Wednesday, December 26, 2007

12/26/07 The Birthday Bust

I sort of wished this morning that we had one more day between Christmas and Julian's birthday, just to have a little more breathing room. Turns out, I got that wish. Julian didn't eat well today (never a good sign with him), fell asleep before dinner, and was lethargic after barely touching his plate. He threw up a little before going to bed, so we didn't even attempt present-opening or leftover cake. Poor kid.

We had cleaners coming this morning, and for once, the logistics worked perfectly. Dave took Katrina with him to the airport to drop off Laura and Ryan (sniff!), giving
me the crucial time to pick up before the cleaners arrived. Normally it'd take me a few days to recover from Christmas and guests, but I was shocked into doing it in one hour.

While the cleaners were here, Dave took the boys to the BMX park, and I took Katrina to the Y. She held out because of a micro-nap she got in the car on the way to the airport, normally a disaster, but it worked perfectly this time. I got her home when the cleaners were almost done, and after a picnic lunch in my bedroom, she took a sound nap.

She even had some happy gurgly moments this afternoon, an increasing rarity in Katrina-land.

One highlight was this talking walking flashing robot toy that Uncle Ronan gave Gabriel for Christmas. Julian would have been terrified of this when he was Katrina's age, but she thinks it's funny!

She wanted to play with it, though Julian managed to protect it from her probing little paws. Notice how she screeches at Julian's interference and practically orders him to leave her alone with it!

Gabriel was so sweet and helpful this morning during my mad scramble to pick up clutter and laundry and prepare for the cleaners. He carried stuff up and down the stairs, put things away, and kept asking me what else needed to be done. He was clearly proud when I hugged him and told him I could never have done it without him.

But later, we had a horrible blowout. As usual, they start simply enough, then escalate. This time, I insisted he wash his dirt-coated hands after playing outside, and he made a goofy face at me. I laughed at him, partly because his face was funny, and partly to see if he was being silly or defiant, and hopefully to disarm him if the latter. Bzzt. Wrong answer Mom. Laughing enraged him, and he spit at me, twice, then after being sent to his room for 5 minutes and not allowed to bring his Snap Circuits with him, he swatted his hand toward my face. More insults, more threats, more defiance, more refusal. Every infraction added more minutes, and he still wouldn't go to his room until I threatened to put the Snap Circuits away. Then he slammed the door and throwing stuff at the door was next. Dave and I both went in to warn him against throwing, and Gabriel said to us with bloodchilling venom, "I think it's time you both left!" I did leave, as Katrina was screeching at some or other obstacle downstairs, but he kept it up even after a spanking. Eventually the episode fizzled without him ever backing down. He fell asleep and slept well past his sentence, woke up all sweaty and disoriented, and reached to me for a hug and asked me for a dry shirt like the little boy he is, and that's how it all ended.

Fortunately, these episodes are increasingly infrequent, and we recover from them more quickly, but they're always a stark reminder of how far he'll take things. I'll abandon laughing at him as a defusing strategy though. I was glad we were back to being buds tonight.

Katrina's latest trick is to climb onto a footstool, survey her domain from all fours, then realize she's stuck and scream at the indignity of her predicament. It occurred to me that this common baby trick is a little snapshot into the differences between the personalities of our three children. All three got stuck on top of footstools. Gabriel worked at it until he found his way down. Julian cried. Katrina screams.

Tomorrow, all three all day all alone!


1 comment:

Charles said...

as I was reading about the "more minutes added" the words were spinning in the back of my mind. "he spit at you? hippie Californian, spank his butt!" and I kept reading and thinking, then Voila! it happened.

I know, california, child protective, etc. etc, but sometimes? ya just gotta do it. a solid spank will remind them of their manners.

Unfortunately? Tarzan likes having his butt swatted, it is how I put him to bed.

I am sure every parent has to find their own way to show "this is it, this is the rule, and this is the consequence"

I hope I can do it as well as ya'll.