Thursday, March 30, 2006

Growing pains

Oh, but there are growing pains! That is, a million little weird things about the girl, some of which greatly annoy me. Some of which are fucking annoying.

It's been (and will continue to be) a long week. J-F's away. Helena is moody, stubborn, and testing me.

These annoyances have been going on for a few weeks, directly correlating, I think, to her insistence on sleeping sans diaper (or overnight pants), which means about half of those nights she wakes up having wet her bed and the rest of the nights she wakes up because I guess it's become a habit, which means she's generally not as well rested as she ought to be. Nor am I.

Friday night she woke up screaming. She cried and I paced with her and she complained about her ear. No fever and I couldn't see anything in the dark, and god forbid I turn on a proper light and incur the wails resulting from the bright sting to her eyes. A dose of Tylenol, an hour of her crying and my pacing, and we fell back to sleep. Morning came and I gave some thought to taking her to a clinic, but nothing close by was open, and there was the pesky logistical matter of getting J-F to the airport and the more emotionally wrenching one of seeing him off. Taking Helena to a clinic was just so damn inconvenient, particularly since she claimed she felt fine, and she seemed fine, so I didn't, because that's the kind of horrible mother I am.

Tuesday Helena gives me a hard time about getting ready to go to daycare. I give us both a minute to calm down, got my own shoes and jacket on. I find her curled up fetal-like on her bed, feigning sleep. So I tuck her in and stroke her hair, call the daycare, and Helena sleeps the morning away.

Wednesday morning she tells me she wants to stay home, and I feel guilty. I have no work this week. I had plans for a little spring-cleaning is all. And my daughter wants to stay home, dare I say spend a little time with me.

Helena's back at daycare today for an excursion to the science centre, which I've been building up in preceding days so she wouldn't show too much resistance in the morning.

When it's good, it's really good. But the bad is frustrating beyond belief.

1. How none of her socks are comfortable for her. Or shoes. But it starts with the socks. And I've always given this rather serious consideration, given her history with eczema, always the worst on her feet and ankles, which look fine at the moment. But every year for the 3 years of her life so far, as winter gives way to spring her baby flesh turns scaly and she starts to scratch it raw. So. Cotton socks. Are hard to find. And I find myslef wondering if 95% cotton, 5% lycra is enough cotton. But the princess has issues with loose threads and noticeable seams. The Dora socks she screamed to own have never been worn. I've been turning most of her socks inside out so the seam across the toe isn't directly rubbing her feet. But add the pressure of shoes and she still feels the pea through the mattress.

2. How none of her underwear is comfortable for her. Most mornings she tries on all available clean underwear, usually settling on the last pair. If we're staying home, the underwear comes off within the hour. I've bought dozens of pairs of underwear, some cheap, some expensive, all 100% cotton. Some days I think we've found a comfortable fit, and I determine to buy a dozen exactly the same, but I've already cut off the tag (because tags irritate Helena, even more than the scratchy remnants often left behind), so I don't even know what size they are (they could be anything from 3 to 6, depending on brand and style). But it doesn't matter, because there's no guarantee that what she settles for one day is good enough the next.

I honestly can't gauge how reasonable or not she's being. No one should have to wear uncomfortable underwear! But don't we all put up with a little discomfort now and then? Maybe I should never have let the first pair come off.

3. Last week on entering the living room she freaked out that J-F's shoes were on the floor in front of sofa (but not even casually strewn, but placed neatly). Freaked out.

4. Hand-washing, dawdling over. This more than anything leads to tears. And I find this odd, because she used to love washing her hands. She scolds her cousin (so-called, as shorthand for a complicated not-directly-blood-sharing but in-the-family relationship), who's a year older, for not washing her hands after using the toilet, even bringing her a stepstool and leading her hands under the tap. So she knows she's supposed to, she knows how, but she defies my telling her to.

5. Bedtime used to be so easy. We left her to cry it out in her crib only a couple times when she was a baby. But sleep generally came easy. There were occasional glitches, after long days with visitors, when travelling or upon our return, for a few weeks when we moved house — all understandable. But recently, after a story or two, she looks at me sadly, "Je ne veux pas rester tout seul." I acquiesced a couple times, sat with her till her breathing changed, but I fear I've created a monster. It seems a small price to pay, 10 minutes watching your angel drift off, but...



Anonymous said...

Not much to offer but commiseration and sympathy. One thing I wonder, though - the hypersensitivity of her skin makes me wonder if she's sensitive in general, to everything. It might be worth checking out the book The Highly Sensitive Person. She's still pretty young to slap a label on her, but I seem to remember lots of information in that book about that very issue, the tags and seams.

Also my daughter had that same eczema thing every spring when she was small but she outgrew it.

Hang in there, Isabella. It will get better.

Raehan said...

Ah. One of those weeks. Maybe she's having growing pains. Or just plain tired. Or could it be an earache after all.

Funny though how these battles can sometimes bring you closer, in the physical and emotional sense of the word. It's iike you battle it out and you are left on the battlefield lying next to each other, breathing together.

And you get to watch an angel go to sleep.


Anonymous said...

Funny how everyone talks about the Terrible Twos but not the Terrible Threes. I have a vague memory of Emily going through the socks/shoes/tags thing and she still does sometimes. Given H's eczema I wonder that it could be a sensitive skin issue to boot. Loads of sympathy sent your way.

You'll survive! So will she!