Bedtime, take 2

Tonight was easier than last night. We did our bedtime routine, got all the way through with only a couple reminders to cooperate with tooth brushing in order to have our story and song, and Darwin got both. I told her I’d be back in 2 minutes and she said “5, mama!” Because 5 is her favorite number. Who am I to question it!? There was no crying or upset at all. She asked for her picture light and for the door to be open, and that was all she needed to be comfortable being alone. I checked in at 5 minutes, and she was asleep before the next 5 minute mark. I’m so hopeful that tomorrow isn’t a big backslide!

 

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Wired

Heads up: This is mostly a vent for me to off gas about this sweet and amazing and wonderful demon child driving me nuts. I’m not looking for advice, though sympathy and head-pats will be most welcome…

Over the last couple of days, Darwin has been wired. She has been non-stop moving, talking, babbling, wiggling, climbing all over me. And I’m exhausted. Last night, though, was the kicker. I have had a migraine for a few days (since Saturday) that is only just now resolving (I think – I’m medicated, so we’ll see when it wears off…). Last night, I figured I would just go to bed with her since I was so tired too. Y’all. She woke me up twice before she ever came close to going to sleep. She was awake until after 11 pm. First, she woke me up by climbing over me (she’d been laying on her bed by the big bed) to get into bed next to me. Then she woke me up by pulling my hair. Did I mention I have had a migraine?

I don’t know what’s going on with her, but it was definitely the switch that flipped my willingness to actually sit with her while she falls asleep. Tonight, I prepped her early, explaining that I was going to brush her hair, read her story, brush her teeth, sing her a song, then let her fall asleep on her own while I worked in the living room. She said she understood, explained back to me what was going to happen, and getting her to go to bed only took a little extra reminding. We brushed hair, read the story, then she refused to let me brush her teeth. I was (mostly) calm, and explained that we wouldn’t have a song and the lights would go out and it would be time for bed. Guess who doubled down and pushed that boundary. Yep, lights went out and the wailing began. I told her I would be back in two minutes, and that if she cried, the door would be closed because it wasn’t respectful of her sister’s sleep. For two minutes she wailed (on the bed – win) with the door closed. I went back in and told her to lay down and that I’d leave the door open if she could be quiet. She was (mostly). Two minutes later I returned and she begged for snugs, which I of course obliged. Left again…and that was that. The kiddo has not gone to sleep this easily….ever. Count it. Two returns and she was out.

Next we work on actually getting her teeth brushed…

A change of seasons

Autumn has come to Oregon. It’s been raining off and on for a week or so now. This morning the mountain pass to our east was being inundated with snow. The cool, damp mornings are at a relief after our hot, dry summer. In a month we’ll be missing the sun. I love this time of year. I love sweaters, cozying up with a cup of tea before bed, watching movies, carving pumpkins. We put in our first order for solstice gifts through Darwin’s preschool. Leah has been keeping apple cider on the stove all week.

Darwin loves the rain. She loves the leaves. She loves autumn. She does not love the wind that comes with the changing weather, but it is manageable with hats and hair ties. She loves the baking that we do when it grows cooler.

Linnea does not seem to be bothered by or excited by the rains. She does adore helping in the yard, however, and has been putting leaves in buckets to help clean up the driveway. She also loves baking, but primarily because she gets to stand in the kitchen helper, which is the most fun thing any child has ever done, if you ask Linnea.

Last weekend we planned and attempted to go to a pumpkin patch, but 15 minutes into the drive, poor Darwin puked all over herself. This was the final straw for turning her forward-facing (which of course she loves, while I’m convince that it just means we’re going to get in a car accident for sure), and we’ll try again for a pumpkin patch this weekend.

Fall also means it’s flu shot time. Linnea had her 15 month checkup this week and we learned that we could just get both kids vaccinated while we were there. I explained to Darwin that she was going to get a vaccine and we asked if she wanted to go first or she wanted Linnea to. Linnea, of course. Linnea was a champ and barely flinched for her shots, which helped Darwin be so brave and she sat there and let D swab her shoulder and do the shot with not one issue. When off the table her voice got a little trembly, so I immediately told her we were going to get froyo since she and Linnea were both so brave and that was the end of that! I hope my method sets us up for good experiences in the future…

Last thought today. I keep talking to the clouds and reminding them that they would also be welcome to fly south a bit before dropping their moisture. California may actually be more relieved to have rain this year than us. A month ago I wouldn’t have thought it. One of the worst fire storms in decades had changed everything though. I’m cautiously optimistic that there will actually be change because of it. Will we finally start burying our power lines? Requiring residential neighborhoods to do more fire proofing? One can hope. And for now, I’ll just hope for rain for them. For you, to my friends reading this who live there. Stay safe. We have beds here to the north if you need to get out. We’re all up here thinking of you.

15 months – The Bee

It amuses me to think that Linnea is only 15 months old, because I keep feeling like she is older, while for the first two years with Darwin, it always felt like she was younger! Linnea is so capable now. She’s in the middle of a language explosion, she loves to dance, and her favorite thing in the entire world is her sister. When I pick her up from childcare, she immediately asks for “DarDar??” and is only appeased when I tell her we’re going to get Darwin. Linnea regularly asks for Darwin first thing in the morning (a bit difficult for a non-morning big sister, unfortunately). This morning, when I brought Darwin out to the living room, Linnea began spinning around and hopping, which is a game she and Darwin were playing together last night. I can’t believe how awesome this sibling thing is (most of the time. except when there’s hair being pulled out and screaming and all that less-fun stuff).

What does 15 months look like for this little Bee?

  • Tons of words. Socks, shoes, jacket, um-um (nurse), hat, MamaRaaaaaah, Mama, DarDar, doggie, car, bark-bark, roar! (like a dinosaur), book, hungry, yes (da), run, and so many more. I forgot how cool the language explosion is!
  • Running everywhere. Kid has two speeds: asleep and speedy.
  • Loves being clean, meaning having her hands and face wiped and her teeth and hair brushed. Seriously. I couldn’t be more pleased with this outcome.
  • Continuing to be a big kid, I think she weighed in around 26 lbs when we went urgent care to have a cut on her finger checked out (no big deal). She is solidly in 2T clothing now, and she’s a good eater and very active. A sturdy little thing all around!
  • Hugs for everyone (she knows)! Linnea is in a 100% exuberant phase right now. She sees me and comes running, arms flung wide, great big smile, saying “HUG!”
  • Bubbles are still a huge favorite. They are the only thing I spell consistently unless we are literally on our way out the door to make some for her. They may be almost as exciting as her big sister.
  • The start of swim classes (our infant/toddler swim classes are IMPOSSIBLE to get into here, so it took 4 terms trying before we broke through!). This will be it’s own post, but needless to say, she loves it.
  • We started full time daycare with friends this week. Linnea loves to go, but there’s this little part of me that really wants to just play with these kids all day long even though I know they’re both having fun and I love my work. Case of grass is always greener?
  • Drinking all the water. This is a delightful thing. After having a child who has to be practically force-fed water to stay hydrated, having a kid who hydrates is kind of like magic.
  • Dressing herself. This kid has style (and won’t stay still long enough for me to get a good picture…). She insists on having shoes on when going outside (yay for now!) and taking them off when inside (like big sister!)

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15 months is basically amazing. But it’s also really hard. I’m working on not just having all the babies, and so I must also list the difficult things. Hard things include:

  • Hair pulling. OMG. Y’all, it’s a problem. Linnea pulls out CHUNKS of Darwin’s hair, Darwin screams, and Linnea flips out. A couple of weeks ago this happened right before dinner and Linnea was so out of control that I finally just took her back and did bedtime an hour early. It took her about 45 minutes to calm down, but then slept well that night. We went through this phase with Darwin’s little buddy N. He was a notorious hair-puller, so I know it gets better, but boy it isn’t fun.
  • Screaming in general. Linnea continues to be a much louder (i.e. screamy) child. But overall she sleeps better than her sister did. Trade-offs.
  • A general disregard for anything resembling being safe.
  • Destruction and the “if it fits, I eats it” phase. Includes primarily ripping paper books, and carrying coins around in her mouth. Year 2: keep child from unintentionally causing own demise.
  • See? Do I really want to go through this again? Then I look at the photo below and am like “dammit”.

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Happy 15 months, little Bee!

Three

Darwin turned three a week (and three days) ago. Everything I read says that three is the real end of toddler hood and the beginning of early childhood, and it’s very apparent why. It’s not so much a threshold, of course, more a gradual transition that has been happening over the past 2-3 months, but it’s one more incredible thing to watch in this progression from infant to adult. Her birthday party was entirely her choice: hot dogs, chips, corn on the cob at Grandma and Opa’s house, with just our family, and a walk down to the playground after dinner. I suspect next year we’ll have a bigger party with friends, as she is starting to see some of her little pals birthday parties now. But for this year, it was just right for her.

So what does three look like for this kid?

Three is the true start of “why?”. Over and over, about everything. It is the budding of a young scientist asking about the world around her. At least, that’s what I tell myself when I find myself exhausted by the “why” chorus! When she’s truly interested in “why” something is, I am happy to engage, but sometimes I have to close myself in the bedroom and let her ask the dog questions for a few minutes while I drink my coffee!

More than just “why”, though, Darwin talks and sings about everything and anything right now, has a huge vocabulary, and uses it (mostly) correctly. Yesterday afternoon when I picked her up from preschool I noted (as an observation) that her shoes were on the opposite feet. She proceeded to request that I “please put them on the proper feet Mama.” I love the experience of parenting a child who can ask clearly for what they want! I less-love the experience of parenting a child who melts down when I know what they want and what they want is not an option…but I’ll still take it over a year ago where the melt downs were longer because I couldn’t even understand what it was that she was asking for. Progress!

This week or next, I have to check the calendar, Darwin starts swim for three year old kids. Meaning we aren’t in the pool with her. It blows my mind that she’s there already. Whether or not she will actually get in the water without us is the real question! We’ll be watching in anticipation. Gymnastics are still a “with-parent” sport at this age (go figure), but we’re going for it again this year along with the swimming. Darwin loves it too much to say no for now. Next year we’ll have two kids in gymnastics and swim, and we may have to reassess our time commitments. At least next year Leah will be done with her coursework!

Three is also the start of actually helping out around the house. Darwin now can feed the dog, and puts the cat food down at meal time after I serve it. She puts away her toys and books (mostly), puts her dirty clothes in the hamper, and picks up the animal dishes off the floor. I think winter gifts this year will include Darwin-sized house cleaning equipment because she keeps hitting herself with the broom, and cooking equipment, because she loves to help in the kitchen. She also has requested to help fold clothes, so currently she folds the rags (since they are square) and does a wonderful job of it. We tried that out about six months ago, and she would just end up balling them up into wads of rag rather than folding them. I now know that it was because she wasn’t quite ready and that work was a little too hard, so resulted in frustration. It’s amazing what waiting just a little while can produce!

Other fun things about three include doing ALL the puzzles (currently the 24 piece wooden puzzles are an easy distraction during quiet time and the 48 piece floor puzzles are a challenge), painting (with brushes now as well as fingers), sneaking up on mamas, lots and lots of snuggles, “racing” to get things done (like getting dressed in the morning), and gently petting the dog and cats. Outside is a lot of fun, and she’s helping with yard work, raking up leaves and planting flowers.

Vital stats for the record:

  • Weight 29 lbs
  • Height 38 inches

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Falling

Anyone else feel like the world is kind of falling apart right now? Record hurricanes, wildfires, nuclear weaponry. I’m a wildfire scientist. I’m trying to channel my calm, educated brain to engage and remember that fire is a part of our landscape. And then I feel a little bit like crying because driving through the Columbia River Gorge was such a special part of my childhood. And then I feel like celebrating for all the woodpeckers and insects that are going to thrive in the post-fire environments that are being produced around the northwestern United States right now. It’s a very complicated feeling to watch a place you love burn when you’re a fire scientist.

I wonder if this is true for hydrologists who study the environmental impact of flooding, or if there is enough benefit from sediment enrichment to offset anything at all. We have friends in Puerto Rico right now and are waiting to hear how they came through Irma. There are places in the Caribbean that have been flattened. Not cities, but entire countries. What do you do when there isn’t another place to go?

I’m doubtful that anyone is pleased with the situation with North Korea though. Nuclear annihilation is an even more semi-permanent negative condition than a warmed climate.

In light of all the enormous changes that we are bringing about through simply going about our daily lives now, I feel like a lot of my time is spent thinking about how to create adaptability in my children. The single most useful trait in a changing world being being able to adapt to a broad range of conditions – something that we humans have already mastered, and will need to draw on deeply in the coming decades if we want to survive. We let our kids struggle with difficult things. I already see successes with Darwin. She’ll get frustrated, but if she really wants to do something, she’ll keep working. Sometimes she’ll ask for help, but often she wants to do things herself once she’s been shown how we do them. Linnea came out trying to do everything for herself, and so I see that personality is a big part of this trait as well. But having children has decidedly made me more aware and more concerned about the future, and today, about the present.

For those of you who are also struggling (and my friends, according to those in my life whose work is ministry, it’s all of us), I found this helpful.

Stay safe everyone.