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February 13, 2011

Doubleness and Happiness

Oh, the things I could tell you about my daughter. Like how she strums her guitar and sings the song she wrote, which is the word “Bunny” over and over; how she learned to say “CN Tower” last week; how when I say, “Slow snow falling”, she says “Deep”, and when I say, “Cars dogs babies”, she says, “Sleep”. How she says “sleep” like “seep” and does a fair amount of it herself. How she’s totally into colouring these days, and she has learned to say her name, except she says, “Ohra” instead of Harriet. Her favourite colour is purple (thanks to Mable Murple), she has to have a sticker on her hand at all times (and best if it’s purple), she loves The Wheels on the Bus (in particular “Swish swish swish”) and Skinnamarink. She loves any book by Marisabina Russo, and Alfie and his sister Annie Rose. How much fun she has with her best friend Margaret, especially when they’re being silly together (and seriously, is it ever fun to wear playdough on your ears.

We love love love her (except when she is having a tantrum at the ROM, and arching her back as I try to put her into her stroller so that the stroller rolls across the atrium at top-speed and everybody is staring at me as she’s screaming, and then we go through the same routine later that afternoon in front of a packed waiting room at the doctor’s). Just as I loved loved loved Sarah Hampson’s wonderful piece in The Globe last week about parenthood and happiness. Which I read with Carol Shields on my mind, and it underlined the line I’d already actually underlined from the novel: “doubleness clarifie[s] the world.” Yes, that’s precisely what it is.

Having a child is very much like everything about being a person who is alive: it’s wonderful and it’s terrible. It’s also very much like being alive in the sense that I’d rather do it than not do it, even though sometimes it isn’t very fun.

I loved this, from Hampson: “I realized that while it was hard not to compare my efforts to those of other mothers, I should see my approach to parenthood as an investment in penny stocks no could predict the outcome of.”

These days, as things have come together in a way that makes sense to me, I spend much less time thinking about “parenting” than I did a year ago. I was obsessed with books then, trying to discover some kind of methodology, but lately we’ve been doing just fine at “making it up as we go along”. Though I have put a book called Toddler Taming on reserve at the library. I have a feeling now is just the calm before the storm.

5 thoughts on “Doubleness and Happiness”

  1. m says:

    Don’t believe the hype. The ‘terrible twos’ (or threes) doesn’t really exist. Kids that age are starting to understand independence and testing boundaries. I read somewhere that the mental development that toddlers go through is very similar to what teens go through, but teens have a vocabulary that they may choose to use to help guide their way through it. It doesn’t have to be a terrible time. There will be terrible times, of course, but no worse than what you’ve gone through so far or what you’ll go through later. Just different. And different for every kid.

    Also, I love it when you write about Harriet, getting glimpses into who she is and who she is becoming.

    1. Kerry says:

      m, thanks for the reassurance, though I have a feeling that if terrible twos exist for anyone, it will be Harriet, who is a particularly *passionate* person. But I will give everything for you to be right. And no doubt, there will be times between to enjoy anyway.

  2. carin says:

    Kids are tiny little creative geniuses and the world and all its rules, oh dear, what a yawn, what frustration! Can only take so much before a creative genius has no choice but to arch their back and scream!


  3. Mr. B says:

    I love how children who still have a limited vocabulary creatively use the few words they do know to express themselves. I remember my (then) young son referring to the night sky as “sleep moon” and to a lobster as “sharp elbow”. For a short period of time, all children are natural poets but then they learn too many words and too many rules and it is lost. When they are older, if they are lucky, they can begin to unlearn and become poets again.

  4. Rachel says:

    I too love these updates. As for 2, it is hard and exhausting and wonderful. I am wiped by the end of the day but I love it! for us, giving limited choices and calmly repeating them around 6-10 times works for ending tantrums. Also,I’ve found it to be really helpful to build in tantrum time before an outing. So if K fights about wearing socks, I can get that tantrum over with (by repeating the limiting options) and still have time to catch the bus. It’s much more relaxing!

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