Claire has always resisted naps. When it is time for a nap at home, she normally stays in her bed but does everything she can to keep herself awake. We can here what is going on in there from the baby monitor we have installed. Claire has conversations with her stuffed animals, complete with distinct voices for herself and the animals. Sometimes the conversations are borrowed from favorite movies. She sings elaborate songs to herself, usually about the events of the day. Sometimes her room gets quiet for 10 to 15 minutes, and just when we think she has dozed off, she suddenly starts singing or yelling really loud, apparently to wake herself back up. We are told that at school she takes an hour or more to put herself to sleep, although she is very congenial about it. Now Claire is old enough to talk to us about it. She tells us that she does not want to go to sleep because she wants to keep playing. (I cannot blame her for this behavior since I do the same thing, only instead of talking or singing to myself, I fortunately entertain myself with the computer or an audio book.)
Today Claire was obviously exhausted when nap time came around. She spent about an hour talking and singing to herself before it got quiet in her room. After another 20 minutes, I went to see if she was in fact asleep. Sure enough, she was asleep — in the hallway outside of her room! I went and got Kit to see this unexpected situation. Not wanting to disturb her sleep, we left her alone and went back upstairs to work on a few things to prepare for the new baby. When we came back downstairs a half hour later, Claire was back in her bed sound asleep. It is hard to imagine Claire picking herself up, walking back into her room, and putting herself to sleep. But I can only assume the stuffed animals did not carry her back to bed.
Claire has been very excited about the upcoming new baby ever since we explained to her why Kit’s tummy was getting bigger a couple of months ago. Claire has ranged from mild curiosity about the baby (“When will it come out and see us? How will it get out of there?”) to impatience (“I want to open Mommy’s tummy and see the baby now!”). She has tried to help name the baby, with “Ansista” being her most original and consistent choice. Claire speaks often about how she will help take care of the baby by feeding it and showing it how to do things like cook and jump.
We had some early incidents when Claire bumped up against Kit’s tummy while playing, so we had to give Claire specific instructions to be very careful around the bump. Now Claire is extremely cautious and gentle around Kit, and last night she make her way up to Kit’s tummy and kissed it ever so gently. Then she just kept kissing it. We said, “Okay, thanks, that’s enough,” but she said she wanted to kiss the baby ten times, and that she did. We asked Claire if she wanted to say anything to the baby, and she gently patted the bump and said, “What are you doin’ in there?” with a little smile on her face.
I know the new baby will not always be easy on Claire. For one, Claire is going to have to learn to get along without quite as much dedicated attention. But so far, Claire is off to about as good of a start accepting her little sister as we could have hoped for. We are very proud of big sister Claire.
Kit and I are not doing as well. We have have been too busy and/or exhausted to prepare, and we are struggling just to get a crib set up, much less get any basic baby supplies in place. I also have a small pile of books to re-read about babies (we already forgot the details of what to do with babies) plus some new books on siblings. None of them have been cracked yet. We will find figure it out, but it may be more of an on-the-job training than we had hoped for. We are glad that Claire, at least, is ready for the new baby.
The new school year started today for Claire. She has graduated to the next class, and is now officially a Panda. This is good since Claire is now with her own age group. She had spent the first few weeks in the Colts classroom with slightly older kids since they had a random spot open just to get her through the summer.
Claire may benefit from having more girls in her new classroom as compared to the Colts, where there were only three girls to about a dozen boys. However, she will leave behind some friends, including her very favorite twins, Alex and Leo, who she seems to follow around and literally pull their arms towards her to make them play with her.
Claire’s new teacher writes a little summary of all the kids’ days, which is helpful. Apparently today Claire ate “some” of her lunch (just the muffin and bluberries), but she was too busy talking to do much eating. (One of her Colts teachers had also remarked that she “treats lunch time as sort of a social hour.”) Claire’s new teacher circled “cheerful”, “silly”, and “talkative” to describe Claire’s mood today. I am glad Claire had a good day, especially since she is a little sick. If I were to fill out the same form for tonight, I would have circled “cuddly” and “frustrated”.
Kit and I had been shopping around for a crib for the upcoming new baby. While looking at various baby furniture stores, we saw lots of cute little toddler beds. We had no practical reason to move Claire out of her current bed, which is her original crib converted into a toddle bed. The problem is, we really liked the purpose-built toddler beds in the stores, and we thought Claire deserved a real bed. We also thought somehow we should get Claire a new bed since the baby was getting a new crib. Plus the beds were on sale for a great price. We probably came up with a few more justifications to pile on top of those. You can see where this is going…
Ladies and gentlemen, here is Claire’s new big-girl bed!
Disassembling Claire’s old bed made us surprisingly nostalgic. We thought maybe her crib would see new life with the second baby, but logistics in the new house are forcing us to get a mini-crib for the new baby. So the bed that Claire learned to sleep in (or perhaps more accurately learned not to sleep in) may be going to a needy kid at the nearby Goodwill store soon. So long, old convertible crib. You served Claire well through three years and three cities.
For the record, Claire and her new teddy bear, Corduroy, fell asleep fast and sound the first night in their new bed.
Taking advantage of our new closer proximity to Houston, Claire and I made a quick road trip to see my parents this weekend. We left Kit back in Austin for some seriously overdue R&R. Kit was reluctant to let us go and wanted to talk on the phone a couple of times each day. She was usually waking up or falling asleep from a nap whenever we talked to her, so apparently the forced respite was a good idea.
Claire and I got to Houston in no time. We entertained ourselves in the car by listening to audio books, namely The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, selections inspired by her recent fascination with another Dr. Seuss story. On the way back, Claire fell asleep for about half the trip and estimated that the whole trip took about 10 minutes.
We had some good adventures during our one-night visit to Houston. Claire got to play with my mom, briefly visit Discovery Green downtown, escape a sudden and unexpected rainstorm downtown, go out to eat in soaking wet clothes, consume an entire ear of roasted corn, dry off, go swimming, dry off again, and fall sleep on a giant inflatable bed.
“I want to go back to Houston!” she would say more than a few times after getting home. Yes, Austin has a lot to offer, but two things it will not give you are her grandparents and (at least this summer) a good fun rainstorm.
As I have stated before, this blog is more about the highlights than the lowlights of raising Claire, so much so that when I go back and read this in 10 years, it will probably seem like even the “terrible threes” was nothing but fun. As sort of a reality check, I like to toss in the occasional reminder that raising Claire is not always 100% fun and sweet. This is the type of thing that happens from time to time…
Tonight, Claire wanted to do some pretend cooking with her playdough. Hey, that’s a great idea. So I set her up with a couple of varieties of playdough and a some plastic plates and cups. That made Claire pretty happy, and then she asked for a spoon. I gave her sort of a leftover spoon that we don’t normally eat with. That way, she was not going to confuse her “playing” spoon with an actual “eating” spoon. When I handed Claire the spoon, she said she wanted a real eating spoon. I told her no, sorry, but we use the playing spoon for playdough. Usually Claire respects this type of rule reluctantly by peaceably. But not tonight. Claire suddenly started yelling “no no no no no no no no no no no no no no” over and over. It went on for literally 30 minutes, with her just sitting there in front of her playdough yelling “no” over and over. I did a few things around the house. Still, “no no no no no!” Finally I asked her to help cook our actual dinner, and that broke the cycle. She was happy again.
Kit gets this treatment much worse than I do. Kit can say, “Look, the sky is blue,” and Claire will respond, “No, it’s not blue. Why did you say the sky is blue?!” in a rather annoyed tone. They say this is a preview of the teenage years, and I can believe it.