Here We are in the Present Tense

July13

39 weeks pregnant today. Some days the baby seems ready to go, others all is calm. Ah, the edge-of-your-seat time of pregnancy. It’s really hard to focus.

Preschool update: I just turned on the TV so I could get a break from all the stories Audrey is demanding to read. How’s that for irony? Am super impressed with the selection of books we got in our package. Obviously.

Audrey’s doing better at going to bed and staying there. Best possible advice came from Andy’s aunt on Friday when I was rambling on about being at a complete loss to parent: “Wait till she outgrows it. This too shall pass.” I need to embroider that on a damn pillow.

This is all I know. My brain has nothing else in it that’s not straight-up crazy talk that I only save for my husband.

Later.

Audrey’s First Box Day

July9

Audrey’s school books came in the mail Tuesday.

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“School” as in the bunch of stories we’re going to read while Mommy thinks about being the kind of crafty and motivated person that would do hands-on activities.

We were both super excited.

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She wanted to spend the day on each item she pulled out and I had to beg her to keep going so I could see our new treasures.

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My precious safety scissors…

The book nerd in me was in heaven. Many of these books were much nicer than I had realized from their pictures online. And so much bigger. It’s a huge library to explore with a tiny person. Really? We’re going to read all this? Eeeeee!

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Audrey’s first goal was to play the teddy bear matching game, which is adorable. She found a pair with grimaces and said, “These bears are worried. Let’s hug them.” Gahhh.

She had to play with the other game next. It’s called Mighty Mind and involves pattern block-like pieces that you have to figure out how to put into various designs. It goes from very simple to complex, so I think it will be fascinating for a long time. She asks for her “pieces” often.

There’s also a CD of nursery rhymes, which is a big hit as Aud is obsessed with nursery rhymes. It baffles me: they are so WEIRD, but there must be a reason they keep getting passed down.

So then there’s the books. I was kind of doubting myself after ordering this package. I mean, I own books. I’ve had tons of children’s books since before I ever made a kid. I could go pick out a bunch of things and get off more cheaply than indulging in this set. It’s not like this even comes with a fancy schedule of what to do every day – they’re all, “Here’s a checklist that goes vaguely in order of attention span and complexity. Read as much as you feel like, do or don’t do the super easy activities we suggest, just chill and enjoy your kid.”

But here’s the thing: I wouldn’t have picked the majority of these books on my own. In fact, I would let Audrey keep bringing me the same okay books off our shelf every day if left to my own devices. So I’m finding myself surprised and charmed by every new story we crack open. And so is Audrey. She actually demanded I turn off Super Why today and reread one of her new favorites. Whut? I have never been so harassed for stories before this week. That’s a solid review.

The dork in me that loves binders and planners and schoooool is still thinking about weaving these materials into a charming free preschool curriculum I found online because crafts! Themed snacks! Lesson plans that tell me what to do! But I also know we’ve got plenty of years for that, and in reality the me that’s soon to have a newborn has probably got the exact right system for now.

Eeeeee! Books!

 

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If I Give You a Quarter, Will You Leave Me Alone?

July2

Aud took the last several days off from that whole sleeping-easily-through-the-night thing in order to torture us. At least I assume that was her goal. She decided bedtime was horsecrap after all and starting staging a revolt every evening. We do her whole sweet bedtime routine, tuck her in, and she says, “I have to go potty.” Well…fine. I mean, you don’t say no, right? But then she’ll go potty, step one foot back in her room and announce, “I have to go potty again.”

Aw, hellz nah.

So we try to leave. I mean, suck it up, kid. It’s over. But when we ignore the demands to go potty, she just strips to prove her point. WHUT. No. And then more waking at night, cause she’s been busy enough to suck down a bunch of water in her room, and damned if she doesn’t want to pee in the potty and not her diaper, sure, but then why give her water at night, oh right, the husband thinks people need access to water at night and BLEH.

Two nights ago I was awake from 4 to 6 because my brain and body just didn’t want to go back to sleep after being yanked into consciousness. I may have wept quite a lot.

I thought through a couple of approaches to this whole insanity. (You know, other than the unseemly thoughts that run through my head when I’m being yelled at in the middle of the night. And also wondering if there was a chastity belt version of a diaper she couldn’t get off.) I’ve heard of handing out a couple of poker chips or something at the end of the evening and telling her if she wants to call me to do something she has to pay me one chip. Any “money” she still has in the morning can be used to buy something special. Sounded solid, and like she might be ready to grasp that kind of long-ish range thinking.

Then it also occurred to me that we’ve been watching too much TV lately, not getting enough ya-yas out, and that when bedtime comes and she actually has Mom and Dad’s focus for once, it’s too joyful to give up. So, maybe we should also, I don’t know, parent her during the day or something.

So I decreed yesterday to be a TV-free day. It was never, never on. Nope, No Daniel Tiger today. No nothin’, kid. Bring me a book and I’ll read to you. Andy was home more yesterday and got in some solid ride-Daddy-like-a-horsey time. We went outside. We were like people.

At bedtime, I gave her two quarters (couldn’t find any other suitable token). I told her if she needed to come out again, she could pay me. (I let her sneak in one more potty trip before I left though. Well, two seconds after we called it a night, she was complaining some nameless complaint of need. I went downstairs and heard her say, “I take it off.” Aw, man. Then she asked for a kleenex. I hollered, “Are you going to pay me a quarter for it?” “YES!” Kay, then, fine. I went up and she was naked from the waist down. “Well, you owe me a quarter anyway to put that diaper back on.” Diaper back on. Kleenex. “I need to pray again!” You and me both, kid. We said the bedtime prayer. I went back downstairs.

“I have a wedgie!”

Well. To be fair, I had just tried to pull the pinned cotton diaper straight back on and not refold it or anything, so…that’s probably valid. I went up and tried to rearrange it without taking it off. Downstairs.

“I still have a wedgie!”

Eff. I went back up and stuck my hand down her pants again. She giggled. “You all good here now?” “Yes.” “Okay, you still have a quarter. Stay in your room so you can buy M&Ms tomorrow.”

And it was finally night. She stayed in bed all night.

I didn’t, because my body thought it would be fun to practice flooding with adrenaline and being jerkily awake until 2:45 in the morning, with extra Braxton-Hicks-ing, but the kid made it, so yay.

I’m tired and it’s taken me two days to write this little tale, so I’m not sure where I was planning to go with it. We just put her to bed crazy late (family party, yo!) and gave her her quarters and we haven’t been bothered at all. There’s hope! Parenting by bribery! And also some actual parenting!

Don’t know if I’ll bother with bed myself. Firecrackers, man…