Thursday, March 19, 2009

full cup

I almost want to delete that last post, it's so gloomy and indulgent. I guess I needed to write it, get it out, but that doesn't mean I had to post it on my blog... It raises the question of what is a blog and what is it for. Is it journaling? Is it communication? Is it mind dump? Definitely not that. Generally I think of it as communication, a way of exploring issues and sharing thoughts without actually talking. Perhaps I was just too sick to keep that in mind. We'll chalk it up to the illness.

So it's been nearly 2 weeks since Clark first got sick, since I've been either dealing with a sick baby or sick myself. What that means is it's also that long since Frances has had much of my attention. She's dealt with it pretty well. I was thinking my mom's being here would help since she would get undivided attention from her, but the first couple days Frances was still acting needy, pulling the dog's ears, running away at bedtime, being cantankerous. Then my mom got the lovely stomach bug we were so generous to share and spent a lot of the next afternoon in bed. At the same time, Clark had a long afternoon nap and Frances and I were free to spend some time together outside in the sun.

Oh, spring here is a relief, such a relief. I enjoyed the snow and actually wanted one more big storm, but let me tell you that sunny 50 degrees is just delicious. Frances and I took a walk. We colored with sidewalk chalk. We rode her tricycle, visited the neighbors, had a great time. And I realized: it's not just undivided attention she needs, it's undivided attention from me. This didn't used to be the case. When I was working she could have her cup filled by her dad or grandmother or Carol as easily as me; but now that I'm home with her it's me she needs. That same morning Mitch had played play dough with her for a long time, but it wasn't enough to fill her up.

As soon as we got outside in the quiet of just ourselves, I knew this was what she needs. Funny I didn't know it before. When grandparents come to visit I usually step back to give them space to be and play with the kids, and perhaps to give myself a break too. But maybe even when they're here I need to set aside some time to be alone with her.

That night bedtime was much less eventful--less bargaining, fewer delay tactics, no tantrums--because she wasn't going to bed still needy. What a great thing to learn, and such an easy fix to implement.

1 comment:

elizabeth said...

wow, this is exactly what i've learned with wiley...even if it's just a few minutes a day-he needs that from me with no baby around; seems to make a big difference in his behavior and our overall ability to avoid serious conflict.