Friday, December 16, 2011

I've got a screamer

Oh the screaming. Clark is three and a half, and boy is he a screamer. He's always been a screamer, but I thought somehow he'd grow out of it once he could form a complete sentence that accurately described his desires. But no. Instead of saying, "Sissy, could I play with that when you're done?" he just screams. And when the gum I have is the wrong shape, boy howdy. It's not infrequently that I careen from the grocery with one hand on the cart and one hand on him just to keep him from vaulting out, his piercing scream the 5 alarm kind. People flinch away from me, or start in surprise, or stare unabashedly, or shake their head, or sometimes smile in pity and sympathy. Yesterday he continued screaming well after I'd gotten him restrained in his seat, and still on while I stood outside the car in the freezing wind and snow while I answered my phone, since I wouldn't be able to hear anything from inside the car.

They're not tantrums, just extremely loud wordless complaints. When they go on and on they certainly qualify as fits, but he never loses control. No it's all very intentional.

I just keep waiting for this stage to pass. It will, won't it?

At the same time, when he's not screaming he's unbearably cute. And I'm aware that both are going to go at once. His baby three-year-old cuteness is just the flip side to eardrum shattering complaint. It's a terrible dichotomy.

Written days later:
Maybe it's not all so intentional, Clark's screaming. Perhaps he can't help it as much as I've believed. Not that this changes much of anything. I still have to deal with it, respond to it, help him find other ways to express himself or take control, and he still has to learn what's acceptable here in this dimension we call society. But it does change my internal attitude toward it a bit. It gives me a little sympathy for him.

Sympathy's always a good thing.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

quiet time parenting success! and the holidays

Yay me! A couple of weeks ago I bought Frances a big round old school $3.99 Target clock with numbers and hands in bright yellow (so sunny!). The next day I told her to play in her room and watch the clock, and when the big hand came all the way around to the 12, she could come out. I put public radio on low (which here is excellent musical programming during the day) and left her to herself. One time when I came in she was humming and dressing some polly pockets, and she didn't even speak to me though she smiled (so engrossed...), and the 2nd time I checked on her the room was spotless and she was sitting in her chair listening to the music and watching the clock. "It's on the 11, Mom!" she said. All very exciting stuff, these clock hands. I didn't foresee a clean room as one of the perks, and I'll take it.

Meanwhile, Clark listened to a book on tape, then I set him up with a Christmas ISpy. I read a couple of pages to him and helped him find the objects, then he was off and running on his own, and I was free to straighten up the house. After that he just moved around me while I did my work and he did his.

A couple of days after our phenomenal success we left for NC for a lovely 5 day family visit. I'm now in the throws of having to implement this whole thing again now that we're home, travel always interrupting any possible routines.

It's not long before we leave again - this time for Florida and my in-laws - and I've been feeling enormous pressure to make christmas cookies and ornaments and gingerbread houses. I'm mighty glad I got the (silver! aqua!) trees up before we left. The kids, of course, decorated the bottom halves of the trees and the ornaments are clustered in twos and threes, which is a lovely look, turns out.

Aaaaand now I have pneumonia, plus Mitch is going to be out of town all next week, both of which mean I'm letting go of my ambitions for cookies and ornaments and gingerbread houses. Only so much one sick human can do, and now what I can do is lie on the couch and play knights with little playmobil folks while closing my eyes.

In other news: the botox is working this time. Headaches be gone! And the snow is coming, some of it already swirling around in the air, father winter on his way. Can't wait!