12 April 2013

Half-full Fridays

I know I'm supposed to let "big time" posts sit a few extra days to garner more attention, but I'm going to keep updating "as regularly scheduled" because I feel like it. Maybe that's lame, but I'm not trying to be big and famous over here, so I'm good with it.

Sometime in the last two weeks, my daughter has turned into a terrible terrorizer. She is incredibly whiny, throws temper-tantrums when she doesn't get her way, bangs her head against the ground again, and hits me when she's mad. And she does this All. Day. Long. She's already commenced and it's only 8:30am. I consulted with the therapists and there are two running theories: 1. She's tired and we need to adjust her nap schedule and 2. She's frustrated that she doesn't have enough words/signs to express herself.

I've been working on the nap schedule thing, but it seems to help one day only to end up at square one the second day. With regard to the signs, I have no idea what to do. A lot of times, she doesn't use the signs she knows when she's mad. She'll get so angry when she's hungry, crying and hitting instead of just signing "eat." I feel like we're functioning independently. No matter what I do, it doesn't impact what she's doing. I might as well just be banging my own head against the wall.

Most of this bad behavior started up a few months ago, but I would just ignore her as long as it resulted from her not getting her way. I was amazed at how quickly the behavior stopped, I thought we were done with it! But now it's back and worse than ever and if I ignore it, she'll make a beeline for somewhere she's not supposed to be and commence ripping things apart. Ugh. I swear, if we could get outside more often and just let loose, these issues would clear up. But we're on day 5 of "cold and rainy" and the ground is pure mud. It's times like this when I really miss Florida. Even when it was hot, you could always go outside in the early morning before things got too bad or to the beach to cool off. I would have thought I was the last person on earth who would ever be converted to a Florida girl.

I just wrote a few more paragraphs where I proceed to whine about how terrible everything is going, but I kind of disgusted myself. I've been whiny for the last several days straight and today is Friday, and Fridays are too longed-for to be wasted with whining. So I deleted them. Here's me trying to be happy on a Friday instead, with 3 positive things.

1. Real Food = Good Cooking
After a brief love affair with the Kitchen Counter Cooking School (highly recommend-I read the 2010 edition, but cited the 2012 edition), my cooking improved so much that Matt swears he is going to write a review on Amazon talking about how amazing of a book it is. Even though he didn't read it. Because that's how much better my already-wasn't-too-bad cooking got. Part of the reason is that it taught me a variety of new/old cooking techniques (I recently made veggies that were so amazing the showed-up the main course. And they only took 12 minutes, including prep). The other part of the reason is that I've started using kick-ass ingredients.

Yesterday I made an Italian dish with homemade tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes, onion and garlic sauteed in real olive oil, and ground beef from a grass fed cow. It took all of 40 minutes, including prep.

It was SO flavorful. I only used 1/2 lb of the above 1 lb package for the dish, which I normally do, but the beef was so...beefy...that you couldn't tell I'd halved the quantity. It took me reading the entire Cooking School book in order to convince myself to give real ingredients a shot. So far real olive oil rocks veggies and real beef rocks...everything beef goes in.

I think the only way this works long-term in a budget is if 1. you don't eat a lot of meat, and 2. you eat standard portions of food for dinner.

Being in law school taught us how to make meat stretch so that a majority of meals contain some meat, but we supplement with a lot of veggies or rice (I don't like pasta very much, but you could also sub in pasta, which goes on wicked nice sales an awful lot). I bought a whole small chicken (Just a regular commercial chicken, my grocer didn't have anything cage free. Should last 3-two serving dishes + 2 soups), a package of wild caught white fish (1.5-two serving dishes), 1 lb of grass fed ground beef (2-two serving dishes), and a regular bone-in chuck steak (1-four serving dish). Four packages of meat plus some leftover ham we froze in January and have been slowly eating will easily last us the entire month. I have 8 vegetarian meals planned this month, 2 leftover nights per week to supplement.

2. Fine Motor Skills
Matt and I walked into the living room the other day to discover this:

Abigail had nested her own nesting blocks. This is a big deal because it shows that she used her fine motor skills, and also that she has progressed to the point that she builds constructively instead of only destructively (cognitive development indicator).

You don't realize how much every step a kid takes is a miracle until you are given a child who can't take those steps on her own. I still have a very hard time believing that most kids just get up one day and walk all by themselves. Not walking one day, walking the next. To me that sounds as absurd as if I told you that one day I had a bunch of engine parts laying around my garage and the next morning I just magically had a working engine.

If baby #2 is typically developing, I'll get to experience such miracles first-hand. In the meantime, I'm going to do a victory dance over nested nesting blocks. It took us a few months to get here.

3. Warm Receptions
The news that we're expecting was fully well-received. I'm excited for a Take 2. You see, with Abigail, my pregnancy was so stressful and my newborn memories are wrought with pain and depression. As I write our story and re-live being pregnant, I am slowly weeding out the bad memories, pruning away the pain and focusing on the memory of her tiny, snuggly body, her newborn smell, the teeny-tiny pink onesies. I can't wait to re-live that. The attention a big belly garners, the feel of the kicking, the "oh my gosh I have to go to the bathroom again" jokes, even the birth experience. I want it again. I want to pack a hospital bag and get excited when my water breaks and make the "it's almost time phone calls." And, dammit, I will hold this baby when it's born. F- any nurse or doctor who tries to take this child from my womb and send it off in another direction. I will hold this baby and nurse it. F- the vitamin K shot and the Apgar test and the first bath. I'm older and wiser this time. Even if something does go wrong during birth or even if this child is special needs, it will have a warm reception. And I will have a positive pregnancy.

Guns a-blazin', my friends.

Thank you for the warm reception of our news - my heart was overflowing - and that's a healing experience.


Amelia said...

Gotta love 2-yo temper tantrums. She sounds pretty typical in that dept. anyway. ;)

When my kids were that age and had tempter tantrums..I'd try to think of
HALT, which stands for
H. hungry
A. angry
L. lonely
T. tired

as these things seem to cause my tantrums..so if they're hungry..you offer food. Angry (due to frustration or whatever) try to work them through it. Lonely..offer extra cuddles. Even at age 2, my kids still liked being carried in the sling and it stopped a lot of tempter tantrums. Or tired..and they need more sleep or a nap.

2-yo's can be tough..that is for sure.

Jacqueline said...

Thanks for the HALT! It usually is one of those things, but I usually forget to run through all four before I get frustrated. Abigail also loves to be carried in the sling - it's yet another reason I'm glad she's so tiny!