"It's not ours, but there's a baby inside my tummy. When it comes out, we'll have to do everything the baby wants. We should be really quiet when the baby wants to talk. It isn't ours, but there's a baby inside my tummy. That's why it's so squishy and hard. My tummy is like a house for the baby."
We have a couple of friends who are pregnant, and Ben is well versed in the age-appropriate explanation that we concocted for him. I have no idea how the "it isn't ours" element crept in. The house analogy is entirely his own invention, as are the strictures on the deference that should be paid to the baby. Neil and I were just about rolling on the floor during this speech.
In other three-year-old parenting news, we're finding good ways and renewed confidence for handling the non-compliance issues that I blogged about recently. We do tend to couch things in terms of choices and consequences, but we're increasingly comfortable with taking a firm line that basically represents a "because we're the parents" attitude. An example: "Nope, we're gonna put the pants on now. Yes, I understand that you don't want to. You've made that very clear. But we're gonna put them on now. You can choose to make this quick and easy, or you can choose to fuss and thrash, and that will make it more difficult for both of us, but it doesn't change the fact that we're putting pants on now. Okay, good choice -- one leg in...."
Also, we have fairly successfully weaned off the pacifier. As a baby, Ben was Not A Good Sleeper, and we found that the pacifier (or "ba-ba" as he calls it) was pretty much essential. Somewhere around twelve months, we reduced ba-ba usage to sleep time only, and we've felt for awhile now that the time was upon us to pull the plug altogether. We had enough travel over the summer and big transitions for the fall that we put it off until last week, but we finally braced ourselves for the inevitable. After consulting with friends, we devised a plan (which involved a lot of preparation, talk therapy, and one instance of massive bribery), and we carried it out. We were prepared for several nights of non-sleep, but in fact he has been sleeping at night perfectly, even better than before (because he no longer cries out when he loses his ba-ba at night); we are flabbergasted by how easy that was. Nap time has been a different story. He has yet to take a nap since the Great Weaning. Seriously. It's been almost a week now. We're hoping that this is just a temporary transition rather than a permanent lifestyle change.
"I Cannot Even Smile Here"
4 weeks ago