It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Give that Girl her Beauty Sleep!

Upstairs, a baby cries. My quiet time is over. I can tell by the voice that it’s Zach, but when I open the bedroom door, Mia’s head pops up over the crib rail. Nuts! I’ve opened the wrong door. However, the damage is done, and Mia has had a reasonable amount of sleep, so I bring both of them downstairs.

Zach doesn’t generally like to eat directly after a nap, but Mia does, so into the high chair she goes. She complains throughout snack time. She complains even more loudly through the diaper change that follows. She complains a little when I set her on the floor to play. She is quite manifestly not adjusting well to having been woken prematurely, but I decide to give her another few minutes.

I head upstairs to wash my hands. While I’m there – this takes, what, 90 seconds? – I hear an ungodly wailing from the dining room. A pause, then a scream, a pause, then a scream. Awful screaming. Ear-piercing, bone-chilling, nightmare-inducing, fingernails-down-the-blackboard screaming. When I race downstairs, at speeds that put my life, or at least my ankles, in serious jeopardy, tiny Mia somehow towers over the much larger boys. All 27 inches of her are rigid with rage. Her face is red and tear-streaked. One might reasonably imagine that one of the boys had injured her in some way, but not once one had seen the boys’ faces: Every one of the three are wide-eyed, horrified, pictures of shock. They’re a metre away and backing slowly further from the tiny inferno in front of them. There is no doubt in any of their minds that she is about to explode, or that her head is going to swivel completely round any second. This girl is dangerous and they are getting out of her way!

Nope, no injury, just a good old-fashioned temper tantrum. I scoop her up and cart her back to bed. She wriggled into the sheets, her little bottom up in the air, her thumb securely in her mouth. A deep sigh escapes her. This is where she should have been all along.

Phew!

June 22, 2005 Posted by | aggression, sleep, socializing | 8 Comments

Adjustments

It’s nap time, and all is quiet. Yes, there are construction noises outside, but inside, all is calm. Thankfully. My ears are still ringing with Arthur.

Arthur has been with us a week now. It’s not been difficult, exactly, but it’s been tiring! He’s a very verbal child. Oh, come now, let’s not use insipid euphemisms: the boy is verbose. He talks non-stop, and he talks loud. What he says is often interesting, frequently funny, and occasionally exasperating. It’s also completely, absolutely, unstoppably incessant.

Prior to being with me, Arthur had a nanny. This year, though, Arthur’s family thought that a larger group would be good preparation for his entry to school in another year.

I think they’re absolutely right. Arthur has very little tolerance for sharing. Not sharing belongings – he’s not bad at that. Not great, not as good as many three year olds, but no worse than many others. What he hasn’t a clue about sharing is time, space, and attention.

He expects my attention non-stop. Obviously, he can’t have it, and we’ll train him into more realistic and less self-absorbed patterns in time, but in the meantime, it’s exhausting: “Not right now, Harry, I’m talking to Thomas.” “Arthur, you must stop talking now. George is trying to speak.” “What did Darcy say, Arthur? He has an idea, too.”

I wonder what would happen if I burst out with, “Oh, for heaven’s sake, Arthur, shut up a minute, will you?!” Of course, I won’t. But I do get my moments of delerium, where the fantasy has a lot of appeal…

He doesn’t share space well. This morning he called me over in great indignation, “Mary, they’re not giving me any roooom!!” Thomas, George, and Zach were standing at my window, watching the construction. There was ample room for Arthur there, and in fact, George had shifted down to make space for him. This was still, as far as Arthur was concerned, “Not making room”, for what Arthur expected was for everyone else to move out of the window. He is simply unused to the bit of jostling that’s a normal part of living in a group.

He doesn’t share time. When he’s got that conversational ball, he doesn’t let go of it for love nor money. On and on and on he goes.

So, of course I’m devising strategies to help him to learn, and even to enjoy, being with others, to see them as enhancers, rather than inhibitors of his days. I’ll teach him to cooperate with them for time, space, and attention, rather than constantly competiing. He’ll get there: he’s a cheerful, willing, straightforward little guy. It will also take a fair investment of my energy, and rock-solid consistent treatment, and steadily increasing expectations. Phew!

Can I have a nap, now, too?

June 22, 2005 Posted by | daycare, Developmental stuff, individuality, manners, socializing, the dark side | 3 Comments