Friday, June 8, 2012

Diagnosis: Two-Year-Old

It's been four years since I had a two-year-old of my own in the house.  I remember wanting to freeze #5 at that age and never let him grow up.  So I jumped at the chance to have my two-year-old niece spend a week with us.  It seems I've forgotten some things about that age.

Like the bed wetting.  She did great the first two nights, but then drank herself silly for an hour before bed the next night.  If I had remembered what a tiny bladder a small child has, I would have remembered to put a Pull-Up on her and would have thus avoided being awaken by a crying child at 2:00 a.m.  When #4 brought her to me in the dark, I didn't know what was wrong, so I scooped her up to cuddle and comfort her...and then...I knew.  Yuck.  She did make me laugh, though, when, after putting her through a quick rinse and dry cycle, and then changing into clean pajamas, she requested her potty treat before going back to sleep.

I swear, this kid runs on sugar.  (I didn't give in on the treat for bed wetting, I might add.)  Last time she was here, she was new at the toilet training stage, so I brought out an old standby from my Mommy Bag of Tricks.  Every time Niece successfully used the toilet, I gave her two frosted animal cookies, PLUS a cookie to each person who helped her, even if their help was in just giving praise.  Consequently, I had five other motivated helpers constantly asking her if she needed a trip to the bathroom.  I got much better results than if I had to rely on my own brain to remember her bladder all day long.  Apparently, I also inadvertently trained her to think I am an unfailing source of treats.  At breakfast, she asks for jam and whipped cream on her waffles, and then licks off all the jam and cream and declares that she is done.  At lunch she takes two bites of mac and cheese, and then runs off to play until the afternoon cookie treat comes out.  When I told her we were going to the bank after the library, her face lit up and she asked if she would get a sucker!  (She's no Dum Dum--and yes, she got one.)  At dinner, I did get her to eat a black bean patty with guacamole.  That was probably because I'd told the kids we were having bean cakes, and she must have assumed the green spread was frosting.

I had forgotten how wobbly a toddler can be.  This poor kid trips over her feet constantly.  On Sunday, when she skinned her knees a little bit, I didn't realize I was setting myself up to be out of Band-Aids by Tuesday.  The kids changed the bandages on her toe four times.  I can't even see what is wrong with her toe, but my kids swear there is a little piece of skin missing.  When #2 painted Niece's fingernails, she came wailing to me an hour later.  Apparently she had forgotten that it was paint, and had glanced at her fingertips and assumed they were bleeding!  Wednesday, when I was sure there were no more Band-Aids for her ailing armpit, I tried to tell her we were out and she would be fine--but my kids assured me they had Band-Aids for her.  It turns out they had been drawing designs on masking tape cut to the length of bandages for a day-and-a-half!

Polka dot "bandage" on the finger, rainbow-colored masking tape on the knees.
We're also worried about skin cancer (read my sister's post here) and poor eyesight for this one.  She continually says to #2, "I wear sungasses?"  It is so funny to watch her high-step through the house looking down at the floor with #2's prescription eyeglasses on.  I guess the glasses make her feel like she's farther away from the floor!

She does have a healthy fear of animals, which has probably prevented a yellow-jacket sting or two.  But she really could take a chill pill around the chickens and ladybugs in the garden.  Sheesh!  After the amount of shrill screaming and running she displayed at seeing the ladybug, I had to laugh when she calmly pointed to this wind-up toy taranatula and delightedly exclaimed, "'Pider!"

Naps are a funny thing for this girl.  When she made a nest out of her blanket and laid down on the cold tile floor in my kitchen, I realized she was tired.  Three-and-a-half hours later, I realized we should wake her up or she would never go to sleep at night.  But the damage had already been done.  My poor kids were exhausted by her chattering, which turned into whiny demands when they were too tired to play at 10:30 p.m.!  I finally gave in and let her lay on the couch next to me while I edited my Pinterest posts until she finally nodded of at 11:30.  {Yawn}

Have you read The Mysterious Benedict Society books by Trenton Lee Stewart?  It's the fictional story of  four gifted children who save the world.  If they made that book into a movie, Niece would be a perfect fit for one character: Constance Contraire.  One moment she can be helpful and sweet, and the next she is crying because #3 wants to help her get dressed, but Niece wants a grown-up to help her.

This little guest of mine is the cutest, smartest, incontinent, pre-diabetic, clumsy, hypochodriatic, agrizoophobic, bipolar insomniac with a possible astigmatism that you'll ever meet.  When she is about to push me over the edge with her whining, she'll turn around and smother her cousin, #5, with a full body hug, and then turn to me with a sloppy kiss to say goodnight.  My heart melts and I have to remember that all those symptoms are bundled up in one diagnosis: two-year-old.


Our family said...

I love this post. Thanks for putting it up. We miss her and it was fun to see what she's been up to. Sorry about the bed wetting and split personality. I forgot to pack band aids for her. We go through those a lot too, though we've found she's allergic to the latex ones and they make worse sores than they are there to help. Thanks for taking her!

mindy said...

hahaha, that's so sweet! Since you are well out of the two year old stage, it is fun to read your observations.

I personally must confess to looking forward a bit to the days when a box of bandaids lasts more than a month...Leif had a sore on his ankle last week that needed at least two fresh bandaids a day.

Jenni said...

Such a darling post about such a sweet girl!

Though I must admit it made me a little scared for the next year of Scarlett's life.

Also, did you know that Jake is also allergic to latex bandaids? Weird. I was reading and found that latex allergies are related to avocado and banana allergies. Random!