Monday, March 29, 2010

Whatever happened to Baby Vivienne Jane?

Christian has been telling me for months that Viv is a toddler now and not a baby, but I've been resisting the title change as her baby months went by too quickly, and I wanted to extend them. He's right, however, even though I'm still not able to say those words aloud.

Today, while standing dripping in the bathtub after all the water had been drained out, she adamantly refused to put her final toy back in the net hanging from the side of the tub after she had put away all of its mates. If I tried to hand her the toy, a little green car, she would hit it and back away. If I tried to put it in front of her, she'd turn around. She would rather have frozen to death (in the 80 degree bathroom) than put that toy away. It was our first true battle of wills. I mean, we've crossed spoons over certain foods, but she'd always eventually eat enough to satisfy us both. However, I have never asked her to do something that she then utterly refused to do, and she's never thrown a tantrum to prove to me how steadfastly she holds her opinion of my request. She's usually so good about bringing me whatever object she's illicitly purloined, like as tissues from the trash or the remote. I merely have to ask her for the object and then look at anything other than her and she'll bring it right over. In the tub, though, she discovered that she has a say in what she does. Or she THINKS she has a say. I finally resorted, after 10 eternal minutes, to putting the toy in her hand, holding her hand shut and putting her hand and the toy in the net. I even dried her off and put on her lotion and diaper, all while she was standing irritably on the rubber mat on the bottom of the tub, with suds swirling around her toes.

We knew the tantrums would be coming, though, as she's started doing a little ritual of annoyance, usually when she's in a car seat, shopping cart or high chair, that will escalate to a tiny eruption. First, she'll whine loudly. Then, she'll ask for a cracker,which we'll refuse to provide. She'll then clench her fists, stiffen her body, stick out her legs, grimace and howl through clenched gums. It's actually a pretty funny little display, but laughter annoys her even further. We're trying to respond to these moments with calm and rational conversations about using words and being patient, but I think we're forgetting that, despite her ability to speak in complete sentences, she might not actually understand the request to breathe deeply.

I miss my baby already.

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