Archive for the ‘on being two’ Category

You love shapes. You love road signs. You love the shape of road signs. You love letters (which make up words). You love the shape of letters on the shape of road signs. Thank you for teaching me the word stoptagon.


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So, um, we’re having some sleep issues.
Last week after nap time I found this:

As an art installation I find this intriguing, full of anxiety and really almost violent in its outlook towards diaper changing supplies. I’ve heard from many people that gallery work is incredibly exhausting, so I wasn’t too surprised to find the Little Puppy asleep in his bed. The piece had clearly been cathartic in nature and a good sleep is what he earned.

A few days ago, the end of naptime greeted me with this:

A tube of diaper cream left exposed. (We’ve supposedly already learned this lesson, but it came back to bite us.) Notice how he clutches the tube, it’s not just the medium anymore, but part of the piece, as is the artist himself. The piece strikes me as less violent, but still echoes the artist’s dissatisfactions with diapering and all that diapering means in his cultural context: the nursery, the changing table, the smallness of it all. At the same time, his continued attachment to Passy subverts those same perceived meanings.

Under who watchful gaze is LP doing all this meaning making and unmaking?
Our therapeutic Jesus doll…is he slacking on the job?
Can’t he stay awake one short hour?

Oh, dear, I think I’ve got it all wrong…perhaps that’s my more conservative mommy self asking him to do what I want, like he is a genie on a toddler sized rocking chair. It’s not this Jesus that is uncomfortable with this ruckus messy toddler naptime party. It’s me. I keep asking all the wrong experts for advice. I know incidents like this would never happen in the Sears’ home because I’d always be napping with my children so LP would never be alone (and I’d never drink hot tea while blogging or watching TIVOed shows I’m too tired to watch at night but am really interested in, cause I have interests, it all turns out.) What I keep wondering is what would the Weissbluth’s do? That book was the gold standard with my first child, worked and still works with my third. What about LP? Do I have to give it up the expert book and go it alone? Jesus, help me. Literally, help me.

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oh good job look what you made I knew you could do it I so proud of you.

She might be too tiny to see in this photo, but my Little Puppy is clearly carrying my mom around on his right shoulder. He’s mimicking Nacky’s constant stream of affirmation when she plays with him. These words are calling into being his great big about to be three year old self who tries very hard to build towers that won’t fall, put his own socks on, and make toaster waffles with no help. His little affirmations are sometimes even good at holding at bay his toddler-baby self that wants mommy to feed him his oatmeal and screams and kicks when Maisy is over.

I’m struggling to birth this preschooler into being. My older child chased after each milestone at breakneck speed. I’ve had to learn to teach this child to talk, to walk, to feed himself. Lots of things have come naturally to L.P. – climbing, jumping, baseball, but those strengths have run ahead of us as other things have lagged behind, things very valuable to me and society like language and patience.

Tantrums at bath time are as common now as they were 6 months ago, but last night I did something new and it was Shiny. I filled the tub and let him do the rest, all the rest. He doesn’t like being messed with, diaper changes, bath time, struggling into a coat. It’s as though he feels victimized, indignant. My life with L.P. as a toddler is so different than it was with Thinker; I need a new brain, new thoughts, new mommy game.

As I was struggling to articulate our method of handling this little puppy to my sister in law, she put it very succinctly: he’s a river, try to let it flow, damming up the river is a bad idea. It’s true; if you put the breaks on this kid, all you get is a scream-fest. All my work as his mother is along the banks of the river, redirecting his wayward, willful course, un-damming things that were blocked by life and circumstance, and bringing all together as he flows his sometimes merry way.

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and again, I say, ouch. I’m not sure what else to say. It feels like I’ve been flattened. I just realized that January is over, but I’ve been pretending that spring is just around the corner since Christmas. My kids just pulled me out of denial, with our second colllective head cold since the holiday – and for some, our second course of antibiotics in that same time frame, so counting it all in total, 6 sinus infections (little puppy being the owner of two of those), one ear infection (also lp’s), two teeth erupting (little bear), a migraine (mine today), and countless nights of interrupted sleep (I’m gonna say since June 2004 as a ballpark)…the days are getting longer, but it’s still cold and dreary and hard to get out when no one’s sleep schedule coordiantes and my sweet little puppy is just so head strong, just plain difficult to take anywhere, what with the “no” and the “mine” and the “my do it” and the “my go play.” It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing stuff with him, it’s just that, well, I dread it ending. Every transition is a pitched battle with negotations, prisoner trading, bluff calling, advance parry retreat – oh I am so worn down. And it’s true, I do feel terribly awfully judged around every corner, just wondering to myself why I can’t manage him better, why I can’t entice and reward him into socially appropriate behavior, and if it really will be easier when he’s older and the baby’s older. What if it’s not? What if everything is a hard sell with this kid? He can be the most charming sweet soul, but honestly cross him at your peril. He honestly believes he can make toast, use my laptop and leave the apartment without me. I’ve been doing what I know, but he’s outlasted me, my supplies are low and I want to beat a fast retreat.

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if you are two, it tolls for you, for your pleasure..and when the noon bells have rung their midday chime from not one but two neighborhood churches, you are, franklly, livid that the song is over.

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I never noticed before now how much my Little Puppy and the baby Jesus have in common. Apparently, according to my two and a halfer, he and the baby Jesus both like juice, passies, rocket ships (two really is the best, who else wants to sleep with a passy and a rocket ship?), stories and Joe’s O’s with honey and almond milk. Also the baby Jesus likes having his own chair and does not prefer to go ni-night, but if he has to will go but only with a passy, a blankie, books and some “friends” (our word for stuffed animals and the like…). It’s really remarkable. Because they have so much in common, they are good friends. So the baby Jesus is now left to guard the most beloved passy when we have to go to the no passy zone of nursery school.

The back story on these recent discoveries of the baby Jesus’ preferences for daily life is a Christmas Eve story that only a two and a halfer could give to us all. At our Christmas Eve family service all the kids participate in an unrehearsed pageant – kings, angels, shepherds – all pick a hat and come up to see Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, at the appropriate Christmas carol sung by their all-adoring parents. Little Puppy not at all into the hat thing this year, but interested in tagging along with the angel Gabriel in the form of his big brother. So there he sat in the middle of the platform among all this splendor of a baby doll in real hay. After silent night, go in peace, merry christmas, amen, it was, well, clean up time. The nice ladies collected all the bits in the rubbermaid bin for next year.
More baby Jesus, more baby Jesus, more baby Jesus came the cries of my Little Puppy. All the way down to the coats- More baby Jesuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus!
My heart was breaking, I ran down the hall to the church nursery, grabbing the only baby doll not buried in legos, a light brown doll with blue eyes, jammies that unsnapped on his rear and a plastic head that spins all the way around his soft body. I brought it out just in time.
Oooooooooooooh, baby Jesus, – arms flung open wide. Adopted. Permanently. Slept in the crib, was fed bagel with eame eese Christmas morning, plied with juicy, passies and good times. He’s ours.

The Thinker: Jesus can do anything – (referring to head spinning trick)

great…and as for me, I landed myself at Target to buy a set of triplet baby dolls with baby bottles and new outfits for the nursery at Church. The baby Jesus it seems, like my little puppy, has a preference for his jammies.

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More twoness – now we pull things into the bed with us. Slight improvement over dismantlung the rest of the room? maybe. Little guy pulled in the turtle bean bag chair, a playmobile boat, half a wooden apple and half a wooden pear…sleeping better at night, but I’m afraid the lack of napping is making me that special type of mommy crazy…
Meanwhile little baby has decided to frighten me with his awesome baby powers: it started with the waving a while ago, but he’s really been working on his technique, he now practises not a flapping type wave but an opening and closing the hand type. The comes in handy as it is also the same motion one uses to make the sign for milk, which he does while nursing. He’s also brought a certain joy in that he is the only one of my guys to say mama before dada. My oldest even said hi dada a full month before he popped out mama, so this is nice, even if it is regularly happening at hours most people would be sleeping. Still I fear a child this verbally and physically adept, having had one of each previously. I sense I’ll need my mommy game.

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