Baby and Me

My older children are spending the week with their grandparents (and cousins, I'm sure), so Charlotte is getting a little taste of being an only child.  You might think to yourself, "Wow, that must be nice," or "Wow, you must be getting a lot done."  Well, yes, it is very nice; I can actually count on some down time when Charlotte is sleeping, and sibling rivalry simply does not happen when only one child is present.

One thing that seems like it wouldn't be great but actually is ok, is that I still find myself battling depression, even though my daily pressure is reduced by a factor of 2.  (Don't check my math.)  What I mean is that sometimes I think I don't really have depression, I just have children and I can't seem to suck it up and do the job in front of me.  What mother of small children hasn't wanted to bang her head against the wall for 20 minutes and then sleep the rest of the day?  But I'm finding this week that I still have to be vigilant and pull out all my tools to keep myself well, and it's oddly reassuring to me.  As in, I do have a real thing going on outside of my control and I'm not totally a lazy complainer.

"You may think I'll ride back here quietly, but you've got another thing coming, lady."

As for getting a lot done, yes, certainly.  I am doing a lot of talking: "no, you may not stick that in the toilet," and "we don't eat shoes, put that back," and "please don't smear banana on my face."  All that mixed in with, "where did this come from?" or "where did you take my xyz off to?"  Charlotte is not exactly in the play independently stage, and she makes up for her missing playmates by following me around, or dragging little bits of toys all over the house and hiding my chapstick in clever places, like the garbage can.  So I'm also doing a lot of collecting, and Olympic diving to save either the baby or some item she's about to shot-put into the atmosphere.

Here's a little window into Charlotte's personality.  I thought I would use all this one-on-one time with Charlotte to get her to start signing, especially when she is all done with her meals (as opposed to the arch-and-screech routine that she has been favoring).  My other children were signing at this time, and perhaps I've let her get away with sitting there and staring at me until I give in and move her hand for her ("see, we sign all done when we are ready to get out. . .").

Scene: Charlotte raises her voice and jabbers at me, pushing pointedly against her booster tray.  I look Charlotte in the eye and say, "sign all done."  I wave my hands in the sign, and then wait for her to respond.  She looks me in the eye, picks up her spoon and drops it over the side of the chair.  I grab it on the way down, and then snatch her cup when she attempts to repeat the procedure.  I make the sign again, and wait.  Charlotte drops her forehead, but keeps her eyes on me as she picks up a handful of oatmeal and flings it at the floor.

Well played, child.  Well played.


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