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Hitting

I consider myself lucky that I have a child that doesn’t hit. Because even parents who are really good at helping their children communicate and coach their kids through emotions, can still end up with an aggressor. That’s just the way it is when they’re under four. You try your hardest but some kids find it harder to transfer physical energy into vocal energy, or redirect their physical energy at a wall or pillow or activity.

Tonight, Avi hit me. In the face. And her nails aren’t perfectly clipped so it included a scratch.

I was actually caught so off guard that I just glared at her for a while.

I didn’t yell, though. Because I also realized immediately that I’d put her in a precarious position and her hitting me made complete sense.

It was past 9 at night after a long day. She had visited her dad for the first time in almost a week and then had to come home to my house late anyways (not something we usually do). And then I was teaching her a new card game and when she didn’t like the result, she reacted without thinking. Honestly, who could think that late at night after a long day and you’re only three?

I reminded her about other options and then we ended the game and went up for stories and bedtime without incident.

It was a good reminder: only expect what people can truly give. Best behavior late at night after an exhausting day won’t happen…for grown-ups too.

A few days ago, my mom caught Avi drawing little stick figures. Very complete and detailed stick figures. She even gave my mom glasses.  We looked on the sly because I whispered “She’s been doing that for a while, but she usually chooses to color blobs instead. I don’t know why.”
But then, the next day, she worked for a long time on a gorgeous picture and then signed her name.
Her name!
My baby can write her name!
I cried.
She laughed.
We danced.

Appreciating the Good

There’s nothing like a close shave to remind me how friggin’ lucky I am to have a healthy whole child. (currently knocking on wood)

Avi fell plummeted off the back of the couch today.  A two and half foot free fall flat on to her back and, consequently, her head.

Within minutes she was lethargic, yawning and complaining of pain in the back of her mouth.  Twenty minutes later she was curled up on the kitchen floor after puking her guts out.

Her pupils were fine, but she was clearly not.  The doctor told me to watch her (duh) and if she vomited again, bring her to the ER but otherwise just hang in there until we could get in for an appointment.

It was a very long two hours.  For me, anyways.

I finally got her moved to the couch to watch a movie where she promptly fell asleep.

I struggled with myself for a few minutes as I watched her breath.  If it’s a concussion, aren’t I supposed to make her stay awake?  But the doctor didn’t say that and my nurse-to-be roomie said she would be fine sleeping as long as I could wake her up in a couple of hours.  But her dad told me I wasn’t allowed to let her sleep.

Fortunately, her dad called me right at that moment to tell me I could let her sleep.  He’d double checked.  He told me I should look it up too to make myself feel better.  I decided not to.  I’d rather trust the people around me and my gut which told me she really needed to sleep.

Over the course of the next hour and a half, I watched her face puff up in her sleep.  A small puffiness.  A little blotchiness.  No one but one’s own mother would notice.  But I worried anyways.  I left her side long enough to get a cup of tea and my knitting basket.  And then there I sat wondering if I had a long road ahead of me of watching my child scream through lab tests and get drugged up for CT scans and then I grew thankful for the fact that she has been so healthy so far.

She woke up on her own.  And within minutes was munching goldfish and giggling at the TV.  She was back to her old self and bravely said “ahhh” to the doctor when asked.

And did I bother to remind her of the lesson she learned about climbing on the backs of couches?  Of course not.  I was too relieved to remember to lecture.  Her dad took care of it by asking “What lesson did you learn today when you fell off the couch?”

To which she replied that she should not climb on the back of the couch.

To which he replied, “Yes, but more importantly, if you do climb things, you always need a spotter.”

So true.

 

Talking about Skin Color

My mom likes to tell the story of the day my older brother asked about skin color.  He stared at a black man in the grocery store and then asked very loudly, “Why is his skin that color?”  I don’t know how old he was, young enough that he could get away with this honest question without too much insult.

I’ve made an effort to place books and toys before my child that have people of all races.  The books she read are filled with all shades as are the many baby dolls spread throughout the house.  And since she’s a big asker of “why” I knew I’d be tackling the question sooner or later.  But, last night, she surprised me by asking the question not as “why” but as “what.”

She said to me, “Mama, what is the color we call our skin?”

And I answered, “Well, that’s a difficult question because there are many different colors of skin.  You and I have skin that’s sort of peachy pink I think.  Do you think it’s peachy pink?”

“Yes.”

“But not everybody has peachy-pink skin.  Your teacher, Mrs. K, has sort of golden brown skin.  And Mr. M. is so pale that he’s almost white.  What about your friend A at school?  What color is her skin?”

“It’s peachy-pink too.”

“Yeah, it is.  How about Z?  Is his skin peachy-pink?”

“No. It’s brown.”

“Yup.  Your doll Kevin has brown skin too.  And bitty-baby has what is called olive-tone skin.”

She surprised me again later when we were reading Girls Hold Up this World.  I pulled it out because it has nice pictures of all different kinds of girls (mostly darker than she and I) so we could talk about more skin color.  We got to the picture of a toddler who in my view has medium-brown skin.  Up unti now, we’d been placing our own arms up against the pictures to compare and talk about the differences.  Again, she held up her arm to this toddler’s face, but she happened to hold up her arm against the child’s cheek which glowed pale pink in the sunlight and declared that she had peachy-pink skin just like Avi.

Rather than “correct” her, I decided to agree.  Because it was true.  Even though I would have called this toddler a “black” child her cheek was, in fact, peachy-pink in the picture and very close to the skin on my child’s arm.

I am so proud that my three year old doesn’t question why we are born with different color skin and hair and eyes.  She simply wants a way to identify and name what she sees.  This, to me, means I’m off to a good start in raising a child who is non-descriminatory and welcomes all shades of people into her life.

Why I Love Halloween

  • I get to dress up in goofy clothes and people think I’m cute instead of weird.
  • Strange men sit on their stoops in pairs, drinking beer and handing out candy.  They love it.  The kids are hesitant.  They have an innate sense that something is not quite right.  The parents hover on the sidewalk wondering if this is a good idea.
  • Everyone comes out of their houses to smile at complete strangers.
  • High school boys get away with asking for candy without even wearing a mask.
  • I get to carve a pumpkin.
  • The lady across the street was bored since there were barely any kids around so she dressed up in her witch costume (broom too) and hobbled up and down the sidewalk.
  • Everyone tells me my child needs a bigger treat bag.

_MG_3172Happy Halloween

IMG_3166

It’s been two months since my last bad hair cut.
Naturally, it was time to get a another one.
So I don’t mind the rain today.
Because my hood is up to hide my stricken vanity.

Musical Genius

Sung as she sat down for dinner.

Two little kitties running down the street.
They found a pizza and they ate it as a treat.