Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Life has changed a bunch since I last wrote back in early September. In December, I was asked by a friend at church whether I would want to babysit her daughter. I had actually been going to babysit for her when her maternity leave ran out back in fall of '11, and then my own pregnancy took a bad turn and bedrest put a stop to that idea. Well, a year later, here I am a nanny after all! Her little girl is half a year older than Honeybee, a whole bunch bigger, and very much a toddler. The first week, or week in a half, "Ladybug" cried every morning. Every morning she cried, every morning we rocked with animal crackers and milk in the big rocking armchair while Kittyboy and I sang the alphabet. I think that was about a week and a half. Then the last two days, she's cried when her dad picked her up in the afternoon! She doesn't want to leave! I must be doing something right!
Ladybug and Honeybee have become great friends. Honeybee is bound and determined to catch up six months worth! She went from cruising to taking a couple steps between handholds to taking up to six steps at a time, in two weeks. She now wants very much to drink from a cup. She wants to do everything Ladybug does. Unfortunately for Ladybug, Honeybee is an alpha dog, and WILL run roughshod over her if she gets the chance. She takes Ladybug's cup, her snacks, her place in front of the coveted toy, etc. And for the first four weeks, I spent a LOT of my day following Honeybee around and giving Ladybug back her stuff. And Ladybug would just stand there. Just this week, Ladybug has started taking stuff back (GOOD GIRL!). Now I have to follow them around to break up the tugs-of-war!
They're very different personalities. Honeybee knows no fear, while Ladybug is afraid of Kittyboy's toy T-Rex, his huge Perry the Platypus balloon, and the sound the dryer makes when it's finished. She has to wake up just so, or she is very fragile for some time afterward. Went through THAT with Kittyboy, his first year or so, the bad wakeups, so it's old hat to me. Just leave her the heck alone when she wakes up, let her get up at her own pace. Nothing loud, nothing sudden, don't touch her unless she's already upset, etc. And then the poor girl wakes to Kittyboy on one side of the playpen, reaching in for her, saying, "Do you want to get up? Do you want to come out?" over and over, while Honeybee stands at the other side, gleefully clawing the mesh and shrieking like a baby pterodactyl. "I FOUND HER! HERE SHE IS! MOMMY, MY FRIEND IS HERE! GET HER OUT TO PLAY WITH ME!" is my rough translation. Poor, poor Ladybug. I rocked her for an hour one afternoon, after waking too early from her nap, while Honeybee (who HAS to be on my lap if Ladybug is) sat opposite her, trying to be helpful and cheer her up. And by "cheer her up" I mean "alternate between trying to pat her head, and cheerfully shrieking like a baby pterodactyl." New napping procedure - everyone stays the heck out of the living room while Ladybug sleeps, with the exception of Kittyboy reading quietly, and once she is awake, NO ONE MOVE. Not until she does. This means I spend the last half hour to hour of her nap redirecting Honeybee, who will come happily charging down the hall on all fours, squeaking with each stride in a determined manner, to seek out her friend, who has BEEN SLEEPING A WHOLE HOUR OR SO, OH MY GOSH, WHO DOES THAT?? (not Honeybee! She may sleep only half an hour all day!)
Feeding the two is like feeding two dogs, trying to keep the food separate and ensure that each gets to eat, and remember Honeybee is ALPHA. She also loves to eat. She will clear her plate, and once released from her chair, try to go over to Ladybug with the intention of clearing hers as well. "You're not eating it anyway, I'll help you! Mommy, why are you moving me over here? SHE'S NOT EATING IT ANYWAY!"
I'm also tutoring the boy next door. Because... I'm not busy enough? And because his mom wants him to pass kindergarten. He's six months younger than Kittyboy and hates reading with a passion. He CAN sound out short words, which Kittyboy didn't do, KB just memorized them to start with, which gives me hope that I can do this. Problem is, his mom doesn't read or write English. So it's the teacher and me, which puts him at a disadvantage even with the best of attitudes, and then there's the fact that he reeeeeaaaaaaally doesn't want to. Yeah, NOT the best of attitudes. And I know enough Spanish to know that his mother, poor woman, is nagging him, "Listen to her, pay attention, listen, listen, pay attention, pay attention, pay attention." She's serious. Serious enough to pay the homeschooling neighbor to teach him. Which makes me want to scream when he says "but I caaaaan't!" and then laughs. A couple days ago, I got him through half of "Hop on Pop!" one letter at a time, before he became so uncooperative I called it a day, so I've made flash cards with words from the book, plus a few more -op, -all, -ing, -ed, etc words. Time to DRILL. "A-Y says long-A. Always, every time. So D-A-Y says?" Until he's got the endings down pat. Dr. Suess was a genius, I swear. Who else could make as unphonetic a language as English seem simple to teach? If I can get him through Suess, I can get him to first grade, is my mantra.
So yeah. I'm busy. But I want to get back to blogging!