I have received interview requests for my spring interview program. I bid on 10 jobs, and got 3 interviews – all with employment law firms (ones that work for The Man, not The Little Guy). Hence the recent protecting of the space. Mayhap they should not know ahead of time how working for The Man against The Little Guy destroyed my soul! I couldn’t be too picky about summer employment, since the pregnancy makes me available only the first half of the summer, and I must stay in New Orleans near my midwives, so I have to go with what I get. And, of course, I won’t even get any of these jobs because who’s going to hire some preggo about to pop, when you could get a non-parent for your same buck? I would be hard-pressed to do so, in the same position. Heavily pregnant women near their due date are prone to a hasty exit. I don’t really want to work 50 hour weeks during that last couple months, anyhow, though the money is good (way better per-hour than HR Managing!), and it would be nice to occupy my time with working instead of thinking and nesting and losing my mind with the waiting through those last few weeks. Also, I think hoisting Jack up and down these days is much harder than working in some office would be. The bigger I get, the more he wants held, it seems. And I’m trying to hold him a lot, because I’m feeling that guilt that every pregnant mother-of-one feels as she contemplates the End of Only Child-dom that is coming at her darling preshuss like a freight train.
Speaking of Only Child – he feeds his bear. And gives him drinks of water. It kills me. Also, he says Hi and Dye Dye all the time, even if you just leave and re-enter a room. He is so stellar at going to sleep – walks himself to his crib at bedtime, pulls up the blankets over his legs, and flips on his side with Bear’s tail and his thumb both in his mouth, nary a tear. Also, he sings. ALL THE TIME. It is so delightful. Yesterday, just before he flung himself off the piano bench and onto the floor and cut his lip and wailed like it was the End Times, he was sitting next to me while I played and he was singing along. It destroys me. I have a little musician! And he’s finally letting me read stories again. For a long time now, he’s manipulated all of the books, not letting me really read a coherent story to him. He wants to hold it, he wants to close it, he wants this page this page THIS PAGE. But lately, I’ve gotten through several pretty long books from beginning to end, while he sits quietly, holding Bear and listening. It’s nice.
He’s also learning to wield, with greater frequency (like, every three minutes), the Toddler Arsenal of Death to Parental Sanity:
Weapon #1 – The Hitting: This is his ultimate expression of frustration. The Hitting gets a swift and terrible timeout – especially of other people/animals, though depending on the anger level, hitting of walls and inanimate objects as well. It’s ok to be frustrated, it is not ok to express that frustration in beatings.
Weapon #1a – The Unprovoked Hitting: When his cousin was around that he (actually, both of them) would look around the room, all shifty-eyed like, to see if any adult was watching – and then BLAM! Kick her in the tummy! Or she’d smack him on the head! No provocation. These carefully executed random acts of violence are of course immediate timeouts with Stern Mommy Voice (sometimes Stern Mommy Voice is a little wobbly with laughter, but I keep it together).
Weapon #2 – Throwing Self On The Ground. At home, I ignore TSOTG. In public, however, which is where he often wields this weapon (he knows exactly when we are most vulnerable to peer pressure), we employ distraction, occasional bribery (coff, grocery store lollipop, coff coff), and if feasible, a hoisting up and stepping away from the situation for a quiet talk. Throwing Self On The Ground (and its corollary, The Limp Spaghetti Noodle) is by far his favorite tantrum flavor, which I don’t mind. It’s the least aggressive, and most understandable. I don’t let him do much of what he wants to do (i.e. playing in the glass of a broken vase), and that’s hard for a 22 month old brain to grasp. Total relinquishment of bodily movement seems like an appropriate response – you won’t let me play in broken glass, FINE. I won’t do ANYTHING AT ALL and I’ll be LIMP and USELESS on the floor like a puddle and WON’T YOU BE SORRY.
Weapon #3a and 3b – Incessant Whine and Hysterical Crocodile Tears. These closely related weapons can elicit a number of responses, from distraction to a swat on the butt and a timeout. However, I find that this one most often arises when he really hasn’t had much of our attention all day – and that happens too often in this house of two academic parents. (Just stand in your Pack n Play and watch this episode of The Backyardigans three times in a row til mommy finishes her Con Law reading, ok?) So if I’m getting a lot of whining, I insert a walk to the park or a cuddle or a story, and that usually sets him to rights. He is a good little independent player, but he is still a little boy and needs lots of love and attention from us. He doesn’t know how to ask, so I need to do a better job of just doling it out.
Weapon #4 – The Cuteness. He hardly ever uses this, and really, it’s his best shot at getting me to go along with one of his big ideas. He does whip it out sometimes, though. Like last night, when I said Time for Night Night! Tell Daddy Night Night! And he walked over to Patrick, and crawled up in his lap and tucked his head under Patrick’s chin and closed his eyes. I’ll admit, it extended bedtime by at least three minutes, while Daddy enjoyed an impromptu cuddle.
Anyway, he has a few more months of being my one and only, before his world gets shattered. I know I’ll be able to do it, everybody does, it’s clearly doable, but I’m really nervous about it. If I nurse Angus the Fetus (not his real name) every two hours, and have to hold and reassure Jack during the daylight hours that I’m not nursing Angus (not his real name), then when am I going to get any rest? We’ll have lots of family help at first, I know, for which I am terribly grateful. But Jack will need a lot of reassurance that he’s still my Bud, my Numero Uno two year old, my Love, and I have to be the one to give that. And of course, nobody else can nurse the newborn, though I’ll tell you right now having successfully nursed Jack for a year, I am not above introducing some formula substitutions early on in Angus’s life, to give myself a break. I’m thinking of training the boobs to turn off at night and doing formula feedings, so Patrick can take over sometimes. We’ll see. Maybe he’ll be a good night sleeper. Maybe not having to go back to work right away will help with that, since I won’t be in such desperate survival mode so early in his life.
Maybe I should stop thinking about it and start working on a paper I have due, yes? As Doris Day says, whatever will be, will be. I’m onto all of Jack’s ploys, and Angus (not his real name) will not start being devious for at least a few months. Also, he doesn’t go places when you put him down. They’re going to be a difficult duo, but I think I can keep the upper hand. God. I am 31 years old after all. I have almost 3 degrees. Surely I can outsmart and infant and a 2 year old.