February 2008 Archives
So the last entry where I was complaining about him not sleeping? Well, they say that when kids are making a big developmental leap they stop sleeping well. And he is doing so many cool things!
The first, and most important, is that he's sleeping now! Last night he slept from 7 to 5:30 in the morning. He started settling down in his crib and going to sleep with out endless rocking, so we night weaned in like two days, and now he sleeps really really well. Give or take some nights where something's off. But we are all starting to feel a lot better and a lot more sane. Nobody told me my child wouldn't sleep for the first thirteen months of his life, but I'm so glad we've finally gotten there.
Also, he is saying and doing so many cool things. I know everybody thinks their child is a genius, and I am no exception. Yesterday at day care I handed him Gertrude to carry to the car and he said, very clearly and distinctly, Gertrude. Which is said three or four more times. Then this morning, he heard an airplane in the sky. He's fascinated with garbage trucks, trucks in general, planes and all transportation. And dogs. Those are his favorite things. Anyway, Eric said, "that's an airplane Ollie," and Ollie saw that Eric was wearing a Boeing shirt with a Super Hornet on it and pointed to the plane! Which he proudly repeated for me when I came downstairs. He might end up disappointed that all planes don't look like FA-18s, but hey. We'll cross that bridge when we get there. Yesterday he also apparently said sock at daycare. So last night while he was in the bath I held up a sock and said, "What is this?" trying to get him to repeat it. I was like, "say sock Ollie. Sock. Where's the sock?" He took the sock and said, "That is this." And looked at me like I was a moron. He is saying new words all the time. It is so adorable to hear a tiny child say Gertrude. I cannot tell you.
It is amazing all the things he has absorbed and all the new and cool things he is doing. There has been discussion on some feminist blogs lately about how parents and not parents are equally happy. And I'd say that I was as happy, if not more, on a day to day basis when I wasn't a parent. Happiness is easy. It's cheap. It's being well rested and enjoying a glass of wine with a good book. But since I was a parent I have more joy and I feel like my life has more meaning. Watching this little person become a person and reveal who he is is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. And while on days where I am tired, and he is cranky, and I want some me space, I'm not necessarily happy, I do feel like I am accomplishing more with my life.
For the last couple of days Oliver has been impossible.
I know he's sick.
I know he's teething.
I know he has a horrible sore on his finger because he's chewed it so much.
I also know he's not sleeping, so we're not sleeping. He's whining and crying constantly. He doesn't know what he wants (because what he wants is to feel better and some sleep). So he just asks for things and then shoves them away and cries some more.
It is incredibly frustrating. If I could make him feel better I would absolutely do it. If I could do whatever he wanted to make him happy? I would do it.
But I can't do anything but take deep breaths and hope this passes soon. Try to have patience. Try to be the good mama I want to be.
Also, he now says red, all done (while signing it), and light.
It has been quite a long time since I updated this. For one thing we were traveling for a long time. We didn't get back to our home until Jan 26th, which was a week after we had intended to. We were all tired and overwhelmed and dealing with cleaning clothes and settling back in to our routine.
We have settled, but we are still very tired. Ollie is cutting molars and they seem to be very painful. He is gnawing on his fingers so much he's given himself a blister. He's also had a fever the past weekend and is congested. So he's been a cranky boy. We had been getting blessed with him sleeping 4-5 hour chunks, which was awesome, but those went away with the virus and the teeth pain. We've regressed to infant stage, where he won't sleep unless he's on one of us and we're all exhausted.
In the day time though, he's as sweet a boy as ever and my one true love. Today he learned to say the word "yellow." His vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. In England one morning he and I were having breakfast and he pointed to my bowl and very clearly said, "What's that?" "It's oatmeal" I replied, "Would you like some?" "Yes." He said definitively, and ate half my oatmeal. He's got dog, cat, duck, this, that, car, glasses, and any number of other words. You do have to listen carefully for them though. They all sound a little muttered and toddlerish.
For his birthday his grandma and grandpa Kokai gave him a water table that he loves. We try to get out every day its not freezing cold so he can splash about. He really likes being outdoors. He also loves the doggies and wants to spend as much time with them as he can. Anytime he hears a dog bark outside he stops what he's doing, swivels towards the noise and says "dog." At my first soccer practice he observed me scrimmaging and then walked over (holding Eric's finger) and kicked a soccer ball around for awhile. The other morning he was eating breakfast at his little table and he would boogie over to me, get a bite of yogurt, and boogie away. Then he would dance back when he wanted more yogurt and dance away. He's really enjoying eating at his little table, especially since we don't worry about how long he takes or if he gets bored and wanders off with his cheese or whatever. I'm not too worried that when he's 12 he won't know how to sit still and eat at a table. He's just not there yet (more's the pity for Eric's and my meals). He's still wanting to hold a finger or two as he walks around the house, but he is starting to walk more on his own, especially at day care.
A while ago my Bradley bookgroup read Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. Right now I'm reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp. The former will be better when Ollie is older, I think. The latter has been very helpful right now. The toddler book tells us to recognize and reflect Ollie's feelings in a way a one year old (at the developmental level of a Chimp) can understand. Then when he knows we understand explain to him why we can or can't do what he wants. It also says that a one year old is all extreme emotion, so its ok to get excited with him when he does stuff for the first time and is proud of himself. This is in contrast to unconditional parenting, which warns against empty praise. At age two when he is more developmentally advanced you dial down the praise to be more about observing and commenting on what your child is doing. Although Karp says that you can use effusive praise occasionally like sprinkles on a sundae (this is not his metaphor, I don't think, I'm just obsessed with ice cream since I'm not allowed to have it this week since I gained half a pound instead of losing any weight).
This of course means that when Ollie gets upset now you hear Eric or I saying in an emphatic voice, "No want! No want! No want diaper! No want diaper! No want!" until Ollie knows we understand he doesn't want his diaper changed, or whatever, and when he calms down we explain in simple words why he needs a clean dry butt. It seems a little goofy, but I'm ok with goofy. Particularly if it helps us communicate with Ollie and it helps him feel like we understand and validate his wants and needs, even if we have to say no sometimes.
Mostly what I'm concentrating on is trying to appreciate my child for who he is and support him. Karp also has a personality assessment test for the little ones and asks you to place your child on a spectrum. I know that Ollie is cautious and slow to do things. Like walking, for example. This can be frustrating when he demands you walk him around instead of doing it himself. But this is who he is. If I pushed him to try this stuff without me he would get more upset and refuse to do it at all. So I will be patient until he feels safe. I know that Ollie bites and pinches and scratches when he gets tired. This is not personal, this is him being exhausted and not knowing how to deal with these feelings. So I just try to be patient until he finally naps. On the flip side, Ollie is incredibly cuddly and will wander over and snuggle with Eric or I a million times a day. I wouldn't give that trait up for the world. I am definitely not always perfect about these things, particularly when I haven't had any sleep because mister mister is in pain. I just have to keep trying to understand him and do the best job I can as his parent.