OMG, life with Claire has been intense the past week. It’s as though we’ve gone into overdrive. Right after her aunt left, she began clinging to me more, wanting just to hug and be held. After preschool (she loves it) one day we experienced a tantrum that shook the rafters. She had not eaten much snack because she didn’t like it, and in the car she refused her standard travel snack, so by the time we got home she was so hungry she was over the edge. To make her lunch required having her stand next to me screaming to be held and hugged (and I was hungry too!). It got to the point where she rolled on the floor kicking. In the end, she ended up clutching me with her head on my shoulder and fed herself from her plate at the dining table. She says, “Mommy hugging Claire.”

At the same time, she is openly defying rules. She puts something in her mouth that she knows she shouldn’t. I remind her gently. She takes it out, puts it back in, looking at me. I warn her that if she can’t keep the item out of her mouth I’ll take it away. She takes it out of her mouth, only to put it back in a few moments later — she’s either forgotten or is resisting. So I then take it away, and she cries. She says, “You took it awaaaaaaaaay!!!!!” And I tell her yes, I did, and she can have it back later when she can keep it out of her mouth. Then she says, “Hug! I need a hug!” and throws herself in my arms.

She is also asking, “What is the [fill in the blank] doing?” She will ask this question about the same item over and over, e.g., “What is the sandwich doing?” (I answer with several variations that it’s sitting on the counter thinking how delicious it is, wishing for Claire to eat it.) She also asks, “What is a [fill in the blank]?” “What is a duck?” (A bird that goes quack and swims in water.) “What is a baby duck?” (A Mommy duck’s baby that goes quack.) “What is a helicopter?” (A machine that flies with blades that spin on top and its tail.) “What is a cat?” (A furry animal that has four legs and says meow.) The questions are endless. And if there are two things, the larger one is the Mommy: Mommy stick and baby stick, Mommy fork and baby fork, etc. Multiple items are usually Mommy, Daddy, baby, and Grandma/Grandpa/Aunt/Uncle/sister (no brother, go figure).

She woke an hour into nap yesterday crying for me at the top of her lungs. I went in and scooped her up. Her diaper had leaked urine onto the bed and the diaper was soaked, but she was glued to me. So I held and rocked with her for 45 minutes. She would look around the room at the decorations on her wall, and then she would look at me, staring in my eyes. I sense a new level of consciousness in her. I talked quietly to her, stroked her head, told her she was my Hugabug and that I love her, until she said, “Let’s go downstairs.” And yes, I had pee-pee pants. But the cuddle was worth it.

So what is happening, I sense, is that she is in turmoil. She wants to do things on her own and is testing where the limits are, and at the same time she’s terrified and needs/wants me for security. I understand this, but boy, living it hour after hour, day after day, can be draining. And her nap has moved to 2:00-4:00 p.m., which makes the mornings very long. By the end of the day (bedtime at 8:30), I feel completely used up — a mere shell of myself. I find myself going to bed at 9:30 or 10:00, and the to-do list (of things I want to do and things that need doing) grows longer; the rate at which things get crossed off is slower than the rate of addition.

And we are approaching the season of increasing darkness, a time that pulls me not toward depression but toward hibernation mode. I’m glad that there are several upcoming holidays to focus energies toward.

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4 Comments on “Intense”

  1. Barbara Says:

    I love reading your insightful posts! You are so in tune with Claire. It is amazing to see children learn and grow especially when they are your own. As tiring as this time is for you I hope you enjoy every minute.


  2. Joyce Says:

    And you both look so happy!

  3. Jennifer Says:

    I’ll echo Barbara’s sentiments – wonderful to read your posts. You and Claire are such a lovely pair. Makes me ache for my own Little One (she’s coming soon…)

    Thank you for sharing your life with Claire with the rest of us!

  4. gerry rosser Says:

    Ah, the joys of parenthood.