talk about it more

a virtual baby book

When she was two, Fiona regularly said "Talk about it more!" to express her desire to know more about whatever we were discussing.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Nora gets my goat

Last night Nora was crying in the middle of the night. Thankfully, this has become a rare occurrence. I was finally getting a good night's sleep and didn't wake up right away like Ian did. Instead, as Nora's crying slowly infiltrated my dream-self, I had a strange little dream conference with myself about her.

Life and parenting are so different now with Nora on the scene. Unlike her people-pleasing sister, Nora takes life by the horns. She's like the kitten who can swat with her words or her limbs and have no idea how much ouch she can actually deal out. So far she has gotten away with this because she's three and still learning how things work, but also because when she's not kicking up a fuss she is so darn cherubic and entertaining that it's hard to believe she ever acted up in the first place.

Clearly our 'old tricks' do not work with this beloved imp. Honestly, Nora gets my goat many times a day-- and vice versa. Somehow we find ourselves on opposite ends of an opinion much of the time. My artificial attempts at letting her think she's making decisions when she's really being offered limited choice have fallen rather flat. And her volatile reactions to what I consider reasonable can grab my attention as well as that of passersby.

Part of the solution, perhaps, is to let go of the irritation I expect to feel, and often do end up feeling as we have our interactions. How Zen, Jen! I reached this realization just as I awakened and discovered I wasn't in a parenting conference, but actually in bed listening to my daughter wail in their room next-door.

Ian was already on the scene when I arrived at Fiona and Nora's bed. He hissed when I 'erroneously' gave Fiona Nora's pillow to muffle the sound. Nora howled when I offered her a drink. She wanted a drink, of course, but she didn't want to actually drink it. Her preference was to screech loudly, hold the little cup of water while cradled in her father's arms without sipping it, slowly wind down from crying, and drift back toward sleep. Let the cups fall where they may. It was, after all, her cup.

It was an accident waiting to happen, but clearly there was no help I could offer here. The best thing I could do is crawl back into bed and go back to sleep. My dream conference with myself made at least that much clear. In the light of day, I found a related thought by Thomas Merton, "I do not have to react. It is useless. There are much better things to do. And to react is to become implicated-- to become a prisoner of the same nonsense that I am compelled to condemn. Do not be compelled." I can read this passage. Whether I can absorb it is something else altogether.


At 7:53 AM, Blogger Teresa said...

Our boy gets caught in a "No!" loop when he's overly tired. I frequently make the situation worse. If I only weren't so easily frustrated with my own child...


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