The Daughter Chronicles

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hey, these opposable thumbs come in handy!

Norah has learned how to open doors. Let the mayhem begin!¹

¹ I suppose the mayhem has already begun and I should put "escalate" there, but that doesn't have the same ring as "begin." She's already a mischief-maker; this will simply allow her to make more mischief. Yippee!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Breaking Norah's habit

Yes, the child is addicted! But we can cure her!

We had noticed a disturbing trend in Norah's sleeping patterns. She would get cranky anywhere between 9 and 10 in the morning, depending on when she got up (she usually wakes up prior to 7). I would put her down and she would fall asleep pretty much immediately. However, three days a week I needed to wake her up no later than 11:15, because I need to pick Mia up from school. I also didn't want her sleeping too long and skipping her afternoon nap, because she would get cranky in the late afternoon if she missed that nap. Since she was very little, that has been her pattern.

Well, two weeks ago she didn't take an afternoon nap. This happened occasionally, and I just figured she was having a problem that day. Then the next day - Friday - she didn't sleep in the afternoon again. This not only makes her grumpy, it also threatens to wake Mia up because of the loudness of Norah's protestations, and it makes Daddy grumpy. And that's the worst consequence of all! So then came the weekend, and we decided to let her sleep in the morning as long as she liked, hoping she would get a nice five-hour nap, wake up in the early- to mid-afternoon, and not need another nap. Yeah, fat chance. On both Saturday and Sunday she took no more than a two-and-a-half hour nap, woke up around noon, and then refused to sleep in the afternoon until close to five, when she became very grumpy. The only solution we could see: excise the morning nap from her routine!

And so it fell to me to break her of her habit. Our reasoning: if she stays awake until around 1 or 2, she'll be really tired and sleep well until 4 or 4:30, therefore remaining un-cranky until bedtime. Also, I'm a lot less grumpy at 10 in the morning when Mia is at school than I am at 5, and Krys certainly doesn't want to deal with a cranky child when she comes home cranky from work (and her work gives her good cause to be cranky, let me tell you!). So if Norah wants to scream her head off at 10 in the morning, I can deal with it much better than if she's screaming her head off at 6 at night when we're trying to eat dinner. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Well, we're a little over a week into the grand experiment, and it's working pretty well, even though there are still some problems to be ironed out. Norah is very upset every morning when it becomes clear I am not going to put her in her crib, but the screaming periods have gotten shorter, although they appear a long way from ending completely. I sit on the floor with her and try to play with her, but often she just screams and flops down by me as if to say, "Please let me sleep!" At several times over the past ten days, she has fallen asleep in the car when we go to pick up Mia or are driving home from school, and although it's not long, it does refresh her nicely but also chews into her napping time proper. She also is not sleeping as long in the afternoon as we'd like - back when she would take a morning and afternoon nap, it wouldn't be uncommon for her to sleep two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon. She's still sleeping at least two in the afternoon, but we were hoping she would go down around 1 or 1:30 and sleep until at least 4. Sometimes she does, but sometimes she's waking up at 3:30 or so. Therefore, she's still somewhat tired by 6:30 and becomes unpleasant. She's not as bad as when she misses her afternoon nap entirely, however, so that's something.

This week the morning screaming has been lessened, and I hope she's slowly starting to get used to not sleeping in the morning. I've been riding the screaming wave out and giving her a snack or a cup with juice in it, and that makes her happy. She has also not fallen asleep in the car this week as much as last, which is also a good sign. She really does need her sleep, and we're hoping that she takes slightly longer naps in the afternoon as she gets more used to it. We continuously mock our children for wanting to skip naps, as we would both love to take more of them. It's one of those things I tell them I will enjoy when they are teenagers - denying them sleep because it's time for school. They will have had their chance!

For now, the experiment continues. It's a moderate success! Yay - parenting works occasionally!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mia art II

I call it "3-D Sheep With Cotton Balls." It's postmodern, man!

(I apologize for the dearth of posts recently. It's funny, but I actually have to do more parenting these days, so my blog about parenting suffers. I have some things to mention, so I will try this week to get some stuff up. Now, however, I have to go wake Demon Child #1 up. So you just the short post highlighting my daughter's budding artistic talent.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A disconcerting event

You know, there are times when I tend to forget that Mia is handicapped. Not totally, of course - she's four years old and doesn't speak much or stand up, and I'm reminded whenever I put her in her gait trainer - but very often it's easy to forget just how handicapped she is. I mean, she's a charming little girl, she communicates relatively well (even without speaking), she is the same size as her classmates, and she's a joy to be around. So even though it's obvious she has some issues, it's easy to forget how poorly off she is.

And then she fell off the sofa. Twice.

I don't mean to be flippant, but she did fall off the sofa twice in the last week. I usually put her in our armchair, but its bottom broke and I haven't called the upholsterer yet. So I've been putting her on the sofa. Last Wednesday I put her down and went to the bathroom. When I came back she was underneath the coffee table chewing on one of Norah's bibs. I'm not quite sure how she got underneath the coffee table without banging her head off of it and screaming, but she was perfectly happy. Then, on Sunday, I put her on the other sofa to get Norah's bedtime bottle ready. I was in the kitchen and could see her perfectly, but I wasn't looking when she tumbled off the sofa. This time she hit her head a bit and started crying. After a few minutes of me comforting her, she was fine. It was still disconcerting.

One reason she falls, I think, is because she likes to rock back and forth. Apparently she does this because small children like a lot of motion, which is why they love swings so much. Mia doesn't move a lot, so she takes advantage of the chances she has to move, one of which is rocking back and forth. This is fine in her high chair, because she's strapped in. This is not so fine on the sofa, because she can't control herself all that well, and she can easily tumble. She also does not like to sit up, even when she has support, so she bends over her legs and loses her balance more easily. It's frustrating.

I felt horrible, but I can't watch her every single second, so it might happen again. The thing that's perhaps most distressing about it is she's still not learning that her actions have consequences. When I put her on the sofa yesterday and this morning, she began to rock a little. I don't know when "normal" kids begin to learn that their actions have consequences (I know it's not 15 months, because Norah sure doesn't know!), but it will probably take longer for Mia.

So, like I said, every once in a while, I get reminded that she's, unfortunately, a lot worse off than she might seem. But that's okay - because she's still working very hard to catch up, and doing very well. I just wish she would stop with the damned rocking.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Shifting the blame

Norah, at almost 15 months, has already learned a valuable lesson: if possible, blame someone else.

This morning the kids were watching a Baby Einstein DVD, as they do every morning. I was wasting time on the Internet (actually, I did balance the checkbook, so that's not really wasting time, but for the most part, I was wasting time). I heard rustling of paper, which is never good. I looked over and Norah was attempting to reach the remote, because the remote is the coolest thing EVER! (Parents can probably back me up on this.) It was sitting on top of those coupon pages that you get in the Sunday newspaper, and all of that was sitting on top of a big candleholder in the center of the coffee table. And Norah was stretching for it.

As I watched, she managed to grab the remote without upsetting any paper. I called her name, quietly, and she looked over at me without remorse. I called again that she should put down the remote, and she, naturally ignored me. So I stood up and took less than three steps toward her. She ran, waving the remote in the air, over to Mia's chair, which has a large tray attached to it. She put the remote down on the tray and stood back, as if to say, "She did it!"

It was quite cute. I took the remote and told Norah she wasn't fooling anyone. But at least she's learning early that if you get caught doing something, blame everyone else and take no responsibility! It works for politicians, so why not small children!

Norah Burgas: President in 2056?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mia art I

I mentioned that I wanted to post more art that Mia does in school. So I'm gonna! I have no idea how much of this is hers. But look how avant-garde it is!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Raising kids is easy, like the cake!

I'm telling you, people with one kid who is undamaged have nothing to complain about! Kids are easy! Now, if you have more than one kid, okay, but one kid? Piece o' pie, I tells ya!

Take Norah. How easy is it to raise her? She eats pretty much anything you put in front of her. She loves vegetables. That may be weird, I don't know, but she loves them. Can't get enough of them! As for watching her - E-Z! We close all the doors of the bedrooms and bathrooms so she can't get into things. I put her down, and like a wind-up toy, she's off! She's walking all the time now, so she just putters about, looking for trouble. She's remarkably well behaved. We have had to move a few things out of her grasp, but she has not gone after the CDs or the books yet. She just wanders around, picking up toys and playing with them, moving on to something else, trying to get into cabinets and the treasures inside, which is the only time I really have to intervene. She loves the syrup bottle for some reason. Earlier in the summer she figured out how to get the cap off, but luckily I stopped her before syrup was all over the floor. Now we keep the syrup out of her reach.

If I'm not doing anything, I will sit on the floor with her and she brings me books and points at the pictures in them, saying, like her sister, "Dat?" As usual with small children, I can tell her what the pictures are dozens of times and she will never get tired of them. Today she did something rather cool - she looked at a picture of a fish and then stared up at the fish we have on the counter (in a tank, fret not). She did it again later, for Krys, so it wasn't a fluke. She's starting to put things together, which is quite cool.

I don't know if all kids are like this, but she's easy. I just keep an eye on her, and she does her thing. After Mia, who needs constant supervision, it's a treat. That sounds like a horrible thing to say, that I neglect my child because I'm able to, but I just mean that I don't have to sit with her because she can't sit up and I don't have to carry her everywhere and I don't have to worry because she's not eating at a particular meal. I still keep track of her, but it's nice to let her wander around and discover things on her own.

Of course, she loves things she's not supposed to have. One of her favorite toys these days is my belt. She picks it up and cruises around with it. She just discovered Krys's ear plugs (I snore) and think they're the coolest thing ever. She also finds Krys's deodorant fascinating. But on the whole, she doesn't get into things that she's not supposed to get into. And she can entertain herself for good chunks of time, which is nice when Mia is awake and I have to focus on her.

So that's Norah. Difficult? Who said little kids are difficult? When she starts wanting to date, then she'll be difficult! Then I will have to put her in a cage, not unlike this:

Let's see her try to date when she's in the cage!