Steps Forward

Claire moves steadily from toddlerhood toward childhood.

Yesterday in the bath, Claire said she was performing a science experiment. She has Munchkin foam letters, and they stick to surfaces in the tub and the stall walls. So she took the letter J and put it on her head to see if it would stick. She shook her head, and it fell off. She did this four or five times. Then she said, “Let’s see if the letter L will stick.” She repeated the procedure, and indeed it did! (My occasional guilt for allowing her to watch television in the early morning was alleviated in this moment. She learns a great deal from her favorite shows: Caillou, Curious George, Olivia, Word World, Sesame Street, Between the Lions, and My Friends Tigger & Pooh.)

At the same time, she still needs lots of cuddling and mothering and fathering. Her sleep remains disrupted from the move. I added a makeshift curtain to her window to help darken the room a bit. The challenge, it seems, is that on days she naps she has difficulty falling asleep, and on days she does not nap she falls asleep early and well but it is a long, cranky, and sometimes tearful afternoon and evening until then!

Last night I rocked and sang to her, and she was all wiggles and squirms. After 25 minutes of this I told her it was time to go to sleep and I put her in the crib. She protested with a whine. I covered her and said nighty-night. Then I left. The whining continued. I did some chores in the kitchen as the whining progressed to crying. First it was protest crying — not entirely real, not fully committed — but after half an hour she was crying at full bore.

I went to her and asked, “What’s with all this llama drama?” (See books by Anna Dewdney for reference.) She asked for a tissue to blow her nose, and then I rocked her. As she lay in my arms with a tear-streaked face, she spoke in a tremulous voice. She said she’d felt alone and that she was crying like a baby so I would come back. She said she had a boo-boo on her knee, and so I kissed it. Then she explained how the Kleenex helps get the boogers out of her nose.

So I rocked and sang again, for about 25 minutes, and she snuggled against me and fell asleep. At 9:20 I put her down in the crib, and she slept until 6:45 (earlier than usual, but much better than 5:20 a.m.!)

In a few moments we’ll head out to a farm and pick berries with new friends from down the street. The boys are 7 and 5, and they love Claire and (so far) play well with her. I notice that Claire really plays well with older kids who understand turn-taking and sharing. She doesn’t follow game rules very well yet and isn’t as organized, but she has more fun with kids who don’t grab toys from her and understand when she “uses her words.” The extra benefit of these new friends is that I really really like their mom!

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One Comment on “Steps Forward”

  1. Jan Says:

    To nap or not to nap. Man, that is a tough age—on mothers.