The boy has started putting himself in time out. This morning, he decided to do so after not listening to a request his father made. He walked over to his chair and said, "I in time out, I don't listen." Neither Husband or I had any intention of putting him in time out. He looked up at us from his chair and said, "I want to get out." We didn't put him in time out, so we didn't tell him he could get out. Finally, he got out of his chair, walked over to me and said, "I listen." Makes me wonder if time out evens works when disciplining him, especially if he can do the whole process without our instigation.
Well, we had our first fall out on the floor, cry for a half hour tantrum last night. If someone had been walking past my open windows last night between 7 an 7:30 PM, they would have thought I was pinching the heck out of the boy. He was screaming at the top of his lungs the entire half hour.
What was the problem you might ask? I am not really sure...it was bath time, which he was excited about at first while driving back from the park. We were doing good until the point I turned the bath water on and started to take of his clothes. Then, major hysterics started. "I want my shirt back on Momma, not taking a bath." He screamed this phrase over and over. I did well, I remained calm, tried to talk him through it telling him he was dirty from playing and he needed to get clean. He replied, "I not dirty, I clean. I want my shirt!" Throughout this time period the boy was in various stages of being undressed and sprawled out on the bathroom floor.
I finally get him in the bathtub and he won't sit down. So, I wash him from head to toe while he is standing. He is screaming the whole time about his t-shirt. Who knew a t-shirt could be the impetus for such crazy behavior? Then, I took him out of the bathtub and just like that, the crying stopped immediately. I asked, "Are you okay now?" He said, "I'm good, new t-shirt please." He was just as sweet as can be. That was the end of the tantrum. Totally and completely random and without purpose. Husband missed the whole show due to teaching class. I almost videotaped it, but I thought that might give him a reason to keep doing it, so I didn't. I hope this was the only one we get to see, but I guess that is probably wishful thinking.
The weekends go by so quick. I hate remembering that I have work again. This weekend was a good weekend. The babysitter worked out, Nicholas was practically pushing us out the door when 7 PM rolled around. And, we had a good time with our friends eating dinner out and playing games (we are wild, let me tell ya!).
The game we played is a little game called "Time's Up." It is very fun and potentially hilarious. You have to get your team members to identify a person (fictional or otherwise) without saying his/her name. We divided our group up into women versus men. I will admit that the men beat us this time, but sometimes I think they have a bit of an unfair advantage. That advantage is knowing the wonderful world of sports.
In my vast experience interacting with men throughout my 30 years (brothers, boyfriends, relatives, etc.) I have found that for the most part, most men have an unending knowledge of sports related facts. Now I understand knowing somethings about something, but the knowledge I speak of here is uncanny. While playing this crazy game, the number of references to a sports figure, sporting event, jersey number, top ten list, etc. were uncountable. We are talking abstract things here, like what number Bobby Orr was on Sports Center's Top 100 athlete list upteen years ago. Where do they store this knowledge? How come they can remember what some random defensive tackle did 17 years ago at a inconsequential pre-season NFL game, but they can't remember what kind of tampons to get at the grocery store for a woman they have been with for 9 years? I just don't get it.
I am entering a new era in my family life...the era of hiring a babysitter. I try to tell myself that I am not really freaked out about it, but I am. I am going to leave my little one with a "stranger!" Okay, so she isn't a stranger to me, I have worked with her for six months and I trust her to do a good job, but I am still rattled. Why?
My husband and I made the move back to the Bluegrass State to be closer to family and friends so I wouldn't have to worry about things like this, but the time has come where no family or close friends can watch the Boy while the grown ups go out and have some typical adult fun. I guess that is what happens when you are hanging out with the friends and the grandparents aren't retired.
Last night, I spent some time with my husband rationalizing why we didn't need to go out. We can do it next time or I want to spend more time with the boy who will, by the way, be in bed the majority of the time we will be out. Husband told me we have to do this sometime, why not now? I don't know why not now, I have no good, logical reason why we can't do this tomorrow night. Do you?
The boy has been in some stage of potty training since we got him his own little potty at 15 months. Fast forward to 27 months and we are still working on it. I think that if I were a stay at home mom, we would be finished with any form of training pants. That's my excuse anyway. The Boy does so well most days, then we have days like yesterday when no amount of coaxing or bribing can get him to use the potty. The problems begin at day care. I guess when you have 11 kids in a room with 2-3 teachers it can be hard to make sure everyone gets to the potty before they have an accident.
After seeing his note from school yesterday , I was just frustrated. After his first accident, the teachers put him in pull-ups. From then on, he was wet every time he went to the bathroom. Of course, my first reaction was that they were taking the easy way out. Then, I had my own experience with his stubbornness after dinner. As we were making our way out the door to go to the park, we made a stop at the bathroom. The boy had no desire to go, park or no park. He pulled his pants down and then plopped down on the floor without any attempt to pee (see picture above). So, being a good mom, I just left him there for a while. He finally peed and off to the park we went. I can't imagine where his stubbornness comes from....
Seasoned Moms say, "Put your child on a bedtime routine."
Well, we did that, but is it the most effective? Our goal is to have the lights out by 8 PM...
7:30 Upstairs to brush teeth, wash face, potty and put on jammies 7:40 The boy picks out a book 7:45 Momma finishes reading the book 7:50 Daddy reads a Bible story 7:52 Prayers 7:55 Story (The Three Little Pigs is the favorite right now, The Boy huffs and puffs:) 8:00 Hugs & Kisses then lights out Now the fun begins: 8:01 The Boy asks for a song, I sing a song. Half way through he says he has to go potty. 8:03 In the bathroom the boy informs me that "Big boys sit on the potty." This means that all clothes have to come off or he won't go.... 8:10 We have to say goodnight to Daddy again 8:11 The boys needs another song, but can't decide which one he wants, especially since "Old MacDonald" isn't a bedtime song. 8:15 After "Oh Susanna," "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," and "Jimmy Crack Corn" songs are finished and Momma leaves the room.
8:16 The boy is crying...he has a boo boo that hurts and needs medicine. Daddy goes in and tells him that he is okay and to go to sleep.
8:17 - Singing by the boy ensues...top of the lungs singing of a variety of songs. 8:24 - Silence, it is a blessing.
I was reading in an old journal from my sophomore year of college the other day and came upon an interesting passage where I wrote that I didn't ever really see myself getting married or having kids. WOW! What a difference 10 years makes I guess. (Yes, I am that old!) Maybe the thought of having a family was influenced by who I was dating at the time (that would have been a nightmare), but I don't think I could see my life a too different than it is now.
The one thing I would change is my employment situation. I think a lot of working moms would. I enjoy having some freedom to work, and it gives me some independence, but time spent with my boys means more to me than anything else. Thus is the plight of the working mom. Yesterday, I took the day off to spend with the boy. Every month I try to do that giving us some quality time together that is special for him and me. In the beginning, it didn't seem all that different from a weekend day together, but as the day progressed I realized that he gets that this time together is different.
When we woke up on Thursday, I asked The Boy if he would like to stay home with Momma today and he got so excited. His normally independent demeanor changed...he become so lovingly clingy. If you know my son, this is not typical of him. He likes to do things by himself and isn't in the least bit overly attached. Yesterday, he was. I got lots of hugs and kisses, lots of sitting in momma's lap, lots of I love yous. I liked it, don't get me wrong, but it makes me wonder if he is missing that on a daily basis. I thought it might be a struggle this morning when I took him back to school, but it wasn't. He kissed me goodbye and went off to play with playdoh. Heathly attachment is good thing, I guess. I just have to keep reminding myself that it is often what you do with the time you have together instead of how much time you spend together that matters.
The boy's two-year classroom at daycare has a pet hamster. His name is Bacon. That's right, Bacon. The kids chose the name. Now we have to be careful in the house when we talk about eating bacon or The Boy gets worried that we will be eating his hamster. Have I shared how compassionate and concerned about others the boy is?
The Boy is always worried about other people's (or hamster's) well being. I hope and pray that he stays this way. I also hope and pray that he will always want me to give him goodbye kisses, but I am not sure that will be as "cool" once he enters elementary school. Back to the hamster....every morning, the boy has to check on Bacon. If the other kids in the room are bothering him, The Boy very sweetly tells them to be nice to Bacon. He definitely has love for the Hamster. I think Bacon can feel that affection because it seems, according to the boy's teachers, that Bacon has a certain affinity to The Boy.
Love comes in all forms, even Hamsters seem to understand how it works. The other two year old classroom at the boy's school just recently acquired a female hamster. Bacon has become aware somehow that Princess is in the center. He tries every time he is in his exercise ball to make it to the room in which her cage resides. I don't know if he thinks he will be able to get to her, but he makes his way across the gross motor play area to the door every chance he gets. It must be love. Princess and Bacon sitting in a tree. . .
I wake up every morning to the sound of my son saying "Hi Momma, I awake, I loves you." I wonder sometimes when and how did this love happen? It just did...for both of us I guess. I don't think there is anything more beautiful than hearing your child say I love you without being prompted. The boy now says it all on his own, not just in response to when we say it and I don't think the warm feeling I get when he does say it will ever go away. I hope and pray everyday that he sees how much love exists in our family and that he learns to cherish that gift. I hope that I can teach him that. So, whether it is Hamster love or people love, I hope that The Boy will share his love as much as he can...I know I can't get enough of it.
I can't help but think after this weekend that there is no return from the land of consumerism and gluttony. I have always been a big fan of holidays, who isn't? Time off from work, time you get to spend with your family, right? This Easter weekend seemed to go by so fast, but ended up being the most tiring weekend my family has had in a while. Too much travel, not enough of a schedule for the boy and too much junk food!
Call me a crazy, no fun Momma (some of my relatives did this weekend), but I don't like to give the boy lots and lots of sweets and candy no matter the occasion. People know this about me...maybe I am hypersensitive about it and just don't know it!? The boy doesn't need a lot of candy. He doesn't get it very often, but he DEFINITELY knows what it is. Childhood obesity is such an epidemic, I want to teach my son (and future offspring) that, to quote Cookie Monster, "Cookies (add candy, cake, sweets, etc.) are a sometimes food." Imagine my shock and surprise when I pick him up from Daycare and he says "The Easter Bunny brings chocolate." He didn't learn that from us.
So, to celebrate Easter, keep in mind this is supposed to be a religious holiday, my parents decided to go overboard on the candy. Since it was more Winter than Spring this Easter, the grandparents did an indoor Easter Egg hunt for the Boy and his 16 month old cousin. Between the two of them, they shared approximately 100 candy filled plastic eggs. The Boy is much quicker than his cousin, so I would say Nicholas's Easter Basket was twice as full in the end. I didn't freak out, but did share with my soon-to-be sister in-law that we didn't put candy in the boy's Easter Basket. She asked, "What did he get then?" To which I replied, "Two books, a harmonica and a kite." She then said, "Wow that sounds like fun." (Note implied sarcasm as you read.) I didn't need to put in any candy obviously and now the question at the end of the hunt was what are we (parents) going to do with all this candy???
Luckily, we had another Easter event to attend on Sunday. Needless to say, we provided ALL the eggs for the hunt. So, the Boy ended up with about 15 candy filled eggs when all was said and done. The Boy loves his grandparents and they obviously love him, but the chocolate explosion on Saturday afternoon was a lot to handle. How do you tell grandma and grandpa thanks, but no thanks? I guess most parents do like we did and just take all the candy home, say thank you to the g-parents, and hope that you can get your child to forget about the candy for at least 5 seconds in order to dispose of it.
The Boys and I try to be God-focused and devout in our lives. Easter for us is a celebration of Christ, but it is hard to explain that to a two-year old. I know we don't want holidays to be about gifts and candy, etc. So, last night, we made a somewhat feeble attempt to talk about Jesus with The Boy. Kids are so right on sometimes. At the end of our brief nighly prayer time, the boy asked where Jesus was. We told him Jesus was in his heart. The boy in all his childlike wisdom and faith lifted up his shirt, pointed to his chest and said "There he is!" That is what Easter should be about.
I once heard that a small child should eat meals that equal the size of his or her fist. That "expert" clearly hasn't met the growing child that lives in my house whose insatiable appetite rivels that of four or five adults. This morning I could not fathom how the boy could want so much to eat. Keep in mind that he eats breakfast at 8:30 AM when they serve it at the daycare as well and, he normally doesn't get breakfast at home. But, when your son wakes up saying "I hungry, french toast please" what are you going to do, not feed him? His initial breakfast menu this morning consisted of two french toast sticks and milk.
Nicholas likes to help his daddy make lunches in the morning. During the "help" session, Nicholas had 1/2 piece of bread with jelly, a small piece of cheese, a small piece of ham and a carrot. You must be thinking this kid's fist must be HUGE, not the case...he has a fist the size of any normal two-year old. After the lunch making concluded, my hubby decided it was his turn to eat breakfast. Of course, Nicholas wanted cereal too. Husband told him no, no more food for him. (Enter falling on the floor tantrum with cries of "I so hungry daddy!") Husband then began to review what The Boy had already eaten (see above) with our dear son. With complete seriousness, The Boy looks back up to daddy and says, "But the carrot in the trash." Yes, folks he only ate HALF the carrot and threw the rest of it in the trash. Silly us for thinking that the buffet he ate this morning wouldn't fill him up.
His requests didn't end there. As I came out of the bathroom, ready to go out the door to our various daytime homes, The Boy approached me with a small cup and a straw, "I need smoothie, Momma." He needs a smoothie...where to even begin. Needless to say, no smoothie was given and even though I know there is no humanly possible way the child went to school hungry or if he did that he would stay hungry, I wondered all morning, what if he really was starving and I deprived him of the nutrition he so desparately needed?
Yeah, I know the title is a little hokey, but I am working on it. Yesterday, The Husband and I decided to put the boy in Montessori preschool. Crazy. After much contempation last night I found myself thinking "Are we those parents?" You know the type...progressive, giving too much freedom to your kids parents.
I realized that it isn't about that, it is more about what you want for your child. As a mommy that has to work, it hurts me a little each day to think that I can't control (opposite of giving too much freedom, boy am I a contradiction) what enters little The Boy's world each day. I have had to suck it up and deflate my motherly instinct for the "American Dream" of a house and food and clothing, etc. by going to work 9 hours a day. I think this dilemma exists for so many families. As a child I heard, go to college, get a great job, succeed, succeed, succeed and hey, don't forget to have a family that is all together wonderful and guided and again successful. I have come to understand that those two things (family and career) struggle to coexist together for me in a way that is close to completely fulfilling.
I have a wonderful husband who tries to empathize with my plight and is supportive and encouraging in ways that I know some husbands are not. He would stay home with The Boy if he could...still not sure what they would do all day, but hey dads do it. He is successful (and handsome if I say so myself), but not too the point that I cannot work, so where does that leave us? In a search to find a daily environment where The Boy can be cared for and nurtured the way I would want him to be. After much searching, Montessori seems to be the way to go. I walked into this little school environment and immediately fell in love. After The Boy toured the place today, he was in love too.
A few things did bug me a little...The Boy had to interview with the Montessori Director. Now, this was supposedly a formality, but I think it was a little too early for me to be having admittance anxiety...shouldn't that be reserved for college applications. The boy did great, he was so impressive and smart, but I still think in the back of my mind what if he hadn't been, would that have changed the exchanging of money for a space? Bringing me to the second thing, COST...whew! Husband and I talked about this aspect for a long time (don't most married couples do that?). When all is said and done, it isn't all that more expensive than what we pay now for Daycare. Those concerns aside, I feel comfortable and confident about our decision. So, it is off to Montessori we go, but not until August!
So, I am floating in the land of the living wishing for a bed this morning. Last night was my first (and surely not my last) night sleeping in Nicholas's big boy bed. Yippee for me and my ability to function on minimal amounts of sleep. How is it possible that someone so small can take up sooooo much space? How is it possible that a two-year old sleeping upside down in the far opposition corner of a full size bed can still tell when I try to get up and move back to the grown ups table? Needless to say, I am not feeling all that energized or excited to be awake and at work today. But, being awakened by the sound of giggles might have made it all worth it.
I realized the other day while flipping through the stations in my "mom" car that NPR is programmed on two, count 'em two, different presets. When did this happen? When did I go from the hip, young women to the mom who drives a car that has more toys in it then empty Starbucks cups? That led me to wonder if I was every really hip or if that was my fantasy of what my life was like BC (Before Child). What is the purpose of NPR anyway? I really think it is out there so people can feel intellectual and well informed, but too me now it just seems as if the word boring is the only thing I can use to describe the time I spend listening to "All Things Considered." Yet, that is what I listen to when I am in the car by myself. When with child, my musical styling turn to the likes of Laurie Berkner and Veggie Tales. What has happened to my life?
Now, my life is filled with the ever present contemplation of why do I work when I could be home with my boys? Who are my boys you might ask...well, I use boys to describe my husband of seven years, Jason and my son of two years, Nicholas. Both tend to act like small children from time to time, so the titles fit. I got out of the shower this morning to my husband telling me that Nicholas used the word ridge this morning to describe the bottom of his dresser. Not sure where he learned that word, but was more interested in why Nicholas was talking about the bottom part of his dresser. My husband told me that he was attempting to climb up his dresser. Where was Daddy when this was happening? Watching our two-year old attempt to climb up his dresser. I am not sure if Jason thought at the time "Hmm, he'll be okay if I stand here and watch, or I wonder if he can make it to the top..." Either way, Nicholas shouldn't have been climbing on his dresser.
Like I said, the worries of my life have changed over the last few years. I no longer think about me, it is all about the boys and the trouble they can get themselves into.