Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Wrap-up

Things have been pretty normal and average around here for the most part. Halloween was mostly just a regular weekend day. We took Natalie around to the houses on the short street our drive way comes out (versus the couple mile long, busy street that is our actual address). She was adorable in her lady bug costume and even managed to keep her head band with antenna on for a little while. She was a little scared of all the people at our neighbors' houses, but only cried once. She was happy to hold candy, but didn't want to take it out of the bowls or put it in her pumpkin bucket. She liked holder her bucket when we were at home and she could walk around with it, but not so much when we were carrying her around. It was really cold out, like 38 or something ridiculous like that. We had her in two layers of close and then her costume, so she wasn't too cold, but we still went quickly so she wouldn't get too cold. We didn't want to put a coat over her costume since she is so small you wouldn't even see it anymore. When we got in from trick-or-treating, so she was grumpy because she wanted dinner and it wasn't ready just yet. She calmed down when we let her watch some videos on the computer.

Speaking of which, Natalie was quite upset with me yesterday after her nap. We had already watched videoes on the computer once that day and watched a fair amount of TV in the afternoon, so when she got up, I vowed not to turn the TV on until Yo Gabba Gabba an hour later. Natalie went up to the TV and touched it like she wanted me to turn it on, and when I said no, she started crying. She also went to the lap top and did the same thing. And then to make me really feel like a jerk, she went to the bed room to say she wanted to nurse, and I had to turn her down again. She just kept going between those three things and crying at me. I managed to distract her a few times with her toys - first by pouring out the whole toy bucket and then later buy setting up her tea set. When Mike got home, she got a little confused by the excitement, and cried again. Then we put the TV on and gave her a snack, and though she wasn't engrossed in either, she cheered way up. She just ran around the house for the next hour or so as we got dinner ready. At one point, we left her alone in the living room for a few minutes, and when I looked in, she is sitting in the empty toy bin watching TV holding her snack. I didn't even know she could get into the bin without falling over. So cute!

Anyway, the point here is that we have entered a tantrum phase. If we are lucky, maybe this will only last a little bit before we get it full force later, but I'm not that optimistic. I'm guessing its going to get increasingly worse for a while. I really hate that she is getting so upset over not having the TV on or computer videos. That doesn't seem well adjusted to me. Its probably just that she isn't getting her way more than the TV itself, which her mild interest in the TV once it was turned on proves, but I still don't like it. Yesterday afternoon wouldn't have been so bad if I didn't have to refuse three things, and if one of them wasn't nursing. She has been asking to nurse more often again and I've been refusing. I'm trying to keep us at one session a day, but I'm beginning to worry that she is realizing that she can't have it whenever she wants, so she is asking for it more. Instead or nursing, I'll over a snack, distract her with a diaper change or getting dressed, and a few times we've hung out on the bed reading books. That seems to make her happy sometimes, such as today when she was happy to roll around the pillows sucking her thumb as I got her dressed, then we read a couple books, then I put her down for her nap. Its like a mini version of bed time.

Which reminds to mention that it appears we have become a Goodnight Moon family. My feelings about this book have changed so much over the years. I have no memory of this book from childhood. When I first read it as an adult, I thought it was horrible. I saw no value in it. But, as soon as I started to learn about babies and had a child, I gained significant respect for Goodnight Moon. We tried reading it for bed time a few nights in a row, and now Natalie reaches for our treasury that contains it, and she gets excited when you open the book or flip to the title page. Sometimes, she flips back to the beginning for you to read it again. At the moment, I am really starting to be fond of Goodnight Moon. Its very calming to read and I enjoy pointing out the objects to Natalie. Its not a full story book (though there is the story of the bunny going to bed in the pictures), but its more than a labeling book. Hopefully my feelings won't swing dramatically the other way if Natalie starts demanding this book every night for the next several years!

Back to Halloween for a minute. Halloween did make me crave some of that distance from Natalie that I often lack. There were a few times during the week leading up to Halloween that I just wished I could be just myself so I could put on one of the numerous horror movies on TV and just watch it, or watch several. I did put on TV for me a few times, but I worried that the images might scare Natalie, if not now, later in her dreams. Horror movie watching is pretty much my favorite part of Halloween, and I missed partaking in it like I used to. I mean, when I was teaching, I would even turn on the horror movies during my prep period if something okay was on and continued after school as I worked in my room. That was really the only time of year I would use the TV that way.

After Natalie went to bed we did watch a lot of TV for Halloween. We ignored out Netflix movie we've had all month, and watched horror movies off the instant que. We also used to DVR to record a couple movie and some specials, such as a top 13 movie count down and a three making of shows (Blair Witch Project, Carrie, and Exorcist). One of the movies we recorded was really a five part British mini series about zombies. On Halloween itself, we watched Cujo off the DVR. I had seen in a few years ago, but wanted to see it again since it was one of the last books I read before Natalie was born. Mike had never seen it. I must say that having a child and seeing that movie made a big difference, especially since the little boy is about 3 or 4 and Natalie is now a toddler. Natalie looks just old enough and the little boy just young enough for me to see her future self in him. So, when he is screaming and crying and having seizures, it was hard to watch. I was fairly certain that I remembered the end of the movie correctly, and I was glad that it had been changed for the child to survive.

After Cujo, we watched the series premiere of The Walking Dead. Mike and I have been reading the graphic novels in preparation. I've read the first 5 and he is one ahead of me. We were pretty happy with how the show expanded on the story providing more details, but didn't veer off course with the plot. As far as production quality goes, it was like watching a movie. We really hope that AMC can keep it up and make it into a long series like Mad Men.

The only other notable thing of late was that I went over to my friend's apartment Saturday night. She had needed some company, so I was happy to come over. I stayed until about midnight, around when her husband got home from work. I felt like I was able to help her out a little, which made me feel less helpless in the situation. She did decide to tell me about her situation, but I won't share it here since it is private, not that I know if anyone reads here, but just in case. The only thing that was a little uncomfortable was that when her husband got home, it seemed like he had hoped that I would say to her the same sorts of things he says. But that wasn't the case, so she and I kept quite. I was really just trying to let her say whatever she needed to say, and I tried not to comment too much, especially since I really didn't know what to say often or what she needed to hear.

On a totally different note, even though it was for such an unhappy reason, it was nice to get out of the house at night. I told my friend, I wasn't even sure when I had last driven at night. I don't know the last time I was out around midnight. Its even been a long time since I was just plain outside in the dark! And it was nice to just be out talking with someone, when the conversations veered toward more usual topics.

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