Monthly Archives: August 2011

don’t leave, summer. i love you.

Know what I love about summer?  Almost everything.  Although the heat was unbearable most days this summer, I’ll still take the sweat dripping down my back over goose bumps on my elbows.  I hate the cold.  And I live in the wrong place to hate the cold.  Even though the highs are still reaching 90 around here, I can already feel winter coming on and it gives me the blues.  Knowing that by the time it gets hot again, I’ll have a 2 year old and a 1 year old really gives me the blues.  Winters just last too long around here. 

I love flip flops. 

Lazy days on rubber rafts, just floatin’ in the lake.

Grilled dinners.

Melty ice cream cones.

Evenings at the park.

Sweet summer corn on the cob.

The state fair.  It’s been a week and a half now since we went, but here is a mini photo album of our fun-filled day. 

see that thing to the left of R’s head?  that’s the stage that collapsed.  so sad.
we had beautiful weather.
couldn’t take it anymore.
looking very old-man-ish here
grilled cheese and milkshakes from the Dairy Bar.  one of our faves.
driving the tra-tah!
time for a short stroller snooze.
so in love with his $3 tra-tah souvie!
And that, my friends, was our trip to the fair. 
until next year,
~C~

toddlerhood…now what? (part 2)

First, I want to thank the friends that commented on Facebook and on my blog with your wonderful suggestions.  I will try them all.  Feel free to lend any other helpful tips that you’ve learned by trial and error.

I just had a few other thoughts about this stage and age and the last blog on this subject was getting too long. 

Theo has picked up on what he has to do to get a reaction out of us.  I don’t know what he’s hoping to achieve because it isn’t a pleasant reaction, but I’m seeing an ugly pattern that I don’t exactly know how to curtail.  Whenever Theo isn’t getting his way, he’ll do something just to piss me off.  That’s the way I see it anyway.  I’m not sure what his true intentions are.  I’m thinking he just wants to show me who’s who in our relationship.  He knows the things he isn’t supposed to do, so he’ll go straight to one of those no-no behaviors when he’s not getting what he wants and before you know it, he’s in double trouble. 

Example. 

Theo has some cardboard touch and feel flash cards and he knows he’s not supposed to bend them or chew on them. 

Me:  Theo.  NO!  Don’t bend your flash cards.  Not nice.  You will hurt them. 

Theo:  bendy bendy bendy, Ha! Ha! 

Me:  getting up, chasing after him, Hey.  I said no!

Theo:  running faster, bendy bendy, Ha!

Me:  catching him, snatching the card out of his hand, I said NO.  We don’t bend the cards.  Not nice.  Turning away, feeling like the victor.

Theo:  runs to pick up a MegaBlock, attempts to pound it into Dexter’s soft spot and gets within an inch of doing just that before I grab his wrist.  He looks at me as if to say in a sinister voice, If you don’t let me destroy all my stuff, I’ll destroy everything that matters to you. Bending a flash card doesn’t seem so bad now, DOES IT LADY? Muuuuahahahaha. 

Okay, Theo doesn’t have a sinister voice.  But if he did, it would be perfect for those moments.  Time out ensues.  Did he win, after all?  Because you know the time out debacle is him getting lots of attention for acting like a crazed lunatic. 

I feel a disclaimer coming on.  Let me back up a second.  I don’t want to paint a picture of this terrible little boy.  These frustrations I’m having last moments.  There are certainly times when Theo can be completely darling.  Sure, he’s frustrating a lot of the time right now.  But he’s also smart and amazing and cute and funny and and and and… you know.  The list goes on.  I love him like crazy.  I can’t imagine being more proud of any accomplishment, ever in my life, than my kids.

Point is, I feel like I’m losing ground.  I want to be a good mom.  I want to raise good kids that turn into good grown-ups.  I want them to feel loved and I want them to have everything they need (and then some).  Every piece of me wants to spoil them rotten but at the same time, I want them to know what earning money means…to value of their belongings and each other.  I want them to respect me and love me.  I want them to look up to me.  I want to be the one they run to when they need a hug.  I want to be a good role model for them.  Not through yelling, smacking their hands, and shoving them into the corner.  So I guess what I’m asking is this:  Is it too early to worry about all this?  Or too late?  From what I hear, it’s only going to get worse.  A. Lot. Worse.

I need advice about what to do in those moments.  The real crazy ones that make me want to scream into my pillow.  Hey.  I should try that – maybe Theo would think I was just crazy enough not to mess with.  Eh, probably not.   

~C~

p.s.  Dexter laughed, for real giggles, last night.  Sweetest sound and best feeling ever, when your baby laughs like that.  Why can’t they always be that adorable?

toddlerhood…now what? (part 1)

Lately Theo has had some extreme ups and downs.  You know how everyone always says their kid is hitting the terrible 2s early?  I made a comment to that effect to a friend, V, who has a teenage daughter, B.

Me:  He acts so crazy.  I don’t know what to do with him.  I guess he’s hitting the terrible 2s early.

V:  Winces.  That’s what I said about B.  Then she turned 2.

Me:  Are you serious!?  It got a lot worse?

V:  Yeah.  She hit me, she bit me, she wouldn’t do anything I said.  It was so frustrating.

Me:  Winces.  Yikes.  R’s mom says that he was a really bad toddler.  He would yell at her and she thought she’d go nuts.  She was a stay at home mom and she had to start a bunch of hobbies, just to get her mind off of it.  At least he was good when he got older.  That gives me hope.

V:  Winces.  Not B.  She got worse.  She turned 10 and I thought “well, she’s just hitting puberty early”…then she hit puberty.  She turned 13 and I thought “the worst is over.”  Then she turned 14.

Me:  V!  You’re not making me feel any better about this!

*~*~*

I told B’s dad about this conversation a couple days later via text message.  His response:

R:  Yeah.  I think she is literally trying to give me a heart attack sometimes.

Soooo…question.  What are you supposed to do?  I don’t think R&V did anything wrong.  In fact, I think B is a lovely girl, but I’m not her mother.  Or her father.  BUT.  I am Theo’s mother (wince) and I don’t want to raise a hellion.  How much craziness is normal?  How much insanity should I expect?  I might not be the most patient person in the world, but I try to keep in mind that this testing-the-limits phase we’re in is normal.  He doesn’t understand how to value his belongings yet or that throwing them might mean breaking them, which might mean they are gone forever.  He doesn’t understand how badly his brother can be hurt if he shoves a hard plastic toy in his face or the corner of a book into his thigh.  He doesn’t understand that throwing every bit of food on his plate to the ground and screaming at the table and trying to climb out of the high chair is very distracting and annoying to everyone else in the restaurant. 

But, without a doubt, he understands “no.”  So how much of the bad behavior should I tolerate?  We have started sitting him in timeout when he blatantly and repeatedly ignores “no” or breaks a rule.  He cries initially, but then he just hops right up in an attempt to go finish whatever naughty job he started.  He looks at us and laughs as if to say “ha ha ha ha ha ha SUCKAS!  Whatchoo gonna do about it now?”  And we are rendered useless.  Half the time we will break down laughing (not effective) and the rest of the time we just give up because we’ve been fighting getting him to sit there for over 10 minutes when time out is only supposed to last for 1 minute (also not effective…uh, what was he in time out for again??).

I don’t want to get into these power struggles day after day but I don’t want to create a monster either.  I only get to see him for 2 1/2 – 3 hours per day when I work.  What fun is it for us to be together if the whole time is spent trying to get him to sit back down in time out long enough for me to be the one to tell him he can get up?

Some days I am determined to be super consistent with time outs so that he learns to obey and eventually everyone will say “oh, those sweet little boys…they always mind their manners so well.”  Maybe that’s not in the cards.  Maybe it’s going to be more like “here come those damn boys, get your gun.”  Is there such a thing as a well-behaved toddler?  Other days, I look at his tiny little body sitting there on the tile foyer and into his big, sad, full-of-tears eyes and my heart breaks.  I wonder if he really understands what is going on.  Is he too young for this?  I don’t want to be the person always making him sad.   

If the “terrible 2s” are much worse than the “troublesome 1s,” what am I going to do when Theo and Dexter are in cahoots a year from now and they are working together for evil against me?  Sure am glad they will be out of toddlerhood long before they can read this.  Who knows what they would do with the knowledge that I am feeling weak, inadequate, and helpless.  Never let them see me crack, right? 

Has anyone mastered the mighty toddler successfully?  Or do I just suck at this…

~C~