Posted by: Hannah | 03/07/2012

sprinkling Pixie dust

Only two more days with VQB. We’ll miss him – he’s been a part of our family since October 2010. He often arrives very early in the morning, so he’s one of the few kids to be allowed into our regular living space – many’s the morning he had breakfast with us because he left his house so early in the morning that he didn’t get a chance to eat first.

He was my first ‘extra’ kid. I worried about his late speech; I despaired that he would ever manage to potty-train successfully; I pulled my hair out trying to get him to follow simple directions when we made crafts. I held his hand in a vice-like grip on walks because he absent-mindedly would wander out into the road if I didn’t. I rocked him when he was sad and taught him how to put on his mittens so that the thumbs were on right.

When he leaves here on Friday – talking a blue streak, wearing big-boy underwear, with his mittens on securely – I’ll be sad, but I’ll also have the satisfaction of a good job well done. And I’m sure we’ll be seeing him again.

***

Pixie has started full time (well, four days a week, anyway). She used to only come from 1pm – 5pm, four days a week; now she’s here from 7:30 until almost 5:30, and if I had any doubts about trying to stick to my guns and only take full time clients, they are rapidly being erased. She is adjusting really well, but I am seeing some really funny little behaviours as a direct result of how things normally go for her at home.

To wit: eating. We eat at set times every day. Snack at 10, lunch at noon, small snack at 3. This only varies by maybe 15 minutes on any given day and that’s only if something very significant is going on. All food (and drinks except water in sippy cups) must be consumed at the table, while sitting in a chair.

Pixie is not liking this regime one little bit.

First of all, until this week her personal routine was to sleep very late; until 9 or even 10 some mornings. So getting dropped off on my doorstep at 7:30 is pissing her right off. Then she has breakfast here, which she will eat but only if I hold the spoon for her. (This is fair, I guess. I mean, she is almost two but her breakfast every morning consists of a packet of instant oatmeal, which is tough to manage on a spoon and also dries to concrete when it spills, so I’m willing to make that concession).

Snack time and she should be hungry by then; a bowl of instant oatmeal is not sufficient to hold an active toddler all morning, I wouldn’t think. Her snack is usually a yogurt cup; again she asks for help with the spoon and I will give her some if she’s really struggling, although I give her plenty of opportunity to feed herself first.

Lunch is a peanut butter sandwich and today she flat-out refused to eat it. She sat at the table for the 30 minute lunch period… and all the other kids had sandwiches too… and she would not eat. I didn’t make a big thing out of it because it’s my job to provide the food and her job to eat it; I just waited out the lunch period, then packed up her sandwich and plopped her back on the floor. Where she reached for the sandwich.

***

Her mom told me yesterday that at their house they don’t do set mealtimes with Pixie; she “snacks all day long, when she asks for things”. I was very frank with her that meals are eaten at the table, at set times. She didn’t have a problem with it yesterday, but I wonder how long she’ll give me before she starts worrying; after all, the girl has eaten less each day she’s been here, and I know she was slow to gain weight as an infant so her mom is understandably hyper-sensitive about making sure she gets enough calories.

***

The food situation is what it is; sooner or later she will get used to how things are done here, and will start eating when she’s meant to. I do kind of wish I had the time, money and inclination to provide meals for everyone.

***

Last night I bit the bullet and finally bought a play kitchen; I’ve been trying to find a good one used for over a year, but when they do show up on Kijiji they are either missing all the accessories and smell of cigarette smoke, or they have all the accessories but are priced  too close to the price of the same thing new, or they have all the pieces and are reasonably priced so they sell within minutes of being posted.

I spent the morning assembling the thing (with help from the kids, of course) and then stood back to watch the fun! The merriment! The role-playing!!

None of which happened; Ron was at preschool, and VQB & Pixie both gave it the stink-eye and seemed afraid to touch it. I eventually walked them through cooking & serving a pretend spagetti dinner, and they did slowly get the idea. But I’m still giggling over how tough it was to get them to actually play with the toy they’d spent 90 minutes impatiently waiting me to build.

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Responses

  1. I feel for kids with no set routines, because as they go out in the world – which they eventually do, at least to school – the world is full of routine. Kids that get to sleep late and go to bed whenever have a hell of a time adjusting to waking up for school, and just grazing all day is not the best way to get nutrition.

    I have been thinking a lot about routines and stability and how important it is for kids lately, because I read Room. It’s a very thought-provoking book – how kids crave routine and stability, even if that routine and stability is forced due to circumstances. I know my kids thrive on routine and always have; when I see some of the littles starting school who have never had to adhere to a set routine and rules, it’s so sad. They just fall apart.

    Every now and then they fall apart. And they need you more tonight. And they need you more than ever. And if you only hold them tight, you’ll be holding on FOREVER.

  2. Huh. I hadn’t thought about that regarding full-time vs part-time kids. Eve went to day care one day a week from a year and a half to about five and she never had any trouble, but she was a pretty easy-going kid. Kathy did all the cooking, and they ate from her garden and there was a wide variety, and Eve would try everything and if she didn’t like something she would just barf it up. 🙂

  3. Oh, wow. I can’t imagine not giving a kid at least some basic routine. As Nicole said, life is full of routine once you leave the craddle. And, I firmly believe that everyone needs at least a little routine. My younger brother was completely unmanageable without some routine and I tend to get lethargic (and, if it’s the winter) a serious case of the blues if I don’t have a basic routine (get up at X time, remember to eat, go to bed at Y time).

    Also, hello, obesity, I see you coming a mile away. We didn’t eat a lot of processed crap at home, but we were allowed to eat a fair amount of sugar and pretend healthy things, and I know that’s a lot of why I have issues with weight. I got used to food (especially sugary or white foods) for comfort, boredom, and such. It took me years to get to a point where I can say that I eat healthly most of the time.

  4. Do you think it’s possible that Pixie didn’t play with the kitchen because she’s never seen one before? I have a special hate-filled place in my heart for those instant oatmeal packets. Especially the ones with sugar Dinosaur eggs. They’re vile.


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