One thing I forgot to add in my previous post is that it’s not enough to merely acknowledge Sophie’s preference to be called Catherine or princess or baby—Ok, you’re Catherine. Now let’s go to bed—you must actually address her as Catherine: Ok, Catherine, it’s time to go to bed. If you don’t actually use the vocative case, she’s not satisfied. Which is especially fun when she’s pretending to be baby or girl. Not a name, just a generic label. Because you must call her girl: Ok, girl, can you please pick up those books and put them away.
The princess one left a nice opening for me earlier this week, however. Sophie was fussing and insisting I call her princess before she would do as I’d requested. (The irony was not lost on me.) I responded that princesses do not fuss and yell and that I would call her “princess” when she began to act like a princess. That actually gave her pause.
I really don’t know what to do. I’d almost suspect ear infection because this is rather how Ben acts when he’s got one. But she’s old enough to tell me if her ear hurts. She has had a cold all week and I’m sure that’s part of her surliness But I think that most of all it really is just that being three doesn’t suit her. At all.
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Anyway, tonight Sophie fell asleep in my lap right before dinner. She and Bella had been sniping at each other and at Ben for more than an hour and she’d finally retreated in tears and then emerged, clasping her flower blankie and asking to cuddle with me. I was nursing Anthony at the time while my sister finished making dinner (roasted duck, by the way, and wilted spinach salad with beets and gratin potatoes—don’t I know how lucky I was not to have to cook!) So Sophie climbed up in the chair next to me and snuggled in at my side while I read some blogs or checked email. Before I knew it she was fast asleep. She slept through dinner and only woke up when I was putting her pajamas on just before I carried her to bed.
It was amazing how quiet and peaceful dinner was without Sophie. During the middle of grace I couldn’t help myself, I glanced over at the place she usually sits and from which at that point she was usually howling because we’d started grace before she was ready. Dom caught my eye and noticed the same thing. How calm dinner was. No screaming, no arguments about where her chair was to go and no screaming about me putting Anthony’s seat between my chair and hers. No demands that I cuddle her or that she sit in my lap. No screeching wines demanding that I cut up her food or help her put it onto her fork. Anthony slept on my shoulder so I had to eat one handed. Bella didn’t really eat much—she didn’t like the duck and didn’t want salad or potatoes and she only picked at her beets—but at least was mostly seated and quiet. Ben piled food onto his plate that he had no intention of eating and spat partially masticated beets onto his chair. But it was quiet. I could hear myself think.
It was like being in the eye of the storm. All was eerily quiet and I kept waiting for it to start up again.
Fortunately, she did wake up and let me put her pajamas on her and sipped at a cup of water, allowed me to tuck her in and demanded her usual lullabies. If she falls asleep and sleeps through any of those steps then she usually wakes up screaming in the middle of the night, disoriented and has to be calmed and tucked in and it can be a very difficult process.
I do fear that she’ll wake up hungry since she skipped dinner. She had a couple of slices of bread and butter at around 4:30 and maybe some other snacks too; but I fear it might not be enough to hold her till morning. Let’s hope there are no midnight tempests.