Saturday, March 28, 2009

From The Mouth of B

A few cute things Berit's said lately:

While listening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons...

Berit: "Mama, do you love this music?"
Me: "I do. This song is called Spring. Do you like it?"
Berit: "Yeh. But I even better love Have A Holly Jolly Christmas!"

Riding home from the doctor's office after Marta's recent appointment; both girls have suckers. Berit is looking into the little mirror we have hanging on the seat back in front of her, sticking out her tongue...

Berit: "Mama look! My tongue is blue!"
Me: "Now how in the world do you think that happened?"
Berit: "Well, my fairy godmother did it."

Marta, The Less Dramatic Of The Two (Really)

I can't remember the last time I nursed Berit, though I do recall being somewhat obsessed with weaning for at least three months leading up to it. It probably didn't help that I was five months pregnant at the time, and the first four months I had spent throwing up, in the hospital being rehydrated, and lying on the couch. So I have a feeling all of the trips with Daddy to his parents' house to give me some rest may have helped her make the transition. And just now I'm remembering having Trevor go to her in the middle of the night, and her crying, and me crying in bed listening to them on the monitor. So it happened, and it wasn't all that easy.

But it's sounding like a walk in the park compared to what's going on in Marta's world these days. At only 15 months old, we have two sources of drama with her:

1. Nursing/weaning.

2. Separation anxiety.

Let's start with the first. Berit was 18 months old when I finally weaned her, and I thought that was ridiculous. I know many children nurse for much longer, but for our family, it was too long. She didn't need to for the same reasons Marta doesn't need to now: She ate full meals, she drank plenty of milk and water during the day and it wore on my personal level of patience. 

The only reason I'm not pressing weaning on Marta is because she is comforted by nursing. She doesn't nurse to sleep, though when she wakes it's one of the only ways to calm her. Which brings us to the second part of our current situation...

I have never met a child who is so saddened by being away from her mother as is Marta. This is not to indicate my superiority as a mother; in fact I don't know why she is this way, as we're a family that tends to be together more than apart (Trevor's job is very flexible and he can always be at gatherings, bedtime, even playdates and lunch if we ask). Yet even if I'm in the kitchen washing dishes and Trevor is in the living room playing with the girls, just 15 feet or so away in full view of one another, Marta is crying to be with me. 

Poor Trevor. He's a great dad who actively plays with the kids whenever they're together. He's gentle and kind, gives them both a bath and gets them ready for bed each evening, and will go to either of them when I prod in the middle of the night. He's trying hard to help me with Marta's dependence on both me and my lactation delivery system, yet Marta refuses him every time she sees or hears me. Whenever I leave while she's sleeping and he gets her up from her nap, she's fine. And in fact she loves playing with him when I'm not in the picture -- it's just having the option, I guess, makes her weepy and insecure. 

I'm a stay-at-home mom who almost never leaves the kids. We have a babysitter come for a few hours once a week and the kids LOVE her, and I even stay most of the time in another room working, and the whole time she's here Marta is saying, "Mommy-Mommy-Mommy-Mommy-MOMMY!" (For the record, Marta doesn't know I'm in the other room.)

I don't like the idea of forcing her to overcome this; I wouldn't put that on her tiny shoulders. But I'd very much like to help her deal, especially because...

In the beginning of June we have an overnight getaway planned for just Trevor and me, and the girls will be staying at our house with Trevor's parents. 

The girls love Trevor's parents, so that won't in itself terrify Marta. However, somehow before then we need to:

1. Wean Marta. (She nurses only before each of her two naps and once at bedtime, then throughout the night -- see below.)

2. End night wakings (about three or four times a night, and I nurse her then put her back to bed "drowsy but awake" and she falls asleep; yes, Trevor has gone to her during these and occasionally it works, but not twice in a row -- if this happens she simply won't go back to sleep, no matter how many hours pass, no matter how much Trevor rocks, offers her a cup of milk, until I go in and nurse her). (And, we are not the type of people who can ignore our baby's cries all night, nor is Berit the type of child who can sleep through screaming in the room next to hers.)

3. Ease the separation anxiety.

So.... I don't know where to go from here. I would love guidance, if you have any to offer; I would enjoy commiseration, if you've been there, done that. Thanks for reading, thanks for brainstorming. It takes a village... :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Burning To Learn

I just found that first pic when I was looking in our Mac's Photo Booth file for the second pic. The first photo was taken a year ago; the second this morning. She's getting big fast, but she's still got her baby cuteness, I think. 

And speaking of growing up, we've made the decision to send her to preschool after spring break. When I told her that soon she would be going to school, her eyes got as big as teacups and she said, "Oh Mama! Thank you!"

Preschool Ready (Or Not?)

Last week Trevor and I chose a preschool for Berit to attend this fall. While we were there observing the class, we more than once said something like, "Berit is ready for this now. We wish we didn't have to wait until the fall to start."

And last night at book club, a couple of our friends whose children attend the preschool mentioned that they thought we could start in the middle of the year. Like, Tuesday. 

So last night after everyone in the house was asleep, I laid awake in bed weighing the pros and cons of Berit starting preschool next week, if allowed. 

She loves activities, and has lately started really engaging in projects and programs with other kids.
I don't think she'd even notice if I weren't at dance class watching her, so I feel like she might be just fine with us leaving her at preschool.
Two. Hours. Twice. A. Week. With. No. Toddler. At. Home.

There are only eight weeks of school left. Is it worth the expense?
What if she isn't OK with us leaving her? Would it be easier when she's six months older in the fall?
This morning she woke up at 8:30 a.m. How will I feel about waking her up to make it to class on time? (She isn't so much a morning kid.)
What if a crazy maniac tries to blow up the preschool with my child (any child) in it and I'm not by her side like I am at home all day???? (OK, this seemed more relevant at 1 a.m. than it does in the daylight.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Use What Your Mama Gave Ya

The dance pictures are in! So sorry about the quality of the images; I blame my old camera. Do note: 1) Berit has officially found The Best Place In The World, and it's dance class; and 2) Eventually, Marta was barred from class because she so badly wanted to dance as well. Also be assured that I have now purchased appropriate dance leotards and floaty dance skirts for Berit (I have no idea why my mind skipped remembering to do that before her first class; I'd like to say it's because I'm frugal and I wanted to be sure she liked it first but that's just not true on either count). She is now wearing a full ballerina outfit every day of the week, just for fun. (Which I have to admit is much better than the cheap Cinderella character clothes she has been favoring.)

The teacher told me today that Berit is doing really well and that she's a great dancer, and I know she was just being nice because BERIT IS THREE but I couldn't help but think, "Well of course she's a great dancer," then ask the head of the school if he'd meet with us once a month to offer a little direction in the way of violin lessons for the VERY young because she's my firstborn and I shall put her in every class available to 3-year-olds to give her a head start in life, right? (Or just make her hate the arts in general when she realizes that "practice" is not a "game.")

(Yes, that's a big bruise on Marta's head.)