Monday, February 22, 2010

A Cry for Help

Grace has fallen into this terrible habit of shouting out, "Help! Help!" in this high-pitched, shrieky voice full of terror that sounds like a horrible nightmare-ish monster is attacking her, when in reality she just wants us to come help her get dressed or get a toy unstuck or something. We are trying to get her to understand the difference between an actual emergency and being frustrated with something and wanting some help, but this is proving challenging because I suspect having her head stuck inside her shirt does in fact feel like an emergency to her 4-year-old mind. Perhaps explaining about the boy who cried "Wolf!" might prove instructional? Sometimes I think that Grace might be a little bit of a drama queen, really feeling her feelings with a lot of intensity, although maybe it is just normal small-child behavior. They do not have a lot of perspective, it turns out.

Violet (who is 14 months old TODAY) has learned how to shake her head "no" (along with learning how to walk with a modicum of skill-- hooray!) which, it turns out, is terribly adorable. However, she has not yet learned what it means to shake your head, and instead thinks it is what you do whenever you are asked a question. Asking Violet anything at all these days will elicit her shaking her head vigorously back and forth and smiling hugely. Do you want a kiss? No no no no no. Is your name Violet? No no no no no. Do you want up? No no no no no, immediately followed by arms outstretched to be picked up. And speaking of kissing, she has learned both how to make kissy noises and how to lean in for a kiss, but does not manage to do them both at the same time. It kills me.

What hopefully will NOT kill me is a trip we have coming up at the end of the week. Rob is going to a conference for his subspecialty in New Orleans and all the rest of us are tagging along. I am looking forward to it and it will be fun, but oh, it will be so much work as well. Traveling with children is just more challenging than I ever imagined it would be. Maybe it's partly that I am out of practice... For most of my grad school years, I traveled back and forth between Austin and Dallas every week and I had packing down to a SCIENCE, a science of which I was an expert practitioner. And then all the observing runs to the telescope gave me further opportunities to hone my craft. My skills have fallen into disuse, however, and the ante has been upped as I am now responsible for packing for more than just myself. I feel like there is a LOT to do this week to get us ready, including figuring out what I am going to do with the wee ones while Rob is learning about allergies all day. Traveling with children is no small undertaking, but in exchange New Orleans will have crawfish and beignets and beautiful architecture and a free fancy big conference dinner (assuming I manage to find some kind of babysitter for that night) and a swimming pool at the hotel for me to splash about with Grace and Violet.

Oh, and New Orleans will also hold more job-hunt-related activities for Rob. There has been a good bit of activity recently in that search, with some new opportunities cropping up, and he's got a couple of interviews lined up during the meeting. That job in Salt Lake City is still a possibility with a lot to recommend it; when Rob was interviewing there about two weeks ago, the doctor said she wanted to make a decision within a month so we'll see what happens. And we'll see if the four of us survive the 8 hours of driving to New Orleans!


Eva said...

Good luck with the trip!, it sounds like fun, but of course it could be challenging hauling the girls to Louisiana. As far as I remember, the New Orleans aquarium is great, and they have quite a few activities for kids. Maybe that can take care of one morning/afternoon.

I have packing down to a science, and now all that knowledge will probably go down the drain... oh well.

amydove said...

Last night my friend was telling me that his daughter has figured out that yelling "owie" (sp?) brings the parents running, so she yells it at any opportunity, including in the middle of the night. Another classic boy who cried wolf situation.

Christy@pipandsqueak said...

I read your paragraph about Grace to Sam and he laughed because he has actually been telling Katherine the story of the boy who cried wolf for a few weeks. She does the same thing. We have told her that she can only yell for help if someone is bleeding or about to do something really dangerous. I can't say that it has changed but she does know the rule.

Carlie said...

Is there something else you could teach Grace to hollar when she needs minor assistance instead of HELP HELP? At our house I have taught our kids that's what they ought to yell but then maybe its more her delivery that's the problem, not the actual words. Just thinking, you don't want to teach her not to ask for casual rescuing now and then (after all, we're there to unstick toys and help put shirts on) you just don't want your heart in your throat every time she calls. Can you tell her she should say, "I'm stuck!" or "My toy is stuck!" in more minor scenarios and save HELP for when you're bleeding.

Good luck on your NO trip! Sounds like lots of fun and stress all at once. Wish I had packing down to a science.