December 2000 page 2 of 2
Saturday 16 December

Last night sucked again. Damian came to bed at one a.m., slept restlessly, woke for the day (!) at 5:30 a.m. Dan got up with him.

We were all on edge today as a result. Damian had periodic crying fits this afternoon/evening, at the slightest provocation. Then a minute later he'd be happy and giggling, rolling around or listening quietly to a story. And then wham! crying again.

We got a Christmas tree, anyway. Damian enjoyed running around the lot.

Sunday 17 December

Damian slept well last night. Came to bed around five a.m., but lay down between us and went right to sleep. Only the second time that's happened. I don't want him to feel unwelcome in our bed, I just don't think we should have to perform heroic sleep interventions in the middle of the night. So if this becomes the status quo, we'll be in good shape.

He's asking for things -- verbally, I mean -- about half the time now. This morning he spotted an apple juice box in the fridge and asked for "apple juice in juice." (We call his big thermos-style sippy cup "juice" because it always contains watered down apple juice.) So I topped off his cup with some more apple juice. Hey, if it makes him happy...

He's gotten really into petting Dante lately. He's so gentle and careful about it, and you can tell the cat likes it (his tail goes up like a flag).

He loves clapping. If someone claps on TV or in a book, Damian claps too. We watched Toy Story this evening, and Damian clapped at the end of every scene for a while. It was very sweet.

Monday 18 December

Well, last night was... interesting. We declared a moratorium on three a.m. rocking sessions that last far too long and leave us all far too exhausted. So. Damian came to our bed around 4:15 a.m. He lay down between us. Fidgeted and wiggled and stayed awake. Around 5, he wanted to be rocked. I explained the situation (as I'd done earlier, I wasn't pulling a fast one on him). He cried on and off for an hour, wouldn't relax no matter what I said. I was as compassionate as possible, but stayed firm. Dan was too fried to be kind so he basically stayed out of it. Finally I persuaded Damian to lie down and I rubbed his back with my knuckles, a real massage. He burrowed his head into my armpit and fell asleep almost instantly.

We decorated the tree today. Damian contributed a firefighter's helmet and some play doh. More on Damian's pleasure with the whole process in this entry.

Tuesday 19 December

Last night we tried something new. Dan slept in Damian's bed with Damian. He says Damian woke up once, even sat up, but Dan rubbed his back (if it worked the night before...) and said he should lie down so he could go back to sleep. Damian did. And yes, he went to sleep too. Woo-hoo!

He's completely comfortable with my mom now. He went for a walk around the block with her this morning; she says they had fun. He says "grandma" too. And he fell asleep on her shoulder while she rocked him for his nap this afternoon.

We stopped at a children's bookstore today. Damian enjoyed pulling books off shelves, peeling their dust jackets off, and reading them. He still thinks dust jackets are an abomination against humankind. He also enjoyed climbing a ladder (yes, closely supervised) until the snarky store clerk turned the ladder around to face the wall.

When Damian lay down on the Boppy on my lap after his bath tonight, he told me, "my feet are wet." (They weren't, really, but I agreed, then put his PJs on and nursed him.)

Wednesday 20 December

I went to the park this morning and set my computer up on a picnic bench while my mother took over with Damian in the playground. It was lovely to see them from a distance and to be writing while sitting in the warm sun. I wish she wasn't leaving Friday.

Thursday 21 December

My step-uncle Jerry is working on a big project that involves a lot of metal and tools and things. Damian was in heaven when we stopped by there this afternoon. In particular, he kept coming back to a screwdriver, trying all sorts of things out with it. I'm glad we bought him a tool bench (well, actually two -- we'll return one) for him for Christmas.

Everyone at Jerry's commented on how tall Damian is. Jerry's daughter Julia said he's beautiful.

We stopped by the pediatrician's office to get some school forms filled out. Damian was entranced with the toys in the waiting room; he didn't want to leave. I could see a meltdown was imminent, especially since he was napless. So I told him he could play for another minute, then we'd go. I said this about four times, then left him alone for a minute or so. When I came back to get him, he came with almost no fuss. I was kind of shocked. I always forget to use this trick, but Damian does so much better when he's forewarned.

Friday 22 December

Damian was upset that I was on the phone. I brought him into his room and started rocking him but kept talking on the phone. He pinched me. I got off the phone and told him that was not ever okay. He started crying. I rocked him and sang to him. Things were better. I sang "Summertime." He said, "don't cry" just before I sang "hush little baby, don't you cry." After I finished the song, I said, "that's right, 'don't you cry,' that's the song." He said "don't cry" again and started to cry! I'm talking big fat tears. After a few moments, he said "stop crying" and stopped. It took a moment to compose himself. Then he said "no tears" and then "wipe my tears." So I wiped his tears away. I don't quite know what to make of it all.

Have I mentioned that he's turned into a climbing demon? Even things I didn't think could be climbed. Scary. And he doesn't take kindly to being told he can't. I think we need to spend more time on the jungle gym, let him get his monkey ya-yas out.

He ate pizza for the first time in about a year this afternoon at a playgroup mate's birthday party. I gather it just looked edible again.

Saturday 23 December

I was reading a book to Damian this morning. Opened the front page. I guess Damian was excited about the book, he said "awesome!" Only it came out more like "aww-sum."

At a champagne-and-cookies open house for Melissa & Terri's new house, Damian (and all the other kids) ran free in the house. Damian spotted a fire truck (joy) but it was nestled between a sleeping dog's paws (uh oh). He pondered for a while, then gradually scootched close and got the toy out from under. I was rather impressed with his bravery.

Sunday 24 December

We decided to celebrate both Christmas and Hannukah this year, though not completely yet. In other words, Damian opened one present Friday, one Saturday, one today, and the rest tomorrow morning. It's practical: he gets to enjoy the singletons more than if he was deluged with everything tomorrow. Oh yes, we also did participate in a candle lighting Friday. And next year we'll definitely have a menorah as well as a tree.

Monday 25 December

More on the sleep front: Dan's been spending the night with Damian for the past week, to try and get him back to sleep without rocking. It worked at first but the last few nights, Damian's gotten up and headed down the hall to me in our room. Dan fetches him but has to rock him a little before putting him down, which defeats the purpose of the exercise.

Well, last night Damian made it all the way to my bed.

I set him down beside me and told him he could sleep with me but he had to lie down and fall asleep on his own. I didn't use the "r" word but he got the message. He wasn't thrilled, but fussed for a surprisingly brief time. I did pick him up and rock him just a little sitting in bed. Mostly, though I lay down and waited. After a while (fiften minutes, I'm guessing), he tried pushing me over. I was lying on my side. I thought he wanted to push me out of bed (to the rocking chair, natch) so I didn't budge. In retrospect, I can see that he just wanted me to lie on my back. Because then he plopped down on top of me. I slid onto my back and he snuggled on my belly, then eventually moved to lie next to me with his head burrowing into my neck. And fell asleep that way.

Damian's holiday haul: three large trucks (talking fire truck, motorized digger, dump truck), six books, three videos, a Fisher Price Farm, a Playmobil Farm (yes, a plethora of farms, I'm afraid), a Mickey Mouse sweatsuit, a Hot Wheels truck stop complete with truck (folds up, perfect for restaurants), a puzzle, an animals dominos set, a wood tool set, a Fantasia 2000 DVD, a Pooh backpack, three beautiful hand sewn shirts, a monster shadow book to use with a flashlight, a Jammin' Draw and a Pikachu tree ornament.

He opened the dump truck first and fell in love, started putting farm animals into it and gliding it around (he opened the farm yesterday and played with it for hours). He had absolutely no interest in opening anything else. We convinced him to tear paper, and then he saw what was in the new packaging (books) and got excited about that and wanted to read them all, to the exclusion of any possible new toys. Until we distracted him with the paper tearing. Etc. It was both funny and frustrating.

His favorite activity today was scooping the the Pikachu up with the digger's scoop (hard to control the mechanics, though -- he needed parental help for that part) and dumping it into the back of the dump truck, then dumping it out.

Later he discovered that he fits nicely into the back of the dump truck and scooted himself across the living room floor as if sitting on a bright yellow wheelchair/skateboard.

Tuesday 26 December

I love the way Damian climbs up in his booster seat and sits at the table when he's hungry. For a kid determined to find non-verbal ways to communicate (yes, still more often than not), he sure comes up with some inventive ones.

Wednesday 27 December

Damian joined me in the armchair while I ate a tuna sandwich. He had some plain bread (no mixing food groups for him, no sirree!). When we were both done, he removed two crusts and a stray lettuce leaf from the plate and announced, "bread completely empty." (He meant "plate.")

We spent an hour at Noah's (his playgroup mate) house this afternoon with fellow playgroup mate Maya. Damian had a field day with all the new-to-him toys, especially the musical ones. At one point, Noah drummed and Damian blew on the recorder. A two man band.

I was surprised by how little the nannies tried to teach/stimulate the kids. The kids were playing with a floor mat with pull-out numbers. I was the only adult there involved in seeing if they knew the numbers and could fit them back into the puzzle. And I don't consider myself a very motivated teacher compared to some parents.

Thursday 28 December

He's been reciting lyrics lately. Not singing them, just reciting them. But it shows he's been listening to the words.

Friday 29 December

He slept through the night in his own bed last night. Yahoo!

New/old game: get on a parent's back and hold on tight while said parent goes around on all fours. Hard on parent, fun for kid.

Saturday 30 December

Spent all night alone in his bed again. Woke up cheerful, too.

He's starting to hate a full diaper. This evening, he pulled his pants down. Hmm... maybe he's ready to be potty trained? I hate to start right now, though, when he's about to start school. Don't want to introduce too many big new things into his life all at once.

This evening he wanted me to get up from the table and come with him, so he pulled on my hand and said "up up up!"

Sunday 31 December

This morning Damian and I got a tour of the fire station. Not our first, but the first time he's absorbed more than "this fire truck sure is big" and "look at all those shiny dials". We sat in the cab of the big ladder truck, and Damian wore a real firefighter's helmet (yellow). He also touched real firefighter's boots. And we got to see a paramedic's truck pull into the station while we sat in the truck. The fireman opened various doors in the side of the truck to show us what was inside. Damian helped him close the doors again.

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