Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Life with a Banshee - Eli at 19 Months

This post will take a different direction than previous monthly letters.  I feel that the story I'm about to tell will sum up our month with you, my sweet Eli.  Prepare yourselves, Internet, for a harrowing tale.


I feel that as an English teacher, it is only fitting that I would want to pass on my love of books to my son. So, I have made every effort to make sure your library is fully stocked. You usually migrate to the ones that were free or came in a happy meal despite my best efforts to steer you toward the ones that cost me money or took thought on my part.  But I digress.  I love reading to you.  You are such a fun audience.  Whenever I used to read to my students, I felt as if my voice mimicked the lulling sound of ocean waves, as half my students used that time to catch up on sleep.  Not you, my friend.  You revel in my voices and my gestures.  You laugh, you indulge me, we discuss themes and motifs with excitement (and by we, I mean me).  Granted you don't really sit through an entire book, but I don't care; you at least stay in the same room.  You grab stacks of books and put them in my lap.  Reading is definitely FUNdamental in our house. 

With this in mind, I decided that perhaps you would have fun attending the story time half hour at our local public library.  To make sure that this half hour of literary bliss would be appropriate for someone of your energy level, I went to the library a week ahead of time to ask about this story time.  Is it appropriate for your age group?  What did they do?  Were they aware that my child's record for sitting still was 1.2 seconds?  The librarian reassured me that they had several young children Eli's age who rarely sat through an entire story.  She said that by the end of the story, she is usually reading to herself while the young ones walk around.  The half hour consisted of reading a book, dancing, and coloring to mix it up for those with the attention span of an Eli.  I thought, "This will work."  And the following Wednesday morning, we set out for the library eager with the anticipation of a new social outlet. 

When I inquired about story time, the librarian told me there were usually six to eight kids who attended.  At this session, however, there were two: you and a three year old girl...who was afraid of you.  I noticed that there were six books out...all about cats.  Okay.  Eli likes cats.  Maybe we'll draw pictures of cats or make cat sounds.  Whatever.  This should be fine. My friends, the situation progressed very rapidly to DEFCON 1 status.  The sweet librarian (who was not the librarian I spoke to the week before) began reading one book.  You were not interested.  If I tried to keep you on my lap, you would make a sound that can only be described as a pig/cat hybrid being murdered.  So I set you down.  You walked over to the sweet three year old girl and began patting her on the head.  She recoiled in disgust/shock/horror.  Her face conveyed all these feelings.  So, I tried to steer you toward the table to draw.  That worked for 2.1 seconds.  You took the crayon bucket and dumped it on the table, made your pig/cat cry and got back down.  Then you decided to help the librarian with turning the pages in the book (a fun activity at home)...before she was done reading the page -- she was not amused.  So then I steered you toward some puzzles...pig/cat cry.  Finally, the librarian was done with the first book.  "Good," I thought, "we'll sing a song or act like cats or something."  Nope.  She asked the three year old to pick out another book. 

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I screamed to myself.

By this time, you picked up one of the cat books and took it over to the the three year old's grandpa.  He did NOT want to read to you.  So I took it and tried to show you the pictures...pig/cat cry.  You found a baby doll in the corner to occupy you for 1.3 seconds.  After you hugged the doll, you took it to the three year old to have her kiss it (you're so cute).  She did NOT want to kiss it.  So I kissed it...pig/cat cry.  Finally, book #2 was done, but not until you tried to rearrange some of the library books on the bottom shelf. 

"Okay, now we'll sing a song or color or clean toilets...anything besides reading another story out loud," I thought.  Wrong. 

The librarian asked YOU to pick out a book.  You pondered over the selection for 1.1 seconds and picked up three of the books and started walking to the door.  "I hear ya, kid," I thought.  So I grabbed you (pig/cat cry) and took one of the books to the librarian with a pleading look that I hoped she would pick up on.  Alas, book #3 began.  You tried helping her turn the pages (before she was done reading the page), but she looked like she could handle it, so I picked you up...pig/cat cry.  I took you to the back of the library to show you the biography section, hoping a diversion would calm you down.  You informed me, however, that I should not take you away from your audience ever again and topped off your complaint with a Meryl Streep performance of falling down on the ground and writhing as if I had poisoned you.  We should hear about your acceptance into Julliard any day now. 

I decided it was time to go.  But, I had to pick up the crayons you spilled, collect your jacket that you tried to put on the librarian and get you out of the building without you pulling a Rosemary's baby.  So I set your writhing body down by the door, hoping you would look out and see the fire station across from the library and day dream about the fire trucks housed inside.  Big mistake.  As I was picking up crayons (mind you, the librarian is still reading, three year old is trying to listen, and three year old's grandpa is dialing Super Nanny), you began to roll the computer chair across the tiled floor very conspicuously.  Dear Jesus, give me patience.  I quickly picked up the crayons, grabbed your jacket, put the computer chair back, picked you up, and ran out of the library.  I didn't say goodbye.  I just left vowing never to return until you were in college. 

Now let me explain a few things to you and my readers who may think you are out of control and you probably smoke and run dog fights in our house.   This month has been a challenge.  I think you have made your transition into the the terrible twos (ahead of schedule).  You like to say no.  You like to throw your pacifier in a fit of frustration when you don't get your way.  You like to gently lay yourself on the ground (thank you, by the way) and fake cry when we tell you, "I'm sorry, you cannot eat that Twix about a banana?"  And we are learning how to deal.  We send you to your room, we try so hard to be consistent, we try to speak calmly to you.  We're all new at this.  And don't get me wrong, 80% of the time you are a pleasant child who is in love with life.  And I probably should have thought twice about taking you to library story time so close to your nap.  But again, we learn. 

It's hard for me to accept that you're not really a baby any more.  You have this strong desire to be more independent.  And honestly,  you have been strong willed since the womb.  But, you have to know that I may know a little more than you and when I tell you to put down the bottle of toilet cleaner, it's for a good reason.  I really am looking out for you.  I know that these next years are going to be challenging, so please bear with me--I'm just as new at this as you are.

Please know that I love you so much and only want the best for you.  And even when you're doing your best Kraken imitation, I don't love you any less, my sweet Eli-eli-oh.  

1 comment:

rachel said...

amazing. :) i love this entry, despite the embarrassment & frustration it caused you. :) be in my life now.