Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dr Jekyll and Miss Hyde

There's an old nursery rhyme that goes:

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good
She was very, very good
But when she was bad
She was horrid!

Ok, I'm not saying Cherise is horrid, but she was very bad today! We planned to go to Ikea this morning to pick up a bed for Cherise (more about this in another post). We thought it would be a fun outing - having a mission and all, plus Cherise likes to play with the many toys at the Children's section. But she was in some kind of weird mood today - so difficult to handle! She didn't want to sit properly in the taxi, she didn't want to sit in the high chair, she didn't want daddy to carry, she didn't want to nurse, she didn't want to play, she didn't want to eat - all she wanted was "Mammy, baobao, go go", but go go where? I don't know. We thought maybe she was cranky because she was tired and needed a nap, but her behaviour didn't improve even after she woke up from her nap. Strangers who simply looked at her would send her into a frenzy - "Nononononono!" It was so terrible that we cut our outing short. We actually planned to stay out the whole day, moving on to other places after Ikea, but I was so drained by noon that I just wanted to go home and stay home the rest of the day.

Once we got home, she morphed into another person! She played with her toys, ran from room to room (without us!), watched TV and danced along, fed herself banana, fed us banana, let daddy change and bathe and feed her while I went to poop - just a totally different little girl! And her behaviour was so much improved that we decided to venture out to United Square because I wanted her to get her hair cut.

So at 7pm we left home, reached United Square, had dinner at Jack's Place - and she was an angel! She was so friendly, waving at waiters and waitresses and strangers we met. She sat happily in her high chair and ate her porridge, fed herself (and us) porridge, played a bit with some ice, and when our food came, we took turns to eat and she was quite content with either of us, even letting go of our hands to run around the open spaces outside the restaurant. She was happy in the pram, and when we rewarded her with kiddy rides, she didn't fuss when we wanted her to come off the ride. And to top it all, when we brought her for her haircut at Junior League, she sat and watched the Barney video, and though she kept giving slightly disturbed glances at the hairdresser, she didn't cry at all! And that's a first! On the way back, she fell asleep in the taxi - she didn't ask to nurse, she didn't fuss at all, she just closed her eyes and fell asleep. And we couldn't rouse her! I didn't want her to sleep because I wanted to give her hair a rinse before bedtime, but since she was so soundly asleep, we changed her diaper and clothes and let her be.

I'm so amazed at the two different Cherises I saw today. What made the difference? Maybe it was the time spent with us at home. Maybe she just needed to be somewhere familiar where she could hang loose and play a bit, connect with her parents, snuggle a bit... And even though none of us slept during the afternoon hours at home, we all felt rejuvenated in that short time. That's great, I think - exactly what home should be. A place to rest, relax and recharge. And the fact that Cherise feels the same way means that we have, in some measure, succeeded in creating a home for her.

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