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Serenity NOW! (Plus: giveaway results)

We’re going through a rather rocky period with Miss Elsa. Which, by extension, means things are less than perfect with her generally better-behaved sister. Because Elsa will either egg her on to be difficult or fight with her, which causes Clio to become exaggeratedly (is that a real word?) needy.

This happens every so often with Elsa. She’ll become moody as all get-out, going within the space of hours from perfectly pleasant and chipper and enthusiastic about life — e.g. bursting into the house after Alastair brings them home from preschool and exclaiming “Guess what I saw outside on the steps? A SNAIL!! And it was really big!! But I didn’t touch it!! Because that would make it dead, and it’s sad when things die, like Sam Cooke died, and that was sad!!” — to sulking and whining or, almost worse, getting totally punchy (literally) and babbling in baby talk.

God, I hate the baby talk. All of a sudden, the girl refuses to speak English, and will only say, “Ba ba ba? Ba ba! Ba ba ba Baaaaby.” It is NOT cute. In fact, it drives me up a fucking wall. Because it is always accompanied by refusal to listen and usually lots of squirming and whacking and testing.

And in the midst of all this annoying-ness, both Alastair and I, our patience thinning, have let ourselves slip into yelling and snapping, rather than using more effective strategies, like some of the ones we’ve read about in books like “How to talk so kids will listen…” and “Love and Logic.” (Not that I’m a huge fan of parenting books in general.) Strategies that involve clearer limits, fewer “chances” and decidedly less yelling and temper-losing.

It doesn’t help that both Alastair and I have been pretty distracted and busy with our work lately — me, with the launch of EDEN LAKE, and him with finalizing the production on his next kids’ album. And Elsa definitely is going through a phase — from which she will probably emerge knowing how to read or do higher math or something, since that’s typically how these things work. (Actually, she sort of blew my mind last night by truly reading a few words in a book we read together.) Also, the gals are approaching the four-and-a-half mark, and the experts say that things generally get dicey around that half year mark for whatever reason.

BUT, I’m going to try to re-focus and re-collect myself, try to be more patient, and more mindful of doing less yelling and more calm and strategic parenting. And lots of hugs and horseplay — because that seems to help Elsa burn off some of her extra energy, and channel it more productively. So, if you see me, and you notice bruises, it’s not because my husband is a brute, or I am a klutz ; it’s my spirited four-year-old, who I’m pretty positive is destined to play rugby in college.

Moving on! Thank you to all of you who entered to win a free copy of my book! And a huge thank you also to readers who have posted on the Baby Squared page on Facebook about how much you’ve enjoyed the book. It thrills me to no end — it’s scary having a book out there in the world, and I love hearing that people actually like the thing.

So, the winner was chosen in highly scientific manner: I asked Mr. Baby Squared to pick a number between one and fifty-two (the total number of comments in before 9:00 am). And the winner is…..Momnivore! (Momnivore: I will contact you via the email address you commented with, but if that’s not the best place to reach you, email me: jane @ janeroper.com. And I’m going to throw in a free Eden Lake T-shirt, too. Congrats, and I hope it brings back fond camp memories.)

BUT, hey, I’m still feeling give-y! And high-tech-y!  So, the first two people with Kindles (or a friend w. a Kindle they’d like to gift it to) to comment on this post will win a free Kindle copy. UPDATE: Sorry, both Kindle copies have been claimed. But you can buy your own here for the low, low price of $7.99! About the cost of a shirt for your kid at Target — but much more fun!

But wait! There’s more! — for the first three people to order a signed copy via my website, I’ll throw in a bonus, super-cool Camp Eden Lake t-shirt! Just write “T-shirt Contest” and your size (S, M, L or XL) in the “special instructions” field under the shipping info. (I will update this post and note here when all three shirts are claimed.)

Everyone else, if you’d like to buy a copy of the book you can do so at Amazon (including for Kindle) or via my website, It’s also available for Nook, iBooks and Sony Reader. You can also request it at your favorite local, independent bookstore (yay!)

And now, I will stop acting like a used car salesman. :-)

Thank you again, for your support and enthusiasm. You rule.

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