26 June 2010


You've heard of the 'Summer of Love', well apparently around these parts it is the 'Summer of Tantrums'. I would much prefer it to be the 'Summer of Love' but unfortunately I do not think my darling daughter will oblige. You see, at some point, inevitably, Mother and Daughter reach an impasse. Daughter beings to question Mother's motives, her wisdom, her ideologies and realises that she doesn't need that gently guiding hand anymore. Mother, of course, then feels deeply hurt, unsure as to what she can do different and makes a number of attempts to make amends with Daughter. Generally speaking, this whole senario usually occurs somewhere between the ages of 13 to 18. I am writing to tell you that it apparently happens from age 2. The question is no longer, 'What as a mother am I doing wrong?' it is now, 'What as a mother am I doing right?'

Something as simple as breaking up her weetabix with a spoon sends her over the edge. She believes that forewarned is fair warned and is constantly reminding me, 'Mommy, no do like this.' Then she makes this stabbing motion in the air with her spoon, just in case I should ever forget that one time I had to pour out two bowls of cereal. She also requires that no blankets be pulled over her little legs if she manages to sneak her way into my bedroom at some ungodly hour. If I forget, I pay. Usually the price is a couple solid kicks to my sleeping back until I am reminded, there is a penalty for doing things 'my way'. I am also slowly learning the art of bribery. After nearly 2 and 1/2 years of keeping my daughter (and her pearly whites) juice free, I am offering a glass of smoothie when we come home from creche, usually because she is having some kind of insane 45 minute tantrum. The good news on that front is that one of my only clear successes is that my daughter loves to brush her teeth and brushes them quite well. So at least I know I am getting one over on tooth decay.

Yesterday she partook in what I have been terming the 'Juanita' size tantrum. Let me explain by saying that usually she throws what we call the 'Marcelina', a very dramatic tantrum aptly named after my deceased, grudge-holding Italian grandmother. The 'Marcelina' includes throwing oneself down on the floor and beating the ground with balled fists while kicking the legs. It is best to avoid the vicinity when these occur as someone usually ends up with a solidly planted kick to the ankle. Now the 'Juanita' appears to be a new style of tantrum, less angry but way more dramatic than the 'Marcelina'. Let me digress into this little story of how this came to be so named. Juanita was my great uncle's wife who had two children from a previous marriage (one though was apparently his) and one by my uncle. She, over the course of many years, managed to turn the family bar business into a battleground for the epic family fight which resulted in my Polish Grandfather and his two Italian brother in laws literally having a punch up in front of the premises. Juanita promptly tried to have my Grandfather and one uncle arrested. As a result my grandmother did not speak to her older brother for 13 years. When Juanita's husband became ill, she divorced him (wonderful woman that she was) and at his funeral, dressed all in black, she threw herself over the coffin sobbing hysterically screaming, 'I always loved you.' Her daughter stood up and clapped demanding to the gathered mourners, 'Oh please somebody give her an academy award'. So the 'Juanita' entered family the annuals. The 45 minute tantrum at 6 am yesterday morning over the way mommy was holding three Peppa Pig books (not like this, like this mommy) certainly classified itself as a 'Juanita' full of tears and play acting which I think Juanita herself would be proud of.

As I look forward to the joy of having two children I can't help wondering to myself - will I ever make it through the 'Summer of Tantrums' alive? Will Mother and Daughter ever see eye to eye? Will Mother ever do anything right? Have the teenage years come this early?

Only time will tell.

17 June 2010

Back from the Dead

I'm terrible I know. I tend to disappear for weeks at a time only to resurface again. I'm sure I've probably lost a couple of my 9 followers but hey that's pregnancy for you right?

I am now 35 going on 36 weeks. Amazing how time during the second pregnancy flies when you don't have the chance to stop for breath. My darling 2 yr 4 mo old daughter is starting to get really excited for the new arrival and keeps asking us when the baby will be coming. I am taking this interest as a good sign. I do expect there to be some moments where she is a bit put out though.

This began to manifest itself *I think* in the shape of my midnight visitor. Perhaps not entirely midnight, more like 2 am, 3 am, 4 am visitor. Our move to the 'big girl' bed back in March/April was fairly successful, although the little darling does have a tendency to run in around 6 or 7 depending on how she slept. It was pretty cute to see this tiny 2 year old with unruly bedhead burst into the room and stagger towards the bed. Clearly she had sprung from her own only moments before with the express intent of 'must get in parents bed'. One time she cuddled up next to me, ordering me to 'put your arms around me, Mama, now you go to sleep'. Ah yes, those were the days. Recently they were replaced with the same small figure streaking through the room like lightening but at the ungodly hour of 2 am.

Keep in mind that I am now at the stage where carrying a 33lb child at 2am in the morning back to an extremely low to the ground toddler bed is not really my idea of a good time. Due to the previous broken ankle fiasco when I initially get out of my bed it takes me a good couple of minutes to 'warm up' and walk without limping. So balance is not exactly my forte. The joyous responsibility of putting her back to bed now rests (pun intended) with the other half. Therein lies the rub, the other half is extremely difficult to rouse from sleep and would be more inclined to allow darling daughter to sleep in the bed for the remainder of the night. We have a king size bed, so I wouldn't really mind, except for the fact that she sleeps horizonally and for some strange reason her feet are always kicking me in the back. Yesterday, when whining to my mother I likened it to sleeping with my grandmother's flea bag dog, Rags. (Scary childhood memory that still continues to haunt me. That dog had some nerve, it was my bed grandma was sleeping in - why should I be forced out of my bed by a snarling Lhasa Apso?)

I tried the Supernanny solution - you know the putting the child back to bed a million times without saying anything. The only problems were 1. I couldn't even get to the door before she was back out again and 2. after 1 hour she was hysterical and I was exhausted. Now what Supernanny? For now I have no answers only more questions. But at 35 weeks pregnant I'm not really sure I have the stamina to deal with this right now. I am secretly hoping that the distressing cry of a hungry baby at all hours of the night will convince my little darling that she really wants to remain in her own bed.

Otherwise I am attempting to wrap up some of my completely research in chapter format for my PhD. It is not going to badly but that is only if I don't think that I have a 15,000 word chapter due July 1 and a 5000 word article also due that day. The one thing I am banking on is that this baby will take after it's sister and arrive late!