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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Tasmanian Devil

Both my girls are strong-willed individuals with very unique personalities. But one thing I've learned from them, is that while some personality traits are present straight from birth, other characteristics babies have can change quickly. This can be both good and bad, but it demonstrates how important it is to avoid labelling your child. Particular characteristics may endure, but many difficult habits and behaviours can be outgrown.

Big A has been a high-maintenance from day one. She has never been good at entertaining herself and always wants adult attention as well as physical contact and closeness (she doesn't even like to watch t.v. without Adam or I sitting on the couch with her...wanting to stab our eyes out with an exacto because we are forced to watch a repeat episode of Caillou for the millionth time!).

She has always been a big wimp about boo boos.

Thankfully, Big A did not get into a lot of trouble around the house so we didn't have to do much baby proofing.

Big A started out as a champion sleeper who was doing 7 straight hours every night by the time she was 5 or 6 weeks old. Since then, however, we have had to deal with periodic bouts of night terrors, bed wetting, night time bathroom calls, and some very, VERY early wake-ups.

Little A was a terrible sleeper for the first 4 months until we sleep trained her. I was ready to lose my mind because of the frequency of her wake-ups. But now? She is a great little sleeper, generally clocking 12 hours a night, plus another 90-120 minutes for a midday nap. I often have to wake her around 8am, just to get Big A to school on time! I think I can count the number of times Big A has slept until 8am on one hand.

If you have been reading this blog from the beginning, than you will also recall that Little A was a TERRIBLE eater. She literally had me tearing my hair out for the first 9-10 months of her solid food eating life. And now? She is a human vacuum cleaner. When I come to pick her up at daycare, she only wants to eat "nacks" all the way home in the stroller. I always worry she will ruin her dinner, but as soon as we get home she is screaming for dinner and she routinely eats twice as much as Big A.

Adam and I decided she must not be eating the lunches they serve at daycare, but when I checked with her teachers last week, I was told she eats a HUGE lunch and lots of "nacks".

She also loves to eat off of our plates and will even gobble down some of the spicier, more exotic dishes I make for Adam and I (as long as we don't serve it to her on her own plate!).

Little A's least attractive feature is her high-pitched, hysterical scream which she emits whenever she doesn't get her way. And that has been present since birth. In fact, she was doing this glass-shattering shriek when Dr. M pulled her out of my uterus. This is one trait I would very happily see her get rid of!

Little A had serious seperation anxiety for at least the first year of her life, to the point where I could not get 2 feet away from her before she would become hysterical. And now? She rarely cries when I drop her off at daycare, but will sometimes cry when I pick her up because she is having so much fun. Last week when Adam said we were taking them to my in-laws (whom she loves), she went and got her coat and shoes and said, "Bye mommy".

From the moment she first got her hands on solid foods, Little A has been the master mess-maker. She reminds me of the Tasmanian Devil because not only does she constantly move at warp speed, but she also leaves a path of destruction in her wake. Some of it is intentional (throwing food, dumping out hundreds of puzzle pieces, flinging all the contents of her play kitchen onto the floor, colouring her face and hands with markers, pulling out all the Kleenex, shredding rolls of toilet paper, etc.), but some of it just seems to be innate.

Even if we have her eating dinner seated at the table with a full-body bib (my mom's thoughtful gift), she still manages to get food on her clothing, the chair and the floor. Adam and I cannot get close to her without getting our own clothes dirty, stained and sticky.

If it weren't for Maria, who cleans our house every Wednesday, we would live in a complete pig sty.

The pale pink winter jacket and snow pants she inherited from Big A are constantly filthy. My mother-in-law is so grossed out by it, she throws them in the wash each time Little A visits. I think I had to wash the jacket maybe 3 times the whole winter Big A wore it.

Little A actually seems to revel in filth. Give her a lollipop and within minutes her entire sticky face looks like a lint brush. She seems to enjoy finding and eating food off the floor...in public places. She also enjoys rolling around on the floor of public places - this partially explains the state of her pink jacket.

Little A also regularly pees in the bath and has now pooped in it about half a dozen times (Adam and I don't think Big A ever did this). Last night, after finally taking ownership of her flatulence - normally when she toots, she yells "daddy's gas!" but last night she squealed with delight when she tooted, pointed at her bum and yelled, "Gas, gas!" - she had a poo explosion in the tub. Adam had to scramble to get both girls out ASAP. He wanted to chuck all the bath toys but I argued that a good soaking in soapy water could save them. While I cleaned out the mess, Little A watched and kept yelling, "Stinky, stinky", until finally I got rid of all the filth and she began waving, "Bye Bye Poo".

Little A also enjoys sticking her fingers in any orifice she can find...both her own and other people's.

Am I worried that she will grow up to have poor personal hygiene? No, not really. I'm anticipating (and hoping) that this too shall pass. If not, perhaps she can co-host a show on cable television with Tom Green.

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