While I have been processing loudly here I have also been continuing to slowly make progress on the house. It has been going at a turtle's pace lately because I am just not up for frantic right now. Low stress is awesome. Yesterday we had a birthday party for Shanna. I asked her who she wanted to invite and she listed the people she wanted to come and I asked them over. It's interesting because she did not invite everyone I would have invited. But I realized that I am trying to project my "family" bonds with people onto her. If I believe in Chosen Family, then Shanna gets to choose her own. She is not stuck with mine.
We nursed for the last time. I asked a friend who is an amazing photographer to come over and take pictures. Shanna and I have been talking for several months about how it was the last time. Previously I was committed to child led weaning, but now I am committed to not abusing my children. I will ensure I reach my goal by lowering my physical expectations of myself. I have body issues with too much contact. This "touched out" thing is painfully anxiety causing for me. And Shanna's mouth has changed. Nursing hurts. So every time she wants to nurse I experience this rush of panic because it will be painful. Calli seems to have improved her latch a bit, but I think Shanna is kind of beyond fixing. Biology says she needs to stop. This is why other animals wean by kicking their children away from them. I'm not going to kick her, but I am going to pick the weaning date.
Shanna astounds me. Her verbal precocity is odd to live with. I obsessively do research about "age appropriate" topics because she asks me questions that lead to topics more appropriate for a 10 or 12 year old. I'm not sure if I am doing her a service or not in how I am raising her, but holy cow is she an awesome person so far. I really like my daughter. I love that when we are having a snippy day she can turn around and tell me, "Mom that tone of voice sounds mean. It hurts my feelings when you use that tone. Can you please ask more nicely?" And I say the same thing to her and when either of us say it the response is, "Oh! I didn't mean it that way! Let me try again." And we do. And there is a hug. And we move on with our day. She is excruciatingly aware that I am not ever trying to hurt her, sometimes I just sound harsh when I don't mean it. Thank you God. Thank you for letting my daughter feel in her soul that I never want to hurt her.
Which isn't to say we don't have stormy days. I talk to her about hormones. I talk about the fact that you have these chemicals in your brain and some times in your life they are more active so you have big big strong emotions that are hard to learn to deal with. I told her that this kind of thing will happen again at puberty. It's ok to have these strong emotions, you just have to learn how to handle them. Sometimes handling them means looking at a clock and realizing you are probably over tired or over hungry and that is why you are having them and dealing with those problems so you can go back and solve the original problem. She likes to ask for a handful of nuts right before going to sleep because then she wakes up a lot more cheerful and I think that is a fabulous work around. I'm glad she figured it out.
It's amazing watching her grow. Right now she is in that phase where she is putting concepts together. Like she will all of a sudden observe that an object is brown plastic. Then she will wander around the room labeling the materials and color of all the other objects. She just noticed that "things" are made of other "things" and those other things have names! It's neat. She knows so many words that daily she uses dozens of words that shock me.
Her play is very intensely imaginative. She uses characters from her favorite movies, primarily, but also themes from all the books we read to fuel these intense stories that can go on for days. She is just starting to construct play fort type things. This year will be rad. She loves going swimming in the hot tub. She is lack luster towards sand. Mostly she wanders around the yard from hiding place to hiding place telling her story games. I am deliberately trying to create ways to have wild "hidden" places in the yard. Unfortunately that will take a few years to come to perfect fruition, but somehow I doubt this urge will go away. :)
All of a sudden she has discovered intense fear. That is new. She has always, at least occasionally, had nightmares, but these are different. She told me yesterday that she needs her nightlight back because her room is terrifying in the dark. To be fair, I'm not sure she understands that terrifying is more intense than spooky. This of course lead to a conversation about how the nightlight left her room because she ripped it out of the wall and did drywall damage... so don't do that again.
I live with this vague terror that I am a bad mother, but my daughter shows no signs of it. She really is a shining example of humanity. Her empathy and intuition and verbal abilities combine to make an uncanny kid, but in a way that makes you believe in past lives. She doesn't feel like a three year old. She feels like an adult who just isn't up to speed yet. But I guess that is how I talk to her. I am teaching her how to be an adult, not how to "be a kid". I think that kid culture in America is brutal and nasty and I hope she misses it basically entirely. Because right now it is obvious that nothing bad has actually happened to this child. Even her stormy days are marked by her lack of trauma. When she is truly upset and sobbing about my treatment of her what she says is, "It hurts my feelings when you tell me to go play."
I'm doing pretty well.