Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tear shit up

Something unfortunate has occurred.

My daughter has stopped napping.

It’s the sort of thing that you know is coming, especially when you have an older child, but you just can’t quite believe that it’s time for it already. I mean, Seconda’s not even two and a half yet and I thought we had a good year at least of peaceful early afternoons before us. My son was at least 3 before he gave up his nap, and with him, it was a gradual process; he’d skip his nap for a couple of days, but I’d persist with our naptime ritual and he’d eventually cave in to sleep since there was nothing better to do, in the dark, in his crib.

Well Seconda has found plenty of better things to do in the dark. Not in her crib of course. That wildcat leaps out of her crib before I’ve even closed the bedroom door behind me. Most of the better things she’s found to do are highly destructive.

What I mean is, she likes to tear shit up. Literally. And the easiest thing to tear is, of course, books, Which in our house is tantamount to hurling the family’s crystal against the wall. I mean, I am willing to accept that my children do a lot of bad shit but tear up books?

“What did this book ever do to you?” I ask her, “All it wanted was to make you HAPPY and you’ve destroyed it!”

There was one time that Primo tore up his very beloved, very fancy, very expensive pop-up Wizard of Oz book. I don’t know if it was a masochistic thing or what, but it occurred during the tail end of the losing-the-nap period when he was stuck in his room for two hours with nothing to do. When I opened the door to release him from nap captivity, I saw all these beautiful bits of glimmering Emerald City and yellow bricks and pieces of poppy field scattered everywhere and I’m not going to lie to you, it hurt. I gave him such a stern talking-to then that he kind of has post-traumatic stress disorder about the whole episode. In fact, a year later, we were just sitting in the kitchen one morning talking and he told me that he had a horrible dream the night before.

“I dreamt that I tore up the Wizard of Oz pop-up book,” he said.

“That wasn’t a dream,” I informed him, “That happened.”

“No, no, that’s not right,” came his reply.

My stern reprimand scarred him enough that he hasn’t so much as dog-eared a page since.

Seconda, on the other hand. could care less about my little lectures or my time-outs or my yelling or my forcing her to read only board books until she proves that she deserves paperback again. During my stern talking-tos, she regards me with this bored kind of expression that is so awfully adolescent, I fear for the future.

“Whatever, lady, keep flapping your lips,” her eyes seem to say, “As soon as you turn your back, I’m ripping Puff’s face right of his magic body while Jackie Paper watches, then I’ll shred that sucker too.”