Aria always seems to have her own plans in mind.
For example, yesterday she stood by the stairs, pulled off her pull-up, went up the stairs, was moving her step stool in front of the toilet when I got there, climbed up, sat down.. waited approximately 3 seconds, climbed back down, went back down stairs, tried to put on her pull-up, managed to waddle across the room with it around her ankles to her father so he could help her get it back on, then went back about her playing.
Why upstairs and not the little training potty in the kitchen or the bathroom on the main floor? Why did the diaper have to come off before she went up? Only Aria knows.
Tuesday I was working from home and sitting in the kitchenette. She was getting antsy while Eric was in the kitchen talking to me, so he suggested she go get a puzzle and bring it in there for them to play together. She ran into the living room.. but didn’t come back. We heard her talking away in there so let her be, but after 15-20 minutes I was getting really curious as to what she was up to, and was about to go see, when she finally reappeared in the kitchen door.. holding a puzzle. We both looked at each other and, chuckling, said almost in unison that we couldn’t believe she remembered what she was originally sent to do. And she looked so nonchalant about it.
It only took one time, but she was being fickle about what she wanted to read one night, so I kept pulling books out of the basket, showing them to her to a very firm, “nonono” and then I would neatly tuck the rejected book back away in the basket so they all stayed nicely lined up and easy to see the spine. Every night since she goes over to the basket, pulls out a book, shows it to me, I exclaim, “oh let’s read that!” to which she pulls the book away from my reaching hand with a “nonono” and spends a million years trying her darndest to tuck it back neatly away, all organized. Some of the books have taken a beating as she tries desperately to cram them together, and it has made the whole routine take several times longer, with many fewer books actually read. I’ve started to just pick up books myself and read them, to which she either completely ignores me, or gradually finds her way into my lap to hear it out, or yanks it away from me and stuffs it into the basket, often with her “nonono”.
I will say, as trying as it may be, her little “nonono” is actually really adorable. She says it in a soft singsong kind of way, with a lot of inflection on the o’s, and so although you’re being chastised by a not-quite-two-year-old you can’t help but have heart-melt.
One other thing she’s started doing that is worrisome is this “Aria bad” thing. I have no idea where she got it, we have asked around and what she’s doing, no one has done to her. She’ll be perfectly happy running around and playing, then all of a sudden she stops, hits her side and says, “Aria bad!” Then goes about her merry way. I can tell you I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually spanked her, and the last one was several months ago, well before she started this. Usually I just threaten a spanking and it’s enough to straighten her out, and we use timeout or take-away-offending-object or remove-Aria-from-offending-scenario as our primary means of stopping bad behavior. Eric doesn’t spank her either. And neither of us yells in her face and says she’s bad. We say, “no, that’s not nice, we don’t do that” and I have told her, after she said, “Aria bad” that “no, Aria’s not bad, but that was a bad thing to do.” So I’m not sure why she’s doing it, where it came from, but I will say I’m terrified of her doing it in public. In fact, I actually frequently tell her what a good sweet girl she is, because honestly she is about 85% of the time. She has her moments, but usually they’re fueled by the usual suspects, tired and hungry, and the rest of the time she’s cooperative, silly, playful, loves to share, and is in general a very sweet child (as her aunt describes her, Sweet But Not Gentle). And per all the stuff I read, I want to encourage good behavior, so I give more attention to the good stuff than the bad. I just hope she’s not doing permanent damage to her own self-esteem by telling herself she’s bad… and I guess the other day she and her little cousin were playing in the dog’s water, were told by grandpap to knock it off, and she pulled Lucas aside, bopped him on the bottom and told him “no, bad.” Pappy had to remind her that she was just as guilty. But what 1.9 year old spanks their little cousin?? We have much to worry about with this little sister on the way..
During the school year, when Eric has to work, I would say that I’m majority child take-carer-ofer. I do the vast majority of feeding, clothing, bathing, putting-to-bed, playing, etc. Not to say he doesn’t give her attention and play with her, but I’m by far the major figure in her life and we do everything together from playing to going on walks or shopping to eating our meals together whether he’s with us or not (when I’m home and she’s not at her grandparents’ house). So she is fairly glued to me, because, well, we bond. We’re a team, we just get each other.
But now, with the school year over and Eric home all the time and staying up late with no set bedtime anymore, there is a shift taking place. As with last summer, I’m watching my little buddy start to transition her loyalties.
And not only that, but I’m watching it take place with my husband as well. All of a sudden he’s telling me things about what she likes or what she’s up to.
I’m not jealous, I’m actually very happy. As with last summer, it’s really fun and neat to watch my husband take an even more active role in her life, than just the evening play and kiss goodnight. Now he’s the one planning her day, figuring out what to feed her, making sure she gets a nap, ensuring that her diaper bag is stocked and ready, and even helping more and more with the bedtime routine.
In fact, there have been a couple “rough” nights where I was having trouble getting Aria to wind down and be willing to stick to the night night routine, with crying and melting toddler (where you try to pick her up and she melts through your hands and splatters onto the floor as you try to grapple her).. Eric would come upstairs and talk softly to her, “hey.. what’s wrong?” and basically shoo me away so he could finish putting her to bed.
It was nice to be able to finally go get ready for bed myself, but I also felt a little .. dismissed..
Other nights he’ll just take her himself and put her to bed himself without my involvement whatsoever. I will note, however, that my night night routine often takes about an hour, between bathing, allowing some play in her room, getting pj’s on her, reading books, singing, and finally laying a hopefully-calm-and-ready-to-go-to-sleep toddler in her crib, as where his routine is a much more abbreviated version.. I’m not sure what all he cuts out, but I don’t think he sings to her. I think his is just read a book or two and lay her down.
I love when I’m at work and he calls just to tell me something about her. Like that she slept in and he found her with a skirt on that had apparently made its way into her crib and she decided to put on herself and she was in such a good mood and Aria stop drawing on the wall! No, we don’t draw on the wall, she has chalk and she’s drawing on the wall… “Daddy!” No we don’t draw on daddy either.
Those moments make me so happy. Plus he gets to experience how hard it is to get anything done while she’s awake, so he can finally get it 🙂
Oh, and I didn’t even mention how he also has to dress her and get her hair in some semblance of order. He actually does seem to care how she looks, and it’s always fun to see what outfit her put her in. And he’s gotten so good at combing her hair, he doesn’t even ask me to do it when we’re together, he just does it himself.
Last night when I was trying to put Aria to bed, she was bouncing in my lap with a little too much energy left over. She was facing me and flailed her arms a little, which knocked my glasses off my face.
As she sometimes does when all of a sudden my shields are down (or knocked onto the floor), she put her great big eyes right up in my face with a great big smile. She said, “hi!”
I started giggling because she was just so incredibly cute.
So she made her eyes even bigger, with her forehead pressed up against mine, and sang dramatically, “bum bum bum!”
I lost it.
I was born on the cusp of the Millennial generation. While I mostly identify with the values that M’s embrace, such as how family and food are perceived and an overall optimism for life with a healthy distrust of big corporations and government (or at least their general regard for the average American (or lack thereof in favor of the average American’s dollar)), I also know that I’m a bit in that in-between generation, where I don’t really identify with X’ers and their mentalities, but I do remember what life was like when computer technology, and internet, were just beginning.
I remember having to use DOS prompts, and black screens with green letters. And dot matrix printers. I wasn’t exposed to punch cards, thank goodness, but I remember the original floppies, then the smaller, not-so-floppy floppies. I remember using Telnet before internet really got going.
I remember when we first got email. I remember building websites for people in high school, using cutting edge new software like Dreamweaver. And I remember buying my very first cell phone when I turned 20. And then buying my first smartphone when I was closer to 30.
And then there’s Aria. Not even two years old yet, and she knows how to steal my phone, navigate to the screen with the app that launches kids mode, and open up the games she knows she likes. And close the games when she grows tired of them, so that she can open another.
Or on her grandparents’ computer, she knows how to get to the games or songs she wants to enjoy, understands how the “x” close buttons work, and knows which buttons to push to move to the next screen, or how to complete the task that the game wants her to complete. And how to fend off her four year old cousin who is attempting to do the exact same thing at the exact same time, but with a different opinion of which songs or games to enjoy. I hear it’s quite the battle.
Or she can drag letters across her father’s tablet to complete a word.
Eric and I watched as she opened a game where a monkey had to collect coins and she knew exactly where to tap to make him collect the pennies and then deposit them to get a nickel, and so forth.
It’s just so crazy. She’s growing up in an entirely different world, and technology is part of everyday life so much so that a baby can master it. It makes it even more important for us to monitor how and how often she uses it, and ensure that she’s getting educational value out of the games she plays, and to teach her when and where it’s appropriate to use it. I sincerely hope she learns a proper respect for technology, both with safety, but also with how it can both improve and limit social interaction, and that nothing can replace the experiences of the great outdoors and playing with her cousins. So many kids struggle with these things these days, because technology is so addictive and widely accessible. I know that when I’m with Aria outside I only get out my phone to take pictures of her, which I won’t share until later, and if she sees it and wants to play on the phone I tell her it’s an “indoor only” toy, to try and help her separate the two worlds. But I also realize that as she grows up it’s going to become harder and technology is just going to keep getting “better” and more difficult to separate from everyday life and social interactions.
For now, however, it truly is fascinating to see what my little tot is able to accomplish all by herself.
From stories I’ve heard, it sounds like Aria is going to be a great big sister. She looks after her little cousins in a sweet and non-abrasive way, at least according to her grandparents.
For example, her little one-year old cousin Lucas was coming down the stairs backwards and she guided his foot to avoid a piece of chalk that he might have stepped and slipped on. She didn’t say anything, just moved his foot over a little. And when they were told to stay out of the flower bed she gently herded him away, without yelling or pushing or being bossy. She just guided him away with her arms.
Sounds like she’s at least a sweet cousin, so I hope it translates 🙂
Now if only she were as sweet to her mommy. Work from home days are practically a bust. I get work done before she’s up and once she’s down for a nap, but while she’s awake I spend my time keeping her from breaking herself or something else. And she just loves to be defiant and keep things away from me, or try to do things she knows she’s not supposed to.
And apparently we’re in full-blown potty training mode now. I can’t keep a diaper on her, and I fear for the rugs, and for the mess that’s going to ensue, so today I’ve locked her into the kitchen with me. We keep going and sitting on the little potty, but a little while ago she was sitting on her little potty and playing with my phone but got bored and wandered away from it while I was distracted. When I looked down she was squatting in the middle of the floor and a puddle was forming around her. My phone was in that puddle.
And a couple evenings ago I was crashed out on the couch, exhausted, while Aria was running around playing and talking away. The front door was open so she could look out the storm door. She sometimes plays this game where she closes the front door as far as she can and squishes herself between the two doors. She was doing that, so I couldn’t really see her.
Then I heard, “poop,” which generally means, “I went pee in my diaper, so it’s really too late to bother with going to sit on the potty, but I thought you should know.” I groggily asked her if she wanted to go sit on the potty anyway, and of course she said no.
A moment later I am presented with two handfuls of poop and great big eyes and a little voice saying, “poop! poop!”
Ugh. So we had to clean that up and get her scrubbed down to ungross me out. And find the diaper she had shed somewhere.
I really don’t have the energy for this right now. I would have much preferred her to stay calmly in her diapers and let this all wait until I had the enthusiasm to keep up with her.
Update: Within 15 min of posting this she had pulled off her clothes and diaper so we sang a song about “pee pee on the potty” to which she danced and smiled and kept sitting on the potty and saying pee pee. Then she ran into the dining room and played keep away with me while I tried to capture her to put a new fresh diaper on her, and pooped on the floor.
That song is now stuck in my head.. “It’s the final countdown!”.. guitar break..
Anyway, according to the expected due date of my new little handful, 7 weeks to go! It both feels like forever and so close all at once, so I don’t know how to feel!
Actually, I know exactly how I feel. Exhausted. Aria has reached the naked stage where it’s harder to keep clothes on her than it is to get her to pick up after herself. Speaking of which, she is just so precious. I love what a sweet and helpful child she is most of the time (when she’s not tired/cranky or incredibly distracted). She cleans herself up after meals, wipes the counters and floors when she makes messes, throws away garbage, brings us things we ask her to, tries to help with sweeping or vacuuming or dusting.. she’s just a doll.
But back to new baby, it’s hard for me to remember exactly what Aria was like, but I feel like she’s incredibly active. One nice thing, though, is that she doesn’t jam her feet up under my ribs like her sister did to me (constantly). I used to push and push trying to get Aria out from under there. Maybe she just hasn’t discovered the extra foot room yet. But she has definitely discovered the punching bag that is my bladder. She likes to stomp on it periodically and send me into a tizzy to find the nearest restroom. And then for good measure give it another blow so that I have to go back again before I’ve had a chance to go about whatever I had been doing.
And there are constant lumps trying to push their way out of my belly. I feel inclined to push back because of Alien. You just never know.. if she pushed too hard.. It just creeps me out when lumps are protruding from my belly, that I can’t not push back to keep them inside me.
The whole thing is still weird. There is a being living in my belly! How is that not weird?? And to boot she’s supposed to be the size of a pineapple by now. An entire pineapple bouncing around in my belly!
But after all of the terribly sad stories I’ve heard, I 100% prefer an overactive baby to one who doesn’t move much or enough. At least I know she’s alive and kicking (literally) and in good shape and spirits (at least I assume..).
The whole waiting game to see what she’s like, what she looks like, what type of baby she’ll be is just so hard. But I’ve made up my mind and heart to try again to go natural (as long as my doctor lets me). It was a really tough decision, remembering it took 20 hours of a lot of poking, prodding and painful stuff, and a tiresome left-side-only-not-allowed-to-move ordeal with failure at the end, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not even a whole day for the chance to try again to do it the “right” way. Another thing that makes this decision harder is, if we do succeed I’ll actually lose two whole weeks of maternity leave time with her 😦 But giving up this notion of being able to schedule my baby to come when and where I choose, and instead leave it in the hands of God who will decide when we’re both ready, and how she’ll end up coming into the world, is actually more comforting to me.
I just hope she decides of her own accord not to make an appearance on her sister’s birthday 🙂