19-month Check-up

September 28th, 2009

We have a new pediatrician, who I like better than our original one. Friday we had Vibble’s 19-month check-up. Let me preview by saying that I had to wake her up mid-nap to take her to this appointment, which I had made over a month ago, and so we showed up with her lunch smeared on her face, her face contorted in a horrid endless toddler-shriek, one arm inside her shirt, and her hair plastered to her head with sweat. Please do not call the authorities, new-doctor, she sleeps like a wrecking train sometimes, and no that’s not mucus on her face, it’s avocado—she didn’t get cleaned up from lunch because she was falling asleep at the table.

Let me also preview by saying that ever since we got back from Hawaii, it’s been like Monday every day. You know how on Mondays you can never find your stapler? And every item you put on a counter-top or desk seems to roll right off, especially if it’s a cup of liquid? And things you’re trying to carry fall out of your arms like they’re attached to little strings being yanked by some invisible Monday-devil? Nothing goes right, all minor stuff, but it adds up to make you want to scream. That’s been life in our house since we got back from our trip. One reason for this is the intense degree of sleep-deprivation we’re all three suffering from. Vibble is still not adjusted back to the California time-zone. No. She has decided she prefers Hawaii time, which is three hours behind us. So every night since we got back, she is still up and playing at midnight. No amount of coaxing or soothing on our parts has succeeded in putting her down before 12. 12:30. 1. Shoot me.

We tried skipping nap-time, and she fell asleep (read: passed out) in her dinner. We tried wearing her out, but you know toddlers have this THING, this RECHARGEABLE battery, that just when it seems like they’re winding down, all of a sudden, they feel GREAT and HAPPY and PLAYFUL again. This is all just to say we’ve been trying, we really have, to get her little body back on mainland time. Fail.

So we are sleep-deprived to begin with, and the minor stuff in the universe is conspiring to make little frustrations pile up in a way that gets tough to shrug off, and then I go and sell our bed out from under us, so we are sleeping on the couch and in Vibble’s room for a couple of days. See, we decided a while back we need to move up in bed-size, from queen to king, because we have two cats who sleep with us every night, and they hate each other and need plenty of territory in order to not hiss and brawl on top of us at 3 a.m. And then we have this ever-growing kid who, five nights out of seven, wakes up in her crib and starts shrieking, and for reasons that are personal to us, we don’t leave her there to put herself back to sleep, but instead bring her into bed with us. Where she sleeps horizontally in between our heads—literally, if you turn her in her sleep, she sproings right back. So Steve and I have been sleeping for months balled-up in the top corners of the bed. We are not well rested. Anyway, we finally found a bed we liked a few weeks ago, so I put our bed up on classifieds and waited for it to sell, figuring when it did, I would get the new bed, because who has room for two big beds? Not us. Right. So three weeks of classifieds and no response, and then when someone did buy it, it was gone in 24 hours, and we were left with no bed. We have a mattress now, and the bed is on order, but this is all to explain why on the day of Vibble’s doctor’s appointment, I was not in the best place to cope with the news that we have to get rid of all of this child’s pacifiers.

No, I did not throw a tantrum and shout, “Not today, Lady! Shut up or I will totally cut you!” Not out loud. But in my head, yes.

Stevel and I have noted for a little while now that Violet isn’t saying as many words as the Internet says she should at this age. I’m not talking about, “She doesn’t talk in sentences, she’s not in the top 5 percentile,” I’m saying conservative estimates of how many words a normally developing talker says at this age give a minimum of 20. She says maybe seven. We know this is not because she’s slow—other checklists of things reassure us she’s on par for smarts. We don’t think she has any mouth-muscle problems or anything. We know her personality is a factor; some kids like to show what they can do, and this one prefers to show she can ignore you when you say, “Violet, say ‘Mom.’ Say ‘baby.’” I spend probably four to six hours per day just chanting, “Say ‘bubbles.’ Say ‘hi.’” She CAN say them, and about five to ten percent of the time she does. The rest of the time she raises her eyebrows and looks around, aloof. “Say ‘Fuck you, Mom.’” Anyway, we had been suspecting what the doctor told me at the appointment: Too much pacifier in the mouth = Not enough talking-practice. And then the doc said, “You need to just go home and throw all of the pacifiers in the garbage. If you even have one in your purse, you’ll give it to her when she cries for it. And she’ll cry for a couple of days, but then she’ll forget and be fine.”

And as she is saying this, and I am falling into a black-hole in my brain in response, Violet intensifies the crying she has been consistently producing since we left the house and reaches toward her pacifier that is over on the exam table. SHE KNOWS!

And then the nurse gives her two massive shots in the shoulders, one of which (flu shot, I assume) will make her vomit up her entire dinner a few hours later, and we both walk home bawling all the way.

And when we got home from the doctor’s office, she stood next to me while I unloaded the dryer and rattled off all of the words she knew and was even willing to try new ones: “Baby. Mom. Mia. Dad. Hi. Byebye. Bubbles. Ball. Keychain.” KEYCHAIN? Yes, “keychain,” because hey guys, look, you don’t need to throw away those pacifiers, I’LL TALK ALREADY.

Jobs Violet Will Never Have

September 28th, 2009

- Fashion model
- Actress
- Pop singer on tour

Why? Because the minute someone calls, “Wardrobe change!” she will start screaming and crying and not stop. This has been her way now for a year and a half, and I just don’t see how I will ever be able to let her go to college, I’m afraid I’ll show up the first break to pick her up and bring her home, and she will still be wearing the outfit I dropped her off in. “I’m on my own now, Mom, I can make my own decisions, and I DON’T WANT TO CHANGE MY CLOTHES.”

A No. 6 Vacation

September 19th, 2009

Hawaii was beautiful. We stayed in Waikiki, and we enjoyed the beach and the fun things to do in the city. Three nights was just right for us—since we had the kid along, it was in no way “relaxing.” Fun, yes; a getaway, yes; relaxing, no. What we were aiming for was togetherness, and four days of it was perfect. A little self-spoiling. The photos tell the story … Meanwhile, red-eye flight with no sleep for cramped parents = needing a vacation from our vacation. Nap time.

Photos here. :)

A Loner?

September 9th, 2009

Today we dropped Stevel off at work and then went to Target, where for once Vibble was agreeable to staying in the shopping cart for almost the whole time. Whew.

We came home and hung out a bit, ate some food, and then went to the Y. I have been meaning and meaning to test the waters at the babysitting room, and today was the day. I can’t say it went completely smoothly, because when we arrived, the place was packed with kids, and the babysitter was 100 percent occupied with a screaming infant—walking her, shushing her, trying to calm her down—and didn’t even seem to notice us. Meanwhile, three boys were rolling around wrestling on the floor, like literally beating on each other. But Vibble went right up to an older girl and watched her playing with a younger girl. The older girl completely ignored her, but what else is new.

Eventually a volunteer appeared from across the room to talk to me. She said, “How old is she?” I said, “One and a half.” She said, “Oh, that’s the hardest age. This will either be fine, or it will be a disaster.” I’m like, DUDE. Certainly, half of me wanted to grab my kid and walk right out of there. But then the volunteer assured me it was unusual for there to be so many kids, and that the babysitter is wonderful, she’s just trying to calm down this baby right now, etc. So I hung out a bit while Vibb kept trying (and failing) to make friends with the older girl (maybe 9 or 10 years old?), and then the babysitter sent the volunteer to get the screamy baby’s mom, which freed her up to come over and introduce herself to Violet and talk to me a sec, and I felt better. THEN a little boy who was just Vibble’s size came over, and they did the toddler greeting thing, which involves some mutual touching/poking/caressing and a bit of garbling, and went over and played in a jungle-gym together. So I made my exit but watched from the hallway for a bit—ok, a long bit—before continuing on to the pool. At the pool, I swam a tiny bit but not very much, because something is wrong with my knee right now, I don’t want to get into it, but I did go to the locker room and use the sauna and take a nice long shower with no interruptions YAY!!!

When I got back to the babysitting room, all of the kids were playing in little groups except Vibble. She was off to the side playing alone. She didn’t seem lonely, just doing her own thing. I think she needs some little friends, I worry she doesn’t know how to play with other kids. She goes to the playground or to story time at the library, but those are different kids every time. Then she goes to Gym n’ Swim, but that’s structured the whole time. Our local Moms Club meets during Vibble’s nap time. We did just start a weekly art class, and we’re trying Gymboree on Friday, but really I think I need to get her into a playgroup—unstructured time with the same kids, so she can learn how to respect and interact with “friends.” She’s got another year—at least—until we plan to put her in nursery school.

Her current stage is pretty screamy, tantrummy, and challenging. She wears us out and then doesn’t always sleep too well, which means we don’t sleep too well, either. We get very little time alone together, no time individually alone for ourselves, and not enough sleep … and all of this while she is requiring more patience from us than ever. Toddlers. Good thing they’re so cute. SO cute. It saves her life every day, Man.

But don’t take my word for it: Check out some recent photos. :)