I still still remember him turning that magical 6 months old, when the doctor informed me that he didn't need to nurse in the middle of the night anymore. From that day on he was cut off from the nocturnal dairy and he also began eating solid foods. I remember we took a picture of him right before he tasted solid food and I remarked to my dad, "Isn't it crazy that all the growing he's done since birth is because of me?!" Of course I meant because of my milk since I was proud of him never having ingested a drop of formula (and actually, unless he stole some from another kiddo's bottle at daycare, he never ever had anything but boob juice). My dad was quick to point out that ALL of Eddie growth was because of me--as in, fetal development through now. Well, duh. But somehow that didn't seem as astonishing to me as the breastfeeding part, maybe because I didn't really have to work all that hard to make sure he grew in my belly. I mean, I ate well (but I usually do). He just grew in my belly without much thought on my part. But with breastfeeding I really did have to work hard--I got mastitis several times, once so bad I had to get a shot in the butt of strong antibiotics, I had to pump 3 times a day at school, I had to shuttle all those bottles to and from school and daycare, and I had to wash all those bottles/nipples/caps/pump parts. But dangit, it was so worth it. I really do think breastfed babies are the cutest.
But...I digress. Half birthdays. Right. So Eddie is in the throws of being a three year old, which means there are some annoying and exhausting aspects of being his mama but so many more wonderfully delightful and amusing aspects, too.
- When he goes through growth spurts lately, it is marked by an increased level of whining and not listening. Of course, he also eats more but that doesn't bother me so much. The whiny tone DRIVES ME BONKERS. I know all the parenting wisdom in the world will tell you to just ignore it and only respond to the child when he speaks normally. BUT I CAN'T. Gah, I wish I could. I should just make an auto-looped recording of myself saying, "Eddie, please try again without whining" to save myself the breath. I say it all the dang time. At school, the refer to Eddie during these bouts of whining as Eddie the Whinosaurus Rex or Eddie the Whinoceros. The good news is that these periods only last about 3 weeks and then he's back to his normal less-whiny self who is wearing slightly tighter fitting clothes (he seems to grow taller more than wider, which is great).
- He doesn't nap consistently anymore. This is normal at this age, I realize. For about the last year or two he's not really napped at home for us. But now it's also at school--he'll just lie quietly on his mat and look around or look at books for 2 hours. And it doesn't bother us so much, it just means that on no-nap days we have to work harder to get him through the bedtime routine (and we move it up a little bit).
- He only seems to have a certain amount of "good" in him for each day. Often, Miss Amanda will tell me that Eddie was GREAT! at school and then he's a terror at home--not listening, refusing to eat all (or even some) of his dinner, demanding things like snacks and treats, pitching a fit when he doesn't get to watch as many shows as he wants, etc. The days when she reports that he had a hard time listening or was a Whinoceros at school, he's usually a perfect angel for me at home--being helpful with clearing the dinner table, eating all his food, sitting on his chair for the whole meal and making conversation with me, not pitching a fit when I shut off the tv or announce that it is bath time. It's like he has x units of angel in him and it's only enough for school or home, but not both.
- When he wants something but can't have it (like a lollipop from his Halloween candy bucket...yes, we still have candy in there), he'll just repeat over and over and OVER again, "But I want a piece of caaaaaaaaaaaaaandy from my bucket!" Nothing you can say will change the duration of this complaint nor the quality. I guess it's like having a tantrum but with non-forceful words rather than physical outrage. It seems to be something he has to mentally work through before he can move on.
- He can't or won't sit still to watch a show. Maybe this is a boy thing, maybe this is an Eddie thing. But it drives me bonkers. I've enacted a 'no jumping, climbing, walking, or standing on the couch' rule...but he rarely follows it. I'm sure he'll oblige when he's a teenager.
- He's becoming more and more empathetic. I remember just a couple of months ago when he'd tell me that someone at school got sick. He'd tell me what happened and I'd say something like, "Oh, isn't it sad that Naomi is sick today? It makes me sad that she's sick and I hope she feels better soon." He'd be so confused, not understanding at all why I was sad about it. But now he gets it and it's so lovely and cute. This month at school they're focusing on empathy and learning what it means to be a good friend so his understanding (or actions about it) have really amped up.
- He sleeps really, really well at night and doesn't get sick often. I'm super thankful for these traits because my sanity depends on a solid night's sleep for myself and for the pre-bed alone time I get (to veg out and watch shows or read). Last night he had a deep cough that kept waking him up (and me, too). I was up at 12, 1, and 3:45 am checking on/comforting him. Hyland's homeopathic cough syrup, a vaporizer, and a cloth rubbed with Vick's vaporub didn't ease his coughing much...poor kid. I kept in mind that he's not often sick and at least he's able to breathe and everything. He's such a trooper, he was very happy to be awake at 6:45 am (an hour earlier than usual) and he even let me get a nap for 1.5 hours after we ate breakfast (thanks, PBS kid shows!).
- Every day he recounts all the people he loves--and when he gets tired of listing specific people he just sighs and says, "I just wuve everyone, Mama." Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
- He's so much fun to hang out with. His role playing games are easy to understand now (hunting for bad guys or bears, having a tea party, etc.), his concentration is up to 10-20 minutes so we can play a few easy board games or work on an actual project rather than just coloring madly on the paper, he can bike pretty far for someone his age so we can actually go places (we've only gone a mile each way to a destination but I'm sure he could go further), he can plan things out (instead of just building a tower with blocks, he'll tell the story of what we're building and why--like, we're building a thing to help daddy hold his coffee cup in the garage so it won't spill and break the mug on the floor or something).
The rest (neither good or bad):
- He's back to picking out his own clothes. For a while he insisted on it and then he stopped caring. But now it's back. I really need to sort though his hand-me-downs and remove all the ugly or should-wear-while-at-home-only items so he doesn't pick them out. Normally I don't give a hoot about what he wears--matched or unmatched, boots with shorts, whatever floats your independent little boat is fine with me. Except when the clothes are crappy. We went to the library on Tuesday afternoon, as we often do on those "free" afternoons. I picked him up from daycare and he was wearing his "extra" pants from his cubby because his Pull Up leaked during nap (gotta make sure that penis is pointed in the right direction!). Ug. They were dark blue synthetic fabric athletic pants, covered in pills, and with a stupid Elmo patch on the rear pocket. He had on a Halloween shirt with two giant holes on the belly (must have happened at school) and light blue boots that have pen marks on the toes and were all dusty. I was actually embarrassed--at least I would have been had I not just given him a much-needed hair cut the previous weekend. (I need to remember that even "extra" clothes in his cubby and diaper bag in the car end up getting worn sometimes, and it'll always be when we're away from home.)
- He likes to read the same books every night for about a week and then he'll select a new stack of 4-5 and get hooked on those for the next week. Too bad he sticks with only one show at a time rather than a selection. For a long time it was Blue's Clues but for the last 2 months it's been Richard Scarry's Busytown Mysteries (he calls it Busy Street).
- He takes 1/4 of a Trader Joe's vitamin C tablet every morning (175 mg or about 11 mg/kg) along with one princess gummy vitamin.
- He knows we're moving to the Coast House and that another family will move into our Davis house. Almost everyday he'll identify an item in our house and ask if we will move it: "Mama, will we move my bed to the Coast House? And Dadda's hammers? And your hair brush? Oh, good."
- He wants to play with his friends all the time. Usually that means Isaac at school (too bad for Eddie Isaac is only there two days a week with him) and the neighbor kids at home (too bad for Eddie they go inside by 5:15 pm each evening so he usually can't play with them during the week). We worry about moving to the Coast House since there are NO kids in the neighborhood at all. I foresee a lot of driving up/down the coast to take him to friends' houses. Ug.
- He really wants a sibling. A human sibling. He used to tell us he wanted a brother or a sister and we'd laugh and say, "The doggies! You have Brother and Sister!" But then he specified a human sibling: "Mama, I want a sister or a brother, not like the doggies. A sister or brother with hands like me, and feet like me, and a belly like me, and a bottom like me." Oh. And now he's just started telling us that we should take home the cute little baby girl from daycare, Imogen. (Which I would totally do if her folks didn't want her anymore. She's freaking adorable.) Poor lonely kid. If I didn't mind being a single working mother of two or weren't so close to losing funding and finishing (starting?) my dissertation I might bite the bullet and have another baby now. But it just doesn't make sense yet, time or money wise. Maybe we'll get him a cat when we move...think that'll tide him over?
- He thinks I am saying "Dadda" when I tell him about my "data." This usually comes up during our dinner conversations of him asking me what I did at school today. I know he has no clue what I'm talking about but I tell him the details anyway: I met with my friend Felipe and we tried to get the FTIR-TGA working so we had to fill up the detector chambers with liquid nitrogen...but it didn't work because the laser is dead so we have to buy a new one. And then I met with Lucas and he reviewed my data with me and helped me understand that it isn't normally distributed so we talked about how to transform it..." and he'll cut me off and say, "YOU GOT TO SEE DADDA AT YOUR SCHOOL?" Hahaha, poor kid. So now I try to say "numbers" instead of "data."
- He comes home from school asking me if the pregnancy-related ailments Cassie has were also problems for me when he was in my belly. Like: nose bleeds, not being able to lift heavy things, having to go potty all the time, needing to buy bigger shirts, etc. It's so cute that he engages with her about the pregnancy like that...not to mention how amazing it is that a 3.5 year old can understand that what's happening to her also happened to me (growing a baby).
- He gets up at about 7:30-7:45 am, takes a nap from around 12:30-2 pm at school, and goes to bed around 8 pm (probably falls asleep 30-45 minutes later).
|He thinks sitting "next" to someone means sitting so your chairs are touching. Adorable, yes. Compatible with eating? Not so much. Especially when you have to use both hands to cut something and your elbow jabs that person sitting NEXT to you.|
|Eddie eating his cheese snack at the library (see the I love my mummy Halloween shirt?)...and infected sinus me looking as tired and sick as I felt.|
Okay! That was long enough and I'm sure there's so much more to say. But that's 3.5 year old Eddie in a giant nutshell.