Monday, November 1, 2010

The Party's Over

Turn out the lights, the party's over
They say that all good things must end

Certain NJ-related developments around the household have that chorus running through my head at seemingly regular intervals. (It's usually Dandy Don Meredith's voice in my head, what with me being a football fan and a child of the '70s and all, but Willie's version is just so damn smooth. You're welcome!) The kid that I used to rave about, well ... oh, I'm still raving. But things aren't like they used to be. To wit:

Crying and whining. The kid was pretty good about this for a long, long time. Now, though, she's learned that crying and whining gets results. It really started during the Daycare Sickness Jubilee, and who could blame her for crying and whining then? Not me. But -- and it seems like some sort of world record -- she's been illness-free for at least a week now. The crying and whining? It's survived. Long ago, I think it was in NJ's first week, someone warned us against bending to the will of a baby who would "manipulate us." It was premature advice -- I didn't think a one-week-old knew much from manipulation -- but now I'm starting to get it. Particularly when she throws a loud, blubbery six-second fit and then calmly, coolly inserts her thumb in her mouth and clams up. Plotting her next move, no doubt.

Sleeping. I said once before that the contently sleeping infant who made us the envy of new parents all across north Seattle was long gone, and it's still true even though the daycare colds and bugs are gone. She can be counted on to wake up once per night these days. Thankfully it's not as bad as when she was sick -- last week, her nose was so stuffed up that when she sucked her thumb, she couldn't breathe. I imagine that was pretty frustrating for the little kid. Again, though, it's better now that -- for the moment -- she isn't sick. Also, I'm sure this can be blamed in part on her teething: Her teeth took their sweet time showing up, and now they're making up for lost time -- three are coming in now on the top, maybe even four. So we coasted for a while there on the teething front, and now it's catching up to us. This is a factor in the crying/whining, too, I'm sure.

Eating. NJ is no longer the Hungry Monkey who'll eat whatever is put in front of her. The first thing she struck off her to-eat list? Broccoli. She seems to get pickier by the day. And worse, she's started holding out for the things she likes best. A couple of evenings ago I made the mistake of saying the word "yogurt" aloud, and she was inconsolable (see "Crying and whining," above) until The Wife was shoveling creamy, peachy goodness into her mouth.

Preferring her mom to me. This one is the toughest to take. NJ's shown a decisive preference for The Wife, as compared to Dad Solo. The Wife brings her upstairs in the morning and she can't put her down on the bed with me to get dressed because NJ starts crying. The Wife goes into the kitchen to make dinner and she can't leave NJ with me because the kid starts crying; instead, she sits in her high chair in the kitchen and watches her mom. It's not that she dislikes me or anything -- she just was practicing standing up and beamed at me every time for approval -- it's just that she is into her mom right now and makes it clear. She's playing favorites and right now I'm lagging. The Wife spent an hour at day care last Friday for some pumpkin-carving goings-on, and a couple was there with their kid. The mom left and the kid started crying in dad's arms. The Wife leaned over to another father and said, "I wish my husband was here to see this, he'd feel better." The man (allegedly) replied, "Happens at our house, too. It's normal." I put a year into caring for her exclusively, you'd think I'd have some good will stored up by now. But: No. I still have to earn it every day.

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