To shelter or expose: A rant on children’s literature.

I’ve been thinking a lot about kids’ books lately.  What makes a good kids book?  The story? The characters? Does it need a moral?  Does it have to teach a lesson?  When I say I’m thinking about kids’ books, I really mean toddler books, or early pre-school age… books appropriate for a 3-year old.  Books appropriate for a child that has outgrown board books and picture books with few words.  She wants  a story.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this because Sophia LOVES books.  Some days it’s literally ALL she does is to sit and look at books.  These are her favorite topics: Disney Princess books, Max and Ruby books, OLIVIA books, Blue’s Clues books… Can you see a few questionable ones, there? Let me tell you a story.

If you follow my blog, then you might remember this story and picture. (It’s the painting the face blue with “make-up”episode…)  Well, what I found out the next day was a copy of a library book that I hadn’t yet looked at entitled Ruby’s Beauty Shop by Rosemary Wells.  This is a pretty adorable story (if you like Max and Ruby) about Ruby playing pretend make-up and beauty shop with Max.  Max eventually breaks off on his own and paints himself with hair dye.  YES!  You heard me right.  He PAINTS himself with hair-dye!  Exactly like Sophia did with my acrylic paints!  She was acting out the story!  Now, granted, this is also a story that is on a Max and Ruby episode by Nickelodeon… and, she has probably seen it… But no doubt, we had this particular book from the library at the time of the offense…

This isn’t the first time that she has acted out scenes from books.  She loves to play babies just like Olivia in OLIVIA and the Babies. She loves to play Little Red Rubyhood from Bunny Fairy Tales. She has an insane memory for lines from the stories and loves to recite them.  This is also not the first time she’s gotten in trouble from reenacting something from a book.  I decided after the initial embarrassment of finding Ruby’s Beauty Shop, that it’s normal for her to reenact, healthy even, and this is a good way for her to learn appropriate behavior.

WAIT, though!  She never would have even thought to paint her face blue with my paint if she hadn’t seen/read this story!  So, there’s the question:  Do we shelter our children for the sake of reducing possible misbehavior, or do we expose them and thus encourage teaching opportunities?  It’s the same age-old question that parents face when they consider homeschooling… (One of the questions they consider, I realize.)  Maybe, she’s too young for these books. They specify “reading level” for these books, but that’s not the same as age-appropriate content, is it?  Here’s the thing, though:  She’s excited about looking at books.  I don’t want to discourage that.  My hope is that excitement about looking at books will turn into excitement about reading books, and isn’t that one of my goals as a mother–to encourage learning and success in school?

Hmm.  So, back to what I think about these books, these kids’ books.  Max and Ruby books are silly.  Max is always getting into trouble, and it’s never clear that what he’s doing is wrong.  He’s never punished, and his parents are nowhere to be found.  But, Sophia LOVES them.  They make her laugh, and she loves retelling the stories.  Olivia.  Well, Olivia is honest.  The story line is honest and it’s great story-telling.  She’s just a kid being a kid.  Her parents are doing the best they can, and they are not always perfect.  For example, in OLIVIA, a CALDECOTT HONOR BOOK, Olivia has this conversation with her mother:

“Only five books tonight, Mommy,” she says.

“No, Olivia, just one.”

“How about four?”

“Two.”

“Three.”

“Oh, all right, three.  But that’s it!”

If this was intended to be a story of a mother showing exemplary parenting, then it failed miserably.  (We have a strict 2-books-at-bedtime policy here at the Spicer house.  We waiver only on VERY special occasions.) This is an example of a child manipulating. And a parent getting manipulated. Like I said, the story is honest.  I get that this happens.  I’ll admit that it happens at our house, too.  But, is it appropriate story material for my 2 1/2 year old?  There’s much more questionable behavior in there that I would loathe for Sophia to copy: Olivia replicates a painting from the museum and throws paint all over the wall. (She gets a time-out.) She doesn’t nap when she’s supposed to. (No punishment.)  She scares her little brother with a mask in order to get him to leave her alone. (No parental acknowledgement.)

Do I want my children’s books to be neutered in order that I can spoon-feed behavior-training?  Teach by example (Johnny is a good little boy.  See how he goes to take a nap when he’s supposed to.) or teach by story?  Isn’t the latter more like real-life, what it looks like to live in the world?  And, isn’t that what we’re raising our kids to do.  I want to raise children to become adults to be successful in the world.

I have very few “Christian” kids books, that is to say that they were put out by a Christian publishing company.  I’m not talking about Bible storybooks.  I’m talking about cheesy books like God Loves Your Nose.  We’ve been gifted a few like these.  And, may I say, I really don’t care for these books.  They’re boring.  They’re poorly written–lines seem to be put in just to finish a rhyme, making little to no sense, with little to no story line.  It’s fine that they furnish an opportunity to talk about God or a particular truth.  I’m cool with that.  But, don’t all books furnish an opportunity to talk about God or a particular truth?  If I’m in conversation with my daughter?

Woah.  This blog is really turning into a rant.  I haven’t even talked about princess books.  I don’t even know where to start there, but my sweet, precious daughter is absolutely in love with pink and princesses.  And, at the very least it provides an opportunity for us to talk about exemplary behavior.  And, COOKIES!  What is it about so many preschool books having cookies in them?  Cookies for morning snack?  Is this just a line to make kids happy and come back to the book.  Think, authors.  Think about my children and how reading about cookies makes them want to eat cookies… ALL THE TIME!

Okay.  I’m done.

“Mommy, leave Abby alone.”

My patience has been wearing thin lately.  It’s Sophia.  She’s talking non-stop, and she’s such a bossy little booger. She’s really enjoying playing with Abby, who’s getting around and interacting more than ever.  (Abby just started crawling and clapping. So sweet.)  But, she bossing Abby like a little Mommy.  Everything is “I need that!” or “Stop that!”  She won’t let Abby play with anything, yanking it out of her hand, or hollering “That’s mine. I need that!”  She even bosses around her Cowboy. This morning was disruption for me when she told me “Mommy, leave Abby alone.”  Alright, what’s up?!

The last couple of days we’ve also been struggling with hitting.  She’ll get upset because I told her “no” about something, and then she’ll grunt, and say “I’m mad. I’m going to hit you.”  We’ve had some talks about this, about using her words.  We’ve had some time-outs, she’s apologized… we’re getting somewhere.  She’s definitely learning that it’s not okay.  This begs the question, though, Where did she learn that? Ugh.  I can’t possibly police every minute of media that enters her eyes and ears.  We read books, she watches some age-appropriate t.v., she plays with kids at church, but she absorbs and then ‘tries out’ EVERYTHING.  Monkey-see, monkey-do, I guess.  So, maybe this is a phase?  Eventually, she’ll acquire a filter through which to process media?  What’s okay to try out, what’s not nice, what’s down-right wrong…

Here’s what I’m thinking about this morning: it’s the struggle with age/role-appropriate behaviors–between tones and words that are okay for Mommy to use but not okay for Sophia to use back at me or with other people.  For example, I can tell her ‘no,’ but she doesn’t need to tell me ‘no.’ Or, the fact that I can sometimes be bossy or seem bossy because I’m being Mommy… and, I don’t want her to be a bossy little girl. Maybe, I don’t know how to not be bossy.  I was a bossy little girl, too.  Thanks, Mom.  😉  What to do?

How do I teach her to be sweet, humble, and gentle? How do I model sweetness, humility, and gentleness?  Is it too early to expect anything greater than mimicking, and if so how should I be presenting myself in front of her?  Because, isn’t that the greatest lesson–how mother behaves with her family is a model for how her daughters should learn to behave in and with the world.  I came across an article recently.  It’s mostly on home-schooling, but there was a piece in there that really got me to thinking about my behavior in the home.  My role as daily-teacher is not just when I’m trying to help Sophia learn her letters or count to 20, it’s when I try to help resolve conflicts between her and Abby.  It’s when I am frustrated but chose to act out of love.  It’s my attitude when she won’t quit bugging me or Abby won’t quit crying.  It’s when I’m… being…

Well, I guess that’s my thought for the day.  How am I being an example of Christ to my babies today?

Vacation in the Smoky’s

We just got back from a sweet little vacation to the Smoky Mountains.  Here’s some pictures and a bit of story.  It was an adventure!

We started out our vacation with a trip to the doctor.  Abby had these strange bumps all over her face that looked like the measles.  She had been screaming for two days.  Turned out to be a double ear infection and 30 mosquito bites.  Glad we went to the doctor, though.  I had forgotten that I took her outside the night before around midnight to try to quiet her screaming. Thank you, Delta, may I never underestimate you.

In order to keep the girls a little happier, we stopped in Nashville on the way and stayed in a nice little priceline.com find.  We got a $200 hotel room for $55!  If you haven’t tried priceline, do!  Our first night in a hotel room with the four of us was a success.  It was really hard to get Sophia to go to sleep in a big bed all by herself.  She was so excited.  But, it was a good start to our trip.

Our first night in the Smoky’s we camped outside of Gatlinburg, TN.  All four of us in a large tent.  We did a test run a few weeks ago to make sure we could do it, and we were prepared.  What we weren’t prepared for, though, was a huge rain storm.  We arrived at our campsite on Saturday afternoon with blue, sunny skies and just enough time to set-up and get dinner before the bottom fell out.  I have no idea how much it rained, but let me tell you this: the floor of our tent was a waterbed!  I’m not kidding!  Under our tent was at least 2 inches deep, and you could slosh it like a waterbed. Thank you, NORTH FACE for making such great tents!  I tell you, I prayed so hard all night.  It thundered and lightening all night from about 8 to 8, but not a drop got in.  It was a long night, but totally fun, too.  I lied there watching the lightening, praying we would all be dry and safe, and thinking about how romantic it would be if the kids hadn’t have been there.  Shucks.  Instead, it was just frightening. We woke up a little cranky the next morning, tired of being in the tent, and a little worried about how the rest of the trip would go.  Sophia kept saying that she was ready to go home.  So, we hopped into the car and headed into the mountains.  No schedule, just adventure.  We did a lot of hiking and exploring and were gone about 12 hours.

On Monday, after an exhausting hike and a bear sighting, we made it to Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN.  Gatlinburg is an absolutely beautiful mountain town with it’s share of huge tourist traps.  The Aquarium was breathtaking, though.  The tanks were immaculate, huge and so clean.  It was only second to being in the water with them.  The best part was a slow conveyor belt ride under/through a huge shark tank.  They were all around us.  At one point, I noticed two swordfish laying on the ceiling above us, and started laughing uncontrollably.  The enormity of it was unbelievable and put you into a sort of trance that made you feel like you were in the water with them.  Breathtaking, really.  Sophia didn’t quite appreciate what all she was seeing, and she definitely didn’t care for the sharks, but it was really something to see.  The pictures don’t do it justice but here’s a few.

Overall, we had a wonderful trip.  It was restful, it was fun, it was so enjoyable to be with our family.

Let me tell you about our trip home, though.  Here’s a story.  Monday night we got ourselves prepared to leave early Tuesday morning for the long drive back.  We hoped to make it home in one day.  It was a terribly cold night, and Abby woke up 6 times through the night.  Abby, my princess, does not know how to soothe herself back to sleep.  Throughout her life, I’ve done what works, and nursing works.  So, Monday night I nursed her 6 times through the night, the 6th time giving up and letting her sleep with us.  We all slept in a bit that morning, feeling somewhat rested and also somewhat cranky.  What a night.  With a positive attitude and a sweet, encouraging Daddy, we packed it all up, muddy tent and all, and headed out of town.

About 30 minutes into our journey home, we stopped at a local coffee shop to jumpstart our departure only to realize that Will’s wallet was missing.  In the middle of Gatlinburg in this small coffee shop’s parking lot at 10 a.m., we unloaded the van and went through everything.  No wallet.  We went through every bag, under every seat, in every pair of pants he wore.  Nothing.  We called the campsite and the last few places we were the evening before.  Nothing.  No leads.  I took the girls inside.  We were all getting restless.  I got a latte.  Still no wallet.  I mentally prepared myself to call all the credit card companies and find us a hotel room for the night.  Then, as if an angel whispered in his ear, Will wondered if the wallet might be in a pocket inside the tent.  Could it be?  So, he took everything back out of the van again, took out the tent and found the wallet tucked inside.  AH, breathe.

We sighed, thanked God, got our coffee and got back in the car.  I was driving.  I was running on adrenaline.  Not 30 minutes from Gatlinburg on the way home is a town called Pigeon Forge.  If you don’t know it, think all the bad stuff about Branson, on only 1 strip of road.  We had to pass through Pigeon Forge to get to Gatlinburg on Saturday, and it took us over 30 minutes to get through the town driving at an average rate of about 3mph.  Apparently, there had been some sort of car show or a parade.  Now, I had fully planned to figure out how to drive around Pigeon Forge so that this would not happen to us again, but this sweet old lady who worked for the Park Service told me that all the tourists would be headed home on Sunday, and traffic through the week would be fine.

So, we headed into Pigeon Forge about 11:00.  We thought we’d stop for breakfast.  Fill up everyone’s bellies, and maybe they’ll all fall asleep.  It didn’t look too crowded, and after all, we found the wallet.  After a nice breakfast we headed back out to leave Pigeon Forge and head on our 8 hour trip home.  While we’re driving down the 1 strip of highway, we notice that there’s a firetruck or a police car at every light, blocking the left turning lane.  Will and I exchange nervous glances.  What’s going on? We see a billboard that says “Dont try church–Satan”.  Well, that’s weird. Then, we see two firetrucks in the middle of a stoplight with their ladders up and an American flag hanging down between them.  We look at each other again. Oh, crap. Now, the car show is still in effect apparently, camping chairs are still set up along the highway, we do not have any idea what’s going on.  Another parade perhaps?  We look up at the next light.  There’s another policeman.  And, at the next light, and the next one.  What is going on? Traffic is slowing down and I see far up ahead at the next light a firetruck pulling ahead of us.  Sophia says, “Caillou’s favorite toy!”  We watch the firetruck, and it pulls into the traffic light just ahead of us.  It stops, backs up, turns sideways, and blocks all traffic.  I watch the light turn red.  Traffic stops.  I watch the light turn green.  Red. Green.  Red.  Green. What the what?! Well, about 10 minutes later, we see a very slow line of about a hundred police cars.  Apparently, there was a funeral for an officer of the law, God rest his soul.  I mean no disrespect to his family, but we waited there for them to pass a good 30 minutes.  We finally left Pigeon Forge at noon.

We spent the rest of the day balancing when to stop for potty breaks, trying to induce naps, and limiting the amount of times we allowed “Yo Gabba Gabba: Volume 1” to loop on the cd player.  Here’s the short of the rest of the day: Sophia never napped.  Abby slept about an hour total all day.  We stopped in Jackson, TN, where Sophia got stuck inside some playground equipment at Chick-Fil-A.  Sophia had a poopy accident in the men’s bathroom while Daddy simultaneously had IBS, and Abby began a crying spell about 2 hours from home. Trying to soothe Abby, Will and I sang a medley of popular nursery rhymes only to be bombarded with a screaming, crying Sophia.  Both children echoed each other with tears and screams, and for the last 45 minutes from home, Will and I sang the one song that kept them both quiet: Old MacDonald had a Farm.  On this farm, he had a whole lot of funny things that shouldn’t belong on a farm, and we had a whole lot of laughs.  Ah, family vacation.  😉

Her First Shiner and a Potty Training update

Sophia got out of bed this morning, and she was so excited.  Her diaper was dry and she was about to go have her morning potty.  She yelled, “My famwees!” She grabbed all her favorite stuffed animals: Cowboy, the Mole puppet, and Pooh, and took off running for the potty.  She ran right smack into the end of the changing table.  I think 2 is the year for booboos.

Despite the year of booboos, Sophia is getting more and more brave.  I was nursing Abby this morning, and Sophia came into her bedroom.  She pushed an upside-down laundry basket up to Abby’s crib and hollered, “I go back to bed rie now!  I angree!”  Then, she proceeded to climb into Abby’s crib.   She talks ALL the time.  She’s just a chatterbox; it’s insane.  I love to listen to the sentences and words that she strings together.  She was playing a game with Abby’s crib, throwing Cowboy into it and then climbing in to rescue him.  She said, “I throw Cowboy over Abby’s bed. See look. What now? I love my Cowboy. I get him.”  I hear so many things that I say that it’s unnerving.  Yes, I say, “What now?” to her all the time when she does something, says something and then looks to me for what to do.  I didn’t realize I said it all the time, though, until she said it back to me.

We’ve also been discussing feelings a lot lately.  She’s obsessed with how we’re feeling.  She always asks, “Mommy, are you happy?”  Notice she said angry before?  That’s her new favorite feeling.  I guess we talk about how angry Abby is all the time.  (Yeah, she hollers a lot.  When she’s upset, she can scream and cry like I’ve never heard a baby cry before.  Shew, she get’s angry.)  Sophia thinks that when Abby’s angry she needs to go to bed.  We tell her, Abby’s angry because she’s so tired and doesn’t know what to do.  We seem to be doing a lot of discipline/training with her by how we look at her–happy or unhappy.  We didn’t mean to do it.  It just sort of happened.

Potty training is probably how it all started.  It threw all of our emotions (mine and Sophia’s) out of control.  For a while there, she would incessantly ask, “Are you happy?” all the time.  Right after nap, right after she did something wrong, right after I looked at her sternly, right after I looked at her questioningly.  It was driving me mad.  We’ve exited that stage, though, and she’s making some associations.  Like at night time, she has to keep her diaper on.  “Diy-pa on.  Daddy happy.”

A potty training update:  We stopped Sophia’s habit of taking her diaper off at night time by using duct tape for a week.  She loved it.  She thought it was a belt.  Then, she just got used to keeping it on and eventually made the association that Daddy’s happy when it stays on.  We’ve had a week of no accidents and dry diapers at night.  It feels so good.  I’m starting to feel like I can trust her answer of no after I ask.  She’s also beginning to act on her own urges without accidents.  It took a while.  It took longer than I thought it would, but it was easier than I thought it would be.

My advice for anyone getting ready to potty train is one word: patience. Oh, and be positive. I got some advice from this great website I found.  Nearly erything’s there.  Oh, and training panties.  Gerber training pants are great.

Here’s some other great advice I got from friends that was really helpful for us.

1)Completely get rid of diapers/pull-ups, i.e. just use underwear.  That was key with us.  That just means you’ll have some accidents and clean up.  But, you expected that, right?  By the way, if you decide to go cold turkey on the diapers, you’re going to need a LOT of underwear.

2)One way you know if your child is ready to start potty-training is if they wake up with dry diapers either in the morning or after a long nap.  That was only occasionally the case with us.  That could take the pressure off of some parents who don’t think that their child is ready emotionally or physically.

3)Lastly, when you’re first beginning potty-training put them on the potty when you expect that they need to pee and keep them there until they do.  With a book.  Read to them, and every couple of pages ask them to try.  Eventually, they’ll pee and learn how to use those muscles.  Sophia LOVED all the extra reading time and all the cheers when she was successful.

Too much Sesame Street?

Sophia was drawing this morning. After drawing a few blue scribbles, she put her hand up over her mouth, “Hmm. Something’s missing.  Needs more humongous meatball.”

I said, “What? Humongous meatballs?”

She said, “Draw dinosaur. Something’s missing.  Need more humongous meatball.”

If any of my blog fans ever watch Sesame Street, then you’re probably rolling on the floor laughing.  Either Sophia watches too much Sesame Street, or Sesame Street needs some new material!  (There’s an episode of “Abby’s Flying Fairy School” in which the case is a ‘humongous’ macaroni dinosaur that can only be tamed with a ‘humongous’ meatball…)

Mothers Day

Mother’s Day precipitated it all.

Mother’s Day:  I felt cherished by my lovely husband.  He came in with both girls at 7:30 in the morning, Sophia yelling, “Happy Day! Mommy, happy day!”  This was my lovely gift.

My husband is so wonderful at making me feel honored, appreciated and loved.  Thanks, Husby.

I don’ t think Sophia really understood that it was Mother’s Day, though.  My precious morning was followed by a trip to church and an afternoon lunch at Nana’s.  All was fine until I tried to get an overexcited, self-proclaimed “big girl” to take a nap in a portable crib.  30 minutes later, I got my second Mother’s Day gift: smeared poo all over the crib and chucked poo all over the room.  Thanks, Sophia.  That was the second day in a row that she took off her diaper and pooped during naptime and day number 9 in which she had taken off her diaper and had some sort of accident.

I didn’t want to potty train!

Things are crazy right now.  We moved to Arkansas about a month ago.  We’re living in Will’s parents’ house.  Abby’s colick-like symptoms are still rearing their ugly heads.  I’ve eliminated dairy and soy in my diet.

I’m crazy right now.  I’ve got new thyroid issues and am trying to eat a low-sodium diet.  I’ve also had an extra amount of swelling in my feet and legs which has caused we a lot of pain and trouble sleeping.  This in and of itself is super stressful.

I didn’t want to potty train!

Sophia is crazy right now.  She’s taken quite a while to adjust to the new living arrangements.  Since her language is taking off at the same time, it’s been a super interesting time.  She’s said things like, “I wanna go back to Mommy’s house.”  She’s had a lot of anger lately.  Anger at Mommy, anger at the grandparents, anger at Abby.  Today she said to Mammaw after Mammaw touched her shoulder to try to get her to go potty: “Ow!  Ow!  Stay back!  I’m gonna cry!”  She’s also quite frustrated with all the attention that Abby’s been getting–poor Abby, all the crying and needs that an uncomfortable baby has.  It’s just taken us all a bit of time to get adjusted.

Did I mention that I didn’t want to potty train?!  But, I’m also freaking tired of washing sheets and pillows and stuffed animals EVERY DAY… and, I’d like to never clean up $#^! from all over a guest bedroom floor again…

So, we woke up Tuesday morning, and I thought I’d just sit Sophia on the potty and see what happened.  Well, she peed.  A lot.  I didn’t expect that.  I didn’t know what to do.  My only thought was, “Follow through.” So, she got straight into her new Elmo panties, and we haven’t looked back since.  The approach has been cloth panties all day, even naptime.  Take her to the potty as soon after waking as possible, before bedtimes, and every hour or so since her last pee… and of course, when it looks like she’s about to poop–you can’t miss that.  I have tried to be as oober-positive as possible and give rewards and cheers and dancing upon success.  Well, today is her 4th day to catch her own need to poop and go poo all by herself. And, today she caught herself needing to pee and she did it all by herself.  She’s learning, and a mommy couldn’t be more proud.

Besides learning to breastfeed, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do.  It isn’t just taking her to the potty every 30 mins that’s hard.  It’s not constantly checking her panties for wetness that’s hard.  It’s dealing with the pressure of her learning how to use the potty.  It takes time.  It’s takes a gentle hand.  I can’t demand obedience.  I can’t expect compliance.  I have to balance my patience with her need to be control.  I have to be peppy and excited, even when it’s 6:30 in the morning and I may have slept a total of 6 hours.  I have to woot and holler and jump up and down even when my feet are killing me.  I have to let Abby cry sometimes.  I have to deal with the pressure of “what if she isn’t ready?” And, does her not being ready equal me failing at potty-training (parenting)?  I have to check my bent towards a performance-based parenting style.  I have to take control and be careful not to let Sophia walk all over me as she tests her new toddlerhood limits.  I have to learn to balance grace with discipline in ways that I’ve never considered.

I wasn’t ready!  I didn’t want to potty train!

But, here we are.  Lo, I did not take a picture of Sophia’s last day in diapers… But, she’s a big girl now.

Recent Fun

I have been having so much fun with the girls lately.  Monday night Will and I made Sophia a cardboard house–one that is the perfect size for her to run in and out of.  I knew she would love it, but I had no idea she would love it so much.  She loves running in and out of it, playing peek-a-boo, and doing all kinds of things in it.  It takes up so much space in our living room; I have no idea how we’re going to eventually dispose of it…

It was so much fun to make the box for her and then give it to her.  We made it Monday night while she was asleep and had it as a surprise for her Tuesday morning.  In the morning when we got her out of bed, I said, “Guess what!  Daddy and I have a surprise for you!  Do you know what it is?” Fully knowing that she had no idea.  I just wanted to create hype for the reveal…  Well, she says, “A howsh.  A pway howsh.” I look at Daddy, “What?!” She remembered.  Sophia and I found the box the day before, and I had told her that that night Daddy and I were going to make her a play house.  I hid the box downstairs, but she remembered.  After 12 hours of sleep, she remembered.  Crazy, huh.  Mental note: Do not make promises that you do not intend to keep.  This girl remembers.

Thursday we had the most beautiful day outside: sunny, nearly 70 degrees, a perfect spring day.  We played at the park for over an hour and then went to lunch on a coffee house patio.  It was delightful.  It was refreshing.  It felt like the most special “Mommy and my girls” day out–our first, really.  (Sorry, I wish I had some pictures of this day.  But, it was enough just trying to keep up with both girls…)

Well, Friday night it snowed.  And, Sophia was so excited about it.  She DID NOT want to go to bed.  She wanted to “go owshi and pway wih show.” Today, she called it, “shuh-no.” Must’ve been because I kept sounding it out for her…  Well, today we played in it!  This was her first time to ever play in the snow.  All the other times it snowed, I was either hugely pregnant or Abby was freshly born, and it was super, super cold.  So, we got out her brand new snowsuit and bundled up.  It was fluffy and yummy.  Sophia got cold quickly; so, we rushed inside and made hot cocoa.  Yummy!  Sophia loved her first cup of hot cocoa.

What a nice week.  Thanks Kansas, for you awesomely crazy weather.

WHIE NOW!

Remember how Sophia makes me repeat everything she says?  (Irritated)  That’s the only way she’ll stop saying it…. Well, the past few days she’s been saying the most hilarious thing that we finally figured out, yesterday.  We were able to repeat it back to her, only it didn’t make her stop saying it…

A few days ago we were in Sophia’s play kitchen, and she was cooking and babbling: “Cook, whie now.”

On the way home from church, yesterday, she was saying over and over again, “Da-dee, tea-tar, whie now.” (Daddy guitar right now.)

Yesterday, Sophia was playing with Daddy in the play kitchen and I overheard, “Ima cook, whie now! Ima cook, whie now!” Imagine that Sophia is nearly yelling and she’s spacing out the whie now part.  Imagine in a sweet, yet demanding tone,  “WHIE! NOW!”

Have you figured it out?  It hit me. She’s saying, “I’m going to cook right now.” I hollered into Will so that he could repeat it to her to make her stop.  It didn’t.

We were downstairs later and Daddy was sitting on the couch.  “Ima dit. WHIE NOW!” Later, I hear in the kitchen, “Ima ge dah-ee whie now!” (I’m gonna get doggy right now.)  She’s putting it on the end of everything and she’s saying it over and over and over!  “Iwa milk whi now!” (I want milk right now.) “Bah-ee! Whi now!” (Barney, right now.) “Mine! WHI NOW!”

I’m thinking about how she could’ve gotten this “right now” business…  Yes, of course.  When I’m cooking dinner and she’s whining and pulling on my leg, I often say, “Mommy is cooking right now.  You may go play with Daddy.”  Then, I thought about other things I say, “Come here, right now!” when I’ve already asked her and she’s not listening.

I start to get really self-conscious.  Embarrassed, even.  She is yelling “right now” at the ends of everything that she says.  Now, I don’t do that. I don’t sound like that.

Is she saying it for effect?  Is she trying it out to see what it’ll get her?  Does she understand what it means?

Or, is she just repeating what she’s heard Mommy say again and again?

In the middle of the night, I remembered that when she asked about Daddy Sunday morning, I told her, “Daddy is at church playing guitar right now.”  I always put right now at the ends of where Daddy is.  “He is at work right now.” Or, “He is downstairs on the computer right now.”  I tell her, “Barney is not on right now.”

This developing language thing is FUN-NY!  Our plan is to just sort of ignore it and hope that the yelling with fizzle out.  I already heard her this morning putting “All Tow” at the end of everything.  That would be “All through the town” from the beloved children’s song “The Wheels on the Bus.”

In the meantime, I better watch what I say… and how I say it… 😉

Irritated

Sophia’s driving me batty lately.

Is that okay to say?

She’s always one step behind me… literally… She talks all the time.  She always wants me to repeat everything she says–to make sure I understand, I guess.  But, she’ll say it over and over again until I repeat it for her.  I know it’s been helping her language development and helping her communicate so much, but I’m annoyed.

She’s just so difficult to parent right now.  She wants to do everything by herself.  “I-wa mine!” EVERYTHING. And, she’s so snappy about it.   She asks me to do everything with her, but she will never let me do anything with her. “I-wa mine!” Ugh.  She has to do pants by herself.  Sock and shoes by herself.  Open wrappers and bananas by herself….  Mind you, she can’t.  So, every 1 minute activity actually takes 5!

Warning Mother: Patience is required at ALL times!

Meanwhile, Abby’s eyes are getting red and she’s yawning or getting fussy…  Abby requires right-now timing.  So, what do I do with Sophia when we’re in the middle of something?

How do I begin to encourage healthy independence with Sophia while disciplining poor choices like throwing the puzzle when I try to help her put in a piece or screaming when I do ___________.  After on said episode, i.e. screaming and/or throwing, she always refuses that activity.  How can I help promote good coping skills with frustration and anger and newfound independence?

Ugh.  Mommying is no mindless work.  It takes being on the ball 24/7… always one step ahead.

My patience is worn thin so easily with her.  I find myself getting angry quickly.  One little thing will happen.  She’ll throw a tantrum; I’ll discipline.  She’ll make another poor choice; I’ll offer grace… etc., etc., untill 1:00 p.m. and BAM I can’t take it anymore and I need a break.

By the way, I don’t always last that long.  This morning it was 10:15.  We were playing in her play kitchen, and I had just been talking to her about not shaking water out from her cup.  In fact, we had been talking about it all morning… and for the last few days.  Then BAM!  She turns over a teapot to dump out her shoes and a 1/4 cup of water spills on the floor!  BAM!  What the what!

“Sophia! That’s exactly what I’m talking about!”

She leaves the room… pouting, I think because I yelled at her.  I try to compose myself… She comes back with a towel.

Oh, my sweet girl.  She does have a sweet heart.  She’s just a baby learning how to live in a fallen world.

Sophia loves Daddy

Sophia and I had the sweetest conversation after Daddy left this morning.

Sophia: Da-da bye-bye. Da-Da (kissy noise, kissy noise) mo–(Daddy’s gone. Kiss Daddy more.)

Me: Dada may not have left yet.  Go downstairs and see.

Sophia after running downstairs: DA-DA! No!

Me after going downstairs: Let’s look outside and see if he’s gone.

Sophia: Bye-Bye Da-Da

Sophia after shutting the door: Da-da go ow-shi. (kissy noise, kissy noise) Da-da mo–Daddy went outside. Kiss Daddy more.