Eldore turned twenty-two months on September the 19th.
Since I have missed a couple of months, this update will encompass more changes in Eldore than an almost-two-years-old update usually would.
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The Great Sleep Fiasco And How It Was Reconciled
The Developing Conversationalist
the great sleep fiasco (and how it was reconciled)
The first thing that I want to document is the terrible sleep troubles we went through since his last update. It started with a respiratory virus that went through the whole family, but probably hit the little ones the hardest. Eldore had a couple of very rough nights, unable to sleep for the congestion (and, especially, because one cannot suck ones favorite sleepy finger when one’s nose is stuffed up.) After the sickness and the rocky nights it brought were finished, somehow we were left with a habit of waking in the night and crying and rocking even though there was no visible reason for the wakings.
I didn’t mind at first, because I knew from previous experience that it can take time to recover from several days of sickness. But when several days became a couple of weeks, and then several weeks, and then almost two months…We were outside of the bounds of normal recovery, and I was starting to feel crazy.
I took him to the doctor to make sure he didn’t have an ear infection from the illness. We tried dressing him more, then dressing him less at night, to see if he was too hot or cold. We gave him more blankets. We took blankets away. We gave him a pillow. We took the pillow out. I gave him medicine in case his erupting incisors were keeping him up. Nothing really seemed to help. He would wake up and cry–sometimes multiple times a night–and I would go in and rock and soothe him, and then I would try to lay him down again. And sometimes he would cry right away, and sometimes he would be asleep and then wake a little bit later and cry again. This was from a child that had slept twelve hours straight since the age of six months! Something had to be going on.
And then, one night, I left him crying in his room after going in to him for the third time, and I came and told Jeremy, “I don’t know what to do. I’ve been in three times, and he’s fine so long as I’m in there but screams as soon as I leave.”
And Jeremy got up, walked very calmly to his room, opened the door, said, calmly, from the door, “Eldore, lay down and go back to sleep.” And Eldore did! Without so much as a peep! And Jeremy walked back to bed and went back to sleep himself.
And I though, Oh, so it’s like that, is it?
It’s true: Eldore was milking my coming in so many times in the night, in his sweet and probably not consciously manipulating way, but if Jeremy came in, he would give up immediately and go back to sleep. So we decided to switch tactics. From then on, if Eldore cried, Jeremy would go and put him back to sleep.
Meanwhile, Eldore’s naps were beginning to look as terrible as his nights. Our school time, which is in the afternoon when he’s napping, began to be interrupted every day by his waking and crying. At first I could go and re-settle him, and he’d be fine. But soon that wouldn’t work anymore, and we were in the same situation we were in with his nights. And again, I could go and get Jeremy, and Jeremy would gently but firmly tell him to go to sleep. And he would. Good grief!
I was not happy with this arrangement. For one thing, I couldn’t constantly have our school interrupted. And then I couldn’t constantly interrupt Jeremy at work to have him take care of Eldore. And honestly, it was really getting under my skin to have Jeremy doing the night work with him, too. Night work as always been my jurisdiction, and to have to wake him to do it was like a spotlight on my inability to handle the situation myself.
In the end, it was a combined effort of much more firmness on my part and switching out his mini-crib for the full-size crib. The former meant I could re-settle him and he would actually go back to sleep, but the latter actually solved the problem of waking in the first place.
Thus for the past few weeks the Great Sleep Fiasco has been resolved, and we are all the happier and more rested for it!
the developing conversationalist (and a siamese cat)
A second leap forward these past couple of months has been Eldore’s communication skills.
He’s been relying on one phrase, ah-dee-DEE, to communicate nearly everything, which is beyond frustrating for everyone involved. “Eldore, what do you want?” “Ah-dee-DEE! Ah-DEE-DEE!” Sometimes the object in question was obvious; sometimes we had to give up after several failed attempts to understand what he wanted.
This difficulty was exacerbated by his stubborn refusal to attempt to say any words that he couldn’t pronounce properly. Some exceptions to this rule were: please (dee); thank you (dee-dee); Beatrice (Dee-Dee); bye-bye (die-die); flying insects and birds (Ee-yah-yah); yes (yah); Mama (mama). Requests to say any other words were usually met with a sly grin and a swift shake of the head.
(This persistent initial d is something that interests me, as he’s capable of making the proper sounds–like the initial p in please–but reverts to the d when he says the word. “Puh…puh…puh…Dee!” It interests me because I had the same problem with initial ls, and late enough in life that I can remember being frustrated by it.)
There were a couple of power struggles while we broke through this stubbornness–typically manifested in Mama refusing to look for or hand over whatever desired object until Eldore made an attempt at its proper name. But attempt he began, at last, to do, and that has made things easier on all of us.
After this “breakthrough” he began to string some words together, punctuating his fledgling sentences with my name just like he used to when he babbled. One day I was taking Beatrice’s car seat to the car when he ran over and grabbed ahold of it. “Dee-Dee gom, Mama? Dee-Dee car-car?”
I showed him it was empty. “No, Beada’s not going anywhere, she’s just taking a nap. I’m taking this to the car and I’ll be right back.”
Another day he was sitting on the kitchen counter, directly over the shelf that has a large basket of apples and bananas in it. I was working nearby when he signaled at me to get my attention.
“Ah-gom, ‘nanas. Ah-gom!” He shook his head and threw up his arms in a questioning gesture as he told me the bananas were all gone. I was about to inform him that they were right underneath him when he suddenly threw his legs open and pointed down at the basket. “Dee-dye! Dere ‘nanas, Mama! ” he said, repeating the “pee-pie” game we play with Beatrice. Then he closed his legs again. “Ah-gom, ‘nanas.” He was pleased with himself for his little joke, and we both had a good laugh over it.
But our favorite word, and one that has been officially added to Krans Family Lore, is his word for no: rrrrhoh, or maybe rwhohr, or maybe rhoaow, but however you spell it is sounds exactly like a Siamese cat we used to have, and no matter how many times I ask him to say nuh, nuh, NO he says nuh, nuh, RHAOW in such an endearing and humorous manner that we’re all on the verge of adopting it.
Beatrice has been and continues to be his favorite sibling. Anselm is a close second. He and Elvie have something of a love/hate relationship, but they are learning a lot from each other, like how to take turns and ask for things nicely or that it really, really hurts when you bite someone.
He loves his my for going to sleep. He does NOT love his my for any other types of comfort and seems personally offended when I suggest otherwise.
To jump on the trampoline is one of his greatest joys; he tries to hop around on solid ground, but can’t quite get both feet off the ground at once. It results in a sort of lopsided stomping that he is inordinately pleased over. We can cure almost any period of whining with the suggestion, “Let’s go to the trampoline!”
He enjoys drawing, and mostly drawing stars, and mostly asking me to draw stars, so that suggesting he draw as an attempt to cure boredom is risky business, as Mama might get roped into drawing stars over and over and over.
He eats. Lord, does this child eat! He eats and then an hour later he’s hungry again. I look at his teenage years with a fair bit of trepidation.