Twenty-two Months: Yeah, Baby!

Dearest Miriam,

This is the month you decided to say Yes. Or Yeah, usually. Do you want tangerines? Yeah. Do you want to go to the zoo, Vigorous head nod yes. For many, many months, the closest you got to the affirmative was to repeat whatever you wanted when we asked you, so that Do you want to go to the park? met with Park, park, park. As you can imagine, this development has been met with great joy.

You're also increasingly likely to chime in to any conversation. I'll ask your dad if he wants his coffee, and we'll hear I'm good from the third member of our party. You'll hear us trying to puzzle something out in the front of the car, and respond with I just don't get it. And you're becoming a goof-off: you'll work through one of your animal books sing-songing all of the animal noises in the same tone, or run around the dinner table passing off a magic invisible bean (we guess), or holler for our attention, and we find Puppy sitting on your head in the carseat.

We learned in Mexico that you're ready to be more flexible in your sleeping. You've always been a good sleeper (ptew, ptew, ptew) and as a result we've been very hesitant to push your limits. While friends complain that their kids are still waking in the night, you've been sleeping through since well before your first birthday. You take a 3-hour afternoon nap, and can handle staying up till 8 or later, which means we can have dinner together nearly every night, even after your dad's long commute home. And after a few tough months of early waking, you regularly sleep till 7 AM, which seems absolutely civilized. So we've tried to be respectful of your sleep needs.

But with nine people to move, we didn't always make the deadlines, and lo and behold, you were fine. Yes, there were a couple evenings of total, ice-cream covered meltdown in the middle of Sayulita's zócalo, and one day when you awoke sobbing after a forty-minute nap, but by and large you slept whenever we finally put you down and awoke happy. Since then we've been playing hard and fast with your sleep, so look for a whining, sleep-deprived apology in Month Twenty-three.

We also learned that you're ready for more time with kids. Sob, we're no longer enough for you. Two days in to our time in Puerto Vallarta, you were asking for your various playmates, and when you found a 4-year-old who was equally bored with the company of his Dad, you glombed on to him like he was water in your desert. You two invented a game called No touchy! which amused our grandfatherly host to no end.

Once we arrived in Sayulita and you had your built-in playgroup, you surprised us with your total willingness to live commune-style. You never seemed to need alone time, you shared your toys, for the most part, and didn't even shriek too loudly when said toys were inevitably snatched from your too-mild hands. We root for you to snatch and grab, but realize that at least this isn't something you will have to unlearn later.

Your penchant for breaking in to song continues, lyrical episodes now include Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the ever-popular
Lovely Day, which is accompanied by some crazy foot-hand flip you and your Daddy came up with. Scares me to death, can't say too much about it. But in this regard you remind us of your song-filled Great Grandma Lil (who you refer to as Grandma Little).

In looks you still remind us most of AuntieS, but also, increasingly, Bubbie. We still don't know where we got such a fair-haired lass, but since you look like the extended family, we're fairly certain we grabbed the right kid. And girl, did we get lucky.

Your Mommy
Posted by Picasa


Stranger Danger?

So the new thing that keeps me up at night is wondering how to deal with MZ's newfound stranger shyness -- not necessarily anxiety, but head buried in my knees or shoulder, I'm-not-saying-hi shyness. I have a tendancy to encourage her to say hello to people who speak to her, but I realize that we're on the edge of the Stranger Danger thing now that she's a toddler capable of wandering away.

Since she was a wee baby, people have stopped to talk to her or touch her and for the most part, R. and I have been open to the attention. We believe that a city is a distant but not cold place, and that our daughter can have interesting, unique and warm experiences with its inhabitants. We've never felt the need to tell someone not to touch her (although we have asked children to touch feet and not hands and faces). That's not to say we never would, we just find ourselves more likely to run into the grandmotherly Latina head stroker than the hepatitis-ridden junkie cheek-grabber.

Well, there was that time a pretty hard-bitten woman went for a cheek-grab face before I had a chance to stop her on the bus, and I did worry about that for several solid hours, okay, days, but she was just months old at the time and everything made me worry that hard.

But MZ is now at an age where it's quite conceivable that someone could walk off with her in the blink of an eye. Can it be entirely accidental that we're seeing her first strong hesitation with strangers? It seems developmentally appropriate, the way it coincides so perfectly with the independance and boundary pushing and the literal ability to run that comes with toddlerhood.

I realize I need to consciously overcome my tendancy towards openness 1) to respect where she is, 2) to make her feel confident that we/I am taking care of her; and 3) to help her learn to trust her gut -- the absolute last thing I want to do is teach her to override her gut. She can learn openness again once she's learned that her initial response to things is worth listening to and trusting.

But this sounds so much easier than I suspect it's going to be. How to respect her space and feelings while encouraging healthy cautiousness without introducing terror or closing her off from friendly people entirely? As with so many other things related to parenting, I feel like I'm going to have to wing it and hope things go alright.


We interrupt this blog to hidehidehidehi

Wow. We took the House. And now it has its first female Speaker. Wow. And then Rumsfeld -- do you know that on Wednesday morning in my crunchy corner of the world, people on Cortland Avenue were actually coming out of their houses and places of businesses to talk about Rumsfeld's imminent departure? Wow! And then we took the Senate. Wow-dee-wow.

In the midst of play groups and meal planning and how the hell am I behind on the laundry again? angst, I must insert some joyful commemoration. I was a staffer in '94, when it went the other way, and let me tell you those were some dark days. I can recall the hungover, tired feeling of losing that badly like it was yesterday. I'm not as close to it today, but I hope this memory will stay just as vibrant, this day when I was a mama of an almost-2-year old and the nation restored some small bit of my faith, and it was good.