Here are a few of the things that Molly has specifically stated that she “hates” in recent weeks. Note that most of these things are almost universally admired by people who are not Molly. Also, this is only a partial sampling of things that Molly strongly dislikes.
- The movie Back to the Future
- Fresh Lemonade
- Our dog, Muffin
- Car washes (“why can’t you just keep the car clean to begin with?”)
- Dinosaur bones
- Dipping pretzels in hummus
- Dipping tortilla chips in hummus
Molly used to say “Ouwee!” when she got hurt. She prefers it to a simple “Ouch!” — it has more impact. But recently, the phrase “Ouwee!” has morphed into a more general complaint, sort of like other people might say, “Ugh!”. It no longer has anything to do with getting hurt. Or maybe it just has to do with feelings getting hurt.
This has become a slight problem at times. For instance, the other day I changed Molly’s clothes in the changing room after her swim lesson. Everyone in the swim school could hear Molly yelling, “Ouwee!” behind the closed door when she became upset about putting on her diaper. When we came out of the small enclosure, a friend of ours looked concerned and said, “Is she okay?”. I said something lame like, “Oh yeah, she does that all the time” and hurried off.
It doesn’t take much to prompt an “Ouwee!” from Molly. Yesterday, Kit literally sneezed and Molly yelled “Ouwee!”
Molly still does not really watch TV. She just isn’t interested. I guess there are too many other things to do, like explore, mold some playdough, or browse books or magazines. This preference was well illustrated recently when we got out a few old Elmo video tapes we had inherited from a friend. Molly still loves Elmo and was very excited to see the tapes. We put them in the VCR and started playing a Sesame Street show featuring Elmo. Molly did not like this development. These were supposed to be books, like everything else about that size with Elmo on it! Molly asked us to get the tape out of the VCR so she could see it. After taking the tape in and out a few more times, and trying some other tapes, Molly was still not satisfied. These were not very good books! They don’t even have pages!
I think Molly is an Elmo purist. She doesn’t like his sell-out TV stuff.
If you were wondering what was the exact point in time when Molly started to dislike taking baths, it was this Monday. Or maybe over the weekend. Either way, it was definitely this week.
Molly used to enjoy her baths, taking her time to soak and play with toys, and even wash herself some with a wash cloth. She only got upset with shampoo time and the resulting water and baby soap on the face. But mostly it was a good time.
But now, all of the sudden, this has changed. Molly has started to cry and scream, “No bath! No bath!”, at the mere mention of her bath. This has happened consistently for the last few nights. She continues to cry through the bath itself, calming down only when out of the bath and in her dry towel.
We have no idea why Molly started to detest baths, but in case this never turns back around (like in the case of Claire, who now begrudgingly takes a shower before bed), I thought it would be interesting to pinpoint exactly when the shift occurred. At this point, it is pretty safe to say that Claire and Moly love to sit around together and not take baths. That is a favorite activity.
|Claire having a good moment at school.|
Claire has had a tough couple of weeks since starting kindergarten. It’s strange, because she actually likes her teacher a lot. And the other kids are fine. And she is doing okay while in school, for the most part. The teacher did ask her not to wear her new Twinkle Toes shoes because they are distracting her.
For one thing, Claire says she does not like Extend-A-Care. She is the only kid in her class who goes to Extend-A-Care. Extend-A-Care itself seems okay when I pick her up, but apparently, every other student in her class else has a parent or a big sibling or nanny to pick them up right after school (this is amazing to me). Claire is 1 of 22 who goes to Extend-a-Care, and she is all by herself when the kids split up to go home at the end of the day. I can understand how that would be a bad feeling.
And Claire is definitely “off” at home in the evening. I think she is exhausted from the early mornings and the new environment and all the new rules. By the late afternoon and evening, she is really wiped out. In the evenings, Claire is always at the extremes. She either mumbling or screaming, acting silly or crying, wiggling around or laying down flat on the floor, cuddling up to you or running away.
These have actually been some of the toughest weeks we have ever had with poor Claire, who is also asserting herself, you could say. She has discovered the joy of not doing what we ask her to do, even if it is something she has done 100 times before. She is basically rebelling, and she is driving us a little crazy, I must admit. But mostly we feel bad for her. She is struggling through a big transition, and hopefully with some patience and understanding, we can help her through it. I sure hope so, anyways. 🙂
Today when Claire was in one of her occasional sour moods in the car on the way home from school, we were discussing different kinds of music to put on to maybe cheer things up. Kid’s music? Beach Boys? An audiobook? Rock & roll?
Claire did not like the rock & roll idea at all. “I hate rock & roll!” she proclaimed. “It’s the worst kind of music there is! I hate rock stars too!” She then paused to add, “And I hate movie stars!”
Yeah! Eat it, Bono!
Once she got that out of her system, she was calm and relaxed, and we drove home a little more happy but with no music.
Oh so ironic… that was such a “rock & roll” way for Claire to work out her emotions. Take down the man! Yell it out! I think she might have slammed a guitar into an amplifier if she didn’t hate rock & roll so much.
Molly’s favorite book right now is Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale. Today alone, we read it to her six times, and each time she asked for more. She loves this book.
Molly loves big books with lots of fun pictures, and this is indeed a big book with lots of fun pictures. But she also seems to enjoy the actual story, which she can probably relate to. In the story, a toddler girl named Trixie goes on an errand with her dad and ends up with a personal crisis on her hands which only she sees and which she tries desperately to communicate to her dad. Trixie screams and cries and yells things like “AGGLE FLAGGLE KLABBLE!” She is frustrated and sad but doesn’t have the words to tell her dad what is wrong. Eventually, they figure it out, and in a toddler happy ending, Trixie says her first words ever.
Trixie is a good stand-in for Molly, who spends a fair amount of her time frustrated and unable to tell us (bone-headed) adults exactly what is wrong. Molly’s version of “AGGLE FLAGGLE KLABBLE!” is “AGGIE!” She’ll yell “AGGIE!” or sometimes “HAGGIE AGGIE!” adamantly, over and over, often pointing at something which either cannot be specifically located or has no inherent meaning to us. That said, one time during a bath, we successfully narrowed “Aggie” down to a bottle of Claire’s strawberry-scented shampoo. But Molly did not want the shampoo when I offered it to her. In fact, she tried to slap it to the ground. What did she want us to do with it exactly? Further, “Aggie” is a mercurial term; once you have it pinned down to a bottle of shampoo, it changes into something else, such as “something on the shelf over there, dammit!” The thing on the shelf cannot be specifically located, though, and besides, from our perspective, nothing on said shelf can possibly have anything to do with anything. But that is just our crusty old adult logic, I guess. Maybe that stack of paper on the shelf is the key to Molly’s happiness. Maybe she wants to build a paper airplane or write a thank you note… Maybe a thank you note to Mo Willems for writing Knuffle Bunny, a book that really “gets” frustrated toddlers.
Tonight we had our least romantic Valentine’s dinner ever.
Valentine’s Day fell on a Monday this year, which is unromantic right off the bat. But Kit and I were not going to be defeated that easily. We had roses, a nice dinner ready to heat up, and even a heart-shaped cookie for dessert, thanks to Kit. That was about the best we could do on a weeknight with the kids.
Molly was in a fussy mood, maybe from teething. To avoid a continuous gale of sobbing, I held her while preparing dinner with one arm, something that I thought was a thing of the past with our newly semi-independent toddler. Claire, for her part, was happy and enthusiastic about Valentines Day after exchanging Valentines at school, and contented herself to watching Arthur while I cooked. Kit was stuck in traffic as I cooked, but she managed to get home right about when dinner was ready. At this point, Molly was showing some interest in food, such as trying to say “more” while pointing at the bananas on the counter. Maybe she was fussy from hunger? It would actually be good to see Molly hungry (todo link to not eating / weight). We optimistically sat everyone down at the table, Molly took two bites of food, and then the screaming started.
The screaming stopped and started in fits, but the general trend was louder, more piercing screams as time went on. There was also the food throwing to accompany the screaming. Molly managed to bat away the food we offered her (even the bananas), with the food hitting the floor even before it reached her high chair table. We got her out of the high chair and tried sitting her on our lap to eat. That did not help. She only got more irritated, and the shrieking continued.
Eventually, I took her outside for some fresh air (for the both of us!). That did the trick. Once we exited the back door, she almost instantly stopped crying and started smiling. As Molly and I hung around the backyard in peace, Kit and Claire enjoyed their romantic dinner together. I could se them through the window just having a nice dinner. After about 10 minutes, I brought Molly back inside for another try at eating. The crying and screaming started the minute we came back inside. So Kit grabbed Molly and headed outside while I sat in on Claire’s romantic dinner.
To break the doldrums of the family being cooped up at home for four straight days over the long Thanksgiving weekend, as well as to stay clear of Black Friday traffic, we decided to make a daytrip out to the hill country today. We decided on Fredericksburg as our destination, with it’s location only a 90 minute drive away and its nice, walkable Main Street, lined with historic buildings and unique shops, providing a nice medium between indoors and outdoors on this cold day. After my parents headed back to Houston, we loaded up an inordinate amount of baby supplies, snacks, and other essentials for the 90-minute trip. The plan was to drive to Fredericksburg and enjoy the countryside while Claire watched movies (Annie, etc.) on her DVD player and Molly had her morning nap. We even had a pair of earphones, Claire’s first, ready for the DVD player to keep the noise down so Molly could nap reliably.
We rolled through the hill country, Kit and I having a rare long chat (ie, more than 5 minutes) while Molly slept and Claire watched her movie. But it would not last. Right around Johnson City, the earphones idea backfired badly. Claire broke her 45-minute silence by saying — no, shouting — “Mama! Can I have my water?” Kit and I quickly told Claire to quiet down, please! Claire looked confused and dismayed, like “What? I just asked for some water.” In retrospect, Claire probably did not even realize she was shouting over her earphones. Anyways, the disturbance caused Molly to wake up mid-way through her nap. Within five minutes, Molly was crying, then shrieking, and occasionally spitting and gasping. We could not settle her down. This lasted for final 45 minutes to Fredericksburg, the last 15 minutes being stuck in gridlock on the final mile into town. Yes, Black Friday seemed to hit even Fredericksburg, way out here in the country.
Once we finally parked and got out of the car, Molly almost immediately stopped crying, and Fredericksburg was great. We strolled onto Main Street in the slightly cool, sunny afternoon. We poked around a couple of craftsman and/or antique stores, where Claire exercised her “one finger rule” for touching any wares, and Molly’s little arms were always held out of reach of anything at all. We had a delicious German-inspired lunch in a crowded corner cafe. We looked at old antique gates for sale in an alleyway. Claire said the gates looked good even though they were old and rusty, although she still preferred shiny, golden gates. Claire also enjoyed the koi pond in front of the old hospital. Molly enjoyed the crowds and a chance to crawl and climb (under supervision) on a nice iron bench on the busy sidewalk. We picked up a Christmas decoration and headed back to the car, where we gave Claire another lecture about keeping quiet. Then we loaded up and headed home.
Claire was very quiet in the car on the way back. When she did talk at all, it was a quiet whisper. This lasted until right around Dripping Springs. At that point, Claire was so engrossed in her movie that she once again shouted something out by mistake, and once again Molly woke up, and once again Molly cried and shrieked as if mortally wounded until we got home to Austin. After we got home, Molly settled back down pretty quickly and played with her big sister. Kit, who was understandably rattled by all the crying, took about 15 minutes to herself upstairs and then came down in a better mood. I would have hoped that this fun excursion would not have required a 15 minute “cool down” period at the end. Still, it was a really great day overall, even though I would give back about 90 minutes in the car. I am sure Molly would agree.