Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Fun(ny) Little Girl

A month or so ago, Blake, Audrey and I were eating dinner. It was a typical event... We make dinner after Evan is asleep and while Audrey plays with one of us or entertains herself. She sometimes helps set the table, which is sweet. We call her to dinner and she throws a fit or dawdles, or both. She claims to "I don't like [insert whatever we are serving]!". We threaten that she cannot watch any tv before bed if she doesn't sit down and try to eat. She sits. Then she has to go potty (if not now, then at sometime during the dinner. She will need help. I will go help. The rest of my dinner will be cold.) We hold hands and pray, usually for Mimi and Evan. Sometimes for ourselves. Always for patience. She actually looks at what we are serving and exclaims "Peas! I loooove peas!". She proceeds to eat. I tell her something like "it is good to eat good food like vegetables because it helps us to get strong and stay health... it will help make you big." On this night in question, my sweet three year old responds, deadpan, "it will also help me make poop." We laugh, uncontrollably. She fails to see what is funny. "Mom, I need to go potty."

*****

Audrey learned to swim this summer. She is not ready to swim a 400 IM by any means, but she can kick and paddle and put her face in the water, propelling herself from point A to a not-so-distant point B pretty quickly. This makes me so proud. I love seeing her learn new things, especially things that are fun and hard for even some adults. After she started doing this the first time, I tried to get back in the pool with her as often as possible so that she could do it again and again. And so that I could feel that parental pride and have her little arms wrap around my neck, her laughter in my ear. So of course, I could not wait for our family trip to Lake Canandaigua in NY. I have such fond memories of swimming there with my cousins, jumping off the dock. And, with Audrey's new-found-love of swimming, I just imagined her having the same fun experience.


We get to NY. It is sub 80 all week, mostly cloudy. The water temperature is about 65. Freezing. On the first day, I manage to get us all to the beach with our swimsuits on and Audrey is brave enough to think about swimming. She puts her lifejacket suit on and wants to climb down the ladder. That doesn't go well, as the ladder is slimy. So, I tell her that she doesn't have to swim but that I, for old times sake, am going to jump off the dock. I do. It is cold. But not really that bad. She then immediately wants to jump in. She does. It is a flying leap. She splashes in. I am treading water and kind of catch her. She bobs up screaming - "GET ME OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW!!!" Everyone on the dock and the beach clapped for her and I told her how proud I was of her. I was. It was a brave leap for a little girl. She didn't put so much as a big toe in the lake the rest of the week. And now, she won't even venture into the pool here.


Lesson learned. My parental pride cannot be more important than my child's confidence and perception of safety and comfort.

*****

Blake and I have been brainstorming how to make Audrey's pacifier disappear for months. I thought the problem was solved when Toby chewed her original favorite to pieces last spring. But, she quickly transferred loyalty to another one of similar style. Granted, she only uses it at nap and bed times and only at home, but it's just time. She wakes up at least once a week in the middle of the night crying for it when it gets lost in her sheets and I can't take it anymore.

So, yesterday, the paci-fairy came while she was at school. The fairy left her a Frozen CD, a magic-clip Cinderella, a stuffed sock monkey, a tooth fairy alligator, and dum-dums. We told her that since she was a big girl, she didn't need her paci anymore and that the fairy would give her old paci to a little baby like Evan to use - we share with people who need something. She was in love with the dum-dums and actually did pretty well at bedtime. She threw a minor tantrum (5 seconds) and then was quiet for the night. I was SO proud this morning when at 7:30, she was still sleeping, and apparently without the paci. But then, I hear her in her room. I go in. She is still laying in bed with one arm up in the air. Triumphant. Holding one of Evan's little baby pacifiers. My pride negated. "Audrey, did you sleep with that pacifier all night." "Yes, I did." "But the pacifier fairy said it was time for no more pacis - you are a big girl. And, that is Evan's." "I know, but we share, mom."

Pride returns, she is an honest, resourceful, generous little girl.

Round 2 tonight. Winner TBD.



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