Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pick your title

Pick your battles. It’s the common mantra of any experienced parent. When I became a parent, I wanted to do everything by the book. I wanted to nurse the right amount of time, I wanted to make sure my baby was being mentally stimulated enough, he wouldn’t watch tv (what was I thinking?), he wouldn’t be on a bottle longer than necessary, he would eat organic, home cooked meals as often as possible, he would be home schooled, all his doctor visits would be exactly when they needed to be and he would just be the most loved, well rounded kid. Well, something happened. I gave birth. Things are so different when you’re living them versus planning for them. I’m a great planner. My follow through isn’t the best. I’m notorious for flaking out on things and it’s one of my weaknesses that drives me batty. I did pretty well on a lot of things. I failed (by my own standards) in others. One thing that my son has always been great at is sleeping. At two months old, he slept through the night and has done so ever since. I put him in his bed and he stays there. I never had a weepy toddler outside my room, begging to sleep with me. I never had a preschooler sneaking out of his bed to play with his toys. And now I have a six and a half year old that will still take a nap if I ask him to.

My daughter was born and my rules for my son didn’t fit her. She was so different. She was so easy compared to Trey. She nursed like a champ. She hardly cried. I just wanted to keep her in her present state forever. I still do. I just told her this morning that I didn’t want her to get any bigger*. However, there are some things that my son does a lot better than my daughter. One of those things is sleeping. Oh my Leah. I spent many a nights in her room trying to persuade her back to sleep. As an infant, she seemed to think party time was between 2 and 5 am most nights. It’s hard to be in party mode if you’ve only been asleep a couple of hours. As a toddler, she figured out how to get out of her crib right away so I had to install those silly childproof plastic rings on her door. She would get so frustrated and scream and cry until she wore herself out and ended up falling asleep on the floor. Once she mastered the art of opening the child proof door, she started coming into our room. I’d put her back. She’d come back a half hour later. I’d put her back again. An hour would go by and she’d be back. By 5am I would give up the fight and she’d stay in bed with me. Something I swore I’d never let happen.

When Bill deployed, bedtime for her became an even bigger battle. Her list of requests got longer and bedtime would take at least an hour and this was after putting Trey to sleep successfully within two minutes of closing the book we’d read. I got tired of fighting. I’m playing the part of two parents and this is one battle I’m going to let go for now. She comes in my room with me at night to fall asleep and then when I’m ready for bed, she’s carried (like the princess she is) back to her room. Her requests are still there before she falls asleep, but not as many. Her main request after I turn the light out is for me to rub her back. Who doesn’t love a good back rub? After I finish, it’s usually followed with, “one more time?” I give in each time. The other night, her request was a little strange. “Mommy?”
“Would you rub my back?”
“Sure. Turn over.”

“Leah, you need to lie on your stomach if you want me to rub your back.”
“Mommy? Would you rub my eyeball?” One of Leah’s favorite words of hilarity is ‘eyeball’. I’m not sure what’s so funny about eyeball, but it’s like her version of ‘smurf’. Remember how you could use ‘smurf’ in any context and it would become verb, adjective, noun, etc.? Eyeball.
“Ewwww! I’m not going to rub your eyeball!”
“What about my nose?” I begin to rub her tiny nose. “No, mommy. Inside my nose.”
“Leah, I am not sticking my finger in your nose.”
Bursts of laughter. And then she shows me how she is going to rub the inside of her nose. So dainty. “What about my teeth?” I start to rub her teeth with my finger. “Nooo, you need a tooh-brush! You want me to rub inside your nose?”
“Leah, go to sleep.”

*She was very upset at the thought of staying four forever. She asks constantly when she will be a grownup and what, exactly, she’ll be able to do once she reaches that milestone. I don’t dare mention that she won’t be living with me at that point since that makes her more upset.


Krista said...

What a sweet funny little personality she has. I love memories like this, they are what we will miss most when they are 17.

Judy said...

That's a sweet story, Jen! They're only little once...


Andrea said...

That is hilarious. I've always thought eyeball was a peculiar word. ;-)

Luckily Leah is not content to stay small forever. I think Isabella was about 3 or 4 when I told her I wanted her to stay 'that size' forever. Well, she decided that if she didn't eat anymore she wouldn't grow and mommy would be happy forever. UGH!! It still takes a tremendous amount of effort to make her eat more during meals.