Friday, November 18, 2011

Day Eight PB

Days seven to eight showed no improvement and contained no developments worth noting.  No progress seen in length of time from placement of subject in "bed" to onset of REM state.

Day Eight:

1:20 pm:  Subject fatigued from lack of nap on previous day coupled with extreme delay in onset of evening REM state.  Subject provided six ounces of organic whole milk.  Subject instructed to transport bed covering and small plush toy equine ("Aurora") to "bed." Subject complied.  Subject placed in "bed."  #1 remained with subject, alternating soothing with folk songs for span of fifteen minutes.

1:35 pm:  Subject asleep.  Considerable improvement.

Thank God.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day Five PB

2:00 pm:  Typical naptime onset resumed.  Subject provided six ounces whole milk.  Subject attempted to negotiate cessation of naptime.  Subject repeated assertions of being, "not ready to be a big girl" as well as "not tired."  Attempt failed.  Subject placed in "bed" accompanied by #1.  #1 followed typical protocol of comfort by presence, soothing and random assortment of folk songs.  Subject resisted.  Following thirty minute period of increasing level of subject activity, #1 departed with instructions for subject to remain "in bed." Subject declined to follow instructions, instead removed to doorway to exhort #1 and #2 to "come snuggle."  #1 replaced subject in "bed" and remained.

3:00 pm:  Subject asleep.  Mild improvement.

9:15 pm:  Subject provided six ounces whole milk.  Subject placed in bed by #2.  #2 followed typical protocol.  Subject resisted onset of REM state by a combination of vigorous and sustained physical activity and recitation (extemporaneous) for a period of thirty minutes.  #2 departed with instructions for subject to stay in "bed." Subject resisted and removed to doorway to demand presence of #1.  #1 declined but followed with detailed instructions for subject to remain in "bed" until a set time when #1 would join subject. Subject complied.  #1 removed to "bed" to sing folk songs and "snuggle."  Subject restless.  #1 instructed subject to assume an appropriately prostrate position or suffer the removal of #1.  Subject complied, briefly.  Subject initiated extended recitation (extemporaneous) while attempting to insert one or more digits into nostrils of #1.  #1 reasserted instructions.  Subject non-compliant.  #1 departed with words of comfort.

10:45 pm:  Subject quiet, REM state unlikely.  Sounds of thumping in region of "bed."  No improvement.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day Four (Part 2) PB

9:30 pm:  Subject's bedtime moved back by thirty minutes.  Subject fatigued and irritable, partly due to cleansing routine involving apparently undesirable attention to hair and partly due to subject's desire to remain unclothed indefinitely and the impossibility of acquiescence by #1 and #2 due to median air temperature.  Subject given six ounces whole milk.  #2 attempted to induce somnolence in subject by combination of presence, soothing and recitation of narrative (extemporaneous).  Subject unwilling, demanded presence of #1. #1 continued course of presence (in "bed"), soothing and subject's choice of folk song(s).  Subject surprisingly alert.  #1 ceased presence and soothing when subject commenced licking of #1's nasal region while repeating vigorous contact of subject's forehead to that of #1.  #1 removed to floor.  Subject demanded extensive narrative dictating possible contents of subconscious during REM state.  Subject stated list of "dream contents" "not good enough."  #1 provided expressions of affection and removed to lower level of lab.

11:00 pm:  Subject silent, possibly in REM state.  Improvement of thirty minutes from previous evening.

Days One through Three PB (Post-Binky)

Day One:

9:00 pm:  Subject given six ounces of whole organic milk as part of ritualized evening dairy consumption.  Subject placed on horizontal sleeping apparatus ("bed") and investigator #1("mother," heretofore known as #1) explained process of removal of soothing aid (heretofore known as "binky") from nighttime routine.  Subject vociferously objects, stating that, "she's not ready to be a big girl," despite assertions earlier in day of readiness.  #1 sings random selection of British and American folk songs in attempt to soothe subject.  Effort fails.  #1 calls in investigator #2 ("father," heretofore known as #2).  #2 repeats attempts of #1 while subject exhibits considerable distress, evidenced by increasingly vociferous lacrimatory expressions. #1 and #2 alternate periods of presence and soothing with periods of isolation.  Isolation coupled with verbal reassurances from a distance of ten feet.  Subject fatigued but unwilling to remain in "bed" until #1 occupies "bed" with her.

11:00 pm:  Subject asleep.

Day Two:

2:00 pm:  Subject given six ounces of organic milk.  #1 repeats description of experiment.  Subject again states unwillingness to participate.  #1, without the aid of #2, who is not present, attempts to soothe subject in similar manner to previous evening.  Attempts unsuccessful.  Subject escalates into pyrexia.  #1 provides subject with six ounces of water.  Subject refuses.  #1 remains with subject in "bed" with no periods of isolation.

3:30 pm:  Subject asleep.  Improvement over previous evening by thirty minutes.

Day Three:

9:00 pm:  #2 proceeds with experiment without presence of #1.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that subject exhibited similar behaviors to previous day.

10:30 pm:  #1 returns to lab and proceeds to provide subject with soothing interspersed with random folk song selections while occupying "bed" with subject.  Subject awake but tractable.

11:00 pm:  Subject asleep.  No improvement over previous evening.

Day Four:

1:00 pm:  Due to extreme delay of onset of sleep cycle of previous three evenings, subject extremely fatigued, irritable and intractable.  Attempts to induce daytime sleep cycle moved up one hour.  Subject given six ounces of organic milk.  #1 and #2 attempt by role play to introduce to subject replacement of dependency on "binky" with plush, irregularly shaped toy bearing initial of subject that subject can utilize when experiencing emotional distress.  Attempt seemingly successful.  Subject placed in "bed".  Replacement toy rejected and hurled across lab with considerable force, indicating unwillingness to transfer dependance.  #1 repeats folk songs and remains with subject in "bed."

1:45 pm:  Subject asleep.  Considerable improvement over previous evening.

Experiment ongoing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Big Girl

We set up Viv's big bed tonight. She climbed out of her crib last week, so we thought it was finally time.  We put her down an hour and a half ago.  She told us to leave her room and go downstairs, so we said good night and left.  Sitting in his office, Christian heard the thump...thumpthumpthumpthumpTHUMP of her feet hitting the floor and dashing to the door, then excitedly wrenching it open.  He went upstairs to find her naked from the waist down, saying that she wanted to pee on the potty.  He let her, but nothing happened, pee-wise, so he re-diapered her and put her back to bed.  More thumping a few minutes later, this time in ended with her descending the stairs to tell me that she was "nudie-patootie." I brought her back upstairs and let her pee on the potty, this time successfully.  I put her back in bed, laid with her in the dark for a few minutes and told her several times that she was not allowed to get out of bed, and that she could only get up when I came to get her in the morning. I asked her if she understood.  "Mmm-hmm," she assured me.   I asked her to repeat what I said.  "Um, I can get up when it's summer time, but it's not summer time right now because it's dark, but there are stars that will come out in summer time." Well, sure.  So, I repeated what I had said and didn't leave until she repeated it back to me, with only short stream-of-consciousness detours along the way.  However, I was not surprised to hear her door open again.  I went back upstairs and told her that I would not be leaving until she fell asleep.

I laid down on the bed and started to sing, and she reached out her hand to pet my hair comfortingly.  She whispered, "Say 'Daddy'."  "What?" I replied, not understanding.  "Call for Daddy!" She explained.  I told her that Daddy was cleaning the bird cages and that it was time for her to sleep.  This was our conversation over the next few minutes:

V:  I can't sleep.
S:  Are you too excited?
V:  Yes, I'm too excited.
S:  Well, just pretend to sleep.
V (looking surprised): What?
S:  Close your eyes and pretend to sleep.
V:  I can't close my eyes.  They're too little to close.
S:  No, they're just the right size to close.
V (kicking off her blankets):  I don't want any blankets.  They aren't needed.
S:  Fine.  You'll be cold, but go to sleep.
V (waiting five seconds, then covering me with blankets, giggling):  Hide!  I'm hiding you!
S:  I'm going to count to three, and then I'm going to lay you down. you want me to lay you down?
V:  Yes!

This went on for five more minutes, with requests for rocking and another pee break, before I sternly told her that she was absolutely not allowed to get out of bed until I came for her in the morning.  So now she's singing to herself and kicking the wall, but at least her feet aren't on the floor.

Monday, April 04, 2011


In preparation for the next 20 years, I'm reading Cinderella Ate My Daughter, a look at the current aggressively pink girly-girl culture, as the author aptly calls it, and the impact it has on girls, especially very young ones.  The impetus for the book was the author, Peggy Orenstein, having a daughter who flung herself unencouraged into princess fantasies, even while the author attempted to keep the "beauty first" mindset out of her child's developmental life.

The book asks disquieting questions that have been coming to my mind, as well, as Christian and I raise Viv.  We are careful to sparingly use words that would value her appearance over her intellect, which has been far harder than I expected.  She's just so damn cute, and it's the simplest thing in the world to comment on her apparel or hairstyle and not think what, if any, repercussions that will have on what she thinks we value in her later.  To me, being told that I looked pretty or lovely or even just nice was the highest compliment I could ever be paid.  I didn't care if I were smart until after Anne of Green Gables, and that was too late.  I only knew that other girls had the gene that seemed to tell them what to wear, how to be thin, what to say, and I didn't have it, and because of that, no one would ever like me.  I was supposed to wear makeup, Mom did, Tina did, other girls did, but I hated it.  I always felt grubby wearing it, and I couldn't touch my face, which was impossible as I was always trying to hide behind my hands as well as my oversized clothes, as my weight was the albatross following me all my life.

This issue of weight and body image is the most resonating for me in the book.  Ms. Orenstein discusses how a friend has a chubby daughter, who has always been chubby and probably always will be.  A healthy kid, but one whose parents have to control her portions and ignore her constant pleas for food.   As a fat person, I find that I feel towards Viv the author's gratitude over her own child's current slender size.  This relief, however temporary, makes me worry, as it does the author, that we are already valuing this slenderness in our children too much.  Is it that we don't want our children to be teased in preschool, or is it that we want to look with pride at our children who are more attractive than we are ourselves?  I can take no genetic pride in my child's looks, and she doesn't like to eat, despite having two parents who love it, so it simply is who she is.  She's actually too thin for her height, and that should be a bad thing.  But it isn't, if I go by the comments I get from strangers about her "adorable" skinniness.  I keep hoping that maybe her attitude towards food is a healthy one, that she can instinctively control her portions, unlike me as a child, and that this is her way of getting enough nutrition without using food as comfort, as I did.

I realize that she's only two and her eating habits will likely change dramatically and often, so I am stunned by the amount of time I spend thinking about her eating.  I'm very aware of my own issues towards food and weight, so have begun to be extremely careful in the language I use in front of her.  I never use words to describe body size other than comparatively (ie., our hands are big because we're adults) and I never refer to myself in terms that could influence her ideas of worth according to BMI.  I have taken the lead from my friend Jen, the mother of two girls, and use the word "healthy" when discussing what we can and can't eat.  We have actually started to eat much better since we now all sit down for dinner together.  I'm trying to replace my old, terrible food habits now that I have someone watching me to set an example.  But I still have this desperate wish that she'll stay small, as I'm illogically convinced that it will eliminate an enormous amount of problems she might face down the road if she ends up like me.

There are so many aspects of raising a girl, especially an African American girl, that we are trying to tackle effectively.  We want her to love her hair and accept it as it is, so we tell her how much we love her curls and how soft they are.  We want her to love books and reading, so we praise her interest in memorizing her stories.  We want her to form her own opinions of what is for her, to shirk gender roles and avoid being put in a girl's only corner, so we tell her that men wear dresses sometimes and buy her dinosaur flash cards.  We compliment her for trying to achieve instead of only achieving.  It's okay if the tower of blocks falls down, it's supposed to when they're all piled on top of each other.  But it's not enough.  She has to be empowered but not in a way that places value on her appeal to others.  She has to be tough but kind, smart, resilient to the incredibly damaging array of images that affect especially black girls and know and respect herself well enough that she demands the same from others.  And this is while everyone is telling her something different, opposite from what we're saying.  It's a good thing that I'm loud, I might be able to drown out some of the noise, but she'll have to learn to how to shout for herself, all too soon.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm now an advocate for leashes.

Viv got drinking fountain blocked today.  She knows that she can reach the button on the kid-height fountain in the Zoomazium with the aid of the stepstool that the zoo leaves out so kids can climb the elephant sculpture, so she carried the stool from its usual spot on the left side of the statue and centered it underneath the fountain's button.  As she put one foot on the stool and started to step up, a horrid little beast of a four year old ran over, stepped on the stool, elbowed Viv in the ribs and started drinking.  I put my hand between the two of them, gently pulled the little boy off of my kid and told him, rather sternly, that he needed to wait his turn.  Viv managed to squeeze in a sip before he open palmed me, shoved Viv again and kept drinking, paying not a modicum of attention to my raised voice telling him that he was behaving very rudely.  His mother then came over, smiled at me as though her flailing sprog hadn't just shoved my tiny snowflake, and blandly told her son that it was polite to wait his turn. She even him continue to drink while Viv was standing there asking me if it was her turn yet.  If Viv had behaved in that manner, she would have never had a chance to put her feet back on the ground before her little hiney was back in the carseat.  We walked away, and I told Viv that we would have to come back later when he was done.  However, he continued to drink and play in the fountain for a long while, so we did not get a chance to try again.  I did notice his mother earlier, sitting with the boy's father, both of them engrossed in their phones, although I didn't realize that the boy running through the play area, screaming and throwing things, prompting the other children to tell him to "stop scaring them," was theirs until she claimed him from the fountain.

I find the school of "oh, well," free range parenting infuriating.   I don't allow Viv to run through crowded indoor play areas and she is always required to share, wait her turn and put away any toys she uses.  I find that I dislike going indoor places where parents congregate on rainy days as they somehow seem to feel that being indoors allows them to not supervise their children.  She's been drinking fountain blocked, slide blocked, tunnel blocked, bobbly animal blocked, everything you can imagine blocked by free range kids.  Damn those bland parents and their unwillingness to make their kids dislike them.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Man Plans...

There are days and weeks where I feel that the swift hand of fate has come to bitch slap me back into my proper frame of mind.  Feeling good about having gone out to the opera in a nice outfit like a damn adult?  Here, have a child with a 104.8 degree fever and vomiting at 11 pm when you get home to make you feel like the worst parent on earth for leaving her.  Ready to tackle those house projects and finish the kitchen?  Have two inches of standing water in the basement, submerging electrical cords and power tools left there after the cabinets were installed.  Ready to start rehearsing again after a long hiatus?  Here, have persistent laryngitis for a month.

On the other hand, we do have the first three seasons of The Muppet Show to keep us occupied today, so it might be a wash.