Friday, January 22, 2010

Dear Noah: Please Stay in Your Bed. Love, Mommy

Dear Noah,

That's it. I surrender. 

I am no longer going to pick you up while you're sleeping. I'm not going to drag you, my thirty-something pounds of sleeping toddler, and trip over your collection of stuffies, and stub my toe for the tenth time tonight while I put you back in your bed to sleep.

Because if I do, I will have to watch in amazement as you pull yourself -- WHILE STILL SLEEPING -- off your bed, onto the carpet, dragging your pillow in one hand and your special blanket in the other.... only to witness you throw yourself face down on the floor. Again.

My child, if you want to sleep in a heap on the carpet, I am just going to have to let you.

Do you hear me, little Noah? That's right. Go ahead. Pretend to enjoy yourself! 

I'm not going to come back in five minutes to make sure you're still breathing.

Nope. Not going to.

Not gonna worry.

I'm NOT going to pick you up again. I'm not going to drag you to your bed. I'm just going to let you lie on the floor in a heap because you insist. 

Sigh. That's it. I surrender.

Good night, little man. Sleep well.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Counting My Blessings

Some days, you need to count your blessings and be thankful for the opportunities you are given. Today I would like to express my thanks for the TEN blessings I have right here in my arms.

My list of blessings:

1) One naughty, conniving little man. That I love with my whole heart.
2) Two big green eyes staring widely in wonder.
3) Three people in our family. A little triangle of mommy, daddy, and son.
4) Four pm: the time when I give up on Noah taking his nap, if he insists on rebelling against it.
5) Five little fingers on each hand. Exploring, testing, reaching, learning.
6) Six owies (only six!) that needed kissing better today.
7) Seven. Seven months old, Noah's age when he finally came home.
8) Eight: the number of stuffies that line his toddler bed.
9) Nine: The number of months Noah's birth mother carried him under her heart.
10) Ten: How I feel on a scale of 1 to 10 when I think about our lives and how blessed I am to be Noah's mother.

On a day when many mothers and fathers and children and families cannot count their blessings on one finger... let alone fill both hands, I must take a moment to be thankful for all the blessings I have in my life. 

The little one - who is such a big blessing, has taught me more than any school book or life lesson ever could. My hands are filled with blessings, and I can't ask for anything else in this lifetime. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Diaper Wars: You Can't Negotiate with a Two Year Old

In the early days of parenthood, we'd been told to watch for signs of speech and language delays for our little man.

Determined to give him the best chance possible, we did all that we could to encourage language from the early months. We took him to the Infant Development Program. We read him stories throughout the day. We named EVERYTHING we came into contact with. We incorporated sign language so that before his first birthday, he could express that he wanted "more" or was "finished", if he needed a bottle, and (we hoped!) would be able to indicate if he was tired. (We're still waiting for an intentional verbal or non-verbal expression that he'd like to sleep, but that's another story.)

As luck and determination would have it, the speech delays that had been forecast never materialized. In fact, he's so chatty most of the time that I catch myself wondering where the off switch is. At two years old, his vocabulary is snowballing rapidly, and the depths of our conversations have increased so much that I sometimes have to stop and remind myself that he's only two and I need to respond more age-appropriately. 

The scary part is, he has enough wit and wisdom about him that he thinks he can negotiate with me. It's a terrifying realization for any parent, particularly of a two year old.

One day, just before nap time, Noah whipped his diaper off again in some randomly inappropriate way. (Is it ever appropriate unless you're changing it?) I caught myself trying to rationalize with him:

"Noah, if you take your diaper off you'll pee all over the floor. Then you'll slip and break your neck."

I even went so far as to recount an episode that actually happened to my youngest brothers when they were two and three years respectively:

"Noah, when Uncle Connor and Uncle Cory were little, Uncle Cory peed on the floor and Uncle Connor came running along and slipped and fell and got a concussion. Do you know what a concussion is?"

He stared at me and shook his head slowly, feigning comprehension. 

I continued, "A concussion happens when you hit your head very hard. It's a, big, big owie inside your head. Your brains bounce around like a soccer ball. Uncle Connor fell down and got a concussion."

Noah blinked "no ca-cusion, Mommy. Get a big time out instead. Please?" 

Sigh. He thought I was threatening in him with a concussion. I felt absolutely terrible. So I tried a different approach. 

"Noah, you need to keep your diaper on. Your bum is going to get cold!" 

He just stared up at me and said. "Mommy, I don't like my diaper. Gonna take it off. Gonna get big time out. Den I pee da bed."

We were at an impasse. I was trying to rationalize with my two year old, and he was rationalizing right back. He knew what he was doing. He hated his diaper, so his diaper was gone. He recognized there would be a consequence, and he was going to wet the bed anyways.

What have I got myself in for? "Well, Noah, since you won't keep your diaper on, Mommy has to put you in your backwards jammies, even for your nap. And I know you like to wear your big boy clothes during the day."

He got a look in his eye. THE look. The look that tells you he knows his parent feels defeated. "Okay mommy. I wear my jammies. Den I get a chocolate chip?"

I shook my head NO very firmly. The US government does not negotiate with terrorists. And I do not negotiate with two year olds. "You will go to sleep in your backwards jammies." I whipped a pair out of the closet, taped his diaper on as snugly as I could, wrangled him into his backwards pajamas, and tucked him into bed. "Good NIGHT, Noah."

I turned off the light to his room, rounded the corner into the hallway and pretended to walk away. I stood and listened to him try to wrestle himself out of his jammies. After a few minutes of "Ack! Ack! ACK!" and tossing himself about the room, he finally proclaimed to himself. "I is stuck. No get diaper off. No be naughty. Oh well. Good try, Noah. Maybe next time. GOOD NIGHT MOMMY!"

Lord help me. And Lord help me when we try to toilet train him!