Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I've been wanting to thank all the people who have commented since the KPBS interview--you can't imagine how delighted I am to have such fabulous readers, and how much I appreciate your comments. And some of them have brought tears to my eyes, in a good way (Nancy, it meant so much to me to hear about your daughter! And your quilts are gorgeous!) So, thank you, thank you all. I love to know you're out there.

Just returned from Jarrah's 17-month "Well Baby" exam (yes, you sharp-as-a-tack Readers, she won't actually be 17 months until the 28th! :)) and it was so different from our visits of two months ago. At that time, Jarrah was puffy and miserable from her allergic rash, suspicious of everyone (including us) and not walking yet. This time, she explored the office thoroughly, tried out all the chairs, and apparently looked so mature that the nurse tried to convince her to stand on the "big people" scale to be weighed. That was SO not happening, but it was a "Sunrise, Sunset" moment nonetheless.

She has grown one inch and gained one pound since the last time, which evens out her height and weight quite a bit: she is now in the 80th percentile for both. We also learned something fascinating when Dr. Dern asked us if Jarrah ever pretended to talk on the phone and we laughed and said, "All the time." She has a faux phone (fauxne?) attached to her car seat and this past weekend she was playing with it while my dad was in the car and he kept craning around and asking "Who's phone is ringing?" Anyway, Dr. Dern said that in this day and age when cell phones are such an omnipresent feature of daily communication, pretending to talk on the phone is an excellent indicator that a child is not autistic. David and I were both thrilled by this clever little test, but David even more so, probably because he's so proud to have a daughter showing a keen interest in gadgets at the age of one.

Jarrah also had an MMR booster this morning, and now I'll be cringing until tomorrow, fervently hoping that we don't have a visit from that hideous, horrible rash that accompanied the previous shots. I was a little crestfallen to hear that she has to come back very soon for two more, and considering she has to repeat the whole lot at age four, I may be cringing for the foreseeable future. David pointed out that if we can sail through this one, our prospects for all the others won't be as scary. She's sleeping now, and I'm hoping for a smooth, golden, unpuffed little face to greet me at the end of her nap. (Funny how I just made her sound like a breakfast cereal.)

P.S. She arose, after two hours, gloriously unpuffed, and ate a mountain of pasta with gusto. She also ran my ass off at "Kid's City," where she is beginning to show real dexterity with a grocery cart (hmmm...I'm sensing a way to cut down on my errands.) I have to laugh every time she wedges herself into one of the little "love seat" (built for two, after all) plastic benches in front of the computer games, especially when the other occupant is a great, hulking boy of, oh, perhaps seven. The boy always looks gobsmacked, and seeks me entreatingly to remove her, which I don't do. Instead, I stand there and giggle, while the child grows increasingly flustered by the little person boring her eyes into the activity on the screen and paying no attention to the niceties of personal space. Am I evil? I don't let her snatch the mouse away from him, but hey, there are no rules against getting acquainted, right? :)

I have become sort of puzzled about my role in certain interactions involving Jarrah and much older children. There seems to be a trend in which Jarrah will be noodling about with a shopping cart filled with plastic fruit and a coltish kindergartner will lope over, announce "This is MINE," and extract the cart from Jarrah's hands in one swipe. Now, I don't want to be a hypocrite--I am aware that I've written several times about Jarrah's penchant for the same behavior. But my confusion stems from these children's obviously more sophisticated level of comprehension: I believe they know exactly what they're doing when they take toys from Jarrah, and I believe they do it anyway because they want to. Which, now that I've written it, seems a fairly liberating weltanshauung (HA! :)) but just happens to leave Jarrah crying and perplexed. Each time it's happened, I've fixed the offender with what I hope is a neutral expression and said--in a quiet voice one might use in rational discourse--"Actually, it's not yours. And she was using it." Today I really spooked the little girl who was attempting to make off with 17 cauliflowers and pineapples, judging from her shocked expression. I have a suspicion that I'm not supposed to say the "Actually, it's not yours" part, and am supposed to stick to "How about we share?" conveyed in wheedling tones. Is that right, mums? Is the second option the correct one? I swear, I will never learn the Mommy Handbook at the rate I'm going. ;) I need all the help I can get!


Anonymous said...

I would try having Jarrah look at the offending big kid and instruct Jarrah to say: "Hi. When I am finished with [coveted item], it can be your turn." Laura's preschool teacher taught that suggesting that we share means we each give up something, but kids like taking turns because it means you get it all to yourself for a time. Of course, Jarrah can't verbalize that sentence, yet. But, mark my words, she'll do it sooner than you imagine and you'll be teaching her to fight her own battles. Meanwhile, hopefully, the other child will get the point. Those are my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I have very definitely never been in contact with the Mommy handbook, but "Actually it's not yours" sounds perfectly right to me. Little kindergarten brat, it's not hers.

Ahem. I'm sure if I'm ever lucky enough to be Mom to a kindergartener, I'll see things very differently. What Cheri said sounds excellent.

Type (little) a aka Michele said...

I think we're supposed to say "let's share", but screw it, I like your way better. :-)I tolerate roughhousing only if I feel the kids involved can "punch their weight" so to speak. If a five year old got heavy handed with my 2 year old (and especially someone Jarrah's age) I'd intervene. Likewise if my daughter did it to a child much younger or smaller.

Amy said...

Hey Sam,
I was at my YMCA today and saw that they just started teaching NIA there and as I walked by the studio room the class was in progress. It looked very engaging. I would like to try it sometime. But unfortunately right now the only time it is offered is smack ithe middle of naptime. Hopefully the girls' naps will be shifting soon. Do you still manage to teach? What do you do with Jarrah when you teach? Just curious...

Anonymous said...

Interesting comment from Dr. Dern and the telephone behavior. It's nice to have a physician who integrates current technology with her practice.

You bring up an interesting point that I've been struggling with as well. When do we teach our children socially acceptable behavior? Do we let them be free to express themselves until a certain age when...BOOM. It's all about You Can't Do That Anymore. When does cute become obnoxious? It's all a mystery and I'm not sure I know the answer.

Marc and I have agreed that obnoxious is obnoxious at any age. Ava is not allowed to steal toys or infringe on personal space. Period. I don't know if this is the best approach...but I know my child. If she gets away with it once she will think it is her right do so for the rest of her life.

Each situation and child warrants a different reaction. I really don't think there is an answer to your question. You know your child...and you know if the other child is being mean.

Your reaction was correct because your mommy instinct was right on. In some situations I say "Let's share" and in other situations I say "It's here for everyone to enjoy". I have faith that Ava undertands why I react differently in various situations.

Babies understand more than we think.

Don't question your instinct. You are Mommy and and you are Right.