Friday, July 3, 2009

Little Abbey: Bruised, Cut and Testing Boundaries

It's been awhile since the last Little Abbey update so I've decided to address that problem and per usual, in no particular order:

Although you get used to diapers, it is particularly freeing to be done with them for the most part. We declared her officially potty-trained back at the end of March and she is even if she has had a few accidents along the way. Most of those I attribute to clothing that is fastened in such a way that Little Abbey can't undo it herself. It is freeing to go somewhere and not have a bag full of diapers or extra clothes to tote along. We still put a diaper on her at night to prevent a bed linen change a 2 a.m. but only perhaps one time out of seven will it be wet in the morning. One of the new developments is that she doesn't like us to be in the bathroom when she uses it. She will put her seat adapter onto the throne, order us out, close the door and lock it. When she is done, she reverses everything and then calls me up to wipe her butt. At least I know she is becoming self-conscious yet. We bid farewell to the bodily wastes and send it on it's way with goodbyes. It really is touching.

While Little Abbey may not be self-conscious yet about using the bathroom, she is self-conscious about her clothing and if you don't watch her, she will change several times a day. Mostly it is with panties and a preference towards those with Elmo on them. Some days she will switch what she has on for ones with Elmo and other days it will be for ones without. She will also at times declare a pair of shorts or a shirt as itchy and change into another shirt, no matter if the new shirt is one that she had declared itchy last week. I pray that she isn't becoming some sort of fashion diva.

For her birthday, she received not one but three laptop computers for kids that work on various aspects of learning letters, numbers, their order, phonics, spelling, etc. Since then, she has immediately picked up her numbers to the point where she can almost count to twenty now without mistakes. Before her birthday, she had little interest in numbers at all. Now she can hold up fingers for any number up to five with five meaning a lot. How old are you? She will hold up three fingers by holding the other two down with her other hand. How many pieces of bread do you want? She will hold up two fingers by holding down three fingers. How many pieces of candy do you want? She holds up all five fingers and says "lots!" She still gets just one but I can't blame the girl for trying.

Little Abbey's biggest form of entertainment is just helping us at whatever we are doing. So much so that I unloaded her room of five bags full of toys that she never plays with and she still hasn't noticed. If I am making pizza, she wants to help. If Mrs. Abbey is watering plants, she gets her little plastic teapot and helps out. When we were moving into our apartment in the city, we always had to give a light object to Little Abbey to help carry up the three flights of stairs. She went up and down those three flights at least twenty times on afternoon and still had plenty of energy in reserve where as I was about whipped. Many times I have initially tried to decline her request by asking where such and such toy was as a stall tactic, but I always catch myself and let her help out. I am always grateful to do so and to witness the joy of helping to spread sauce over some pizza dough.

They always say "Terrible Twos" in a child's life but I'm pretty certain it actually is "Terrible Threes." Little Abbey is really big into testing her boundaries these days. Last week, it took me an hour and a half to get through her normally twenty minute going to bed routine. It started out with her refusing to brush her teeth and then getting upset that I brushed my teeth without waiting for her. We went through several timeouts before she agreed to brush her teeth. Then it was refusal to get into her jammies and then refusal to go to bed and then refusal to go to sleep, etc. By the end of the hour and a half, I was so tired, I think I ended up falling asleep before she did. But like any successful marriage, you learn to pick and choose your battles to make it work. For example, we came home last week and she refused to get out of the car even though it was killing hot in the garage. Rather than risk a tantrum that might drag on for hours, I told her she is welcome to stay out in the car as long as she wanted and went inside. I of course left the garage door slightly ajar so she could open it and checked on her ever couple minutes because I certainly didn't want her to overheat but she came in on her own within about four minutes. It's all about testing my boundaries.

Another negative part of this age is mealtime. Little Abbey, again trying to test boundaries, mostly refuses to eat whatever we give her. She will maybe eat one bite and then it is off to go play or jump around on the couch. Eventually she will request something to eat that is not on the menu or something odd like a slice of bread. We have tried the old tactic of if you don't finish your supper you can't have any dessert but for the most part, she doesn't respond to that. Sometimes she even refuses to eat a dessert when given to her because she doesn't know what it is. I never force her to taste these because it leaves more for me. We have gotten to the point where we just leave her plate out on the table and when she gets hungry enough and denied for other foods, she will eventually go back to the table and eat her food even if it is now nearly the next mealtime. The bad part of this is when we go on trips and she doesn't eat her lunch. Then an hour later she can make your life miserable until you find some food for her to consume almost always not as nutritious as the lunch she passed up on. We have compensated by taking along a cooler full of fruits and other snacks for these times as well as eating at places where we can take her food "to go", i.e. no buffets and with finger food type kids meals. Eventually there will come a day when we all sit down for a meal and then after the dishes are cleared we won't have to think about food for the next five or six hours. However, I think that is still a ways into my future.

On a final note, the stage of injuries is starting to gear up to bigger scales. Perhaps a month ago we decided to walk uptown one evening for some ice cream and though I took the off-road stroller along just in case, Little Abbey walked all the way there and all but the last hundred yards home. She would have made it home but in a careless moment running down the sidewalk, she tripped and skinned both her knees pretty good. After we got her home and doctored up, it was so funny that she refused to walk the rest of the evening (when she thought about it) and asked to be carried with both legs stuck straight out and wide apart so her owie wouldn't rub against anything. She might forget for a few seconds as she walked across the living room to pick up a toy but then it would be tears again as she cried for me to carry her somewhere. A couple weeks ago, she apparently got stung or bitten by something right above her eye at an outdoor party. For several days, her eye was swollen shut and she looked like she was fresh from a boxing match. It certainly drew lots of stares while we were around town. For the most part she was okay and acted like nothing was wrong until she happened to catch a glimpse of herself in the mirror. This past weekend was perhaps the worst episode yet. She ran out the door into the garage and tripped, hitting the bumper of my car face first. When we picked her up to sooth her wounds, her mouth was full of blood, which really freaked us out for a few seconds. Back in the kitchen cleaning her up we quickly saw that all teeth were in tact and she had punctured her lip with one of them. The bleeding was quickly stopped but her lip has swollen up and is now scabbed over so once again, she looks like she has been beaten upon. Fortunately it hasn't seemed to bother her much and doesn't look like it will get infected. Although I know I will have to deal with worse in the future, I am most definitely not ready for them. Seeing your child's blood and not freaking out is a very difficult thing to do.


PhilippinesPhil said...

Interesting parenting style. Goes to show that there are an infinite number of ways to to do just about anything.

Murf said...

Thanks for reminding me how much I love my dog. ;-) In fact, I'll be leaving him home for nearly 12 hours today while I have some carefree time at a lake with a pig roast. Not something you can do with a kid.

Happy 4th!

Beau said...

I'm always amazed by the things kids can get into. She sounds like a go-getter! One of my big goals- that the boy learns from his mistakes. Usually he does, but when he does the same thing again with the same (negative) result, I just shake my head. It's hard to watch them fail or get hurt, but they have to learn. Happy 4th!

geri said...

Ed, I am glad I am not alone in the mealtime issue. It's the same with Evan, after a couple of bites, he hops off his chair from the table. I was afraid of getting my tendonitis back again after the many times I had to put him back on the chair.

I look forward to not bringing extra diapers when going out just like you and Mrs. Abbey are doing now.

In the garage, if that was me and Evan, as soon as I will say, "okay, you stay in the car." Evan will be out in a second. It's like in the naughty corner. I will give him a choice "naughty corner or bedroom" (if I want him to go to bed), Evan: "bedroom!", me: "okay, go to bed." Evan: "no, naughty corner!" Usually after he spends 3 minutes in the corner and I tell him he can come out of the corner he will sya "no I want to stay here in the naughty corner." I will just say, "okay, it's up to you Evan." That gets him confused lol

I had to laugh when L.A. had a fit when you brushed your teeth without her. lol

Ed Abbey said...

Phil - Since this is my first rodeo, I'm just guessing. I'm guessing when I have as many as you have, my methods might be a lot different.

Murf - With a three year old, using the bathroom in peace is a lot to ask at times!

Beau - I'm amazed at few times they take more than one time to learn something. It seems like it took me handfuls of times to learn my lessons!

Geri - One of the unfortunate side effects of being a Daddy's Girl is that she insists on doing everything with me. It's not too bad but when she is tired and cranky, it can me some long drawn out tantrums if I accidentally do something before I was supposed too.

R. Sherman said...

This post reminds me of my elder son at 18 months who refused to be carried or assisted on 3 mile hike in Big Bend. I wanted to help him and was going to carry him the last half mile on my shoulders, but he wrenched free and took off, tripping over and onto a prickly pear cactus.

Not a pleasant experience, for any of us.


TC said...

She sounds pretty normal to me...

Murf - think she gets that from her mom?