Friday, May 16, 2008

"Stay me in the car"

There have been some recent big changes with our elder daughter. We always call Daddy when we’re on the way home so we can ascertain where he is. If he’s close behind us, E now wants to wait in the car until M gets home. She wants him to get her out of the car, not me. It sounds like a small thing, but for her it represents a huge leap in independence – staying alone for a minute, and showing preference for someone who isn’t Mommy.

Also, in the past two weeks, E has forgotten that she detests showers and has asked for showers FOUR TIMES, including just yesterday.
(It should be noted that there are caveats:
-her feet do not touch the shower floor. At all. You must hold her slippery 30 pounds aloft while she yells, "Mama, I need to wash my ankle AGAIN!!"
-she gets to use a purple towel, and be burrito-wrapped so no limbs can function, and once wrapped, carried cocooned to her room for immediate diapering.
-before entering she shower, she must step on the scale, and sing “Wait til it stohhhhhhhhpsssssssss” and ‘read’ the measurement aloud: “Twenty-nine-and-a-half, whoo-weee!” even though that’s not the measurement, that’s just a measurement I once read out to her.)
She’s overcoming her water phobia, though, so we’re thrilled to accommodate her rituals.

But last night was a real milestone. M wasn’t home, and I accomplished bedtime by myself with no crying. E understood (finally) that for the small payout of a few minutes of (mostly) quiet, she would reap the huge payoff of undivided Mommy Attention. She still was unwilling to play alone in a separate room as I fed and rocked L to almost-asleep, but she sat quietly (enough) on the stool in L’s room next to the rocking chair. I had L’s body in my lap and E’s arms and face resting on my knees. Both girls were quiet, and when I put L in her crib E held out her hand to take me away, to be all hers. It wasn’t as smooth or as easy as this makes it sound, but I felt so proud of all three of us, so optimistic for abetting the anxiety related to single-parent nights. Truly, these girls are wonderful. And an evening alone with E, both of us happy, would be a fantastic reward.

My reward: in that part of the hour when I am still usually upstairs with L, when I have taken a little longer to put her to bed because I’m not rushing to accommodate another girl, in that part of the hour when E is usually All Daddy’s, she and I sat down to play with her magnetic animal puzzles. And then without warning she pooped the biggest poop I’ve ever seen from her. So big it squished out the top of her diaper; flowed over, like warm lava, coating the outside of the diaper, her unders, her diaper cover, and the inside of her skirt; glued her shirt to her back; and dribbled on the carpet. My reward: attempting to remove the shirt without getting any poop in the hair she had just miraculously agreed to have washed THAT MORNING. My reward: convincing a girl who felt so suddenly uncomfortable that she only wanted to lie down not to lie down, or move at all, or touch anything. Not even to reach for me, not to hug me. My reward: a shaking, whimpering, very sad little girl who still very much needed her Mommy. (And some really nasty emergency laundry.)

E showed us this week just how much she's growing up. And also that she's the same girl she always was. Pin It