It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Gathering up that loose end

A couple of you recently asked “whatever happened to that difficult baby?” and only this morning I stumbled across a partial post in the draft files addressing that very question. Karma. For those of you who weren’t around (or just don’t remember — it was a while back!), I have a very challenging child a while back. I started out hopeful. After all, I’ve been doing this for sixteen years. I have a wealth of experience, lots of confidence, and, if not patience, the perspective that comes with experience. We could work this out! I was sure. Never doubted it for a moment.

But, when the situation dragged on for months without improvement, the hope receded. What follows is a post from my draft file, written in some month ago, and a good six months after the situation began.

Unhappy baby: I’m not so hopeful any more. She is still whiny and needy, she continues to demand far more time and attention than I can give her and still be at all present for the other children. She arrives wailing… but it’s not sincere, heart-felt unhappiness. It’s a habit. It’s just what she does when she comes up my front steps.

And I just. can’t. shake her from it. It’s a habit, but it appears to be 100% intractable. I can’t break it, I can’t distract her, I can’t provide alternate patterns. Crying is what she does. That’s it, that’s all.

She arrives, wailing. Every day, wailing. We go for an outing. She wails as we get ready to go, but calms as we proceed down the street. By the time we’ve passed a few blocks, she’s cheerful and chattering. A normal child having a normal, happy day. And when we return to the house? The wailing starts again. The second she sees the front steps, the wails commence. It’s positively Pavolvian.

Everything I’ve tried? Nothing. Or, it will work for a day or two, or even a week or two, but only that long. For a while, we used a book of nursery songs. She’d arrive, wailing, I’d put her on my knee to sing songs to her. By the time I’d sung three or four songs in the book, she was happy, ready to slide off my knee and play. After a couple of days, she’d enter, wailing, but crying for her “songbook! songbook!”

Well, that’s a good sign, right? She recognizes the tool which helps ease her into daycare. It gives her security, stability, consistency, to help her weather the transition. This has got to be good.

You’d think that. You’d be wrong.

After a few days, she would not just wail for the songbook, but she’d wail the entire way through it. Another couple of days, and she’d burst into tears whenever she saw the damned thing lying around. Instead of positive associations, it was now associated with her anxiety. Instead of reassuring her, it freaked her out.

I hid the book.

And so it went with each transitional strategy I tried: a few days of success, then decreasing success, and then, oh the bitter irony, the new strategy would become a source of anxiety. And without that transitional activity, the entire day — the entire day — was one long, long, long, long, long, long round of whining, wails, clutching, and tears. All hers, but I will tell you that at the end of a week of days full of this, some of them are mine. After hours, when I release it all to my ever-patient, wonderfully supportive husband. It’s hard.

I am at a loss. I am also, and this is more immediately worrying, out of patience. I can’t work with a child I am not liking, and I am finding it increasingly difficult to find much to like here. I feel badly for her, I ache for her misery and wish I could do something to make it right for her. But I am not liking being with her.

I am not behaving badly: no tantrums, no shouting, no freaking the kids out. I haven’t, and I won’t. But each workday is becoming more and more of a strain, I am more and more often weary to the bone at the end of my day, my work environment becomes less and less satisfying, as each and every thing I try seems to be working, and then… fails.

I have had challenging children before. I have had truly obnoxious parents more often. On one notable occasion — the only occasion on which I gave a family notice — I gave them a scant week’s notice. In this case, however, though the child was a challenge, it was the parents who were the problem, bullying me when things didn’t go their way. Despite his challenges, I didn’t feel like I couldn’t help their child. It was the parents I refused to work with.

But in this case, I love the child and quite like the parents. They are lovely people. But their child is not happy with me.

I am meeting with the parents early next week. Barring a miracle between now and then, I will be giving them notice. This is the first time in close to sixteen years of childcare that I have reached that point with a child. I am not happy about it.

That’s the end of the draft. What happened was that I met with the parents (this would have been at least our third private, after-hours meeting), and gave them notice. They were disappointed, but I think we all knew we’d reached the end of our road together. Lily was not happy with me. And I, increasingly, was not happy with her. (Though I didn’t say that last part to the parents. With them, the focus is on their child’s needs.)

“In another situation,” I said, “without the triggers and associations that she’s developed here, she will probably start afresh and do very well.” I said that as much because I wanted to believe it than because I really believed it. It was plausible, at any rate. At this point, the parents needed some hope. It was the best I could do.

She was with me for a further few weeks as her parents looked for other care. Eventually, they put her in a large-group daycare. And my hoped-for, semi-wishful-thinking outcome… happened! It’s been six months or more, and Lily is thriving in her new large-group daycare.

Why didn’t she thrive here? Damned if I know. Wish I did. I wracked my brains for months trying to sort that out, and never did come to any confident conclusions. Still, I’m happy for her… and, truth be known, relieved. Those last few months, she was hard work, that girl. It’s not the ending I’d have chosen. I wanted the original, sunny, so-delightful Lily back! But in the end, it’s a happy ending for Lily, and that’s what matters.

And am I enjoying my two new babies, who are the very picture of mellow, low-need, happy, go-with-the-flow children?

Damned straight I am. 🙂

September 30, 2011 Posted by | daycare, individuality, Lily, the dark side, whining | , , | 5 Comments

Some days you just want to smack someone

Lily, my challenge baby, arrived QUIETLY this morning. For the first time in months, she did not announce her arrival from the street with ear-piercing wails. She did not cry her way up the front steps. She did not turn and hide when her father opened the door.


She exited her car without a fuss, came up the steps calmly, stood quietly (albeit a little somberly) on the front step as her dad held the door open for her.

And then her dad said, “Okay, honey, we’re here. Do you want to go in the house?”


Does he have no sense at all? Does she want to? What do you think, you idiot man? She’s only cried at entry every day for three months. Every.Single.Day. And now, the first day she’s arriving calmly, and you REMIND her of her former distress. Worse, you let her think that coming in is OPTIONAL.

Does she want to go in the house?
No, she f*&ing doesn’t.

At his question, her quiet, sombre face crumples and the wails begin.

Of course.

In fact, once her dad left (which, to his credit, he did quickly), she calmed very quickly. Even with that mis-step, it’s the best start to our day we’ve had since Christmas.

But, ye gods.

“Do you want to go in the house?”

I didn’t smack him. But, lordy, it was a near thing…

March 30, 2011 Posted by | Lily, parents, Peeve me | 11 Comments

Tired but hopeful

Lily is going through a rough patch.

Consequently, so am I.


Lily had a rough transition to daycare initially. It wasn’t drawn out, it took the fairly standard three weeks, but it was loud. No, it was GLASS-SHATTERING, eardrum-piercing PAINFUL. Not for the entire three weeks. By the end of the third week, she was fine. But while she was in transition? Ugh.

When she’d finished the transition? She was delightful. There was no more delightful child than Lily. Cute, cuddly, her default was glee. She took ‘adorable’ to a whole new level. Catching her eye in mid-grin always made you laugh. Always.

Note how all that is in the past tense?

Eight months later, she regressed. No more happy drop-offs. No more cheery waves. Now she entered wailing. And, for the most part, she stayed wailing. Well, whining or fragile. All day. Ugh.

What caused it initially? The theories abound… a change in the routine at home, a new kid in daycare, an ear infection, gramma visiting… all possible, but who knows? After a few weeks, whatever started it was no longer relevant, anyway.

I tried all the standard things. A new entry routine, more cuddling, ignoring the tears, being positive, tweaking her naptimes…


I talked to the parents about sleep patterns, because I certainly noticed it was worst on Mondays. Mom says they could be more consistent; Dad says they are. Hm.

So I provided them a sleep log. I charted daytime hours, they charted evenings and weekends. Separate charts. After three weeks, I collated them, and we discussed the results over tea in their dining room one evening.

Mom was right. (I thought she was.) Bedtimes varied by up to 90 minutes. Nap-times on weekends were essentially non-existent. Moreover, total sleep in twenty-four hours varied by 4 hours, anywhere from 12 to 16 hours. My nap-times were not consistent enough, either. Drop-offs varied by as much as two and a half hours. We all had some work to do.

Dad is still saying “It’s not so bad.” Mom points out the 90-minute bedtime variation, which he shrugs off until I say, “In order to be considered ‘consistent’, her bedtime should vary by no more than 15 minutes. Twenty at the very most.”

“Oh.” They both look startled at that.

I suggest that for a child experiencing transitional difficulties, consistency is very important. Predictability and routine are good, they provide a sense of stability. They give her certainty which she appears to very much need.

We leave the table with some strategies. They will choose a drop-off time and stick with it. Similarly bed-times. I will give her no more than 40 minutes nap after drop-off, and ensure that her afternoon nap starts at precisely the same time each day. I will employ a strategy they’ve use with good results, of giving her a positive word to strive for. Instead of “Calm and quiet”, I will try “Let’s giggle, Lily!” (It’s been working, not to make her instantly happy, but to shake her from the Misery Groove when she gets stuck, so you can shift her in a more positive direction.) We will continue with the charting.

And, after a week of our new regime?

I can see progress. She still comes in wailing, but it’s low-level. In fact, I’d call this morning’s entry more ‘whining’ than ‘crying’. Her mornings are still unsettled, but after lunch and nap, her afternoons are much better.

And yesterday? Yesterday afternoon I saw the Old Lily! The cheery, smiley, how-can-you-not-squooze-the-child happy Lily.

I am so relieved. Because really, I was beginning to think this was one of those children for whom daycare is not the best option. “It could be that Lily would be best off with a nanny at home,” I had told them, a thought which they said hadn’t yet crossed their minds. After a week of consistent improvement, I’m not thinking that any more.

But, lordy, I’m tired. My mornings are intense. Lily is always in my mind. I’m constantly monitoring her emotional state, ready to divert, to intervene, to distract. I am pouring out a steady stream of cheerful narration of our activities and doings.

And I’m seeing results. A concrete example: Mary needs to pee.

On Monday, I took her to the bathroom with me. On Tuesday, I told her I was going to go up to pee, and when the lower lip started trembling, I told her I would only be a minute! And then we would read a book!!! Which worked, if I was very quick. On Wednesday, I didn’t have to be so manically quick. On Thursday, I could tell her (and all the children), “I’m going upstairs for a sec,” and there wasn’t even a quiver to the lip. Progress.

But, goodness, I’m tired.

See, all week I have been upbeat! and happy! soooo happy!! ALL. THE. TIME!!! And you know? I am not that kind of person. I am a quiet sort. Low-key. Calm, not perky. Cheerful enough, but not bubbly. My forte is peace. And all this pouring out and pouring out and pouring out of positive energy, though it is rewarding in that it is moving the girl from her funk to a more positive state of mind, is exhausting.

I won’t do it long-term. I can’t do it long-term. I am seeing enough improvement already that I don’t think I’ll have to.

If it turns out, though, that when I return to my normal, low-key peaceful self (instead of the Manic-Peppy EverReady Bunny I’ve been this week) that she goes all Mr. Hyde on me again? Then it will be time for her parents to seek other care. Because if that’s what she truly needs, well, I can’t deliver.

Sometimes that happens. I will regret it, because Lily at her best is way beyond delightful! But I won’t feel guilty or inadequate, because I’ll know that we all gave it our absolute best, and, bottom line, we want what is best for Lily.

At this point, I still think that’s here with me. I’m hopeful this will work out.

We’ll see, won’t we?

January 14, 2011 Posted by | Lily, sleep | , , , , , | 8 Comments

“Average” is not an insult

Lily is a chatterbox. A sponge for language. She absorbs new words — and spews them back out again — at a tremendous rate. Today’s new one? “Catapult.” “Cah-pull.” She doesn’t know what it means, but she sure does like the way it rolls around in her mouth.

“Rory. Those chick peas are for eating, and you’re not a catapult.” (In case you were wondering.)

“Cah-pull, cah-pull!”

It’s very cute. A friend comments, “She’s very good with language! I believe every child has their area of excellence.”


Know what? I don’t.

Lily is a chatterbox, and she certainly has an affinity for language. Her vocabulary is about 50 times greater than Rory’s (a pretty standard boy-girl variation at this age), but also than Grace’s (but then, Grace is processing two languages simultaneously). But is this ‘excellence’?

Nope. She’s good with words, but not extraordinarily so. Lily falls solidly within the parameters of ‘normal’. As do Rory and Grace. ‘Normal’ is a pretty broad field. Most of us fall into it. (Which is, after all, what makes it ‘normal’.)

Think about it. If we were all “above average”, then that would be, by definition, “average”. You can’t escape the laws of statistics.

A child who has been told since birth that they’re exceptional for their perfectly standard accomplishments will have very little motivation to strive hard to excel. Why would they, when just chattering up a storm, stacking four blocks, tying your shoes, singing the alphabet, is sufficient to have people marvelling at your ‘excellence’?

Take pleasure in your child’s accomplishments. Expect them to work hard to excel within their capabilities. But to expect exceptionality? Totally unfair. I think it’s arguable that everyone has areas of particular competence, but true ‘excellence’? I doubt it.

“I think mummy… at work.” Lily declares.

Wait, now. A five-word sentence… at 21 (22?) months old…


I guess, by that same law of averages, some kids really are exceptional, right?

December 7, 2010 Posted by | Developmental stuff, Lily | , , , | 7 Comments

A bit of a mystery…

Lily comes in wailing. She’s been doing that for the last little while. The sudden reversal, however, is not the mystery. It’s not unusual for a previously chipper child to suddenly evidence reluctance, even outright distress, at drop-offs. Parents love to speculate why this happens — a visiting gramma, a cold, some disruption of the routine — and sometimes they’re right. Very often, however, it’s just another of those inexplicable vagaries of young children. Something set them off, obviously, but we will likely never know what it is. This particular one usually goes away by itself in fairly short order, so long as all the adults stay calm and upbeat in the child’s presence. Don’t make a big deal of it, and it won’t be one. It will pass. As so many things do.

The more I work with young children, the less I worry about the ‘why’ of things. Sometimes it’s obvious, and I’m happy when it is, but mostly we have to respond to things without knowing the ‘why’. And you know what? It works. You hardly ever really need to know why.

Why do we want to know why? Because it gives we adults a feeling of control, or, in this case, competence. If we know why something is happening, we’re three-quarters of the way to solving it, right? Weeellllll… maybe… Thing is, you’re never going to be totally in control (which is not an excuse for out-of-control children, ahem) and, more importantly, knowing why has essentially NO correlation to competence. You can be 100% in the dark about why something is happening, and still be a very competent parent.

I am a competent caregiver, and sometimes I have only the foggiest inklings of why something is happening. But I am also a very experienced caregiver, which means I don’t sweat it. My own curiosity would looooove to know what on earth is going on in that wee mind, but if I never find out, it doesn’t mean I’m one whit less effective and competent as a caregiver.

Kids are weird, is all.

Just like the rest of us…

So. Lily. Coming in wailing. In fact, I do have a theory: she’s tired. She comes in wailing, and stays whiny as long as she’s awake. She needs 100% of my attention. I must hold her at all times. If I so much as look at another child, the low-level whine ratchets up a notch. If I set her down, she moves up to full-bore wailing. If another child inadvertently bumps into her, in the bumper-car way of a semi-coordinated, oblivious toddler, she wails louder. If I serve apples for snack and she wanted Cheerios, she wails. (She ALWAYS wants Cheerios, and, sadly for her, I serve them only intermittently.)

In short, she is one miserable little camper. Miserable in herself, miserable to be around.

But put her down for a nap, and, after some initial wailing, she settles in for a substantial snooze. And when she wakes? Lily’s Evil Twin has left us (praise be) and Delightful Lily is back. Delightful Lily, let it hereby be related, is the cutest, funnest, nicest, just the most damned engaging child you’d ever want to meet. I adore Delightful Lily. The Evil Twin… not so adorable. At all.

The contrast between Tired Lily and Rested Lily is dramatic. Doctor Jekyll had nothing on this kid.

So I’m pretty sure I know the root cause of this particular behaviour. Even better, Lily sort of gets it, too. For the last week or so, when she arrives, wailing, she will lie her head on my shoulder and say (in a long, drawn-out, truly annoying whine), “Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaap!”

Well, okay then. Good to know we’re on the same page, sister.

Here’s where it gets weird. So I put her down, for the nap she asked for. I give her her soother, tuck her in and say, “Have a nice nap. When you wake up, you will feel SO MUCH BETTER!!” Because she will.

And Lily? Now that she’s all settled in for the nap she demanded?

She cries.



So I go into her room. “Lily, do you want to have a nap?”


This seems clear enough, but I’m canny enough to know that it often pays to ask the opposite question. If I get a “yes” to it… well, it’s just not so clear anymore, darnit.

“Do you want to come upstairs?”


That seems clear enough. Let’s double-check.

“Do you want to play blocks with Rory?”

“No! Nap!”

Okay, then. She doesn’t want to come upstairs, she doesn’t want to play, she wants to nap. All-righty, then. Napping is good. We can do that. So I leave the room, and…

she wails.

Is that not so weird?

Toddlers are weird.

And this one is also tired, so… I walk away. We both know what she needs, but I can’t do it for her. And in a few minutes (5? 10? 15?) all is quiet.

Ninety minutes or so later, she wakes, cheerful, happy and ready for her day.

But what a noodle. She’s tired, she knows it. She doesn’t want to be up and playing, she wants a nap. So I give her the time and space and comfy spot to have that nap, and she OBJECTS!


December 6, 2010 Posted by | Lily, sleep | , , | 6 Comments

Mary’s Little Helper

Ottawa has an organic collection program — aka the compost collection, or The Green Bin. Here is our Green Bin, being filled with fall leaves.






She kept this up for a solid 25 minutes. She’s not fast, but she’s got FOCUS.

November 17, 2010 Posted by | Lily, Ottawa, socializing | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Easy Friday

Three of the five children currently on the roll here are part-time. While this plays some unfortunate havoc with my bank balance, it has at least one fortunate consequence. On Fridays and Mondays I have only three children! (Yes, “only”, though my husband comments that I am one of a rarified number who would consider three under-twos to be an easy day.) Three, the three youngest — Grace, Lily, and Rory.

I call them Baby Mondays and Baby Fridays.

For now I do, at any rate. It won’t be too much longer before they’ll all turn two, and won’t be babies in that sense any more. Right now, though, they’re babies. The two-year-old drive for autonomy, and with it the two-year-old negativity, hasn’t yet appeared. They bumble about in the same room, each doing their baby thing. They interact a bit, though as yet it’s mostly in terms of watching what the other guy is doing — and occasionally deciding it’s interesting enough to commandeer the toy in question.

And when this happens, when Grace decides Rory’s toy is so interesting that she’s going to take it now, thanks… well, Rory just watches it leave his grasp, and then watches Grace play with it. It’s all good.

Such is the way of the 18ish-month-old. It’s quite lovely.

There are two-year-old clouds on my baby horizon, though, in the form of Lily. Only Lily has a significant vocabulary. In contrast to Rory and Grace’s mostly-silence (punctuated by babble and the very odd word), Lily is a chatterbox.

“Sunny! Cloudy!” She’s really enjoying our weather calendar.

She loves her compatriots. “Wo-wee! Gace! Mawee! Emma!”

She loves identifying things, generally: “Umbagumba cookie!” “Poon!” “Eye-cheh!” “Boot!” “Soo!” “Sippuh!” “Gox!” (She’s into footwear.)

She loves giving directions: “Up, pee!” (This would be a polite request, not a urinary order.) “Sit yap, sit yap!” “Door sut!” “Doggie down!”

Life with Lily is one constant cheerful stream of words, words, words, words. All with exclamation marks! Because why speak at all, if you’re not going to be decisive! And excited! And Full of Purpose!!!

And increasingly, in contract to Grace and Rory’s equanimity in the matter of toy possession, when someone takes a toy from Lily?

Most of the time she responds as do the others: placidly unruffled. “That’s an interesting toy, and now it’s being interesting over there. How interesting.”

The rest of the time, however, you’ll see the gears shift. The toy will leave her grasp, there’s a pause as she becomes aware that it’s gone, and then a “what the hell” expression will flit across her face. And then… does oh-so-verbal Lily launch into vigorous and shrieked verbal protest?

Sort of.


She has “vigorous” and “shrieked” down pat. Sadly, she does NOT use her words, though we all know they are many. Nope. Just shrieks of outrage which quickly settle into grizzles of tears. (She’s more of a grizzler than a passionate cry-er, our Lily.)

It doesn’t happen every time, but it’s happening more often. We all know what’s coming. Soon it will be the default response — for Lily, and most likely for Grace and Rory, too. Though if I were to indulge in a little prognostication, I would say that Lily will be the worst for this, her negativity the strongest and longest-lasting of the three. Rory will go into and out of that phase less deeply and more quickly, with only moderate training needed, and little Grace will, as much as any toddler does, skip the “MINE!!!!” phase altogether, continuing to be as calm, level, and curious as ever. (Feel free to ask me about this in three months. It could be I’ve just publicly and totally blown any credibility I’ve ever had.)

But for now, the babies are still (mostly) babies, I have two calm and quiet Baby Days per week, and I’m loving it.

October 15, 2010 Posted by | aggression, Developmental stuff, Grace, Lily, Rory | , , , | 3 Comments

Boop it, anyway

Baby Lily goes butt-up. You know the pose: two hands on the floor, over-sized baby head peering out upside down and backward in the smallish gap between two pudgy baby knees, the oversized cloth diaper, and the floor.

“Peek!” Baby Lily hollers out between her legs. She can’t see anyone, but she knows we’re there. “Peek!!” She invites us to share the joke. “Peek! Funny!!”

Baby Grace watches with curious solemnity. (This is the way Baby Grace approaches most things. Not at all gloomy, not that. Wide-eyed, curious, but generally a little serious… which makes her smiles of delight or discovery or affection or humour that much more precious.) Baby Grace watches, solemnly, and then… plop! go her hands onto the floor.

I’m sure it is entirely coincidence that she’s dropped herself such that the girls can gaze directly at each other from between their short little legs. Coincidental, yes, and also perfect, and perfectly, hysterically funny.

“Peek! Funny! Peek! FUNNY!!!” Lily looooooves this. Her husky chortles meld with Grace’s high, spun-silver giggles.

Two clothy butts in the air, two sets of hands on the floor, two burbling rivers of baby giggles. And my camera is right beside me! Any parent knows, ruefully, how many wonderful Kodak moments are lost, irretrievably lost, because you had to stand up and get the camera. (Or worse, can’t find it at all.) But right now, at this perfect, perfect moment? My camera is snug in the chair with me! I won’t have to get up, which would almost certainly distract them and ruin my perfect, perfect moment. I slip the camera into my hands, pop off the lens cap.

Neither of them has noticed me. Any parent also ruefully knows how many perfect moments have been lost when a kid spots the camera, drops the delightful, spontaneous, beautiful thing they were doing, stands up and pastes on that dreaded, damnable, cheesy, who-taught-them-that-stupid-thing-anyway Camera Grimace. But I, with my camera right beside me, with my camera now in my hands with the lens cap off, have not been spotted.

“Peek!” Giggle, giggle, giggle, giggle, giggle. “Peek! Funny! Funny!!!”

I turn the camera on.


It’s not a loud noise, but the damage is done. Damn those electronic boops. Two little heads come up, one fake-oh uber-cheesy camera smile appears (Baby Lily), one somber little pair of enormous blue eyes stare at me (Baby Grace). Damn, damn, damn. No more giggles, no more butt-up, no more “Peek!”

I carefully don’t make eye contact with either of them. I leave the camera on, slip it beside me, and ostentatiously Pick Up My Book. Very, very ostentatiously. See me reading? I’m not watching you two, oh no, not me! I’m reading my book. My utterly rivetting book. You two can just go back to whatever it was you were doing, because I’m not paying attention AT ALL. Nu-uh, not me.

Well. Sometimes it works.

For the next three or four minutes they play dippy-birds. One goes down, the other comes up. One comes up, the other goes down. Never again do I have that perfect moment where they’re giggling at each other between their short little legs. Never once are they both angled in a way such that I could capture them both in one frame. Not one more clear photo op…

I took a short video, which will amuse their parents, but I am sorry, wonderful readers, I have nothing for you today.

And all because of my booping camera.

October 4, 2010 Posted by | Grace, Lily | , , , , , | 3 Comments

It’s called ‘crawking’

Or at least, that’s what I call it.

And really, my sweetest of sweet little Lilies, it would be SO MUCH EASIER if you just got yourself upright and walked, baby girl.

Really, it would.

Love you, kiddly-boop.

July 16, 2010 Posted by | Developmental stuff, Lily | , , , , | 7 Comments

Normally I use duct tape for this

It was a hot, hot day here yesterday. Our first truly hot day of the summer.

We made our trip to the park early, getting home before the sun hit its skin-sizzling zenith. Not that I have air conditioning, but with judicious use of curtains, standing fans and ceiling fans, the house was quite decently tolerable. (It won’t be after a week of this, but the heat is supposed to break in a couple more days.)

But it was a hot day, and three of the kids sleep upstairs, so I stripped them down before bed, just down to their diapers. No sheets required.

And then I did my nap-time stuff: finish preparing dinner, tidy the house a bit — from waist-level and up, that is; no sense in doing anything lower than that till the Mini Masters of Mayhem have gone home — set out craft, prepare afternoon snack, read a bit, have a cup of tea, and waste time on the computer do some social networking.

Baby Lily was the last to wake. Baby Lily is becoming quite a favourite charmer. From her first wailful weeks, her glass-shattering shrieks, her “GET AWAY FROM ME AND BRING BACK MY MUMMY!!!” rages, she has evolved into a chirpy, cheery, smiling, chattering — not many words, but lots and lots and LOTS of happyhappy chatter — absolutely adorable little mite. When another baby cries, she does not crumple in empathy, but continues in her unflappable good humour, inviting any and all to join her in her to-the-bone love of life. I loves this child.

Noah had announced his return to consciousness with the lilting calls from his room. “Maaaary! I’m awake! Maaaaaary!” It’s very sweet.

New Baby Boy had woken soon after, announcing his return with cries of outrage. “WHY am I still in this bed? WHY did I have to take that damned nap? What took you so long? WHY ARE YOU LIFTING ME OUT OF BED, EVIL WOMAN??? AAAAAAAAAAAA!!!”

Emily, who, at four, snoozes on the couch on those days on which she requires a nap, simply sits up and, at a nod from me, proceeds into some quiet activity.

And Lily? Well. Normally I hear Lily moving about for quite a few minutes before she starts to call out. She wakes, she rummages about, she talks quietly to herself, and gradually, the volume increases until the happy babble becomes a call.

But today… today I thought I heard rummaging about… and then I wasn’t sure. Maybe? There it is again… no. Did I hear something and it stopped, or was there nothing? Hm. But there’s no chatter. This is Baby Lily, chatterbox of the decade. If there’s not chatter, she simply can’t be awake. The heat is just making her restless in her sleep. Yeah. That’s it.

Half an hour later, though, with all the other children awake and snacked, it’s time to wake the girl.

Lily smiles delightedly when I enter the room. “Up, up, up!” she greets me, her wee arms raised, her face a beacon of friendly welcome, her dark eyes sparkling. “Up, up, up!”

Her butt completely bare.

Her crib littered with teeny shreds of paper. (The paper liner of her cloth diapers.)

Her crib sheet wet with pee.

Her diaper on the floor beside her bed.

Baby Lily has learned to remove her diaper. Oh, happy day.

And THANK GOD it was just pee.

May 25, 2010 Posted by | health and safety, Lily, Mischief | , , | 7 Comments