Thursday, June 21, 2007

Also, if you say you're sorry, you're allowed to do it again.

After the kids had some semi-unsupervised play today I noticed a suspiciously bite-like mark on Nate's arm. Nate hadn't cried, and he's been grabbing everything he can reach and put into his mouth; I thought it was possibly self-inflicted. But Lula was the more likely culprit. I asked Lula. "Is this a bite mark? Did you bite Nate's arm?"
"No. But if I scratched him or poked him by accident, and it left a mark, that would be OK, right?"
Um. Right...?

In other news, Tallulah decided a couple of days ago (Monday, to be exact, while at day care) that she no longer wants to wear diapers. So we've been diaper-free, except for sleep time, since then! There have only been a couple of minor accidents thus far. I'm genuinely proud. Sad, huh? The only thing is we're about to take a road trip up to New Hampshire, since my grandmother died, and it's her memorial service this weekend. So I had to buy a portable mini-potty -- basically a ring, with folding feet, that supports a plastic bag into which a child can pee and poop. Lovely! And then you save the bag for ever and ever. "Remember that time in Vermont when we couldn't find a rest stop?" we'll say, years later. "The smell of this bag of poop really takes me back."

UPDATE: a couple hours after I posted this, I WATCHED Lula lean over and bite Nate (somewhat gently) on the cheek. He started whimpering a little. I yelled out for Lula to stop ("HEY!"), and she did; I said, "Did you just bite your brother on the cheek?" and she said, flat out, "No." I told her I had just! seen her! biting him! And I had told her not to, before! How do you teach a kid to tell the truth? Or to listen to you? I mean, I know you use punishments and rewards and you follow through and all that -- it's not a complete free-for-all over here. But still. This parenting thing is hard work.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Stories.

Lula has been working on understanding some abstract concepts. Her way to understand things is to hear stories about them, and the fact that she knows that about herself and can ask for such stories directly is what blows my mind. Basically she has figured out that the best way to understand a word is to hear it in context. In a variety of contexts, really, since she asks for stories on the same subjects again and again. Recent favorite topics include:
shy dogs
details
labyrinth (that one came out of nowhere)
reasons

And after the hastily-improvised and very simple story has concluded Lula invariably asks for "the rest." Even if the plot has clearly wrapped up, all problems resolved, characters gone to bed, evildoers reformed, etc., there must still be more. And after the story has been extended past all reason, she commands: "Again." She likes the stories, is what I'm saying.

BTW, Lula's sleep situation has improved a lot. Scott figured out that he could do a modified Ferber method with her: tell her that he'd be back to check on her in three minutes, then five, then ten... and once she fell asleep (judged via a lack of chatter on the monitor), he'd just stop checking on her. Worked like a charm.

For the baby, we're helping him learn how to sleep at this very moment. The less said about that the better.

I leave you with another thing I never thought I'd have to say: Don't lick ANYTHING in the playground. (I mean, REALLY, people.)