Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On Being A New Mom

Crunch, crunch, crunch, from the kitchen table: HB happily munching on Froot Loops cereal with mushrooms.

Yesterday we played at the Y so HB could "wun" as fast as she can and today we will go to the farmer’s market where Clemson tents sell peanuts. HB will skip along singing, “here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail, pippity poppity, Easter’s on its way!”

I know Easter was several months ago, but it's the song she knows best.

Her vocabulary is growing, partly hindered by those difficult sounds in the English language, mostly the double-consonant ones. But also partly hindered by the real silliness that she strains to make sense of: how can those men be ‘building’ a ‘building’?

I gently correct some of the slips, “I need the ‘nother one,” she’ll say and I respond, “the other one.” She repeats, “the other one."

Others, like the mushrooms in the Froot Loops, I just let go. She’ll get “marshmallows” eventually and the mushroom thing might be an association with our favoritepizza place.

Identify the problem

I’m more interested in her comprehension than in her vocabulary. What does she understand? What doesn’t she understand?

When I tell her she has five more minutes until we have to do something, she only knows it is a delay, not exactly how long that delay will be. She is starting to understand that 10 minutes is longer than 5 and 2 minutes is shorter than 5, as evidenced by her begging for the longer interval whenever the shorter one is announced.

So last night when I told her she needed to try the dinner mommy and daddy had prepared and she refused, I struggled to determine what was happening. Is this a comprehension problem? Or defiance?

On the one side, she’s been eating whatever she wants, whenever she wants, with very little push-back from us. On Sunday she refused to taste anything on her plate and when I told her she couldn’t have any M&Ms because she hadn’t eaten lunch, she acquiesced to a PB&J sandwich, made by her MaMa, to earn the candy.

Yesterday I made her a sandwich and she walked over to my plate, helped herself to my chips, and walked away. No “please” and no “thank-you.”

When she declared last night that she didn’t want dinner, she wanted candy, we decided to lay down the law. The law reads like this: You cannot only eat what you want to eat. You MUST eat what we tell you to eat.

So she cried. And we stressed a little. And then she went to bed without supper. But not before I told her that today she would have no fruit gummies and no goldfish. She needed to eat actual food, not just snacks. (Don’t bother getting into the Froot Loops aren’t actual food argument. We all make choices.)

A New Mom

Since HB has been out of “school” we have been adjusting to an increased level of responsibility on both our parts. I’m a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) for the first time since she was born but she isn’t a baby; she’s a little person with her own ideas, agenda, and expectations.

I have been encouraging her independence: she can buckle herself into the car, get herself dressed, and clean up her own dishes. We practice letters and read books every day. We snuggle and play inside and out.

Her part is to entertain herself while mommy works, complete her “school work,” listen to and cooperate with mommy, and eat her food.

With the exception of a few grandparent-related defiance episodes, she’s been good on three of the four. Sunday she wailed leaving her Mammy’s house despite having received a two-minute-warning and yesterday she informed me that her MaMa would be mad at me if I didn’t come help her with the puzzle.


I understand there will be compromises like a bit more TV than I would prefer because it’s the best way for me to get un-interrupted work done. Or HB eating only hotdogs for dinner after trying whatever I have on my plate. Which means last night when she wouldn’t even try something else, we had a stand-off.

Comprehension problem? Or plain defiance?

Being a SAHM is new and I feel like I’m singing out of a song book someone just handed me. I have the basic melody, but the lyrics are hard to understand.

I know she’ll get back to school eventually and that when she does she will re-learn how to wait in line, how to share, and how to eat whatever is in front of her. But for now those lessons are mine to maintain. I just didn’t realize how quickly she would forget them, or how much her teachers had been doing to enforce them.

From the back seat, on our way to the Y, I hear, “bringing every girlie boy, sensy-saw the bunny trail,” and giggle a little. I don’t know what “sensy-saw” is, but I think she’s got the most important lesson down: even if you don’t know the words, just keep singing.


  1. Oh, those days, so long ago, but your post reminds me of one of my favourite moments with my daughter. She was roughly three and pronounced elephant, ololo [I'm guessing that's what her brain heard]. I sat with her one day and said 'ele'. She said 'ele'. I said 'phant'. She said 'phant'. I said 'elephant'. She looked me dead in the eye, [I swear she smiled a little] and said 'ololo'. Comprehension or defiance... I'm going with defiance. I decided I found it charming.

    1. Thanks, Margo. I think the language thing is definitely comprehension. The food thing is defiance. Oh well, I guess if nothing else we'll get to know each other pretty well while I'm a SAHM!

  2. Oh how this reminds me of being a SAHM for you and your sisters! I would not trade those years for anything! There were times when I wondered if you would ever eat anything other than PB&J sandwiches or if your older sister would ever learn how to tie her shoes. Your younger sister learned quickly how to get others to do things for her! Enjoy this time you have as a SAHM because all too quickly she will be back in school and others will be directing her activities! You are doing a GREAT job!


Love Builds Confidence

Going into the archives for some classic blogs to get this blog resurrected. It's no longer The 41st Year and Life on Clemson Road is, ...