Thursday, August 5, 2010

She's a Big Girl Now!

Notice any themes of my posts lately? Maybe that's using the term "lately" quite loosely -- I feel like all I ever blog about with respect to Kai is how incredibly independent she insists on being. But, that is her theme, and so it is my theme. Here are a few blurbs about our week:

- Kai is more or less potty trained. I think she's had one accident in the last 5 days. She's been diaper free for nearly two weeks. And, at daycare, they say they no longer even remind her to go use the potty -- she is on it.

-- And, with potty training, comes putting on her own clothes (and, of course, picking out her own clothes, which she has been doing for awhile and leads to some strange combinations... but, I don't feel like fighting the clothing war with her). Kai often gets stuck by putting both legs in the same leghole of her underpants or pants, but, she realizes her error and fixes it. The other day, Kai had her pants on and was struggling to button them. She doesn't really know how to button, but she also doesn't really know her own limitations. So, she was struggling in her usual manner (that is, she was doggedly focusing on the task at hand, and resisting all attempts to help her by yelling "NO MINE"). After letting her try to button them for about 5 minutes, I finally just did it myself. Predictably, that didn't go over well. Kai completely broke down. I tried to distract her by reminding her that Oscar needed to be fed. Kai snapped out of it (she loves feeding Oscar) and ran into the kitchen to feed Oscar. I went about other tasks. A few minutes later, Eric walks into the kitchen and says, "was there an issue with her pants this morning?" Ummm... yes. Why do you ask? "She's in the living room with her pants unbuttoned muttering 'I'll do it' under her breath." Eric responds. And, indeed, in usual Kailey style, once she finished her Oscar feeding, she escaped to the living room, unbuttoned her pants, and set about trying to - once again - figure out how to button them herself. I cannot tell you how many times lately we hear the phrase, "I DO IT" (often followed, rather triumphantly with, "I DID IT!").

-- Kai hasn't taken a bath in weeks. No, we aren't allowing her to run around feral, offending the other children at daycare with a ripe smell. Kai now takes showers (or "shau-Ds", as she calls them). Kailey loves showers. And, for awhile there, was taking a shau-D twice a day. She doesn't love to wash her hair in the shower (but she doesn't like that in the bath either). So, I guess we took too long building a new bathroom for her so that she could have a proper bathtub. She's already beyond baths (although, she would probably still like a bathtub... more like swimming!)

-- Kai slept in her own bed last night. Well, that's not really that amazing. Kai starts every night in her own bed, and comes to our bed at about midnight. This has been going on for a long time (maybe a year?). I love co-sleeping and firmly believe it fosters Kai's independence (do I want to foster that? kidding!) and good-nature. And, I love snuggling with her during the night and in the morning. It's one of the few times Kai is not on the go - and it's really sweet to spend that time with her. So, we haven't pushed her too hard on staying in her own bed. But, we've moved in that direction incrementally. Recently, I bought a new nightlight/clock that you can program to switch from yellow to green at a specified hour. So, at the moment, it switches to green at midnight, and Kai knows that once it becomes green, she can come to our room (well, she knows that in theory. We still let her come into our room whenever she wants to... but we discuss the color of the light and have told her that waiting for a green light is the general idea. As I said, we are moving INCREMENTALLY towards solo sleeping). My plan is to slowly ease the time back, until she is staying in her room until morning. Well, that was my plan until last night. Last night, Kai came into our bed at about midnight, as usual. And then, at about 1:30 in the morning, started tossing and turning and kicking me. Not cool. Not cuddly. I told her to stop kicking. She kicked some more. I told her if she was going to kick, she had to go in her own bed. Kai's response?! "OWN BED" - as though I set a lightbulb off over her head. She jumped right up, got out of our bed, marched into her room, crawled into her bed, and went to sleep.

I was beside myself. What was she doing? Sleeping in her own bed? Did I just have a fight with my two year old about the space in the bed? Was she going to come back? Was she actually asleep? She has NEVER done that before - willingly left our bed for her own. But, there she was, asleep. I know she was, because I got up like 10 times to check on her, and to make sure the gate was closed, the bathroom door was shut, the back door was locked. Our house is teensy, but, suddenly, I was worried that she'd wander off in the night or stumble into the bathroom and not know where she was. I don't know what I thought, but I couldn't sleep. Meanwhile, Kai was fast asleep. In. Her. Own. Bed.

I think I finally dozed off at like 4, and Kai came toddling back in around 5 and crawled in beside me - nary a kick - to cuddle until morning light. I was glad to have her back.

But, if I know Kai, I would say this newfound independence regarding sleeping will stick around. This is just one more example/lesson/reminder that as much as I worry, Kai is going to get to where she needs to be on her own time table. I can try to force it -- which I don't really believe in (obviously) because it causes so much more grief than it is worth. Instead, it has been my belief - which is reaffirmed by events like the one last night - that Kai will hit the relevant milestones when she is ready. And, it seems, that all it really took with Kai in this case was starting the conversation and asking letting her know that a more appropriate place to fling her legs around would be her own bed.

All that said, and even though Kai seems hellbent on proving that she's 2 going on 10, I don't think she is going to take to solo sleeping with the same gusto that she has potty training or dressing herself (or feeding Oscar, or taking the steps, or getting in and out of the car, or dribbling a basketball, you get the picture)... I think that the move towards her own bed will be more gradual. Or maybe I just hope that. At least with regard to this particular developmental milestone, I am more than happy to take it slow.

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