Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Calliope on Day Eleven

Susie left early today to go help Amy (Eleanor's been home all week with a terrible stomach bug, poor thing) and Amelie was asleep so Calliope and I had some Special Time together this afternoon. She really is so cute and funny. I lose sight of that sometimes when Amelie is around, or I need her to go to bed, or am in any way, you know, placing demands on her. But in that unstructured time, she blossoms, and I know that I need to nurture that if I want her to hold up during those times I need something from her.

Me, "Calliope, in two minutes, we need to get started on dinner."

Calliope, "Can I have a treat after dinner?"

Me, "I'll think about it."

Calliope, "How about if you think about dinner and I think about the treat?"

Me, "Okay, that seems fair."

Calliope, "It's a compromise bonanza!"

 (A quote from one of her favorite books, Bi.nk and Gol.lie.)

Later, I was settling into my glider to nurse the baby and she leaned over the baby's face, so that her hair was hanging in the baby's eyes. I calmly asked her to move her hair. She did... and then a minute later, she suddenly, bizarrely, burst into hysterical tears.

I was completely baffled, but gathered her into a one armed side hug and asked what was wrong. "You yelled at me!!!"

She's not typically sensitive to mild rebukes like this so I'm still confused by this one.

We had a nice dinner together, I read to her while I nursed the baby, we bathed the baby together, something she wanted to do. Then she did some artwork while I put the baby to bed. And then when I gave a two minute warning for bedtime, and rebuked her for leaving a chair lying on its side in the middle of the kitchen floor and asked her to pick it up... she got that annoying hyper giggling fit and ran to the couch and dove behind the cushions. A behavior that drives me beserk.

I gave her a count-to-three warning or no songs before bed, and she jumped out and ran to her room and slammed the door.

Very well then. I stalked to her room, took her to the bathroom, then silently back to bed, taped on her diaper, quietly said "good night" and closed the door.


After all that quality time this afternoon building "carousel castle houses" with magnet tiles, and lots of time talking and cuddling and reading... I'm sorely disappointed.

I know it takes time but it's still frustrating. I'm dreading the long weekend and the nanny's week off next week. I've decided to ask the postpartum doula to make a flourless chocolate cake with Calliope on Friday for our Seder that night. Kill two birds with one stone -- occupy the kid and end up with a dessert to share. Maybe I will even get to rest a bit.


  1. Uh boy. I am often flummoxed when, after a day of being super fun, present, and connected with Bobby, that he still has some weird outburst or behavior. Sigh. Sometimes there's just no telling with these kids!

  2. I wonder if Calliope feels as Elena does after good quality time. I would get so frustrated, after a wonderful day together, E would become a nightmare at bedtime. One night recently, after become completely frustrated by her behaviour I pleaded, "Why do you do this after such a good time we've just had?" She looked me straight in the face & said, "Because I don't want it to ever stop, Mommy." Broke my heart! So simple. Obviously the fun has to stop & I'm at a loss for how to make the transition better but at least I have a better understanding of where her heads at in those moments.

  3. No advice. But if it makes you feel better, Elsie does stuff like that all the time and there is no little sister in the house. Some of it I think is just being 3. I chant "No frontal lobe. No frontal lobe" to myself as I try not to kill her. :)

  4. ugh very sorry. Obviously no BTDT experience, but I know little kids...they do not see the things we do. Your playing with her was in no way going to give you points in the evening. Just like you can't punish a child 6 hours after an infraction, you can't score a pleasant evening after doing something super fun 6 hours prior or even 6 minutes prior. They live in the moment, for the moment. Just keep giving her the moments. In a few months they'll add up!!! Hang in there!

  5. Things will get easier! Just wait it out, keep trying to build in good moments together, and she'll come around. The diving-into-the-couch game will get old and she'll drop it. Oh and by the way, your kids are the cutest. That picture of Amelie - ohhhh - what an adorable little face she has!

  6. Same thing happens here and I think Tiara is on to something. Attention, even negative attention, is better than being alone in your bedroom. (Of course, I fail to remember this insight when I'm in the middle of these struggles.)

  7. Finn had very similar behaviors after Z was born. It's much better now, but it did take some time to work through it. It's a hard adjustment for both of you. But it does get easier!

  8. I have a 23 month old and an almost 8 month old. The transition was tough for a while. A lot of the behaviors you describe. Things are much better now it took time and a lot of patience. The early early days that you are in now were absolutely the hardest and I had a lot more help than you do. So I feel for you.

    This article actually helped me a lot, especially the idea that my daughter probably needed to talk about the big feelings she was having about the new addition, but lacked the ability to express those feelings verbally:

    I noticed when I acknowledged that she was feeling sad, out of control, jealous, whatever and gave her feelings words, she would quiet down and really listen closely. At times, I would say something like "it's hard to be a big sister. You had a hard day." she'd be very quiet and then say "more, more." It was a little heartbreaking. But she's in love with her brother now and mostly enjoys him.