…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!

Hattie is Linus…

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

I love Charlie Brown. Growing up, my family holiday traditions always included watching the Charlie Brown specials on TV. I have fond memories of watching it with my brothers and laughing at the same scenes year after year.

One of my favorite Peanuts characters is Linus. He carries around his beloved blue blanket while he philosophizes about life and waits for the Great Pumpkin. I never thought I’d have a Linus of my own but I do. Hattie is Linus. She has a yellow fuzzy blankie. She takes it everywhere. All three of my girls have a special blankie but Hattie is the only one who has clung to hers with this much devotion for this long. We don’t let blankies leave the house unless we’re on a trip but she carries hers around the house all day. She makes it into a cape. We’ve figured out how to make it into a one-shouldered dress. She is soothed by it when she is upset. It is a tea party tablecloth or a picnic blanket. She ties it around her head like a turban. She can fashion a papoose for her dolls. The possibilities are endless!

It all began when Hattie was about 15 months old. She couldn’t fall asleep until she could rub the hem of her blankie between her fingers. We don’t know why…it’s just something she started doing on her own. Then she started wrapping it around her head in her sleep. Now, at 6 and a half, I have to unwrap it from her neck every night before we go to bed so she won’t sweat to death!

Hattie’s love of her blankie has become one of her special traits. I know at some point she will start having blankie-less adventures. I just hope it holds together until then!!

listen up…

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Last night, I did something out of the ordinary.  I colored.  With crayons.  I colored an entire jumbo coloring page featuring Tiana from The Princess and the Frog.  I spent over an hour on my “project”.  I had bought a pack of giant coloring pages for Hattie and Laura while I was out yesterday, much to their delight.  They spent most of the afternoon sprawled on the floor coloring like it was their job.  They could not be bothered.  Laura got frustrated because she had to take a potty break.  She said “but Momma, I have to finish Prince Naveen!”  It was very important.  So, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.  It was wonderful.  I was completely absorbed in my picture.  I can see now why the girls couldn’t “hear” us calling them for dinner!  Once my picture was done and displayed with the ones the girls had finished, I began to think about all the events of the past week.

Abigail is at camp.  She is having a ball but she is away from us for 10 whole days!  After dropping her off, my parents, Hattie, Laura and I went to visit relatives in North Carolina.  My father has 8 brothers and sisters.  My mother has 2 brothers.  We have LOTS of relatives.  It was a short trip and we weren’t able to see everyone but it was a great few days nonetheless.

The biggest observation of the week was that Hattie and Laura play together beautifully.  On a couple of occasions, we spent the morning at the hotel until lunch.  We were in a regular hotel.  There was no suite, no game room and the weather was not conducive to swimming.  I was worried that the girls would get bored.  My Aunt Margaret had given the girls some new little stuffed animals so one morning I suggested that they play zoo until it was time to go.  I thought this would last 15 or 20 minutes.  Wrong!  Hattie and Laura set up the animals under the dresser and zipped off into their fantasy zoo.  Hattie got out her notepad and made pages of charts with all the information any zookeeper might need.  The animals were bathed, fed and put down for their naps.  She pretended to call and order animal food, vet services and zookeeper uniforms.  My parents and I were entranced.  It lasted over 2 hours.  I wish I had a tape recording of the conversation!  I was telling Robert about all of this over the phone that night.  He didn’t believe me until we got home and Hattie showed him her notebook.  They continued to come up with game after game in one situation after another.  They needed no toys, no entertainment.  Just the freedom to be themselves.  It was incredible!

Last night as the girls were stretched out on the floor coloring and playing with their Barbies, we listened a little more closely to what all they were saying.  It turns out that the imaginative play wasn’t new or unusual.  It happens at our house on a daily basis.  We had just never heard it before.  When the girls are in the playroom, we are seldom listening unless they need our help.  It is an oasis and a playground and they are free to spend their time in there playing with whatever they choose.  How wonderful it would be to be able to transport yourself into an imaginary world where all things are possible.  I remember those days from my own childhood and I’m delighted that my girls are able to do this.

Laura and Hattie are in the playroom right now with one of our neighbors.  I think I’ll go listen in!

sometimes you gotta have faith…

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Earlier today our middle daughter, Hattie, had an outpatient procedure to put tubes in her ears and remove her adenoids.  In the grand scheme of things it was not a big deal.  We have been through this twice before.  Hattie had her first set of tubes 3 weeks after her 1st birthday.  Laura got tubes less than a year ago.  Hattie breezed through and is already feeling and hearing better.  No biggie.  Our past experiences made today much easier for us as parents.  This wasn’t the case when Laura got her pacemaker two years ago.

As many of you know, Laura was born with 3rd degree heart block.  In lay terms, it is an electrical problem.  The top and bottom halves of her heart do not communicate with each other about what her heart rate should be.  She will have a pacemaker to correct this problem for the rest of her life.  (I know that I am being overly simplistic.  It’s easier for writer and reader alike, I promise!)

As parents, we have a heavy burden.  There is a lot involved with raising children.  It is an enormous responsibility to be “in charge” of the life of a child.  In our house of girls there is a lot of drama and a lot of cleaning up – both physically and otherwise.  Robert and I have gotten pretty good at managing the chaos.  Some days are better than others and some days we’d rather forget altogether.  But for the most part we’re successful…and busy.

When it was time for Laura’s surgery, we felt helpless.  In all the things that needed to be done, the only thing we could do was get her to the hospital on time.  Everything else was out of our hands.  We handed over our 13 month old baby and were forced to put our trust in the staff of doctors and nurses.  We had to have faith.  In modern medicine.  In others.  In whatever is out there that is bigger than we are.  In the unknown.  In our daughter.  In ourselves.  It was not easy but we survived.  Laura is doing great.  She is a stellar patient and has amazed more than one cardiologist.

This morning when the nurse came to wheel Hattie back to the OR for her procedure, Hattie flashed me a smile and a little wave as she rolled down the hall towards the big double doors.  I got that all too familiar feeling.  There is some cliche involving heartstrings…it felt like a little tug.  Once again, I was reminded of my deep and unending love for this little girl.  And I had to have a little faith….

Hattie and Dr. Hellstrom

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!

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…..