T minus 11 days.

We are rapidly approaching Zoe's second birthday. I'm trying to remember just how crazy I felt this time last year (this crazy? or that crazy?). Was I crying at random times when I looked at Zoe, thinking about how small she used to be? Was I tearing up when putting the too-small clothes away and pulling out the next, impossibly large-sounding size? Was I convinced that I need to freeze her right now, as she is in THIS instant, if only in my mind?

Reading back through my old-school, Luddite, paper journal from that time, I'm remembering how exciting the first birthday was as a milestone. But I also remember we had some big concerns about the edicts from our pediatrician. Luckily, most of these proved to passing annoyances, two days of grief, or, at worst, weeks of cajoling. Pacifiers only in the crib?: two days of grief. No more bottle?: only a passing annoyance as we searched for a viable sippy cup. Milk with meals?: weeks of cajoling, but now it's her favorite food and would survive on it and only it if allowed.

With the second birthday approaching, we are facing only two concerns and both are of our own making. First, we always said we'd take away her pacifiers by her second birthday. She uses them in her crib only (or carseat on the rare occasions she's got to nap in the car) but still we're told it's best if they go away ASAP. I'm dreading this. Seriously. She has few attachments ("Baby", her favorite doll, is TOTALLY second banana to her "pacis") and I hate to take away her favorite source of comfort (when she gets really upset or hurt, she'll cry "Nap!" or "Nigh-nigh!" in the hopes that she can go to her crib and get a paci). We're planning on taking her to a pediatric dentist sometime soon so I think we'll wait and see what the dentist says. Just call me Little Miss Pass The Buck.

Our second, self-imposed second birthday deadline was about the TV. Zoe doesn't currently watch TV. (Though she does watch movies of herself and our family on the computer sometimes.) We decided that we would hold off till her second birthday then reevaluate (You all know I LOVE my experts. Why, if they tell me to I MUST DO IT.). Since Zoe was slow in gross motor development and TOTALLY zoned any time she caught a glimpse of the TV at a restaurant or friend's house, we felt this was the right decision for our family. Now we've found we like not having the TV on during the day. I appreciate the limits it places on ME zoning out in front of the TV. I like not hearing commercials, her begging for more TV, her loving some annoying character I can't stand and wanting every book/toy/vibrating ear muff with their visage on it.

But I'm struggling with getting dinner cooked at night with a whiny toddler attached to my leg. I could seriously use 30 minutes of zoned out Zoe around 6 pm, you know? I also find that I CAN NOT make an important phone call with her around, no matter how nicely she's playing by herself when I'm dialing she will instantly become the WHINIEST, LOUDEST, NEEDIEST toddler EVER as soon as I say "Hello?". I've started fantasizing about plopping her in front of the TV and saying "Mommy will be in the other room on the phone. See you in 30 minutes!".

I honestly think that if I was still home with Zoe full time, I would have totally resorted to TV by now. What does that mean? That I'm trying to create some artificial environment where she's always perfectly attended to? That I'm lazy and unwilling to properly parent my own child and teach her how to entertain herself and be patient when Mommy's on the phone or cooking dinner? Or that it's all part of the choices we're making for our family, independent but related to all the others, important but not life-or-death?

I have a total love/hate relationship with TV. Some days I feel I could banish it from the house forever and be SO MUCH the better for it. I do firmly believe that the less I watch TV the healthier I am in mind and body. Other days I feel it's important to engage in popular culture, and not to mention that it's FUN and RELAXING and ENTERTAINING, to partake in a little movie here and there, a little John Adams, a little Rock of Love 2 (did anyone seeing Ambre winning??? I'm still SHOCKED and annoyed that it made me lose a bet and have to rub CG's feet. ARG.).

I think we'll have to hold out on the TV thing a little longer as well. At least until we try to get pregnant again. I am clearly imagining a very large, tired me, asleep on the couch as Zoe zones in front of Barney or Electric Company or whatever craziness is on children's TV these days.


My Buddy Mimi said...

We do allow some TV, especially when we are getting ready in the mornings or making dinner. The one thing that Mimi will not tolerate is the TV being on with somthing that she does not want to watch. I like the quiet, so I usually keep the TV off, but it has brought some tough moments for M while trying to watch some vital sporting event on TV with a toddler doing a complete meltdown.

Congratulations on the big milestone though. Try not to stress out too much :-)

desperate housewife said...

It is funny how the BIG issues ending up seeming like not such a big deal in retrospect. We put off taking away bottles for A YEAR because it seemed so daunting to have to deal with it while I was pregnant, or on bedrest, or dealing with a cranky newborn. Then after Christmas we just dove in, and it was as you said- a few days of fight, and then over.
I try not to watch TV while Addy's home with me, mainly because most kids programs and commercials drive me NUTS, but I do let her watch DVD's that we have chosen while I need to deal with Eli or take a shower or whatever. Also, I can't imagine how I would be able to get the house cleaned for all these showings without the magic of digital babysitting. It sucks and it's less than ideal, but it has its uses.

Kate said...

I'm torn on this too in terms of having the TV on at all (A is 6 months old, so a little young to complain about the programming itself). I have to admit I watch DVDs while I'm breastfeeding during the day, which sometimes feels like ALL THE TIME.

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