Monday, January 16, 2006

The Evening Ritual

It's funny... when I named this blog, I though it was just kind of cute. And knowing that at some point in the future we would be going through all the potty learning stuff with Raelin, it seems aprospo (spelling? whatever). Anyway, apparently in our case, foresight is 20/20. We are deep in the potty trenches...

Raelin stopped napping shortly after Christmas. We'd been driving her for naps which worked so beautifully, it was difficult to give up despite the fact that at times it was a hassle and a total waste of gas. Though the concept of "waste" is relative, since on most days the cost of an extra gallon or two was more than worth 2 hours of mid-day respite. But I started to feel guilty about the extra driving, and with winter coming on, it just became impractical to think of continuing to drive her in inclement weather, or attempting to transfer her from warm car to house on butt-ass cold, windy days. So we gave it up. My thinking was that either that would be it, or she would learn to fall asleep in the afternoon when we did some marathon book reading sessions in bed, which was certainly my preferred route. But not Raelin's. She troops on through the day, slogging past the witching hours of 3pm when i am practically falling asleep playing farm animals and becomes more and more clingy just as I am needing space and time to make dinner.

But anyway...we eat early and aim to get her into the tub for her nightly bath by 6pm. She happily runs to the bath and chats animatedly through bubbles and various aqua animal parades and whatnot. But it almost never fails (especially when i'm on tub duty, which i am not usually) that some seemingly miniscule action triggers complete and total meltdown, and then it is kevin and i exchanging looks of, "what the fuck happened?" while trying not to laugh at her crestfallen face and quivering lips carrying on and on about the fact that *she* wanted to put the animals back in the bucket, or no she doesn't *want* a night-time diaper right now. That was tonight's fiasco.

Can't remember if the tears started in or out of the tub. I think she was still in it. Trying to remain firm but calm (as often these things can be complete ploys...I don't subscribe to the manipulation camp but I do know that Raelin's drama streak can get the best of her) I plucked her out of the tub, got her night-time diaper together (thicker, more absorbant than regular ones) and managed to coerce her into willingly picking out her own jammmies for bed. Ok, we more or less had our wits together when the bottom dropped out again becaus apparently *she* wanted to carry the diaper to the livingroom and i picked it up. Ok- take care routine- I carry her and the diaper and the jammies to the livingroom. Major meltdown begins. Apparently she is trying to communicate something critcal to us through her sobs which is lost on both of us. I hear "diaper closet" over and over.

The next 25 minutes or so involve: changing into a regular diaper because she needs to poop and won't poop in the nighttime diaper, talking about the fact that sometimes just because we need to go does not mean we actually will, a timer, holding onto me for dear life in the bathroom while continually insisting that she needs to poop, and then finally making it into the livingroom (still no poop) but triumphantly with a jammie shirt on. We calm down through our nighttime nursing session (brief, but still does wonders) and just as we are about to slide back down the slippery slope of the elusive poop, Kevin scoops her up and tells her a story in a hushed voice about pooping. Daddy to the rescue- she consents to changing back into her nighttime diaper, manages to give the cat a loving pet rather than a swift kick in the head, and i get an equally sweet kiss goodnight.

Good lord.

A few weeks ago at a midwife appointment, we spent a good 20 minutes talking to our midwives about how something had changed with Raelin. The sweet, easy 2 year old had been taken over by a 3 headed 2 1/2 year old monster who is more eratic than a bipolar schizophrenic. They nodded sympathetically and lent us a book called "Your Two Year Old: Terrible, or Tender?" The book was written in the 70's and while it is right on, it is also hysterical. It has the tone of a Discovery Channel African Safari documentary, talking about your toddler like it's some species to be weary of. And indeed, on nights like tonight, she is. Such phrases as "Do approach your todder in such and such a way and NEVER say blah blah and notice how your toddler...." etc... Apparently the 1/2 ages are all times of disequilibrium which is so heartening. Just as you are feeling level again around the 3rd birthday, you know that chaos is looming on the horizon 6 months hence.

Lucky for us, in her more even times of day, Realin continues to be charming, fun, and (unless you are touching something she suddenly feels divine ownership of) amiable.

But don't you dare rest your foot on her chair.


Blogger juli claire said...

weary of, wary of, same same ;)

11:38 PM  

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