Thursday, May 06, 2010

Germ warfare

It's been a challenge lately to keep Danny from hurting Fiona for being, well, a very precocious and curious 1-year-old. From his point of view, he is just playing with his toys, minding his business, when this beast of a sister comes along and wrecks everything, strews puzzle pieces, takes cars, crowds him in the sandbox, grabs his snack and lunch and water bottle ... you get the picture. We have a strict no hitting/no touching policy, but I feel bad for enforcing it when he's just trying to protect his stuff. We're trying to give him options like ask for help, walk away if you're frustrated, show her how to take turns. But really, we can't always get there in time to intervene and redirect her.

Today, as she approached his puzzle, he head butted her, poked her, all but hurled his entire body at her, but didn't hit her. Jim reminded him that head butting and poking still constitutes touching.

So ...

He coughed on her.

It's boot camp for Fiona

Since my husband is home for the rest of this week and next, we decided it was time to start using some firmer discipline techniques with Miss Fiona. Trust me, this girl needs a full-time tag team of parental guidance right now. She's 15 months old, very strong willed and mature enough to understand what we want. You can just tell by the look in her eyes that she knows.

A few nights ago, we decided to start putting the two older kids (my, that's a weird thing to say, isn't it?) to bed at the same time. The routine is bath time, yogurt and banana smoothies and a few episodes of Curious George. That's been Danny's routine since he was Fiona's age. All we wanted was for her to sit on her bottom in the chair for a few minutes. I began telling her and placing her on her bottom in the chair each time she stood in the chair. After about the sixth time, she began responding to my voice commands. Then Jim walked in. She took one look at him and stood up in her chair and repeated it at least six more times while Jim told her to sit and placed her back in the seat. After a while, she would respond to voice commands from both of us but scream hysterically in our direction. You'd a thought that we had asked her to sit on a bed of nails. 

You know, when I first got pregnant this last time, I had thought a sister would be nice for Fiona. I have a sister whom I love dearly and can't imagine my life without. I want Fiona to have that, too. However, as her personality unfurls, I'm starting to sense that she is all the girl I can handle. Women in my family are just like that ...

Owie, Owie, O, Owie
Owen already has a nickname. I call him Owie and then the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz are chanting in my head, "Owie, Owie, O, Owie." He's a very sweet baby so far and fairly alert, at times, for his age. It's too early to make very many generalizations about this guy, but one this is for sure - he looks almost exactly like his big brother and I have the photos to prove it. Holding an almost carbon copy of baby Danny in my arms helps put my frustrations with the whiny 3 year old version of Danny into perspective. And I've discovered the great advantage to having a baby in the warmer months ... I don't have to dress him. He's been in a diaper and swaddled or wrapped in my sling most of the week which means not as much laundry as with the other two.

The kids are responding well to their new baby brother. Danny is absolutely in love with him. He wants to get bunk beds. He tells us, "Owen will sleep on the bottom. I'll sleep on the top." So maybe we have a few more years before we have to turn the attic into a fourth bedroom. The reality may be quite different when Owen begins taking an interest in Danny's toys, however. And for a few days, he insisted that Owen was a girl, yet correctly identified him as his brother.

Fiona is getting better about being gentle. She comes over and pats him pretty gently now as opposed to a few days ago. I'm pretty sure Owie is terrified of her. I've learned that trying to physically shield Owen from her advances makes her more determined. She just tries to move my hand and, let me tell, she is strong for her age. So now, I just watch closely, try not to hover. One day this week, she actually leaned into his bouncy seat and put her head lightly on his chest as if to hug him. Then she gave him a small toy. Well, she kind of threw it at him, but it's a start.

And I'll leave you with this little gem ... Danny asked me the other day "What's wrong with Owen's penis?"

I thought, "How strange. He's never seen me change his diaper and we haven't discussed that only boys have a penis."

Then it hit me. Owie has just been in a diaper and swaddled most of the week and part of his umbilical cord is still attached. 

 I explained to Danny that Owen's umbilical cord is not his penis.

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