Thursday, January 21, 2010

Then there are the differences.

A few weeks ago P was holding a very cranky and violent SS. Our daughter, like her brother is preparing herself for life as a groupie. She wants to sleep all day and party all night. We are really struggling with her sleep schedule, and SS is one tough nut to crack. P said "Boy, you really had some serious bad luck in the sleep department with your children. She is as bad as JJ and although it seemed impossible, her temper is worse than his when we tamper with her snoozing. I though if we had one difficult kid, the next one was supposed to be the easy one."

P was right, at least that is the way it appears with most siblings I have encountered. Take P and his sister, they are so different, not only in looks, but their personalities and world views. P was the quiet, introspective, easy going, quiet loner; while Court came out of the womb like me, chomping on a cigar, complaining about the delivery room temperature and ready to kick a$ in a bar brawl. Nana has said that Court "came fighting out of the womb." Since JJ was rather high maintenance and had no idea what a sleep schedule was, it's the Universe's turn to make it up to us with SS. Are you listening Universe? We don't think so, because here we are again, same sleep difficulties and an even crankier child. P has Titanium testicles thinking about a third child. This time I am wiser P, the Universe has no intention to give us an easy child.

We have posted about how freakishly similar JJ and SS are, at times in a very creepy manner. But then there are also glaring differences. Some admittedly created by P and I due to SS's needs, some due to genetics and some we'll never figure out. The first big difference is that JJ went straight into his full size crib upon arriving home from the hospital. My mother disliked (still does) sleeping alone and brought me to bed with her. Mami and Papi were very upset about it, and would tell her to let me be in my crib. As soon as they went to sleep, my mother selfishly moved me into her bed, so she would have company. When she married it did not bother her that she had a child that now was accustomed to sleep with someone. Heck she had what she wanted, a husband, screw the kid. Mami and Papi were rightfully furious. When JJ came along, I was determined that he would sleep on his own and with the lights off, something that I can't do to this day (thanks Abu, really, thanks). JJ probably shared my bed less than five times in his childhood, and only when he was ill.

I don't think I had ever come across a married couple as against co-sleeping as P and I. We hung on to that thought until we had SS in our arms*. Regardless of how much the thought repulsed us, parenthood is about selflessness, not selfishness. SS slept in a room with at least a dozen children. It is not unusual for two children to share a crib until their first birthday. Most of the children from SWIs reach through the crib slats with their arms or legs to the child in the crib next to them. Our daughter still sticks out a leg or an arm when in her crib, looking for that comfort. SS slept in a crib in China for quite a few nights, but once home we could not even place her in the playpen next to my side of the bed. SS was so distraught and would retreat to that ugly, spaced out place P and I fear so much. Then c0-sleeping it was and still is when SS needs it.

Another difference between JJ and SS is size, and in both caused difficulties. Although JJ arrived a little over three weeks early, he was always tall for his age. JJ was taller than 99% of kids his age, while SS is smaller than 99% of her age peers. For JJ is was tough because when he exhibited age appropriate behavior, those around him thought he was acting younger than his age. He was also excluded from a lot of activities because of his size. SS's size brings out (to us) the worst in people and even children her age and younger. We have to be hyper vigilant when SS is at the playground because kids just pick her up without asking and without SS wanting or needing it. First it is not safe for other children to pick her up. Second, it truly pi$$es us off, she is NOT a freaking toy, she is a child, and one capable of walking on her own.

This will probably be an issue that we will have to address with her teachers as well. The last thing we want or need is for SS's teachers to hold her or place her on their laps. We really do not care for people touching our daughter as it is. And yes, some strangers have tried to pick her up, and no I do not have a problem being a b*tch and making it clear that it is not OK. I frequent a forum where China adoptive families gather to share information and at times vent. The creator of the website has the same problem with her two daughters and they are not behind in size as much as SS. The dance teacher, the school teachers, the gymnastics teachers, all of them feel the need to pick up her daughters and do not do the same for the other children. She has vented a lot about it and we feel her pain, because that will be our battle as well.I am still haunted by the images of Mich@el Jacks0n carrying a then 13-year old Emmanuel Lew*s, like the latter was Bubbles the chimp. Not going to happen to our daughter.

JJ was potty trained shortly after his second birthday. I had tried and was becoming frustrated, even though I had heard that boys are more difficult to potty train. Also, there is a neurological component involved at he was not ready at first. One day I was looking for him and found him on the big toilet, defecating. I will never forget his face when I asked him what he was doing. My two year old looked at me like I was dumb and crazy. Also lucked out in the accident department. I do not recall one single night accident. JJ also achieved daytime and nighttime bladder/bowel control simultaneously. I would find his diaper dry in the morning. I thought he probably did not urinate much and it dried quickly. After one week of dry diapers I took the risk of putting him to bed wearing underwear. The boy never wore a diaper again. Talk about dumb luck on my part.

I certainly did not expect to have a three year old in diapers, but with only two months before her birthday that is exactly what we have. We are not sweating it, and had already decided to wait until after I recuperate from my next surgery to even think about attempting potty training. SS is going to regress and go through a lot of anxiety in about a month. We want her to be as comfortable as possible. Plus, we do owe her 15 months of diapers. ;) I am fortunate that P is not a tight wad when it comes to SS's needs. It does not seem to bother him, so anyone else can just stuff it.

JJ went from his crib to a single bed on his first birthday. Abu had plans to visit seven months later, so I purchased the bed and kept the crib in his room. He did very well, and only returned to his crib for the two weeks Abu visited.We are not in a hurry to convert SS's crib into a toddler bed. This is for selfish reasons, she has lots of space too grow, and we do not have to worry about SS wondering around the house in the middle of the night. Although JJ tried to take a dive from his crib several times as an infant, SS has yet to try to break free. We really expected her to try to climb out by now, but she is in no hurry. More dumb luck coming our way.

I was recently thinking about our search for SS's crib. I told P that we should stay away from cribs with drop sides, they are a pain and a lot less sturdier. P has been really good about indulging me when it comes to selecting things for SS. He was also aware that I hated JJ's crib, it was cheap, white (yuck), and all we could afford at the time. Since I was the one with issues, imagine my surprise when P turned out to be the wild card, the tough one to impress. There are many cribs, cheaper cribs that I would have been OK purchasing. BTW, when I say this, P raises his eyebrow at me and sarcastically says "Really? I don't think so." Guess what P, you are wrong on that one, YOU were the difficult one about the darn crib.

I recall finding our first prospect at B@bies R Us, and boy did they have an ugly selection. P walked up to the crib and started shaking it like a maniac. It did not meet P's standards and I was surprised. I reminded him that we would be parenting a 12-24 month daughter, who would be smaller than children her size. Come on, it's not like we were going to have a moose or a kangaroo. P reminded me that he indulged my utter dislike for white cribs, dark finish cribs, drop side cribs, straight edge cribs, and whatever else I disliked. P's standards? A crib that our child could not shake like a monkey in heat. That is the first time that P shared with me the origin of his crib standards.

P was three when his sister was born. P had never shared with me how annoying it was when his sister would rattle her crib. He recalled losing a lot of sleep that way and was not about to risk it with his daughter. The funniest part was his description of Court jumping around and shaking her crib like a monkey in heat. Right there at BRU in the middle of all those cribs and expectant parents. He cracked me up so bad that it took me a while to be able to stop laughing at the mental image (Sorry Court). Had someone told me that his sister would be a main factor on the purchase of SS's crib, I would not have believed it. But P shook every prospect I considered, and it was only when he was satisfied that we could bring SS's crib home. We saw (and he shook) many cribs in many different stores. It should not have been that difficult, but that is how childhood memories mess with our minds.

Once we purchased the crib, P asked me what other furniture I wanted. Surprisingly, I was only interested in a dresser and a glider. P wanted the armoire that matched the crib. It took me a really long time to talk him out of it and the ridiculous expense. Eventually it came down to space and the fact that the closet in SS's room would adequately accommodate her clothing. P inquired about a changing table and I declined. I always thought that our referral would be for at least a one year old girl, if not older. Maybe I was in some serious denial regarding a younger child, because I knew I would have been on my own. I love P, but the man has no use for infants or what he likes to call them (when he is in a generous mood), "those useless creatures." Probably to protect myself I made up my mind that our daughter would not have use for a changing table.

Also, our bed is rather high and I thought most of SS's diaper and clothing changes would take place on our bed. I told P that a changing pad would suffice, and once SS was done with that, we could purchase the hutch for her dresser. Ah, got to love it when reality slaps you in the ar$e. I miscalculated big time and badly. We use that changing pad daily, and SS expects for her diaper changes (unless we are downstairs), and clothing changes to happen on that pad. Thankfully for her, she is small enough to still fit. I do not regret passing on the changing table. Once SS is done we will be throwing away the $25 pad and the $15 terry cloth pad cover. I would really hate to toss out $250 of perfectly good furniture.

The furniture is much lighter than it came out in the picture.

Blows our minds that SS still fits on her changing pad.

Mr. Bear was mine, JJ also had one in a lighter color, and I have no idea what happened to his. This bear is over twenty years old.

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