Sunday, May 17, 2009

No, Dessert Before Dinner Is Totally Fine

My sister is visiting this weekend -- a highly anticipated gathering, and not just by me. She is for whom Berit's sun rises and sets, and Marta, though less familiar with Andrea, has quickly decided she's also her Best Person In The World. 

There's been a whole lot of rolling, spinning, running, pretend play, art projects, dress-up, tea parties and general pulling around the house for showing off of precious treasures.

Yesterday I spent three hours in Boyne City, shopping, lunching and visiting without my kids in tow. While I love spending time with my girls more than, truly, anything, there's nothing like saying, "Just pop into a coffee shop for a quick sandwich? Yes, I totally have time." (And listening to an audiobook the whole afternoon instead of Raffi and The Wiggles isn't so bad, either.)

Trevor went to Traverse City to look for my birthday present, and bought a new video camera (which is not my birthday present, but which is equally appreciated), and nearly brought home a thousand-dollar handgun, so elated was he by his afternoon to himself that he was clearly over-romaticizing major purchases.

While taking the girls for a walk yesterday afternoon, Berit, dressed in a unicorn costume, fell asleep in the stroller. She's never been one for naps, taking her last regular nap sometime around 18 months old. Every so often she falls asleep in the car and takes a long, restorative nap, but we rarely encourage it because she then stays up until 10 or 11 p.m. 

Anyway, she fell asleep somewhere around 4:30 or 5 p.m. and slept hard until nearly 8 p.m. -- after her normal bedtime, even. When she does this Trevor usually takes her somewhere active, like the pool, mini golfing or bowling, and out to dinner. Andrea jumped at the chance to spend some one-on-one time with Berit, and took her to mini golf and Big Boy for dinner. Berit loves Big Boy. For some reason I think she's going to get a kick out of this when she's older. 

So, Andrea being Aunt Andrea, she let Berit have a chocolate/strawberry milkshake before dinner (which was pancakes and french fries). Everything was fine when Berit came home at 11 p.m., except Trevor and I were falling asleep in our slippers waiting for them to come home. She played even more, took an extremely reluctant bath, and then absolutely refused to go to bed. She was obviously over-tired, but with Aunt Andrea and the fun of the evening, we had thought maybe we'd let her get a kick out of the circumstances and stay up. Clearly we had forgotten that SHE'S THREE and GOOD PARENTS DON'T THREE-YEAR-OLDS STAY UP UNTIL MIDNIGHT.

She began having those overly tired fits, needing milk but not THAT cup or THAT milk because it was first too cold then too hot, then not "just right." This led into a fit of rage that had me doing my most extreme discipline technique, which really isn't a technique and not technically discipline (to me; I'm sure her therapist will have something to say about it when she's 16 and brooding) but helps her calm down and quiets her screams for Marta's sleeping sake. I put her in the bathtub.

It's empty, it's waterproof (necessary because she occasionally makes herself throw up to be dramatic), and it's near a large mirror that lets her see herself as she cries, and it always distracts her as she watches the funny faces she makes in a tantrum. Also, the big jet tub in my bathroom is too deep for her to climb out of herself, which is helpful in the event (as in last night's case) that she gets violent and I have to walk away. After repeated efforts to calm her down with distraction, humor, sternness and threats of no books before bed, I left her in the tub and stepped out the door. She sobbed and yelled for a few minutes, tried to throw up, then noticed her reflection and began making different crying sounds to (I assume) see what she looked like. Then she calmed down, yelled one "MOM!", I went in and we hugged and kissed and it was finally over. My sister, eternally compassionate, scowled at my bathtub "technique" and took her up for books. I got into bed, thinking it was all finally over at 12:45 a.m. and that she'd never, ever repeat the sequence of events that had transpired since she woke from her nap again.

And then at 3:45 a.m. she awoke in another fit. I sent Trevor up and she went through the original drama about the milk, having Trevor bring her a second, "just right" milk that didn't pass muster (and Trevor wasn't about to go down for a third), and after that I turned down the monitor and went to sleep. Which is why I've been up for hours with Marta while everyone else sleeps in. 

And here I sit, wondering if 8 a.m. is too early for a glass of wine. Aunt Andrea's here. We all get to indulge a little. 

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