About Us

There are four of Them: three girls and one boy, little stair-steps all. There are two of Us: best friends, co-parents and truly in love. The Six of us have epic adventures full of laughter and love, occasionally containing tears, but always together.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Condundrum Calamity

The other day I was grumbling about how the car has recently needed a spate of repairs and is having some problems. Elie suggested that we get a new car. Isaac piped up and said we didn't need a new car, we just needed to put "sparkles" on the old one. And that would make it "just like new."

I've been having a bit of a conundrum lately about co-sleeping with Leila. She still wakes up lots in the night to nurse. This is no problem when she is in bed with us. I just wake up and latch her on. I hardly even register it, so it makes little to no impact on my sleeping. But, I'd really, really, really like to wake up early everyday and exercise. I have no chance to do it during the day (or I feel guilty for taking an hour out of the middle of the day OR I really just want to exercise without an audience) and by the time the kids go to bed, I'm so exhausted I hardly have the energy to stay awake (hence my spotty blogging) much less exercise. The problem is that when Leila is in our bed (always) when my alarm goes off at five fifteen or so, she wakes up. Then I'm not exercising by myself AND I've got a cranky, wakened babe on my hands. There is no way for me to get out of bed with out waking her, I've tried. The alarm goes off and she starts to stir. Of course, then I have to take her down stairs with me while I exercise and because she was prematurely wakened, the rest of the day sucks. Or in the other option of the choose-your-own-parenting-adventure the scenario plays out that she doesn't wake up right away, but I get half done with exercising and she wakes up. Then because she's in the bed and will crawl right off and hurt herself, I have to book it upstairs in an effort to keep her from doing so. Either way, it just isn't conducive to exercising. I find that if she does wake up when the alarm goes off, I tend to lay back down and nurse her back to sleep. Also not conducive to regular-pre-awake children-exercise.

None of this would be an issue if she would a)sleep well in her own bed, through the night and b)transfer. Currently she is sleeping in her crib, but this worked out for only one reason and that is because she was up at six this morning and was EXHAUSTED by the time I nursed her to sleep. So I nursed her to sleep in the floor of her room and plunked her in to her bed when she was solidly out. But she won't stay there. She'll wake up sometime between eleven and midnight and I'll go in and get her and take her back to bed with me. I don't mind nursing her in the night, but I am not going to lay on the cold, hard floor and nurse her, only to have her awaken when I attempt to transfer her in to her crib!

All of this is compounded by the fact that I secretly (well, now it's not a secret) love, love, love having her in the bed with us. Truth is, with Adam gone so much, it is nice to have little bodies in the bed with me. They are warm, smell sweet, and I love looking at their little sleeping faces. I look forward to the olders waking and joining me and I really do enjoy having them in the bed with me. And when I like having her there, it is difficult to justify the exhaustion and tears that would follow me attempting to force her to sleep in her own bed. I know she wouldn't sleep through the night and so the scenario would be as follows: she would wake, I would go in and lay on the floor and nurse her, she would go to sleep, I would put her in the crib, she would wake after an amazingly short time, repeat ad exhaustion. It is, as my father would say, all trade-offs, but I'm having trouble.

Adam and I were having a disagreement about what "gullet" meant. So I looked it up and it turned out that he was right. So Elie chimes in, looking directly at Adam, "CERTAIN people know things....And certain people don't know things!"

We've been having some trouble with Elie, and actually still are. She is so danged bossy. I have a really hard time with this. She comes from bossy lineage. I'm bossy, my mom is bossy, Adam is a first born and so is my dad. All of this makes for lots of chiefs and not so many indians (as the saying goes). So I can't blame her for being bossy. Plus she's starting to get in to the age where it is (as unfortunate as it is) developmentally appropriate for her to be bossy. The idea is that they experiment with bossing, learn that no one wants to play with them when they act like that, and then they learn not to do it. Problem is, everyone in this house wants to play with Elie no matter if she is bossing or not! Last week we had a big blowup when she tried to take away a cheerio from Leila when I had just, moments before, asked her to leave Leila alone. This was the morning after a really long day of bossing incidents. I got very upset and didn't deal with the situation well (lots of yelling and an unreasonable consequence). I felt sick all morning because of the way I had handled it. Adam called and I talked to him about it. He brainstormed and came up with the idea that maybe Elie has a hard time choosing a new course of action, once she's decided on one. So she starts to boss (or whatever it is in her mind) and then when we step in and ask her to stop, she (for whatever reason) is compelled to continue on the predecided course of action. His suggestion was to remove her from the situation once we see that she is having trouble keeping to herself. I reasoned that it was worth a try, since yelling is NOT the way to go and I wasn't sure what else to do. That afternoon, I gave Talia a task of putting away some clean dish. It was a challenge because the strainer had to go in a certain way, but I knew that Talia would figure it out. Over comes Elie "Talia, do you want me to do that for you? I can do it. Let me do it for you." I asked her to leave Talia alone and Elie said again "Don't you want my help, Talia?" (The whole time Talia was telling Elie to leave her alone, please.) It was clear that Elie couldn't stop getting in Talia's way and so I gently took Elie by the shoulder and moved her away from Talia, positioning myself between them. Lo and behold it worked! Talia was able to figure out the strainer by herself (good and important for her) and Elie was removed from the situation, calmly. Whew. Of course, the bossing hasn't really gotten better, but again tonight Elie got removed from a playing situation because she couldn't stop. However, there was no yelling or tears, so we may have hit upon another tool in our box. Now if I could just control myself and quit yelling....

The bossing thing is another conundrum. Elie bossing really takes lots of choices out of the play that the three olders do together. But when they are all happily playing, while she bosses, is that okay? How do I encourage the younger two to speak up when they are tired of being bossed? Do I ALWAYS get on Elie when she bosses? Why does Talia ask for Elie to be the teacher/mom/dr/boss? Is it okay to allow them to play that way, if Talia is enjoying it? Is Talia going to learn to play with her own imaginary story line or will she always follow the one Elie sets out? I know the answer to some of these things; that Talia and Isaac will speak up when they are tired of being bossed, that Talia and Isaac will deviate from the preordained Elie storyline, that Talia knows how to engage in imaginary play without Elie there to tell her what to do. So I guess that everyone is pretty emotionally healthy, for now. And I know that it is an ongoing process. Ah parenting.

Leila is so dang cute lately. We say "uh, uh, uhhhhh" instead of "no" a lot of the time around here. But now, when Leila is crawling towards something she's not supposed to play with/do (the outlets, stairs, doors, fireplace tools) she says the sound. Or when we say it to another kiddo, she mimics us. It is hilarious!!!!! She also has started kissing (a favorite of mine) but it is the typical learning to kiss, kiss. A wide open mouth. So if I kiss her, she immediately turns her head, mouth open wide, and falls on my mouth with hers. Ha! (As an aside, all our other kids started kissing this way. Elie was especially forceful and wouldn't give up until she made complete contact!) She has also started *dancing* which means that when music or a sound comes on that she likes, she bounces up and and down and side to side on her bum. When we ask her if she's dancing, she smiles and claps her hands, and *dances* more vigorously.

Isaac has been hilarious lately about reading. When he is around and Elie is sounding out something, he will always figure it out before her. However, she has made some astounding advances in her reading and is reading everything, voraciously and really well. Isaac was reading about math in the car today and kept saying "hmmmm isn't this odd, 2 plus 4 is 6!" (or whatever the numbers were, but it was always "isn't this odd?")

The other day in the car, Talia was singing. She started off with "Little bunny foo foo" and then moved in to "Itsy Bitsy Spider." By the end of the singing though, she was doing a mash up of the two, it went like this..."Little bunny foo foo hoppin' thwough the fowest And down came the wain and washed the fowest out."

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