It happened almost over night. One day Franci said yes to just about everything. Do you want cheese? “Yeah.” Do you want your teddy bear? “Yeah.” Do you want a hug? “Yeah.” Then all of a sudden the answer to everything was “Ye-Oh”, followed by “No” two days later.
If it were just lip-service, it wouldn’t be so bad. But she really does mean “no”! No shoes, no potty, no milk, NO! I realize this is a classic phase that every child goes through, and “this too shall pass” is the typical parental mantra, but still!
How did you deal with the “No Phase”? Since it just started for us, I still need to decide a course of action. Do I let Franci run around the cold house naked (since clothes are clearly a “no”) or do I wrangle a squirmy, squealing little girl into her pants and a shirt? Asserting independence and having an opinion is one thing, but so is having authority and being in charge! Is the struggle easier if you don’t have a full term baby squirming around from the inside?
Frances’ “bad behavior” started off with hair pulling and nipple biting. A stern “NO” and forcing her to release the hair (or nipple) results in a giggle and a big smile. She has since grown out of these – through no help from me, I suspect – and has moved on to hitting. It’s not often, but when she does hit I grab the offending arm firmly, look her right in the eye, and give her a stern “NO”.
Like all babies and toddlers, she loves computers. If she’s sitting on my lap while I type, she struggles in my arms to reach for the keyboard. Moving her farther away, or removing the keyboard from her path, results in a meltdown. I calmly explain that my computer isn’t a toy, and she can’t sit on my lap if she won’t follow directions and not touch my computer. This doesn’t really work.
Franci has loved this book since she was old enough to turn pages. I’m not sure what attracted her to it a year ago, but she preferred it over her other board book. Perhaps it was the soothing colors, or the soft cover, or that it is oversized. For some reason she preferred to turn its pages than those of another book.
Recently it has become her go-to bedtime book and she loves it more than ever. She likes to point at the characters and details and can follow along as the little boy and girl get ready for bed. I’m sure she enjoys the story now and not just turning the pages, since she is getting ready right along with them.
Moving is stressful enough when you don’t have a toddler underfoot. Add in a kid or two and you’ll really get the cortisol flowing. Routines are interrupted, the house is in chaos and playtime has to be traded in for packing time.
As much as I might explain what is going on, I don’t think Franci has any idea what we are up to. She’s been to the new house a few times, but how is she going to feel when we don’t come back to the house she was born in?
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to introduce a series of changes without stressing her out too much. After all, a month after we settle in she is going to become a big sister! Ideally, she’ll be used to her new room, new bed and new surroundings by then.
It all started in the laundry room. She was so interested in what I was doing and wanted to help put clothes in the washer with me. A-ha! It only took a try or two for her to follow my lead as to when the clothes are going in, and when they are coming out. Now whenever it’s time to put clothes in (or take them out) of the washer or dryer, I let her help. I guess you could say laundry was Franci’s first chore.
I’ve been thinking lately about those moments during parenthood where something becomes clear that you weren’t even thinking about before; those “A-ha!” moments. Like when it suddenly occurs to you that your breastfed baby gets gassy every time you eat cabbage, or that the reason she is fussy at 10am every morning is because she is tired.
Now that Franci is pushing 18 months and reaching certain milestones, like walking, those moments seem to be happening more frequently. Maybe I should have recognized some of them sooner, but that’s what makes them “A-ha!” moments, right?
I’ve noticed meat stands have started to find their way in between produce stands at farmer’s markets, and a quick search helped me find all sorts of local meat options in my area. Many of these ranchers raise organic, free range meat including beef, lamb, pigs and chickens. Some corn finish their animals to produce a less gamey tasting final product, and some grass-feed all the way to the end.