the girls a choice and they opted for pancakes.  Not to toot my own horn but they were delicious.  I could tell that the girls were happy by the lack of noise coming from the table!  Nothing like satisfied tummies to make a mom feel good!

…and then she was eight…

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

Today is Abigail’s eighth birthday.  It’s also my 12th wedding anniversary and my parents 50th….but that’s beside the point…

I can’t believe that the oldest of our three daughters is already eight.  She will be starting third grade in a mere week.  It seems like only yesterday that I was presented with my first child after 13 hours of labor.  What a moment.  I was crying with joy while my husband was overcome with love at first sight and the responsibility of another human being.  Some people swear that having children doesn’t change your life.  It sure has changed ours…

It has been wonderful.  The sound of my children laughing is the best sound on earth.  I love watching them when they make a new discovery or grasp a new concept.  I love their creativity.  If I had written down every imaginary conversation they had when they thought they weren’t being watched, I would be a best-selling author.  Some days are glorious.  Of course, there are also days that I’m ready to pull my hair out and evenings when all I want is to have a quiet dinner with Robert and times that I am frustrated to the point of insanity.  But having children has taught me a lot about myself.  More often than I’d like to admit, I’m not as patient as I need to be.  I love kid’s movies…Finding Nemo and Over the Hedge still make me laugh every time.  I can make a righteous birthday cake and an equally fabulous Halloween costume.  I can calm a screeching two year old in less than a minute. I know the value of a trustworthy babysitter…but I still can’t make the two and a half hours between snack time and dinner time go by any faster…

For the first eight years, I have tended to Abigail’s every need, solved as many of her problems as I could and butted heads with her often.  I’m no idiot – I know the head butting will continue!  But I also know that she is entering a new phase of her life.  She is becoming more and more independent every day.  She knows people that I didn’t introduce her to.  She doesn’t need me to pick out her outfits in the morning. She has issues at school that I can’t deal with for her. I can’t solve the quarrels between her and her friends.  I can only be there for her to talk to and hope that she still wants to talk to me at all after the age of 12!  By now though, she knows how to be polite, how to consider others’ feelings, how to work the DVD player, how to call home if she needs me and how to follow our “house rules”.  She went down a huge, fast, twisty water slide for the first time a couple of weeks ago like she had done it a million times before.  She is still a child but she is no longer a little kid.

I am good at little kids.  I am a pro when it comes to babies.  I can manage 3 kids ages 5 and under with one hand tied behind my back.  But an eight year old?  Only time will tell….

who’s in charge here?

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

That’s an excellent question.  I’m beginning to think that it’s not me.

I came to this realization a few moments ago when I was rocking the 2 (almost 3) year old to sleep for her nap.  That’s right – I said it – rocking her…to sleep….for her nap.  What exactly is going on here?

When Abigail and Hattie were little I made sure they fell asleep on their own and I turned up the music and ran the vacuum when they were napping so that they would learn to sleep through anything.  Guess what?  They can sleep through anything.  Thunder, lightning, nuclear holocaust…anything.  With Laura, we have quiet time during her nap.  There is a rational explanation….if she doesn’t have a nap, the latter part of the day is almost unbearable.  One half of my brain wholeheartedly agrees with that logic.  The other side is laughing at me.

When Abigail was a baby, I rocked her to sleep every night until she was 15 months old.  She was my first child and I cherished those moments with her.  When she got too big to put her in her bed easily after she fell asleep, we suffered for a few nights while she learned to self-sooth and fall asleep alone.  I had learned my lesson.  When Hattie came along we put her in her bed with her blankie and left the room.  She’s never had a problem.  You would think that I would be a master at this for the third child, right?  I don’t know what happened!!!  Maybe it’s because she’s my baby…my last baby.  Maybe it’s guilt.  Laura has a congenital heart defect that she got from me.  It requires a pacemaker that was installed when she was 13 months old.  Even though I know it’s not my fault there is still some subliminal mom guilt in there somewhere. There’s always been a reason for her (my?) need to be soothed to sleep.  Skinned knees, moving, stomach bugs, surgery, ear infections, bumping her head on the coffee table…the list goes on and on.  Now, I put Laura in her big girl bed, fix her blankie and leave the room.  She waits about 15 seconds then moves out into the hallway with all of her paraphernalia.  She proceeds to lie down, talk, read books, ask us to fix her blankie, etc…until finally falling asleep.  Before going to bed, I pick her up and put her in her bed where she stays for a while before climbing into bed with us.  I’ll ask again…what exactly is going on here?

On other issues, we are better parents.  She goes to time out for hitting or yelling and even goes to her room on her own if she knows she’s been bad.  But still she gets a lot more slack than the other 2 girls.  It seems a lot worse when I put this all in writing….

I guess it’s time for a shift in the balance of power.  I’ll start when we’re out of potty purgatory…or tomorrow…..