I may have something to say about my reunion in a later post (some folks are thinner, fatter, blonder, balder, well employed, unemployed, still cool, or still jerks, as expected), but this trip has drawn my attention to a frightening discovery about River that I am pretty focused on right now.
As we've moved from house to house this week (first the in-laws, then a condo with my high school friends, then my folks' house), River has been faced with all kinds of overwhelming stimulation. Unsurprisingly, this has made him needy and very clingy. He was particularly traumatized the couple evenings we went out without him (having not given him enough time to adjust to the babysitters or his new environment), and when we came home he spent the entire night nursing. Literally, I let him sleep snuggled next to me, sucking away all night.
He was so adamant, the few times I tried to dislodge my boob so I could, you know, get into a position that didn't put my arm to sleep or contort my back into a painful arch, he screamed bloody murder. No amount of snuggling, rocking, or singing was enough to appease him. Two nights of that and I have moved him into another room where he cannot see, hear, or smell me. It has worked moderately better and I have hope that his sleep will not be irrevocably screwed up when we go home.
What this has brought to my attention, however, is the depth of River's stubbornness. Let us take the Pop Tart incident as an example. River is now eating select table foods (bananas, soft breads, mushy veggies) and when he sits down to a meal with us he expects to eat something off of our plates. Usually I can come up with some suitably healthy item to share with him and all is grand.
A few mornings ago Thom was up with River and found breakfast in the form of a Pop Tart. River saw him eating it, reached out for a bite, and (Thom knowing what I would say about that) was rejected. There began an epic struggle of wills, and you can guess how that one ended. After pouts, tears, squirms, and screams, Thom gave in and let the little booger have a bit of Pop Tart.
This is just the beginning. With River's STRONG sense of determination I see us fighting these battles over and over again. It's one thing with a baby, but when he starts walking and talking, what kind of tantrums will we face? I have always known I would have to be firm with a child, that's it's so much worse if you say, "no" and end up giving in 10 minutes later. Do that and he'll know he can get anything he wants by putting up a fit. I thought I would be strong, but in the middle of the night or the middle of a restaurant my resolve goes out the window. Sometimes, I just need him to BE QUIET.
Now is the time to find a strategy to deal with this issue. I don't know what that strategy will be, but I know we can't just float along hoping everything will resolve itself. As River gets older, he will only get more serious about what he wants and more clever about how to get it.
Of course, my parents have been quick to point out that I was just as difficult to deal with when told I couldn't have something. I must have heard the word "no" so often that it was the first one I spoke.
Is this karmic payback? Perhaps. If so, I'm terrified of what little nuggets of Thom's childhood we'll be paying for next.
3 hours ago