i think ramona uttered her longest & most comically detailed sentence to date this morning. we were walking downtown because jared wanted to go to the fabric store (!!! usually i have to drag him there, but this time he actually wanted to buy a new zipper for a pair of jeans he’s repairing). ramona said, “i’m pretending i’m peter rabbit & i’m running away from mr. macgregor & looking for the gate & hiding in the watering can!” if you’re foggy on your beatrix potter, that’s pretty much the entire plot of the tale of peter rabbit.
her talking is really exploding these days. it’s really fun that she can talk to us & tell us stories & let us know what she needs. also for the first time today, she told me she was hungry, instead of just asking for a snack. she said, “hungry. i’m hungry. snack? penguin sip?” we bought her a new sippy cup last night that is shaped like a penguin. she’s obsessed with it. she calls it “penguin milk”.
we bought the sippy because we were at target buying a potty. because it’s time to potty train. or at least introduce her to the concept. i’m not super-looking forward to this, but once she’s potty-trained, we can enroll her in preschool if we want. one of my mom friends just enrolled her daughter (who is about six months older than ramona) in preschool. she made it sound kind of awesome & i was temporarily caught up in the idea, but then i actually thought about it more & returned to ambivalence.
my friend said she interviewed a couple of different preschools & the choice came down to the one that has the most structure & discipline. i was a little surprised because the preschool she chose is the same one that i kind of thought i’d like for ramona if we stay in lawrence for another year or two & decide we want to try preschool. just because it looks really cute from the outside & has a co-op element & seems reasonably priced. but i am not really into structure or discipline. my friend had been leaning toward a different preschool, but she nixed it on the grounds that “it was pure chaos. the kids were just running around doing whatever they wanted.” that sounds awesome! perfect for ramona!
is this weird? so many of the moms i know with kids ramona’s age spend a lot of time talking about discipline & how to mete it out to toddlers. & to be fair, at least one mom i know is struggling with a kid who has a tendency to hit & throw things at other kids. she obviously can’t just shrug her shoulders & let that happen without consequence. sometimes i feel weird that i pretty much don’t discipline ramona at all, but…she also doesn’t really do anything to which i object. she’s a toddler, so of course she sometimes gets into things i don’t want her getting into, but just in a normal exploratory kid way. & it’s almost always my fault for leaving something out where she can get at it.
i did get really frustrated with ramona the other day because we went for a walk & she wanted to bring her riding car instead of the stroller. i know some people probably look askance at me for still using a stroller so much with a two-year-old, but i really just do it because she’s too heavy for me to carry on those rare occasions when she refuses to walk. & unfortunately, once we got about four blocks away from home (ie, eight times further than i can carry her without my arms falling off), she refused to walk. or ride. she just kept throwing herself at my legs & saying, “up? mommy, scoop! scoop up ramona!” i carried her as far as i could but then i really needed her to walk & she wouldn’t. even just putting her down for a little while so i could rest my arms resulted in her screaming & wailing.
i very rarely lose my patience with ramona. it’s probably happened fewer than five times since she was like six months old. (the first six months were a different story. there was definitely a lot of frustration while i learned the ropes of caring for a baby.) unfortunately, this was one of those times. i knew–i KNEW!–that if i just pretended like us running together was a game, i could get her to walk. i knew that if i got down on her level & matched her tone & mirrored her feelings back to her, i could make her stop crying & maybe even see a bit of reason. i know because this is how i take care of her & i use these two tools nine million times a day everyday. i know this kid, i know what makes her tick, i know why she gets sad & i know how to fix it.
but i just didn’t WANT to pretend it was a game. i didn’t WANT to mirror her emotions. i just wanted her to accept that i can’t carry her all the time & that she needed to walk.
of course she just cried & cried until i gave up & pretended it was a game & then we ran home. we had a nice lunch & she had a good nap & i got some time to recharge.
i was mad at myself for letting all of that happen. the main reason i don’t really “discipline” ramona is because i just don’t need to. i know how to communicate with her (& the fact that she’s a precocious talker definitely makes things way easier), & she’s still at an age where she really wants my approval, so she mostly does what i ask of her. we just don’t have situations where i feel like she’s being willfully naughty. we’ll see where we’re at in a year or two, i guess, but for now, the idea of putting her in an environment where she has to, say, sit on the rug for circle time just because someone has told her it’s circle time really bums me out. who knows, maybe i’m too permissive. i just try not to make her do things just because they’re what i want her to do in that moment.