February 14, 2018

My kid and notes from Year 2.11

My kid in year 2.11

Things I shouldn’t have to say

  • Don’t use my finger to pick your nose.
  • Don’t pick Seamus’s nose.
  • Take your foot off my head.
  • Don’t sleep on top of my head.
  • No, I can’t trade socks with you.
  • The climbing wall is for climbing. DO NOT LICK IT.
  • Don’t lick the dog food!
  • No, you can’t eat food off the ground. Seamus can have the apple you dropped on the ground because he’s a dog. You’re not a dog.
  • Don’t eat boogers, that’s gross. No, it’s not funny.  GROSS.

Appropriation

Things that JB keeps trying to steal from me:

  • purple socks, adult sized
  • fuzzy boots, 5 sizes too big
  • fuzzy blanket, one size fits all
  • childhood teddy bear unearthed from old home
  • favorite sweater
  • Rogue Squadron books

(more…)

January 17, 2018

My kid and notes from Year 2.10

My kid in year 2.10

I’m Awake!

JB’s zir ability to go from deep sleep to wide awake in 0.7 seconds is fascinating. We never wake the baby if we can help it but, and this is a problem I sure wish we had in infancy, sometimes ze sleeps in so late that we have to.  I try gentle tactics first, out of habit: tickling zir face with hair, calling zir name quietly, slow back pats. When nothing works, I give up and try to get zir dressed as ze sleeps. Right about then, ze pops straight up asking: What you doin??

When ze wakes on zir own, zir brain goes into gear. It’s not clear if ze just starts thinking immediately or if this is a remnant of a dream:

– Daddy! DADDDDYYYYY! May I p’ay (play)?
– Is it my birfday? (No, not for 6 more months)
– Where is Uncle’s doggy? (We haven’t seen him in 6 months)
– I’m an elephant!
– May I have Allouette?

I almost envy zir – I take 15 minutes of grogginess, if not grumpiness, to become conscious.
(more…)

December 20, 2017

My kid and notes from Year 2.9

My kid in Year 2.9

Tantrum CITY

We have had the best and worst month. We did lots of fun things together, and they were legitimately fun. But they were also punctuated by some of the worst tantrums I have ever seen. You know us, we’re not going to let zir get away with that. There were quite a few times ze pulled a Bratty Chihuahua and sat down in the middle of the street, so I’d toss zir over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes and haul that hollering sack home.

The worst of this is knowing that kids pull the boneless act even when they’re much older. This has to stop!

Last year, I chalked these tantrums up to brain leaps, they were temporary but usually preceded some serious mental growth spurt. This year, I don’t know what it’s all about. Maybe this is preceding a parenting growth spurt because I have had to cultivate so much patience. (more…)

November 22, 2017

My kid and notes from Year 2.8

My kid in Year 2.8 JuggerBaby legitimately and of zir own volition apologized this month for the first time. It might have been for elbowing me in the throat.

We learned from daycare that at age 2, it’s not good to pressure kids to apologize because that mainly teaches them to say the words but not necessarily mean it when the more important lesson is for them to use their empathy and care if they hurt someone. It was a little bit of a struggle but we banished “say sorry!” from our stock phrases and just demonstrated the appropriate use of apologies in our everyday interactions.

JB has offered a couple of offhand apologies, since. Big steps!

Speaking of daycare

We’re really struggling here.

Ze has at least one of our tempers, or both, and most definitely my lack of tolerance for kids encroaching on my territory, or getting in my face. A kid taking things away from zir, or yelling NO in zir face usually gets a physical reaction. That’s one big problem. (more…)

October 25, 2017

My kid and notes from Year 2.7

My kid in Year 2.7

Sleep shenanigans

Another month, another sleep challenge.

It seems like JB is having nightmares because a few mornings a week, ze wakes up crying, with real tears, and calling for me. It’s a total departure from zir usual routine where ze ONLY wants Dad so it makes me think there’s a bit more trauma.

Ze doesn’t have the concepts to explain to us why ze is so upset so I can only hope that ze didn’t also inherit my propensity for bonecrushingly scary nightmares. They started so early I actually don’t recall the onset, but I do recall many of them to this day. I used to curl up next to Mom and Dad’s closed bedroom door because I was literally scared stiff, too afraid to knock on the door. Not because I thought they’d be mad but just because the nightmare had me in its grip even after I’d woken.

(more…)

September 13, 2017

My kid and notes from Year 2.6

My kid in Year 2.6 IT ME

Someone has developed self awareness.

(JB: Me!)

Me: Someone ate all my crackers.
JB: ME!

PiC: Someone doesn’t have the-
JB: ME!
Pic: -best hand-eye coordination.

PiC: Someone’s made a mess here.
JB: *proudly slaps chest* ME!

Consequences

Sometimes JuggerBaby gets so frustrated by a no, or life, that ze gets rude, sulky, and throws things. Now, being frustrated is normal. That happens. But ze isn’t allowed to throw things in anger – it’s hit me, PiC, or Seamus in the past and that hurts!

Ze requested goat pictures and a book and conditional permission was granted: after ze got socks and shoes on. For some reason, probably impatience, ze was struggling and got mad at the socks for not just getting on zir feet. The socks went airborne, and the goat pictures were forfeit.

My voice got quite level and stern, “you’ve lost goat pictures, the book is yours to earn or lose.” The shoes went on the wrong feet, then the right feet, then, “may I have goat pictures, please?”

“No, you threw your socks so that means no goat pictures today. You have your book.”

“May I have goat pictures, please?”

“That’s a good ask but the answer is still no. Remember throwing your socks?”

*nods*

“That’s why you can’t have goat pictures now, throwing socks is not ok.”

“May I have goat pictures please?”

“No, but tomorrow you can try again, without throwing socks. If you do, then you can have goat pictures.”

“Oh. Ok.”

Freedom and sleep shenanigans

We didn’t have enough going on, so JuggerBaby thought it’d be HILARIOUS to climb out of zir crib and fall overboard with the loudest thump you ever did hear.

SpiderBaby this kid is not.

I soothed zir and back to bed ze went, but softy that he is, PiC decides to release zir from the crib the next day, converting it into a toddler bed. Ze really is getting too long for this small crib but it’s “home” and ze will fit for a while longer.

Honestly we could have released the wee beastie months ago but ze was content and so were we.

Now, though. Now ze has had a taste of freedom. And ze is a mixed up pile of not knowing what to do with it. One night, ze insisted I stay in the room with zir. So I did, and ze caterwauled for 15 minutes before dropping off to sleep. Another night, ze kept trying to snuggle with me which was cute but awkward. I hide my illicit phone activities under a blanket but when the toddler insists on being Big Spoon and then pops up with a “what doing, mama?” every couple of minutes, ze is bound to catch me in the act of blogging or emailing.

Most nights involve a little chasing back to bed. The novelty of being able to slide out of bed physically, not just sitting in the cage stalling for time, is a delicious heady brew and ze can’t get enough of it.
But mama has her ways. One night I shrugged and said I’d sleep in zir bed, then. “No! I sleep own bed!”

Another night I stood watch at the door for a few minutes listening to the giggling and in zir amusement, ze forgot to make a break for it.

Occasionally PiC intervenes but I often shoo him away. He takes every single wake up, every painful morning, without fail so I insist on sticking to my end of the bargain. Night calls are my calls.

It’s a mixed bag, honestly, but we’ll see if ze settles down soon, for good.

After naps it’s like ze forgets the prison door has been unlocked, and hollers for Daddy repeatedly. When I show up at the door, ze asks: may I get out?

It’s a slight improvement on when ze would holler for me, specifically to tell me: I want daddy.

Really? You called me in here ten times to go get daddy?

Yes. Daddy please.

Dietary development

Something weird happened this summer: salad became desirable! It started when we shared a Costco Ceasar salad. Ze has an obsession with dipping foods in sauces, and lettuce into Ceasar dressing was a match made in heaven. The next dinner salad that was served turned into a greens massacre, leaving us adults with only salad toppings and frisée to eat. Frisée being, as any civilized being would know, not nearly green enough.

Brain development

The contrast between this month and the month ze turned two is unbelievable. At that time, I thought we were DOOMED. Ze was irrational, demanding, and melted down at all possible provocations, including breathing the same air as ze was breathing.

Now, though ze has moments of frustrations or even tantrums, a semi reasonable child is about five minutes away with a bit of space and even tempered handling. Of course if you get cranky and snappish, it escalates, and boy howdy does it escalate. And of course when we’re tired, that’s exactly what happens until everyone is cranky.

Precious #parenting moments

Me: Put on your pants.
JB: I can’t.
Me: Why?
JB: My hands broken.

***

JuggerBaby snuck out of zir room in the middle of the night, cackling. Spun around to run back in, full speed into the door. BAM!!!

I laughed so hard that ze laughed, too.

It’s pretty clear that JB has inherited the Complete and Utter Klutz gene from me.

:: How did you learn that actions have consequences? Do you remember changing your mind about any particular food that was previously anathema? 

 

August 16, 2017

My kid and notes from Year 2.5

My kid in year 2.5

Books, books, everywhere

We read three books to JuggerBaby before bed every night. On the rare occasions PiC isn’t there for bedtime, that can go up to seven as compensation for loss of daddy, but that’s only happened a few times in zir short life.

We once agreed that after being long distance for nearly a decade, we were ready to settle down and stay that way, in near proximity to our family for a long time.

We repeat lots of books; I’ve read that repetition is good for young children because it helps reinforce language. I can certainly see it developing as ze memorizes the stories and bursts out with truncated rushed narration every few pages.

It makes me wonder what my parents did at this age. Supposedly I already knew how to read so maybe they let me read to myself? We didn’t own many books, though, just the encyclopedia and a dictionary. I remember reading newsprint and smudging everything, though.

Sweet sleeper

For a whole week this month, I was instructed to stay in zir room with zir, after bedtime: Mama sleep dere peez. I’d just lay down and pretend to go to sleep for five or ten minutes, sometimes fifteen, and after several “Mama, what doin?” queries, ze would pass out. On Night 8, PiC passed out during reading and bedtime, so he groggily offered to stay for a while in my stead. Nothing doing, though. Night 8, ze kicked us both out: Mama, Dada, sleep own bed. Good night!

PiC: Can Dada stay?

JuggerBaby: No, Dada sleep own bed, good night!

Well then!

I don’t know why it continually surprises me that JuggerBaby’s sleep habits change so frequently. I’ve never been a good sleeper. Since early childhood, I’ve been prone to nightmares, restless sleep, and insomnia even before the pain became a problem. Was it just wishful thinking to hope that ze would inherit PiC’s amazing powers of falling asleep anywhere, anytime? Probably.

Manners

I love that daycare teaches the kids new concepts, but I don’t love that they don’t come with manners. This month we’ve been working very hard on the concept of manners.

Instead of “I don’t WANT it!!!”, we prefer “No thank you.”
Instead of “I WANT THAT”, we prefer “May I have….”

It took weeks but ze finally started voluntarily asking for things politely:

“May I see?”
“May I hold it?”
“May I have more stickers, please?”
“May I have mama’s purse?”
“May I sleep in big bed, please?”

Bathtime playtime

The bath is incidental, from JuggerBaby’s point of view. Ze just expects to splash in zir tub of water while a bath happens to zir. I used to vaguely plan to get zir some bath toys but ze has been perfectly content with a handful of blocks, a boat, and a few empty shampoo bottles. It used to be about building and stacking, now clearly the imagination has set in as ze “cooks pasta” by using small containers to fill larger ones and we pretend to eat “pizza and pasta and butter and avocado!” (Ew)

What’s even more interesting is that ze clearly understands the concept of “pretend” now. The “pasta” and other food groups are water but ze understands that this is pretend only, so we don’t really drink the water. “Oh, no drink?” “No, just pretend.” “Oh ok.”

I know for a fact that I didn’t grasp that “pretend” wasn’t real until well after 7 or 8. My jerk sibling took full advantage of this, of course. It’s one of the reasons I felt stupid for so long – he was a master at manipulating me from very early on and it took too many years to catch on.

I’m hoping we’re giving JuggerBaby the tools to spot these things without falling for an abuser’s tricks first. I often wonder if our coddling means ze won’t believe us that terrible people exist, when I’m closely related to some of them, because I won’t let them near zir.

Precious #parenting moments

  • JB + tape measure: it taller and taller and taller!
    Me: Be careful, that can cut you.
    JB: and taller and ‘igher and taller ow
  • JB: MY CHIN OWIE!
    Me: what happened?
    JB: I pinch it.
    Me: so don’t do that.
    JB: Oh.
  • Things I’ve washed out of JB’s hair: yogurt, rice, red wax, guacamole, orange pulp, cheese, sand, fur, corn kernels, scrambled eggs…
  • Me: JB, you have two minutes before we turn off the tv.
    JB: NO!
    Me: *mother’s glare of THAT WAS RUDE*
    JB: ONE MINUTE!
    Me: …. Ok.

:: Did you ever struggle with sleep? Did you prefer to sleep alone or share your room with live or stuffed companions? Is there a good effective way to teach kids about people and their machinations without hurting them?

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