Monday, January 31, 2011

the not-so-funny funny

do you believe in coincidences? fate? or just plain perfect timing? i do, but i also believe in God. i believe in spirits. i wake from dreams about friends and family and think ok, i should call that person, they're on my mind for a reason. i do believe things happen for a reason and while at times they may be horrible, awful situations, i think we come out changed and stronger, if not better humans. so where am i going with all this? get to the point, blogger, you may say...

i read an article yesterday about tantrums. and, let me just back up and say that i know jack is getting better, but that doesn't make it any easier because i've been struggling to raise this strong-willed child for 2 years now. i first started to have discipline issues with him at 15 months of age. his terrible twos started just ahead of the typical age of 18 months and has continued to last beyond the three years. it is reassuring to see he has matured in many ways and is able to further communicate, decreasing his level of frustration - but still. jack has come a long way; i hope he doesn't have too further to go.

so, back to the article. it had been a particularly frustrating day with jack. one of those where i just pray for a nap that lasts until ben gets home. how awful to not want to be around your child?! i had been to the post office earlier in the day, and as i was sitting down to enjoy some much needed quiet time, i picked through the pile of mail and pulled out the magazines first - reader's digest, people, parenting - ah, parenting, let's see what activity i'm not doing with my children or what fun meals i could make that my tot will still turn his nose at...

i happen to stumble upon the biology of bad behavior aka the account of jack miebs. the author's story of her bad children made me laugh - you think that's bad behavior?! but, i get it. what's bad for some is doable for others, and her "bad behavior" seemed like a pretty good day for us! i digress. what did stand out for me is this: the part of the brain that regulates emotion and controls social behavior, is also the last area of the brain to develop. so this tiny gray matter has only just begun to mature at age 4. hello!!! the article goes onto explain ways to deal with your strong-willed child, and it sounds like i'm right in line with ignoring the tantrums, giving options (do you want the blue cup or the red cup?) instead of asking questions with yes or no answers, and i was really amazed that most children, after their tantrum will need some love afterwards. i just thought jackie was such a weirdo! the examples they gave were tantrums lasting around 6 minutes, and i'm sure if jack was able to contain his audience, he'd keep up his act. since i take my baby girl and leave, he always comes looking for the girls in his life.

typical crying and kicking tantrum

the last thing i'll mention which really cracks me up is that "just as kids can quickly slip into anger and sadness, so can they slip out of them. that's why shortly after a tantrum, your kid is back to playing as if nothing happened, while you're still quaking from the event a half hour later." um, YES. my thoughts and experiences exactly. that's why in the evening, when ben asks me about my day, i'm able to walk him through exactly what happened and we both shake our heads, call him names (yes, yes we do) and laugh through it, sometimes even through my tears.

i've said it before, and i'll say it again, if he weren't so dang cute! you HAVE to laugh through the not-so-funny because it's the only way to work through it. and the way i work through it and laugh: taking pictures of the madness. i'm hoping if i have proof, i'll one day get an apology.

thought a little fresh air would do us some good, turns out, not so much.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

and the award goes to...

ANNIE MIEBS, biggest slacker in 2011! so... january is rapidly coming to an end, and here i am with my third blog of the year. hmmm. (and, i shouldn't even count one of them because it was about christmas.) i wish i could share that i've been incredibly busy with activities and excitement that i couldn't pause for a blog break. but. i haven't. we haven't. january has been utterly boring - why would i want to share the snorefest with others?

the kids and i have been sticking close to home. we had weekS of below freezing temperatures and 75-80 mph winds that kept us inside, knocking on cabin fever's door. jack still went to school but that was it for getting out with the kids. i did my shopping and errands in the evenings when ben was home so as not to concoct icicle children. i can't remember a winter this lousy; i mean, i was praying for snow! and, when it finally snowed last week, i felt the same excitement as when i was a little girl; picture long-haired, pig-tailed annie, admiring flakes from the kitchen window, not being able to scarf down cheerios fast enough.

two things that have also contributed to the lack of blogging: sewing projects and my mission to help mario save the princess. this always happens when we get a new game. i'm all about it for weeks, and then i reach a point where i cannot pass anymore levels, and i quickly lose interest (and patience). but after a month, i'm still going strong. what. a. nerd.

i started sewing again, making more buddies with extravagant faces and larger bodies. i'm kinda of the opinion the bigger the better, but i think i overdid it (33 x 30 inches). jack is completely freaked out by his newest buddy, telling me "no, mama, i scared." he asked for a buddy with a mustache, and he got it. a big, brown, mister potato head-esque mustache. it's fantastic. i also added a pink oval nose, complete with stuffing (so it's raised), but jack's just so bothered by the whole thing. my intention was to make it big enough to lay on, perfect for cuddling while watching movies. it's really not a total loss as ben's been wondering when he'll get his own buddy. aaand done.

the vern and robert editions, for special someones

new blankies, also for special someones

the big-ass buddy

one more buddy (this one's a bowling pin-shaped dolly) and one more blankie, and i'll be onto another project: messenger bags. i love new projects! and, picking out fabric, i think, is the best part. i have some denim left over from when i made dylan's name sign for her room and while most denim can be challenging to work with, this left over material is not nearly as heavy as your levi's and has a lot of give. (wait, do people still wear levi's?) dylan is close to outgrowing the beloved baby bjorn so i've transitioned her to my 5-way-to-carry sling. i have been using jack's old ones, so i figured dylan deserves her own (see: pink, floral, girly). again, i love choosing fabric.

for the messenger bags

for dylan's reversible sling

dylan is now a week away from a ten month anniversary of taking her first breath of air. she has 6 teeth, 2 at bat and all the drool you could ask for. the second week of january, she decided that sleep was overrated and eating was in session, all night long. two weeks of nighttime feedings had this mama feeling like a zombie during the day, thus jb getting caught up on all that is mickey. when i start to feel like a lame mother, i remember that jack didn't watch ANY television for the first 2.5 years of his life so - so what if he watches it now. all day. right?
the bulldog look, grinding her teeth together

another reason for not shutting off the tv as of late... tantrums. you all know by now that jack has been a real treat at times, but lately, he's brought out the kicking and screaming, the thrashing like a fish out of water, once he even grabbed his own cheeks and scratched himself. wth??? the tantrums make their appearance when i tell him no, and it always takes me by surprise because this child gets told no throughout our days. i do not give him what he wants whenever he asks for it. really, i'm not that mother. but it just seems that lately, his 3 year old fuse is shot. so... we watch another mickey even when i've told him it's the last, LAST one. maybe we now end up having 2 packs of gummies instead of only one. but when i've just had enough of him bossing me around, i allow him to flail around like an idiot while dilly and i retreat to some place quieter. the part that makes me feel good about ignoring all his drama is when he comes to me after he's calmed down, tear stains down both cheeks, along with a drippy nose, asking for a tissue, telling me he's all better now, giving me a hug and saying, "i sorry, mama." so apparently, it is working. mr. jack miebs and i have certainly butted heads these past two years, but i really believe we're getting close to minimal meltdowns. now, if i could only get him to love me as much as he loves his sister...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

3 months shy of a birfday

dylan june is 9 months old today. yesterday, she started eating those silly puffs-o-flavor. i don't really know what they're made of that make them dissolve so quickly, but they're actually quite tasty. watching her long fingers grab for the bits was pretty comical; a tad shaky, the coordination will just take practice.

she follows me room to room on her hands and knees, picking up her arms like a doggy wearing snow booties. she can pull herself up to her knees, and if she's sitting on my lap, she can pull herself up to stand. and just like her big brother, her top four teeth are days from poking through. her gums are so white and swollen and her chew toys just make her burst into tears.

she is still extremely cute. do i even need to say this anymore? she's started to clap when you pick her up, and at my mother's request, we are working on SO BIG. (although, i still don't get why this is something they need to learn...) she babbles incessantly, blows raspberries, gets a full-body wiggle when she sees her dada and is continuing to bite me at every feeding. her bellybutton looks like it's gonna be an outie too. man, that outie gene of mine is fierce! she's a great sleeper and full of smiles. i couldn't have dreamed up a better little girl.

time for a comparison, yes?

a sweet smile
a little scream
a little snarl

ok, so only the outfit's the same...
even the wave in their hair is similar
and, both love their toes

year in review

2010 was just the beginning of odd utterances, i'm sure. not just saying the things my own parent's said to me, but things that i never thought would cross my own lips. here are just a few of the most memorable, most repeated, in no particular order.

to jack:

get your sister's fingers out of your nose

do not bite her toes/hands/fingers/ears

it's not nice to squeeze her head

please don't touch her eyeballs

we do not touch other's privates, we only touch our own

please do not blow in her mouth

GET OFF OF HER! (i distinctly remember yelling that when she was a mere 2 weeks old)

please do not jump over your sister

no, you cannot ride dilly

you cannot suck her thumb

please stop pushing on her belly

take off your sister's pants, they do not fit you, and they're pink

dada's not going to like dylan's clip in your hair

no boobie for you

please stop dragging her by the arm/leg

no, you cannot have gummies/goldfish/a sandwich for breakfast

and an assortment of ways to say be careful

jack to us:

can i bite/scratch/pinch/push/kick didi?

i'm shy.

dada home soon? i wanna watch for work truck.

(while yawning) i'm tiiiiiiiired.

not nice, mama.

i'm smart, i'm cute, i'm proud, i'm nice.

no, stooooooop it!

night, mama. jack loves.

(singing voice) have patience, have patience

no thanks, please mama.

good job, jack! good job, mama!

hiiiiiiiiiiiiiyeeeeee, didi!

(reading the first page of perfect piggies) ba-doo-ba doink doink, chattanooga piggy piggy

watch me, i pee pee on potty!

poo poo ick, jack shtinks.

big boy undies, yes please mama.

i wanna sammich, chee(t)os, apples and a lunch box. shanks, mama.

jack's dangerous. careful, jack.

toy-ee sory-ee (toy story) upstairs with andy? now please, mama?

i really could go on and on. in just 6 months, his vocabulary has expanded, and he will now repeat any and everything you say. before, he was not doing this at all. he would look at you, as to process what you were saying, but choose to not repeat. what a milestone this has been and truly fun to hear him put all these new words together into sentences. just another example that all kids learn at different rates and eventually all catch up.

jack has always been a creature of routine, even at the earliest weeks of life. i see ways about him that are so similar to me. he doesn't like surprises - he prefers to be prepped for what's to come. at bedtime, we talk about what we'll be doing the next day and often times in the morning, he'll ask if we're still doing _______. he pays attention to more than i think he could possibly be aware of; always surprising me with his vast memory. and even with all the talking, i still see him processing internally. he'll look up, as if searching for the correct words, and come up with something rather silly yet simple. it's so hard not to giggle when he's so serious and determined. he's so much fun.

when i think of my son, i think of passion. he really cares about so many things in his little life. he is very passionate about his blankies (3) and his stuffed animals. for whatever reason, this holiday season was the year of the rodents. jack received a little grey mouse wearing blue overalls from the if you give a mouse a cookie series. dylan received a different mouse book accompanied by another grey mouse wearing a black vest and red scarf, but jackie quickly snatched that up as his own. from ben and i, he received a mickey mouse stuffed animal with an unusually large head and ears but quite cute nonetheless. most mornings, he comes shuffling out of his room with all three blankies and all three mice in tow. he's just too much.

his other obsessions include, but are not limited to,

his best friend maddy, although he likes to call her mimi
books: the very hungry caterpillar and the grouchy ladybug
bouncing bears
tumbling class
suckers from our regular coffee hut
sid the science kid
mickey mouse clubhouse, preferably daisy
his cars hat and tow mater hat
cars movie
mater movie
his fleece slippers
school buses and ambulances
and all his friends at school

i can hardly believe it's a new year. i was still reeling in all the christmas cheer, when before i knew it, we were counting down the minutes to midnight. just doesn't seem fair. i would like these holidays to be a month apart, like thanksgiving and christmas. give me some time to pack up the red and green and maybe get in a few naps before even thinking about being pressured to stay up until 12 am.

ben and i's new years was fairly quiet and uneventful - just the way i like my days. well, not necessarily uneventful, but nothing wild and crazy. that's ben. he likes loud. he likes chaos, strives for the more the merrier theme. it's no wonder i ended up with two loud tikes. maybe the next one will be quiet like me. we spent the early afternoon in willow at the flanagan's cabin. jack, cousin callie, uncle bob and benji went out for a snowmachine jaunt while aunt sarah, dylan and i stayed warm and cozy inside. we left around 5, in hopes of the kiddos getting a quick snooze in, but unfortunately (or fortunately) they didn't - but that just meant early bedtimes. ben and i were able to retreat to the bonus room for a marathon of wii gaming. we bought some games for christmas and have been acting like teenagers for the past few weeks; staying up way to late, swearing at the tv, passing levels while jumping up to our feet in excitement. nerd alert! but i will say, i don't think we've laughed this hard in quite some time. i guess it's good to mix it up every once in a while. so at a quarter to midnight, we sadly turned off our (saved) game, tiptoed downstairs to sneak in our routine bowls of cereal, smooched at midnight and fell asleep shortly after. 2010 was an incredible year, but we're so looking forward to the months ahead. so many fun adventures and vacations are in store.