Two Wonderful Girls. One Day At A Time…

Archive for March, 2007

Iris “Mary Kay” – a Leader in the Making

We chose Iris’ middle name Mary to honor her grandmother Mary Kay and great grandmother Mary Alice.  It seems as though she has taken that to heart, as her personality now exhibits signs of “the general” (my mom’s nickname by her siblings). 
Iris definitely knows what she wants at all times, and is very good at making it happen!  It’s hilarious to see what she gets passionate about, and I can see that my role is to let this little president-to-be practice her organizing and leadership skills as much as possible.
These past few weeks Iris seems to have moved on from Winnie the Pooh to two new attachment items.  Unfortunately, neither is cuddly or easy to keep track of:
• Her Gymboree sticker nametag and
• Her hair barrette.
How does she choose these things?  It reminds me of her first love, the helium balloon from her 1st birthday… the one she kissed each morning and waved to constantly.  At least with the balloon, she didn’t ask to sleep with it or take it into the bathtub…
She points to her chest and says “I, I, I” (for Iris) to either show me her nametag or emphatically ask me to find it and stick it on her.  Anyone have a suggestion for how to do this in the bathtub?  The first time I let her bring it and watch it disintegrate in the water, thinking she’d learn from the consequences, but alas her memory is not that long.  The next time I stuck it to the wall next to the tub where she could see it, telling her daddy would put it on her jammies when she got out of the tub.  She was still almost in tears at the thought of being that far away from it! 
Iris has never had a haircut and doesn’t need one, but she still feels it is imperative that she have a barrette in her hair at all times.  It started when she wanted me to put my barrette in her hair – which I did but it fell right out.  So we went to the drugstore and found her one.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into!  Now she will feel around her hair to make sure it is there at all times, especially in inconvenient places like the bathtub when I’m washing her hair.
And to top it all off, Iris is now also the “cruise director”.  She’s learned some games like Ring around the Rosy, Hide and Seek, and Horsey (riding mom).  And not only does she want to repeat them a million times – she also directs me on exactly which game and where.  Even with the very limited number of words she now speaks, she clearly communicates her intentions by grabbing my hand and pointing intently.  “mom, run over to the other room and hide around the corner!”  or “spin me around and sing that song again!” 
Somehow her charm and adorable smile manage to convince me most of the time that I should do what she’s asking.  Her hearty laugh makes it fun again and again.  Next, on to learning the skills of negotiation and compromise!

Dr. Jekyll & Miss Poopy-Pants

For years before we were even parents, we had been warned about the terrible twos. It’s that stage where kids are, shall we say, a little less than rational and a little more than willing to share it with the rest of the world. As we brace for that, I think we occasionally see previews of what’s to come. Iris definitely has her challenging moments. However, the bizarre part is that it is interspersed with her moments as the world’s happiest kid. It’s less about a general mood and more about an event that triggers things and it’s amazing how quickly this transformation can happen. And it’s amazing how much Cherise and I walk on eggshells to avoid triggering the behavior–especially me. Take Friday, for example. I come home and Iris is there to greet me when I reach the top of the steps. Cherise picks her up and they give each give me a big kiss. Of course, as is customary with Iris, the kiss usually is follwed with a swinging arm right (I prefer to think of it as an efficient hug). Of course, this time, her hand clips me in the eye. As I recoil, Cherise quickly disciplines Iris. "No. No hitting daddy. Just kisses." Iris does not enjoy being disciplined. That’s when it starts. The frown. The quiver of the lips. The protruding bottom lip. The scrunching of the face. She’s gonna explode–and there goes my night of peace and quiet with my daughter. "No, No! Please don’t cry." I beg. "That’s OK. You can scratch daddy’s cornea all you want. He’ll go get another one." I am so NOT ready for the terrible twos. Apparently, if I make through with most of my vision, it will be a victory. Her Jekyll/Hyde personality extends to her nightime habits as well. She sleeps pretty well, with the occasional 3AM screamfest. If we think it’s hunger, Cherise takes care of it. But sometimes, she just needs a good hug. So, I amble over to the crib, pick her up, give her a tight squeeze till she’s calm, and then lay her down. 4 out of 5 times, that’s all it takes. Of course, when I return to to the bed, Cherise usually asks "how did you get her down?", to which I dont’ recall in my groggy state and therefore respond with the only trick I assume would have worked: "I think I promised her a pony". By my last count, we owe Iris a couple dozen ponies…
Of course, "good" Iris (the one I see 80% of the time) is an unbelieavable joy. The kid is absolutely amazing. She picks up on stuff that you don’t even notice. One day, I was a little sore after a long run and starting stretching my arms and making noises. Almost in sync, Iris started doing the same exact thing. I wouldn’t have noticed, except Cherise was on the floor laughing. To keep it going, I started changing the stretched and noises. Wouldn’t you know it, she followed every one. Of course, I can use this to my advantage. In the tradition of my sitcome heroes, I’ve got her imitating Fonzie from Happy Days ("Ayyyyy") and Homer Simpson ("D’Oh!"). She’s almost got the Fonzie thumb, though she usually leads with her index finger. Cherise has her say "uh oh" every time she drops something, which never gets old–even when she drops her messy yogurt. This newfound interactivity makes life a lot easier. Where I had no idea what to do with her a year ago, I’ve got plenty of options now. For example, while we’ve kept her from watching TV, I did let her watch part of the Georgetown-Pittsburgh basketball game with me. When Georgetown center Roy Hibbert scored a basket and drew the foul, I yelled in delight and stomped my feet. Iris, seeing this, stands in front of me and begins stomping her feet. Suddently, every time Georgetown scored or made a big play, I’d stomp my feet and she’d follow suit. Of course, some of our playtime is making Cherise a little nervous. Now that I’ve introduced Iris to swing dancing by standing on our coffee table, she wants to do it all the time (oh, was that wrong?). OK, I know I can’t spoil her. But have you seen this kid’s smile? She may get those ponies yet…

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