I am having second thoughts about the Chicco chairs. Not about whether Caroline is going to break her neck if we continue to use them (with her it is not so much the table crawling that Edward does as the fact that she started standing up in the seat to dance) but whether my expectations for the chairs were in excess of reason. I keep thinking about my nephew who started escaping from his crib at some crazy early age. Fourteen months? Fifteen? My brother and his wife were afraid he would hurt himself so they ditched the crib and moved him into a toddler bed that was about an inch off the ground. Then they spent a horrible month holding the bedroom door shut while my nephew pounded on it and wept because he was no longer in bed and he wanted to come out and play. Eventually they all adjusted and it never occurred to anyone to return the crib. After all, it wasn't the crib's fault that the kid was some kind of mini MacGyver.
A few of you suggested that maybe Caroline and Edward are just past the point where they can be expected to not turn cartwheels on the dinner table. I said no no no no no no no no no and began to weep quietly but I suppose it is possible. The new Regalo seats arrived from Amazon and although they have a shoulder harness Caroline instantly shrugs herself free of it. I think if she really put her mind to it she could be completely out of these new seats too. However (loose shoulder harness notwithstanding) it would be a lot harder for her. These seats hang much lower on the table and they are more cheaply constructed (not surprising as they cost half as much as the Hippo Hanging Chair) which is actually a positive because the floppiness makes it difficult for the twins to get a foothold; imagine using a sagging director's chair to reach the highest shelf in your kitchen. In contrast the Chicco seats were very sturdy and Edward in particular used the frame to support himself while he lunged up and out.
So I think the new seats will work for a while and now I am waffling on whether my irritation with Chicco was unfounded. Does a seat belt thing need to actually keep a kid seated or is there just a natural life cycles to these things that varies by child? Do you want to know how long Patrick slept in a crib? Until he was three. I found Caroline the other day with both feet and both hands on the crib railing, her face was pressed against the bars and her bottom was a good twelve inches off the mattress - it was a classic uneven bars move and she was very good at it. However, as soon as she gets taller and a little more creative I think she will change position to vault upwards and out she'll go. And when she does it will I call the crib company in a huff? Of course not. On the other hand, the seat has a lap restraint! Shouldn't it restrain? What do you think?
Caroline refused to nap today. She wasn't rude about it; she just went into her crib for an hour to play and then proceeded to jabber more and more loudly until she cried. When I went into get her I was met with a celebration to rival that which greeted the American liberation forces in Paris - it's hard to tell a child to go to sleep when she has been in there for almost ninety minutes and she is looking at you with her hands clasped together in exultant deliverance.
... I was just trying to come up with that classic line delivered by some journalist or (Mencken? no couldn't be) or somebody (I don't remember) who watched as the soldiers marched down the Champs Elysée in 1944 and observed, "Any GI who doesn't get laid tonight is either [I can't remember] or [I can't remember this part either.]" I was trying to get the actual quote and instead I googled my way into a BBC article from April which discussed the fact that de Gaulle wanted the first troops in Paris to be French and the British and Americans insisted they be white. But since the majority of soldiers fighting for France by 1944 were Africans this was a challenge. So they eventually located an armored division in Morocco that was 75% white and they decided this would work since they only had to substitute a quarter of the soldiers ... it is so hideous and shameful and repugnant I don't know what to say. Talk about ruining the liberation for me. I hope to god no one can ever does anything to denigrate the little ships of Dunkirk. I was talking to Patrick about the rescue at Dunkirk one day over dinner and I became so choked up that I could no longer speak. After a pause Patrick asked, "Um, were you THERE?" in a way that let me know I was embarrassing not only myself but the rest of the people at the table; namely him...
So. Caroline. No nap today. I am coming to the conclusion that we need to do something about Caroline's sleep schedule since she is currently doing a credible impression of me, circa college. We have to wake her up in the morning for breakfast otherwise she will sleep until 9:30, easy. She and Edward take a nap (usually) around 1 and we have to wake her up again at 4. This is all good and well but by bedtime she is wide awake and ready to, I dunno, tend bar or something. She will play and talk in her crib until 9 or 10 when she gets fractious. I go up and turn on some music for her and she usually drifts off by eleven. Since she has been in her crib at that point for about four hours... I've been getting letters from Amnesty International. The logical solution would be to curtail the naps but I LIKE naptime. Of course I like bedtime, too, or I would if it was just Edward. Edward is like one of those dolls who eyelids shut when they go past 45°. He still wakes up at intervals all night long but he no longer feels the need to summon me to experience this with him so I don't care. He is up for good at 8:30, takes a solid three hour nap every day and goes down like an oyster at 7:30.
All hail Edward.
Say hi, Edward.
I know I should not say this about my own child but MY GOD he is SO PRETTY.
Edward likes cars. I mean, Edward REALLY likes cars.
"Cah?" he says. "Cah cah cah?"
He likes to ride in the car. He likes to point to other cars as we drive. He finds cars in books. He fell asleep with two little cars last night, one in each hand.
I would say that he is indulging in a boy's wheeled passion and I was about to resign myself to a childhood of Nascar pillowcases (and me a Formula One fan; does Lewis Hamilton have a line in crib bedding?) when it occurred to me that he also likes crackers. I mean he REALLY likes crackers. He likes to eat crackers and he likes to ask for crackers (Crah-cah? Crah-cah?) and he likes to point out when other people are eating crackers. So I have concluded that it is the one sound he has totally mastered and he wants to draw attention to it in much the same way I spent my time in Central America apologizing to everyone because Lo siento was the only phrase I had really nailed (yes yes I know I owe you more back story and the tale of my first marriage - I will get back to it.)
So cah cah cah. But his sister, CARoline? He calls duh-duh-doh, which I think (I am not sure) means Edward Too.
I took Patrick to tumbling class again tonight. This was his third time (ever) and he is showing some improvement. I no longer fear he will strangle himself with his own feet when he cartwheels; I now worry that he will decapitate the kid next to him.
Patrick has many gifts. He is funny. He is cute. He is generous. He is loving. He is a shockingly good mimic. He has great small motor skills and if I ever needed anyone to get inside my toaster oven with a tiny screwdriver he's the first person I would call. And, you know, he's a card carrying genius, so that's kinda fun. At times. But! Patrick has not yet mastered the trick of coordinating his limbs and it makes things like, oh, swimming lessons or learning how to ride a bike or sixty minutes of tumbling class... well *I* am enjoying it. The look of bafflement on the face of his twenty year old instructor during stretches was worth the price of admission alone.
I feel guilty about this but the older Patrick gets the less patience I have with him. I was just talking to someone about the fact that I have boundless tolerance for the foibles of infants (you want to wake me up every twenty minutes for five months? fine) and toddler intransigence (Edward got so angry about something today that he managed to move a dining room chair by hitting and kicking the wood floor beneath it - I smiled at him and told him to let me know when he was done.) However the 5s and the 6s and now the 7s? Seem to be heavily laden with mines that explode my patience. Or maybe it's just Patrick. He talks me to death and he argues about everything and he never ever ever does something the first time I ask. Or even the second.
Tonight's dinner. The disputed item: two (2) garbanzo beans. The general rule of thumb being that you (not you, if you had come to dinner you would have been welcome to eschew anything or everything; I mean "you" = "my children") need to try everything even the stuff you have tried before and you know you don't like. A simple regulation. A reasonable code, I think, and one designed to encourage familiarity breeding greater familiarity. Right? Well, Patrick must've argued about those two fucking chickpeas for a solid thirty minutes. His points ranged from the fact that no matter how good they are for you the small quantity I was asking him to eat could hardly produce much in the way of benefit to the fact that he already enjoys good health and, frankly, he does not wish to be any different than he is.
Then, literally mid-sentence, he stopped his garbanzo manifesto.
"How would you multiply three by eight?" he asked.
"3x8. How do you do it?"
"I just memorized it. Fourth grade. Mrs Barbary's class. Why?"
"What if you forgot it? How would you get to 24?"
So I said I would add 8 to 8 and get 16 and then I would add 8 to 16 which means in my head I would get 14 and carry the 1 and then... 24.
Patrick looked just as baffled as the tumbling teacher.
"What good would that do you?"
So I asked how he would do it.
"Well," he said. "You multiply 3 by 2 and get 6. Then you double that so 3x4, which is 12. Double again 3x8: twenty-four!"
"Ah," I said.
Now as a good parenting story I would get to the end of this little mathematics discussion (I still think you Brits are wrong. Maths. Just sounds weird) and we would discover that Patrick had gotten so engrossed in our conversation that he had absentmindedly finished his dinner while we talked. But the truth of the matter is that as he asked me about the multiplication tables I got a little unnerved so *I* ate his damned garbanzo beans while we talked.
I am almost positive he hypnotized me. You know, like a cobra.
PS Track down that quote for me if you can.
PPS I am signing up for communist playgroup for Caroline and Edward. For those of you who haven't been around for the past five years, communist playgroup is what I call the district sponsored parenting class/pre pre preschool that meets once a week. For an hour you do circle time and play with your kid in the classroom, then you leave your child with the teacher and go meet in a conference room to participate in structured parenting discussions and eat banana bread. I did it with Patrick for several years. Once I liked my fellow parents and really enjoyed it. The other four times I wanted to use the informational handouts to self-inflict paper cuts until I passed out.
However, I think we could all use a morning activity this Fall. Caroline can do every hand gesture to every song (wheels on the bus, itsy-bitsy spider, open shut them... the Cricket's a nursery school natural) and she is dying to perform before an audience larger than me and Edward. And Edward would like a friend with whom he discuss both cars and crackers. As for me... well, how bad can it be really?
So here is the question. I am trying to decide whether I should sign up for the regular 18 months to 30 months class or the multiples class. In the latter the kids would range in age from birth to five and they would all be twins or triplets or heavenstobetsy. The parenting topics are supposedly twin+ specific.
My inclination is to go with the normal one, largely because I do not feel like a parent of twins. Is that weird? I feel like a fraud when I see stuff about twin parenting or multiples challenges. I have no idea why. But maybe there are things coming up in development that I could really use some twin specific guidance on? I think Caroline and Edward might have more fun if it is just toddlers but I am willing to accept opinions on the subject.