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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fiddler on my Roof

It appears that my dreams for Shaila to become a talented musician are coming true. At two years and three months old, she is showing amazing promise and zeal for one so young.

Do you wanna know how I know that?

Hear that fiddle? That's me - and she's playing me like one.


My friend Jodi had recommended that I read the book "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" the last time she saw me and caught sight of the bags under my eyes. Jodi is always well groomed and full of energy - she always looks like she JUST had a Red Bull, despite being a mother of two, having a demanding job and being a successful technology blogger. Since I was neither well groomed and was in dire need of a Red Bull - I thought I would take her advice.

The book, written by the late Tracy Hogg, starts out with a quiz about your kids. You are supposed to figure out what kind of personality they have and how to best approach them based on the answers you select most.

I was immediately defensive. Jodi had NEVER mentioned a test. The pressure was on.

As I did the quiz, responding for both Shaila and Nico, I started to sweat. It was very clear what answers I had imagined I would pick before I had children. You know - the answers I would have had if my plans had worked out of having kids who were setting the table by 2, helping me make meat sauce by 3 and writing thoughtful prose by 4.

I realized, according to this quiz, that Shaila is what Tracy diplomatically called a "Spirited" child. (Nico is "Touchy." We'll get to him later.) Neither of my children were "Angel" babies. You know, the kind that NEVER CRY and NEVER SCREAM and NEVER TRY TO CATAPULT THEMSELVES FROM A SHOPPING CART and NEVER KICK YOU IN YOUR SHIN SO HARD YOU ALMOST CURSE OUT LOUD.

That kind of Angel baby.

I thought about cheating on the quiz, but decided that would defeat the purpose of reading the book.

Here is an example of the kind of question Tracy had on the quiz.

1) When you drove home with your child from the hospital, your baby did the following:
a) Smiled contently while crocheting you a blanket (Angel baby)
b) Smiled, burped and fell asleep, waking refreshed when you reached home (Textbook baby)
c) Smiled for the benefit of the hospital staff but screamed bloody murder as soon as you closed the door before morphing into a Gremlin and making you want a glass of wine sooner than you expected after delivering a child. (Spirited)
d) Cried like a banshee and looked at you accusingly in his car seat before passing out from exhaustion right before your panicked husband pulled into the driveway (Touchy)

I found myself responding with mostly C's and D's as I took the quiz. Tracy said it was important for your spouse to also take the quiz so I asked John for his opinion, hoping he would pick more A's and B's. Maybe my recollection of things was off from all the painkillers.

Nope. All C's and D's.

"Well, there was that ONE time . . ." I said hopefully, trying to make answer A true for question number 3.
"No, that wasn't Shaila. That was Abby," John shook his head and informed me. Abby is Cris and Meghan's daughter.
"Well, what about that time when . . ." trying to push him towards answer B for question 7.
"No - that was Chase." Glennon and Craig's son.
"What about . . .?"



So I am working with my daughter and her "spirited" nature. We have transitioned her to her big girl bed and every night, within minutes of putting her down, we hear her door open and her little footsteps scampering towards our door. We put her back to bed. The same thing happens. Next time, we may try to let her wait it out in the hallway but she pushes the door open, pacifier in her right hand and the pandas on her pajamas looking like they are taunting us in the dark.

"HELLO EVERYBODY!" She yells. "Let's watch Sesame Street!" Back to bed.

Repeat. About 20 more times.

This can go on for about an hour. Turns out "spirited" infants become "spirited" toddlers who become "spirited" teenagers.

Scary. Very, very scary.

By the time I get her to bed, Nico usually starts being "touchy" and I get to have philosophical conversations in the dark with him. I better hope the white noise machine is on in Shaila's room, because if I'm not careful, I'll turn around and . . .

"HEY MOMMY! Whatcha doing?!!"

Those pandas are really starting to freak me out.

So I tiptoe really quietly - in the hopes that I won't hear her tiptoe.

Tip. Toe. Tip. Toe.
Alright, we're in business.

Until I sneeze and . . . OH NO . . . then all bets are off and I hear her little feet and the inevitable thud that usually follows, which is THEN followed by my panda wearing daughter yelling loud enough to wake the dead (and her "touchy" baby brother)

"MOMMY! I lost my binky!"

"Waah!" this is "Touchy" baby.
"Sesame Street!" this is "Spirited" toddler.
"Is everything ok?" this is now wide awake husband.
"Sigh." This is tired mommy. I think she may have been spirited once too. I don't remember.

We bought a case of Sugar Free Red Bulls from Costco this weekend, so I am set.

So - BRING IT, Shaila. I'm ready for you - and ALL your spirit.

The boatloads of it that I know you have.

And I still think you WILL make a good musician one day, baby girl.


Jennifer said...

I have an Angel Baby and Text book baby, it's just too bad they are being raised by my sister. I of course ended up with the all "E" babies, mine don't even qualify for the "D" answers.

Should I be excited that we are off the charts? **SIGH**

Kiran Kairab Ferrandino said...

Jennifer. I have also seen these Angel and Textbook children so I know they exist too!

There was one last answer for that question. E was for the "Grumpy" baby . . .

E) Spit out his pacifier, flipped you the bird and threatened to call his lawyer.

Was that one your kids?

j/k. off the charts means they are just super duper special and you will NEVER EVER be bored.

Jennifer said...

DING DING DING, that is totally my kids, especially my daughter. I'm suprised she hasn't tried to "divorce" me as her Mom yet. I mean to hear her tell it, I'm the ONLY mother in the world that doesn't love her enough to buy her an American Girl Doll.

I would take being bored any day of the week, lol

Anna See said...

Oh I feel your pain. 2 spirited kids. I think their mom may have been a wee bit spirited back in the day, too...

Kiran Kairab Ferrandino said...

Anna - thank you for that. I sometimes have some vague recollection of this as well. Perhaps it is those recollections of my teen and college years that keeps me up the rest of the hours that my kids aren't yelling wondering what Shaila will be up to at 18.

oh dear.

Vodka Mom said...

not only do I HAVE spirited children, I WAS one. dammit all to hell.

What goes around DOES come around. But, I wouldn't have it any other way. They keep life interesting and exciting!!!!

Kiran Kairab Ferrandino said...

Well - nobody will every put Shaila in a corner, that's for sure. She'd probably kick their butt and take no prisoners. So, the great thing about having all this spirit - is it seems to go hand in hand with confidence.

i am very doubtful my child will ever be a doormat. Not with men, not with other alpha women, and definitely not with us.

so yes - that part of it makes me happy!

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