Tag Archives: parenting

The Mind Body Connection

3f853a9483b411e2b7ea22000a1f9366_7The dichotomy between my four year old’s intellectual abilities and his, well, four-year-oldness never ceases to amaze me. The same child who routinely asks me questions that confound if not downright flummox me is still a tantrum-throwing, paci-sucking, brother-hitting, mother-ignoring four year old.

Well, not anymore.

I mean he still throws tantrums, attack his brother (and embarrassingly  sometimes me), and often fails to heed my commands. But as of his fourth birthday four days ago, he no longer sucks a paci.

baby pacifier

Aryeh & his Paci circa 2009

I know, I know, what’s my problem. The books say throw it out at one or maybe two. But he was so addicted and it was so calming and it was just for bedtime and and and. Plus we were going to do it at three but toilet training was the main focus right then and multi-tasking didn’t seem wise at that juncture.

summer11iphone 281

Taking Paci Inventory Fall 2011

So there we were, in toys r us, with bags bulging with playmobil and enough plastic animals to charge admission to our living room zoo, standing at the long-awaited garbage pail, its tentacles at the ready. And he did it. Well, he asked me to do it for him but I made him take the plunge.

IMAG0245

Aryeh and his nighttime companions

The days months leading up to the great paci-trashing were more anxiety-ridden for my husband and I than for Aryeh. We talked about it with him, prepared him, built up the great toy-exchange, and waxed poetic about the joys of growing up. He wasn’t thrilled but he seemed to take it in stride.

Plus, someone with the mental acuity to regular challenge me with the goings-on of his mind can definitely handle an empty mouth at bedtime.

Well, we’ve survived four nights. But that surreal duality that defines him has been at its peak this weekend.

He asked me if we’ll live in the same apt we rented this fall in Israel when Moshiach comes and whether he could take his farm puzzle along when we leave to Israel with Moshiach. (Mind you it was the dollar store farm puzzle he requested and not his new Playmobil set that’s worth its weight in gold).

He wanted to know where G-d is and if he can fall since if he’s everywhere he’s also on the roof, which is quite a precarious place to balance.

He asked who were the parents of the first people G-d created, and when I said that G-d created them without parents he wanted to know who took care of them when they were babies.

Advanced, huh?

Not so much.

I got him to sleep surrounded by his menagerie, albeit hours after his bedtime, by patting his back repeatedly to the same beat I did four long years ago when my newborn couldn’t fall asleep on his own. Pat, pat, pat. Pat, pat, pat. I thought his eyes would never close.

So did his brother, whose new words of the day were pat meeeeee.

If only his mouth could catch up to his mind, we could all get some rest.

Uh oh, he just woke up. At least he’s sleeping longer stretches than he did back then.

Otherwise I’d be looking forward to a loooong night of pat pat pat. And we wouldn’t even be able to talk about it in the morning.

For Sale

IMAG0199I can’t seem to decide what’s cuter, the surprising epiphanies and questions of a precocious almost- four-year-old or the hysterical pronunciations and crazy hypothesis of a learning-to-speak two year old.

We often wonder what (if anything) is going on in the mind of little kids and when they first start to talk and give us a glimpse into their world, it’s not always what we expect.

Yaakov has been cracking me up at around 30 minute intervals with his language arts this weekend. When I mentioned on the phone to my husband that I had gone to yoga this morning, he kept pulling on something behind the couch and saying oya map oya map until I figured out he wanted the yoga mat.

IMAG0287

Understanding him can be difficult since most words start with a v or y and it’s left to you to decipher the true first syllable. Read and walk are vead and valk; throw is yo, aryeh is yayay, powder is yowda. Shanis is yanni, crib is yib. Snow is no. Yes is yo. You get the drift. And he keeps repeating words, smiling shyly at your attempts at comprehension, not giving up or getting frustrated until you correctly repeat it back to him.

There are a couple words even a stranger can understand, but not too many. 

IMAG0233Two of his clearer ones are, strangely enough, buy and money. This from the child who at eight months would start panting when I opened my wallet. Now, he points to everything and anything in the store and insists Buy Buy.

A few weeks ago he was home sick during a conference call I was having and kept repeating loudly for all my coworkers to hear Money Money. No distraction helped, he kept repeating the mantra, maybe reminding them what I was doing my work for. Money, money.

 

IMAG0159

Like a true businessman, my money-obsessed two year old does not think there is anything that can not (or should not) be bought. A few weeks ago his brother got a new hat (one he actually agreed to wear after around a dozen previous attempts) and Yaakov was greatly distressed that he was stuck with his “old” (as in two months old) one.

In an effort to illustrate his desire for a new one, he left the kitchen, coming back several moments later followed by a dragging noise. Behind him was the garbage pail from his room with his hat (and a half dozen diapers) inside. He pointed to it and said gaja (garbage) buy, buy. He figured if he threw the old one out I’d surely buy him a new one.

Last week he found my credit card on the table and walked around with it proudly, announcing Buy Buy. I’ve never seen him prouder.

But his buying obsession reached a new low high this afternoon when my friend Chana was leaving us after spending the weekend here.

Yana stay, Yaakov told me.

No Chana has to go, I explained.

IMAG0186No Yana stay, he insisted.

But she has to go back to her house, I said.

This did not stump my little entrepeneur.

Buy Yanna, he insisted triumphantly, Buy Yanna.

I guess it’ll be a while until he figures out what is and isn’t for sale.

Kosso, Keeso, Kaaso

In the Talmud it says that you don’t truly know a man until you’ve seen him bikosso, keeso, and kaaso – translated to with his cup (drinking), pocket (money), and anger.  I’m not terribly stingy and don’t indulge much in drinking, but sure, I get mad. I hate to think that’s the inner, true me. There’s got to be another scale of our humanity.

This weekend, I thought of a fourth category that might portray man’s (or woman’s) true colors.

Taking care of a vomiting child.

A very vomiting child. Think once every thirty minutes, and rarely landing somewhere appropriate like the apportioned bucket. More like on the floor, every sheet and blanket in the house, every pair of pajamas, and naturally of course, on one’s mother.

And yes, that would be me.

But I was so proud of myself. My heart grew full with love for this temporarily pathetic child, burning with fever, coughing up bile, evoking feelings of tenderness I rarely feel when my children are awake.

I mopped it up, changed his clothes, changed myself, and then did it all again 15 minutes later. All with a smile.

Last pair of clean (several sizes too small) pants

Oh, the joys of motherhood. Of kissing a warm temple and reading books as the sweet little angel drifts into oblivion.

I didn’t even break in the middle of the night when I had to keep tending, keep mopping, keep changing sheets, keep ignoring my beckoning pillow. Keep fulfilling requests for ginger ale with ice, no without ice, cold water, warm water, in between water, a drink in a sippy cup, no a regular cup, no a sports bottle.

Oh, how perfect I am I thought.

And then he started to get better.

The fever dissipated, the vomiting stopped. But the ridiculous requests prevailed.

He wanted this, no that, no this. He whined. He cried. He demanded.

And he kept me up all night. Again.

Gone was the patience. Gone the loving, perfect mother.

Just the snappy, tired one. No, you cannot have a third drink when there are two on the night table. Yes, you have to stop talking to me so I can drift back to sleep. No, you cannot run crying into your bedroom at 3 am and wake your sleeping brother. Get back into line, young man.

I think taking care of a sick kid is easy. The pity makes us strong.

It’s caring for one that’s getting better that’s the challenge. And I think I failed.