I woke up early today, 4:30 early. I didn’t want to wake up this early, but it’s nice to have the quiet, dark, hot coffee, peanut butter toast, time to myself before my family wakes up.
Last night, and several moments before in the past two days a new spirit has revealed itself in my little sweet angel, Fiona. It’s bedtime, nursery time. I take off Jacks diaper, then Fionas. I let them loose, naked to air out. Fiona plays in the bathtub, turning on and off the water, I let her do her thing in peace. Jack runs back and forth between seeing what I’m doing and playing with Fiona. I get the pajamas, nighttime diapers, sleep sacks, and all VIP teddies in place for our bedtime routine.
“Up up up” Fiona is done in the bath and needs my help getting out.
Jack runs into the nursery and starts jumping on Fiona’s bed. I’m scared he’s going to pee! I put on his nighttime diaper and then go to Fiona.
She looks at me, not smiling, steely eyed.
“No, no, nooo” her face turns red, her eyes barely revealed, her body stiff and twisting. I try to keep patient, try not to be too forceful, but I have to hold her arm tight to put on her diaper. She screams, a new scream, a loud piercing high pitched straight to the nerves kind of scream. Jacks saying “ona ona”
As I’m putting on her Pajamas she’s screaming still louder as tears roll from her eyes, as if she was being abused. Jacks handing me a different pajama, “ona” he already learned a technique I tried to use earlier today and yesterday. I tried giving Fiona a choice, “do you want to wear this or that?” I intuitively thought that was the issue, her independance. It didn’t work, same laying on the floor screaming tantrum no matter how I went about dressing her. So tonight I’m “just getting your pajamas on” I say. I’m done dressing her and she’s tugging at her clothes, crying.
It’s story time. I grab, “That’s not my owl” and start reading, Jack rushes to my side, his little cheeks, his approachable cuddly body. I feel bad. Jacks so much easier right now, he’s even worried about Fiona which is so endearing. As I begin to read I hold the book up so Fiona can see too. She keeps her tantrum going. She asks for her “Blue Blue” I point to her bed. She goes over and lays in her bed, sucks her thumb, cuddles “blue blue”. I read and sing the “goodnight toys” song. Jacks delighted and sings with me. Fiona crawls out of her bed and comes to lay beside me. I cuddle her and stroke her hair.
Everything is peaceful now. Babies both relaxed, all toys have been sung goodnite to, and “goodnite mommy” comes and goes.
“Get in your beds, it’s time to go to sleep, I love you”
They both follow my directions, a few “mama mama’s” from Jack.
Then not another peep.
Yesterday I read in my books about tantrums, it said it was built up frustration that had to be released. Frustration about growing up, too much stimulation, not being able to do things yet they are physically unable to do. Emotions they can’t deal with. I get it, I feel the same way a lot of the time, but I’m old enough to channel my frustrations into painting, hiking, simply crying, medication, I have my coping skills! But it took a long time to get here, forty years.
The piercing noise of the screaming is the hardest part when Fiona’s having her tantrums. That wears me down, it’s like torture. But it won’t last forever. I hope Jack isn’t next!
On Sunday we went to the De Young Museum. We battled the Sunday craze in the parking lot, we took the chance of leaving before naptime, hoping the babies would fall asleep in the car. We went without a stroller or snacks figuring we could eat at the Museum cafe and the babies were big enough to walk. Everything went smoothly, but Mr. Jack didn’t fall asleep in the car. Surprisingly he was fine, he leaned on the Andy Goldsworthy stones as we walked through the beautiful copper walled entrance of the De Young. I knew Jack would love it. We went through security and bought our tickets, Jack said “eat” so we headed to the cafe. The babies ate rolls but were so into people watching they didn’t eat thier pasta we ordered them. After lunch we took them to the sculpture garden, Jack was really into the Bob Arneson sculpture .
It was freezing in the garden so we got Jack and Fiona back into the museum, even though they wanted to stay outside and check out more sculptures. It was wonderful being in the presence Of a DeStabler sculpture, one of my favorite artists with my children and husband.
How perfect life is at this moment I thought to myself. We started inside with the African masks, shields, and woven figures. Just as I suspected the babies were really Into them. Pointing from one to the next, “that”. We looked at many until they found the benches to climb on and the window sills to stand on.
We moved on to 17th century paintings and followed the ages to modern art where the babies both livened up at David Park, Thiebaud, and other Bay Area Figuative artists. At this point everyone was getting tired. I was holding Fiona, my arm killing me, she was sucking her thumb and holding her teddy. I turn the corner to head out and there’s a whole show of Motherwell. I am stoked. I take a few rounds, but I can’t go much longer holding Fiona. We head into the park and I feel like we’re in Europe, the sky cloudy and grey, cold, the fountains and people out enjoying their Sunday. We get in the car, both babies fall asleep instantly. I’m feeling so happy, I enjoyed the museum visit with my husband and kids so much! How cool!
A door has opened. I just need to get through this tantrum phase!!
It’s almost seven now. The babies will be up soon. Time to get to work!