Thursday, May 15, 2008

21 Months of Genevieve Rose

Genevieve turns 21 months old today. In the last month, she's eaten pretty much nonstop, fueling some mysterious almost-two growth spurt and going from long and lean to toddler-roly-poly, and added, among others, the words "Ernie," "Zoe," "oval," "undies," and "potty" to her vocabulary. OK, so you sort of have to be her parents to understand what she's actually saying, but take my word for it: she's actually saying Ernie, Zoe, oval, undies, and potty.

About that potty thing. Just this week she's become fascinated by the potty chair, insisting on trying it out whenever Julia's in the bathroom, and progressing in two days from sitting on it fully clothed to, now, sitting on it with her diaper off and--this part is crucial, don't you dare get it wrong--her pants put back on after diaper removal so she can pool them around her ankles as she sits. Then she makes you give her a little square of toilet paper, which she crumples up in her chubby, dimply hand and pats in the vague vicinity of her backside. Not that she actually does anything in the potty, of course. But having an older sibling around seems to be a boon when it comes to interest in a diaper-free existence.

On a less positive note, the last month has also brought a VERY ANNOYING, VERY FRUSTRATING, long-lasting bedtime-rebellion trend, which manifests itself in prolonged crying, screaming, and calling for Christopher and/or me to go in and save her from her nightly fate. I know I've complained about this behavior from Genevieve before, but until now it hasn't gone on for weeks on end. Also, for many, many months--a year or more--Genevieve went to bed at nighttime with no real protest (not counting that awful falling-asleep-sitting-up phase she went through last spring when she first learned to sit herself up from a prone position; remember those fun times?). I'd nurse her, sing to her, put her down, and she'd grin up at me and then talk softly to herself for a few minutes before falling asleep. This recent prolonged screaming--the angst, the tears, the raging against the dying of the light--it's so terribly maddening. Who wants to listen to a screaming baby all evening long? After listening to a cranky baby all day? Not me.

To be fair, Genevieve's spirits have improved this past month. The nonstop tantrums aren't quite so nonstop. The teething has waned. The few new words have helped a lot. But Genevieve's still a firebrand, and she tends toward the surly. Look at her wrong, ask to kiss her, and she's likely to wrinkle up her nose at you and yell, "NAAAAH!" If you're particularly offensive, you'll probably get a swat or a shove. The other mamas at our new baby playgroup don't believe this, because in large groups Genevieve is typically mute and unanimated, but truly: get in her way, once she knows you, and she'll let you know you'd better STEP BACK. And FORGET ABOUT THE KISSES AND CUDDLES, TOO.

It's all OK, though, because she is who she is. Christopher made up a rhyme not too long ago: "Vivi, Vivi, you're so nice! Can I kiss you once or twice?", and Julia loves Genevieve so much that she has reinterpreted it, adding a line so that the last part isn't a yes or no question. Julia says to her, "Vivi, Vivi, you're so nice! Can I kiss you once or twice? Can I kiss you once? Or twice?"

Because who wants to take no for an answer from Genevieve? Not me.


Mnmom said...

You have my sympathies - as I've said before, we have one of "those" here too. She's always been loaded for bear. My Mom always said she was full of piss and vinegar.

Here's what helped us, a bit, at bedtime. Get your sleeping bag and lay on her floor. Every night, move that sleeping bag a little farther toward the door, out the door, then eventually gone.

Better yet, just ride the waves, have a beer, find some humor, do whatever it takes to get some sleep.

Christopher Tassava said...

I love that little girl.