Saturday, November 14, 2009

Little Big Man

Isaac has had a big week. Sometime yesterday morning he cut his first tooth. Unlike Anna's "pirate" tooth (her bottom lateral incisor came first), his was in a very normal place: bottom front. He didn't seem any fussier than normal, and I hope the rest of them come in so easily. I'm kind of sad that his teeth are coming - the toothless grin is such an endearing pleasure.

The second big thing was that Isaac can now pull himself into a stand. He is so thrilled with himself, and lets loose a happy squeal each time. (This squeal sounds more like a desperate gasp for air than a joyful proclamation, but whatever.) He's also getting close to crawling so perhaps will lose interest in walking, which is fine by me. I wish I could cover our mean wood floors with rubber. We had wood floors in Connecticut, and I imagine it cost Anna more than a few brain cells. Poor girlie.

The third thing is that we've cut down Isaac's night feedings to just one. My pediatrician says he should be able to go 8 hours without eating, so we've been slowly reducing his first night feeding over the past couple of weeks. This had been going fine - even slept until 5 one day! - until we also stopped swaddling him. So last night he had only water and a sleep sack, and got up as much as you might expect. Jon (awesome dad that he is) took the first half of the night and I did the second half. I should note here that Jon has been such a huge help with the night wakings. He always gets up with Isaac in the first half of the night, and then gets up with Anna in the morning. This is the only reason I'm able to function.

Anyway, I'm hoping Little Man adjusts soon, i.e., by tomorrow night. Jon is leaving for D.C. Sunday afternoon, and it will be the first time I've had both kids at night, by myself. I'm quite nervous about this, since Anna is still adjusting to the time change and gets up 30-60 minutes earlier than she used to. Those are golden sleep minutes so I expect Monday will be zombie day. Luckily our neighbor is able to look after Anna that day so maybe I can catch some zzzzz's. Regardless, I should be thankful since Jon is only gone one night, and the next trip isn't until early December. He's traveling so much less than last fall, when it seemed he was gone half the time.

In other news, I've been thinking about discipline lately. Anna is still firmly in her "not" phase. This is a variation on the "no" phase, which we also still experience on a regular basis. Luckily, the "nots" are much cuter. For example:
Me: Anna, that's called sleet.     Anna: It's not, it's called plum.
Me: It's cold outside today.        Anna: It's not cold, it's hot.
Me: Look at that cow.               Anna: It's not a cow, it's a horse.

You get the idea. She's finding her voice and her place in the world, and these word games illustrate that. They also illustrate the ambiguity between encouraging her voice and setting appropriate limits. It's fine to call sleet a plum, but it is in fact cold outside and she can not run around the yard naked. I've been thinking about these things more than usual, because it's slowly dawning on me that my daughter is a little more... high strung than other kids her age. This isn't really a surprise, since she was a tough nut as a baby (colic! no sleep! no cuddling!), and I suppose some of those difficult tendencies have carried over into her current temperment. So what do I do about this? Do I do anything? I love her independent spirit, her love of life, her energy and imagination, and her ability to see (exploit?) the nuances of various situations. But I would also love the highs and lows to be a bit more muted. I would love her to be able to sit quietly for an hour (without TV), to get through a meal without a meltdown. I guess what I'm wondering is: how much of this is toddler-hood, and how much of this is Anna? How much will she grow out of on her own, and how much requires parental guidance? I don't want to break her spirit, but I do want her to be obedient and well-adjusted. 

This highlights one of my biggest challenges of being a parent: the lack of immediate feedback. There is no way to know if I'm making the right decisions until my babies are much older. What comforts me is something Jon said awhile ago: "Millions of children are raised in a million different ways, and the vast majority turn out just fine." Maybe I just need to stop second guessing myself.