Friday, June 10, 2011

Because it's not always roses...

I thought I'd update the blog tonight on a few challenging things that are being posed to the Kershaw family as of late in regards to Eva.
1. Mealtime
Throughout the entire school year, I told myself it'd be so much easier and better at meal times once summer was here and we didn't have to operate on such a schedule. Meals take forever because as soon as I'm standing at a stove she gets so upset and insists on being held, hanging from the waist of my pants or throwing herself at my feet, demanding attention. It usually took 2 1/2 hours to do dinner from defrost to clean up. While the schedule factor is gone, unfortunately with the heat came a surge of independence from Eva, who now refuses to eat anything given to her by us. She MUST be the one to put the fork or spoon in her mouth. Now, on the one hand I am proud of her. Obviously she needs to learn to feed herself, and I'm glad she understands that she should be doing it herself. The problem is, however, she cannot understand the concept of the motions. She stabs, she flicks, she stabs again, and once she comes up fruitless enough times she attempts to ditch all her food on the floor in frustration. I've tried letting her attempt a couple times and then trying to gently swoop in and show her putting my hands on hers. Not happening. I've tried using a second spoon to get her the nutrition she needs while she focuses on her own utensils. She was again, offended. This has been going on for the last several weeks, but up until lately she would eventually get hungry enough to let me give her a spoonful or two or fill the fork and then hand it to her to put in her mouth. But the last two days, she's refusing that too. The result? A child that is not eating full meals and is therefore constantly begging for snacks, which she is well-versed in and can feed herself no problem. It's very, very frustrating. Every meal ends in either crying or a huge mess of a dumped plate/bowl on the floor. I keep reminding myself that she has to learn and that she will improve over time, but it just feels like it's been a long time with little progress and it's very frustrating that she won't let me help her learn.

2. Holding hands
Eva is an energetic child, especially in public places. She wants to run and wave to people and pull things off the shelves. She wants to beat you to the car. She does NOT want to hold your hand. Anytime we go anywhere, we are faced with the struggle, "If I let you walk, you have to hold my hand." She fights to break free, and once she realizes she can't overcome my King Fu grip, she throws herself to the ground like a limp noodle. As soon as you pick her up to carry her instead, she's fighting with every muscle she has to be walking again. The ONLY solution we've found thus far is for the both of us to hold her hands and play the 1-2-3 game where we lift her in the air on 3 every time. But even that wears off in about 2 minutes, so it works best on the way to the car from the store.

3. Threats of death or serious injury
Since I've been home from school, I feel like all I do all day is tell Eva "No!" I know that reads like exaggeration, but some days it's true.
"No, we do not play with the garbage from the garbage can."
"No, we do not pull all the toilet paper out of the cabinet."
"No, we do not put toys in your diaper pail."
"No, we do not pull on the lamps."
"No, we do not throw our juice on the ground when we are done with it."
"No, we do not dive head first off of Mommy's bed."
"No, we do not play with the toilet."
"No, we do not pull all our clothes off the hangers."

And it's literally her going from one "no" to the next, never stopping to play with a toy or do anything PC. Every day she does the same things, as if she's hoping today's the day she can finally splash in that darn toilet and see what it's like once and for all. While I will never be a parent that will allow her child to do whatever she pleases, I hate telling her "no" allllll day long. I know it sounds foolish, but I just wish she'd take my first "no" seriously and stop doing it all together.

4. Sleep, teeth, the pacifier, and the unknown
Evalee still uses her pacifier to fall asleep. Every day I give it to her, I know I'm making the habit harder and harder to break. But every time I reach the time frame that I tell myself I'm going to take it away, something happens to make me reconsider. I was going to take it away at her birthday time, but that's when she kept getting ear infections and it really soothed her. Then I was going to take it away once those cleared up, but then she started falling asleep on her own in her crib and the paci was an essential ingredient in triggering her brain - as soon as the paci was in she would start tugging her hair and lay down. So I told myself we'd give it a little time with that and then take it away once she really got into the habit of falling asleep alone. And then these darn molars started poking through. Her other teeth didn't seem to faze her much at all, but these have really given her a run for her money. They've been waking her up several times in the night and, again, the only thing that helps her fall back asleep is that paci. So now I've told myself: Okay, once the teething is over.
But are they all just pitiful excuses because I don't want to deal with the pain and misery associated with taking it away? I'm not sure. I just think about the stories I've read of parents thinking it was going to be a terrible, horrific experience but it went surprisingly well. They did the pacifier fairy or mailed them to a baby cousin or took the less creative route and simply cut a hole in it so it's not fun to suck anymore. I don't think we will be one of those cases. Why? Because one night recently I couldn't find a paci to help her fall asleep -- we've purchased I think about 20 of them and can only seem to hold onto 2 -- and she was still up screaming at 11 when Travis came home from work. So a little part of me wonders - well, if she were a bit older maybe she'd naturally grow out of it - like she did with bottles, us coming to her in the night, and rocking her to sleep. Or, as I'm sure would actually be the case, we'd create a monster. The bottom line is I know I don't want to be the mom whose 4 year old is throwing a temper tantrum for their pacifier as I'm toting her to preschool. But I also don't want to take away something that comforts her so much. Stay tuned on that one.

All for now.

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