01 May 2008

Wake Up, Idiot, She's 3

There is a shift. It's not Spring, but a developmental leap. Stella is less obnoxious. This is a major breakthrough. We're enjoying each other more often. After months of butting heads on everything from the shape and quantity of cereal in her bowl to who shuts the door/ gets the mail/ goes first up the stairs/ uses the potty, we are just having fun. I am happy in a way I can't quite explain. I really worried we were doomed to a strained mother-daughter life, like I have known at times, and my mother too. And friends and colleagues and strangers. Of course, we probably are still doomed. Who, really, can escape the great fates?

For now, though, I'll bask in her soft hair on my shoulder, her gigantic smiles when I make a joke or spin her around. She says Please and Thank You. She understands that when she makes a choice between a juice box and a fruit strip, she actually can't have the other when she's done. And she's ok with it.

I will admit I'm less obnoxious too. I am playing more and screaming less. The screaming and nattering never got us out the door faster, it just raised my tension and made her sink her heels in deeper. Our play is longer and on her terms. Whack palm to forehead- I know, doesn't everyone know how to play with a preschooler? I obviously didn't. Her fantasy camping/ hotel/ swimming life is vast and repetitive. She wants me to understand it all. And all. And all.

Augusto was away for 8 days. It was in this time that I woke up. Email and reading and shitting alone just weren't options, so instead of bitching about it all week long, I did what I could. I enjoyed my kids. And as I gave myself this little gift, I learned how much fun they are. So I don't really know if she changed, or I did, I just know I feel better.


There are all kinds of "teachable moments." We can't guess at someone's desires and expect to always be right. Stella and Otto are real chums. Yesterday he was pushing her around the kitchen. He is very strong for his 20 pounds. It bothers me when he pushes other kids.

I intervened, "Be gentle, Otto!"

And Stella surprised me. "No Mama, I LIKE when he pushes me!'

What do I know?



melissa s. said...

hi kim, i enjoy reading about stella and otto, they are beautiful kids (though what would i expect with a mom like you?!) i was reading a couple of months ago some book someone handed me, likely about spirited kids...and it basically said to developmentally expect things to happen in 6 month increments. basically, you get a great kid for 6 months, then you butt heads for 6 months. every kids cycle varies from start to finish, but they all have it. i've come to realize that i have to cherish the kids while they are wonderful, and survive the period that they are more challenging, knowing it will get better. Everything is cyclical! Enjoy the kids. with love, melissa

kim the midwife said...

Thanks for keeping in touch- and commenting on my blog. I was in a swarm after the robbery. I really appreciated your comment then. I remember/ see cycles with infants and toddlers. I didn't know about it for older children. I wonder if it's for us, too. I definitely have overall better and worse times. It's good now. I'm grateful for that.

Lisa said...

This is pretty funny. My son is fast approaching two and when you wrote, "The screaming and nattering never got us out the door faster, it just raised my tension and made her sink her heels in deeper" I fell as though you have taken a picture of my each and everyday. People keep saying to me, "He WILL be three one day."

kim the midwife said...

yeah, nobody told me that the terrible twos can start at 20 months and last until nearly 4! i think it's a little known secret for good reason. who would bargain for such a deal?!

good luck!