Briefs

– Strangely, about six weeks ago, our little barfly, who liked to stay at daycare playing with me until the folks there threw us out at 6 p.m. each day, started wanting to go home immediately upon seeing me. So much for her being the Norm Peterson of the place. She still runs to me and gives me a big hug when I arrive, but now, rather than struggling to unbutton my jacket and urging me to stay, she then runs to her coat and says, “I want to go bye-bye.” Don’t know why this change occurred when it did, after more than a year of ritualized behavior, but there you are.

– For some reason, Lily didn’t want to take home three of her art projects (a painted apple, a painted pumpkin, and a colored turkey) from daycare. She spotted them packed in her lunch bag and said, “I don’t want to take those home. Leave them here.” Well, the pieces had been taken down and replaced with new projects, so I said, “No, they either get thrown in the trash can here, or we take them home. Why don’t we take them home, so Daddy can see them?” I thought for sure that the prospect of tossing them would alter her thinking on the matter. But by now, Mommy should know better than to try to outsmart a toddler. “Let’s throw them in the trash,” she said, grabbing them and walking toward the cabinet where the room’s wastebasket was. She dumped them in without a thought and went to do her new, patented coat flip so we could go home. Bizarre. And so random.

But something that was heartbreakingly sweet that came of the whole thing was that before Lily threw out the pieces, and I was asking if we could please take them home, she looked at me earnestly, brought her palm to her chest and said, “You can take me home, Mommy. But you can’t take the apple or the pumpkin.” She said this again as we walked home together, and I said, “I will happily take you home, sweetie, because I love you like crazy.” And it’s true.

The push-pull of parenting is so baffling. I make sure to give myself a little me-time each day before walking over to pick her up from daycare, but once I start heading there, I always have the urge to sprint there, because I suddenly can’t wait anymore to see her. It’s like I’m suddenly going to burst from missing her. Yes, she’ll surely do something to drive me absolutely batty shortly thereafter; but there’s just no explaining this crazy experience. Contradictions abound. Continue reading

Food Fight, take two

I’ve previously written about our struggle with Lily’s spotty, picky eating habits at home (though, mysteriously, she eats like a horse, and eats a wide variety of foods, at daycare). But things really came to a head last Wednesday night.

Joe, who’s now dealing with the craziness of preparing to be lead attorney on a multi-million dollar trial, came home after a tough day and cooked dinner. He cut Lily’s dinner into small pieces for her, and also put some fruit she likes in a small bowl.

Just before coming to the table, Lily – motivated by the promise of a fruit snack (we’re following daycare’s lead on this) – wanted to use the bathroom. Nothing happened on the potty, but Lily still wanted her fruit snack. We said no, not wanting to get into the habit of giving her one just for trying – she’d be there all the time otherwise – and she started falling apart.

I was determined to stick to our plan of offering her dinner and nothing beyond that. So after trying to comfort her (she refused me) and talk to her (she couldn’t hear me for all her own ad nauseum, weepy screaming of, “I want a fruit snack”), I told her, “Lily, it’s dinnertime. I’d like for you to eat with us, but with you or without you, we’re going to eat.”

I left her crying in the living room and went to the kitchen, sat down at the table, and set to mechanically eating my dinner. Joe stood at his chair sighing, miserable, saying things like, “I used to love coming home and having dinner. After all the stress at work all day, it was really nice to come home and have dinner. And now, I hate it.”

I felt terrible. The two people I love most were profoundly unhappy, and I felt absolutely helpless in altering the situation in either case. So I listened to Joe vent (and to Lily’s screams) while continuing to fork food into my mouth. Continue reading