"AHHHHH-HAAAAAHHH!"


chloe screams at night. not words. she doesn't call. she just yells: "AHHH-HAAAAA, AAAAHHHH-HAAAAAAAH". tonight while i was up in the sweatshop (what i call the un-airconditioned attic where i craft, sew, and now yoga from), i heard her on the monitor. "AHHHH-HAHHHH! AHHHHH-HAAAAHHHH!" 

i let it go for a few minutes. she is no longer an infant, and doesn't need someone to answer her every cry. she has a clean diaper, she was tucked in. i can tell from her tone that she is not in pain... no, she is calling because she wants something, and it is not a life or death ordeal. the reason she does call out is because she knows that we will answer her. because we have answered her.  and so she trusts us. 

this whole situation can be traced right back to infancy. as an infant i never let her cry. she cried and i answered her call. i could tell what she needed and could address it. i loved the way her and i worked. i knew when she needed to eat. i could tell if she was gassy. i knew when she just needed to be snuggled. i knew her sick cry. i knew her tired cry. i could just anticipate what she needed. taking care of a baby was easy, at least it was easy compared to addressing the needs of a toddler. the things she cried for, i could take care of. food, clean diaper, snuggling, entertainment - it was extremely satisfying to give. and i loved it. 

not to say i don't like taking care of her now - i still do, but she is not a baby anymore. she is a toddler. a toddler who knows that her father and mother love her, and will undoubtedly provide for her every need. she has us, and she knows it. she knows us. we taught her this, by attending to her cries, by addressing her needs each time. now she is a toddler, and we must teach her to take care of some of her own needs. but this means trusting that we are not just abandoning her. we need to be confident that she will be okay, so that she will be confident in herself. 

she yells more "AHHHH-HAAAAAH! AHHHHHHHHHHHH-HAAAAAAAAH!". 

mind you, she is not really crying. she is yelling - calling for me. i know the difference between her cry and her call for attention. she is calling for me this time. 

i walk into her room. she is standing in her crib, facing the door, and waiting for me, "HEL-WOW".

"hello chloe. what is all of this yelling about? you are supposed to be sleeping. it is bedtime."

she looks at me...

"milk. mooo. puh-wease."

i tell her she must lie back down, and i leave her door open as i walk down the stairs to retrieve her a small bottle of milk. 

now, don't even get me started about the bottle. i have guilt about the bottle as i have lied to my pediatrician. well, i half lied. chloe will drink out of a sippy-cup, or even a regular cup during the day. she only drinks water during the day, unless there is a special occasion where she gets chocolate milk, or some watered down juice. however, at bedtime she still is adamant about getting a bottle. but when my pediatrician asked "no bottles since eighteen months, right?"... i nodded my head and smiled. every week since then i tell christian we need to stop giving her a bottle... and we just haven't followed through on it yet. it is our own fault, and i feel very guilty about it.

she is still wearing diapers. i haven't even attempted potty training again after our last lousy attempt

she grunts, and points, and doesn't use her words as much as i wish she would. i think she needs to be able to communicate with us a bit better before we can really potty train. i feel as though every five minutes of every day i am prompting her to tell me what she wants, to use her words.. instead of pulling on my leg, pointing, and grunting... she will then grunt, and point, and say "puh-wease?" followed up by a "hank-you" when she receives the desired object, or when i have finally satisfied her request. 

and the tantrums continue. 

as easy as infancy was, toddler-hood has been rough. it has left me feeling very defeated, and often fearful that i am not doing very well at raising a toddler (however, this is not an invitation for unsolicited advice, thankyouverymuch).

i warm up her milk, thinking in my head that this needs to stop. that i need to stop giving in. i need to  "cut her off", so to speak - for her own good. i feel upset that i am failing her as a parent every time i give into her. i am the grown-up, she is the child. i know what is best for her, and as she doesn't meet my expectations of what i feel she should be doing, i fear that i am not doing a good job. i tell myself that tomorrow the potty training is going to start, that all grunting will be ignored, and that bottles will be thrown away. i am still up in arms about the tantrums. but i will take charge and stop being a crappy mom that gives in, and be the firm mom that says "no" and means it. chloe will not be an underdeveloped child because of me. she must talk, and toilet train, and drink from cups. it needs to happen. like now. it is crucial to her development.

right?

i reach her room and i walk in. she takes the bottle i offer and says "hank-you mama". i look down and see that she has tucked her dog in. wrapped him up in her favorite blanket - the one she sleeps with every night. she lies down next to him and pulls on her sheet, waiting for me to cover her with it. my heart melts. 

she has learned to care for others, and to show love. even if it is just to a stuffed dog - it is, to her, another being. she is kind.

and i am proud of her. i tell her i am. i tell her that it is so kind of her to be nice to her animals. i tell her i love her. 

and i know i haven't failed her. 



2 comments:

  1. she's not underdeveloped!!!!! don't worry about that, really, each child has its own rhythm. Do not compare with other children, because some are more developed on one aspect and some on another, every child is unique. And Chloe is fantastic! Be sure she won't drink milk in the bottle at the university!!!

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  2. We just marked (not celebrated) the one year anniversary of my toddler moving into our bed. He was a good sleeper.. sleeping in his own room since birth.. and then he turned two.. and we have tried everything to get him out.. everything.. and then we were just so tired of not sleeping.. and he was tired too.. so we kinda gave up. We won't sleep with us forever (i tell myself)and hope that when a sibling arrives things may change..
    at three I can't let him cry it out anymore.. he's too old, remembers to well and is more resistant. he is there with the listening to reason yet. Even if he starts in his room he always ends back up in ours. For now.. I am learning to be ok with it.

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