Wildling does ballet

Wildling has decided that she is a ballerina. She now teaches me ballet moves, that she learned from the book Olivia the Ballerina. Things to keep in mind: Olivia the Ballerina is not a how-to guide; and Olivia is a pig. Wildling has never seen actual ballet, and her dance moves and teachings reflect that.

I did have her signed up for a ballet class once, when she was three. She was ridiculously excited about it, up until the moment she had to enter the classroom door. Then all hell broke loose, and a few of my mom friends suddenly learned what I meant when I referenced Wildling’s screaming fits. We made a second attempt the following week, and again, didn’t make it through the classroom door and the teacher told me that Wildling was too disruptive and she was not welcome in the class (nice thing to say in front of a child – good thing Wildling couldn’t hear it over the sounds of her own screams).

So tonight, when Wildling earned some after dinner playtime, we spent it doing Wildling’s version of ballet. It involves a lot of spinning in circles, and a crazy ‘ballet walk’ which is kind of similar to what a zombie would do if they leaned all the way over from side to side while doing their brain-seeking shuffle.

I’m tempted to again attempt a real ballet class, but I’m worried that it won’t meet Wildling’s expectations. I don’t know what she thinks ballet is, other than a chance to wear a tutu. I took a ballet class when I was her age, and I enjoyed it until the teacher decided to humiliate me one day for the crime of -gasp – daring to wear a ballet skirt that my aunt had sent me. I wasn’t old enough or advanced enough to be permitted to wear one at that school, and instead of quietly informing me of that, the teacher decided to make an example of me and verbally tear me down and belittle me in front of the entire class. I cried, a lot, when I got home, and I never went back to that class. I worry that if I enroll Wildling in a class (assuming she enters the actual classroom this time), then one negative experience like mine will destroy her love of dancing.

Poor sick baby

Mellow is sadly, pathetically, lethargically ill. My poor baby who usually devours anything we put in front of her has hardly eaten in the last few days. Yesterday we managed to get her to eat some pasta at lunch, and we were very happy about it, until twenty minutes later when the completely undigested pasta and a lot of smelly liquid ended up all over my clothing.

I am fortunate that Mellow is still nursing. She’s not at risk of dehydration or starvation, because she has spent the last four days snuggled up on me and nursing. Sometimes she would just sit and stare, resting her little head against my chest. She was so sad looking, and so different from the happy chirpy baby that we are used to having.

I’m afraid she is losing weight. She looked so tiny and fragile tonight, but she had more energy tonight too. She had enough energy to pick up a mallet and swing it at her sister (that caused exactly the amount of drama one would expect Wildling to produce, but don’t worry, she calmed down after five minutes. I shudder to think how long the screaming would have lasted had Mellow actually hit her, rather than just waving the mallet from three feet away).

I called the doctor’s office on Friday, and because there is no fever, they were unconcerned. I will call again tomorrow.

This is one of the hardest parts of parenting: worrying about your child. I’m sure she just has a little stomach bug, I’m sure she’s going to be fine soon, but part of my mind always jumps to the worst conclusions. Maybe it’s cancer. Maybe it’s meningitis. Maybe it’s some horrible deathly disease that the pediatrician hasn’t even heard of and won’t be able to diagnose properly until it’s too late. But I know those are irrational thoughts. Mellow just has an upset tummy, a little virus. She’ll be fine in the next couple of days.

When I’m sick

I’ve been too busy and ill to update my blog lately, but I did write a melodramatic and self-pitying entry in my head the other day. It was 4:30 am, and I was awake and nursing Mellow, who had a cold. I had a terrible cold as well, and was completely miserable. All I wanted to do was sleep, but I couldn’t, because I had to take care of the baby. Will, who was not sick at all, was sleeping peacefully. So there I was feeling resentful and ill and angry, and mentally composing a post about how I never get to take a break, no matter how sick I get and nobody helps me at all, etc etc etc.

And that same morning, when I usually have to get up and get the kids ready and take Wildling to school and deal with her fits, Will did that. He took Mellow, changed her diaper, and brought her back to bed, where she fell asleep. He got up with Wildling and got her breakfast and dealt with the usual morning drama of picking out her clothing (oh my god, the drama – how will we survive the teenage years???) and drove her to school. When he does this, it makes his days longer and harder. He can’t commute by bus because the express bus stops running at 8:00, and school starts at 8:30. He ends up having to drive to work, which he hates, and stay longer to make up for his later arrival and his inability to work during the commute, and then he has to deal with traffic on his way home. But he did all of that, without me having to ask. He didn’t even wake me up. I woke up with Mellow (both of us still miserable) at 10:30. And there was a pot of oatmeal on the stove for us. It didn’t make me feel less ill, but it did make me feel better.

Will loves me. And he takes care of me, even when I’m whiny and self-pitying and probably really annoying.

Tuesday Night Scream Fest

I’m not sure what holidays other people were celebrating tonight, but in my house we celebrated Tuesday Night Scream Fest. It’s a simple holiday, though it always arrives unexpectedly, so you can’t really plan for it. You just have to live in the moment, and do your best to survive.

Tuesday Night Scream Fest began as it usually did, with something not going according to Wildling’s secret plan. I know what you’re thinking: maybe if she shared her plans instead of keeping them secret, then we could all follow them and there would be no need for a full on four-year-old mental breakdown. How silly of you!

Scream Fest, Part 1: Dinner Time, Part I. Wildling begins cleaning up her watercolor paints from the table. Will brings over a towel and wipes up a spill. Cue breakdown. She wanted to clean it up herself! Five minutes of screaming.

Scream Fest, Part 2: Dinner time, Part II. One minute later. Will comments that Wildling must not be living in the same universe as the rest of us. Wildling screams that she doesn’t like him, and that he said a bad word. Then she screams ‘Mama!’ over and over again for five minutes. Total scream time so far: 10 minutes

Scream Fest, Part 3: The Straw, Part I. Will got Wildling a cup of milk. As an added treat, he splashed a bit of chocolate almond milk in it. Here’s Will’s big mistake: when Wildling has cow milk mixed with chocolate almond milk, she likes to drink it from a particular straw. He failed to bring the straw to the table. Cue three minutes of screaming.

Scream Fest, Part 4: The Straw, Part II. Will tells Wildling she must ask nicely for a straw if she wants one. She believes that nodding when she is told to ask nicely is sufficient. We calmly inform her that it is not. Two more minutes of screaming. Total scream time so far: 15 minutes.

Scream Fest, Part 5: The Straw, Part III. After Wildling has calmed down and politely asked for the straw in a falsely sweet voice, Will gets it for her. BUT SHE WANTED MAMA TO GET IT! Five more minutes of screaming. Total scream time so far: 20 minutes.

Scream Fest, Part 6: The Straw, Part IV. Wildling is playing with her straw and knocks her cup over, spilling milk everywhere. Will tells her she should have been more careful. She thinks she was being careful. Hysterical breakdown leading to Will lifting Wildling (and her chair that she had a death grip on) and carrying her into the playroom. She screamed ‘Mama!’ at the top of her lungs for four minutes. Total scream time so far: 24 minutes.

Scream Fest, Part 7: Return from Banishment. Wildling has calmed down and returned from the playroom. She lasts through about three minutes of conversation, but then gets mad at Will for some unknown reason. Three more minutes of screaming. Total scream time so far: 27 minutes.

Scream Fest, Part 8: Return from the Second Banishment. Mama has gone into the playroom, hugged Wildling and calmed her down. Wildling agrees that she will finish her meal without crying and in doing so she will earn a gingerbread cookie. Wildling promises she won’t cry anymore. Less than thirty seconds later, she is screaming again, because she notices her milk cup is mostly empty. “PAPA DRANK MY MILK!” We remind her that she spilled it. She is carried back to the playroom during the ensuing fit. Three more minutes. Total scream time so far: 30 minutes.

Scream Fest, Part 9: Parents Give Up. Will and I decide we can’t take it anymore, and it is bath time. Wildling doesn’t want a bath (two minutes screaming), then she wants to play in the bath (two more minutes screaming), then Will leaves her in the tub while he dries off Mellow (four minutes screaming). Total scream time: 38 minutes.

Scream Fest, Part 10: The Pajama Incident. Wildling cannot find the pajamas she wants. She screams for four minutes. This fit means she did not finish getting ready for bed before the timer went off, so she did not earn extra play time (this is how we get her to brush her teeth at night). She only screams for two minutes, because Will tells her if she doesn’t stop, she won’t get a bedtime story.

ELAPSED TIME: 64 MINUTES; TOTAL SCREAM TIME: 44 MINUTES

Percent of time spent screaming: 68.75%.

Not a bad performance overall, but I’m sure she’ll be able to get those numbers up for the next Scream Fest. I can’t wait.

P.S. Yes, this is a family event, but Mellow is too young and stable to participate. She spent Parts 1-8 of Scream Fest in her high chair, happily eating; Part 9 in the bath ignoring her sister, and Part 10 playing quietly in her own bed.

Beware the play area

I was at a shopping mall with Mellow yesterday. You know I don’t normally go to malls, as we aren’t big consumers and I don’t like the noise and the crowds, but there was a specific thing I needed that was only available there. Since we were at the mall and we had some time to kill before going to pick Wildling up from school, I took Mellow to the children’s play area.

There was a rowdy group of girls, probably around four or five years old, playing with a toddler boy who I assumed to be related to one of them. They kept picking the poor boy up and carrying him around, and he had one of those long-suffering yet confused looks on his face. After watching them play for about ten minutes while Mellow went up and down a slide, the boy’s dad abruptly ended the game and took him away. Turned out he wasn’t actually related to any member of the girl pack.

The girls were upset to see him go, and announced “We need another baby!” They looked around, and you can guess who they saw. “There’s one! Let’s get her!” shouted one of the girls, and they came running to Mellow, who just stood looking up at them and chirping, as that’s the sound she currently chooses to make.

“We’ll get this one!” announced the tallest and loudest of the girls, so I assume she was the pack leader.

“You will not get that one,” I told her, and she seemed surprised that Mellow had a nearby chaperone.

“No, it’s ok, we’re not going to fight her,” the pack leader helpfully explained. “We’re just going to play with her.” Not going to fight her? Yes, of course. That must have been my concern. I thought you were going to fight a baby.

“You can play with her,” I said, “but you can’t touch her.”

The pack leader looked me up and down as if she was sizing me up for a fight (where did all this fighting come from anyway?). Then her gaze slid across the play area to another poor unfortunate one-year-old. “There’s a different baby! Let’s get her!” and the little gang ran and accosted the other baby, whose mother was too busy playing with her phone to notice that a roving band of girls literally grabbed her baby off of a plastic turtle and carried her away. I’d call it a kidnapping, but they didn’t go very far, and I doubt there was a ransom request.

Mellow and I left shortly after that, so I don’t know how the afternoon progressed. How many babies were rounded up by this pack of wild children? Are they, even now, roaming the mall play area looking for unattended toddlers to carry off?