Wednesday, June 26, 2013

three and a half

three and a half

Nico is coming up on three and a half and it may be the death of me. He's still sweet and sunny most of the time but he's SO strong-willed. I suspect it'll serve him well later in life, but for now he's mostly just busting my balls all day long. His potty-training is going pretty great, except for when he flat-out refuses to go. We've got him in swimming lessons yet again and he's messing around at every lesson, refusing to practice skills that he has been working on for months, goofing off, splashing around and telling the teacher no when she asks him to try things. It's so bad that I texted MB from the pool Tuesday night and told him that unless Nico drastically improves in the next two lessons, I'm going to skip signing him up for the next session. Otherwise I might as well start lighting $10 bills on fire, because he'll learn about as much from that as he is at the pool right now.

Everything I ask him to do (or not do) turns into a string of whys or the what-happens game. Example:

Me:  Please put your toys away.

Nico:  What happens if I don't?

Me:  If you don't pick them up, I'll put them in time-out.

Nico:  What happens if I get them out of time-out?

Me:  I'll take them away from you.

Nico:  What happens if I take them away from you and then I run away? What happens if I run away and I go in my playroom and you can't find me?

And so on, on just about any topic you can imagine. It's kind of awesome that he's thinking so much about stuff, that he's working stuff out, but damn, kid. Sometimes I just want you to pick up your toys.

I also hope it's normal for kids his age to not stop moving or talking, ever, unless they're asleep. Yesterday evening he trotted around the living room / dining room / kitchen / foyer circle for ten minutes straight saying "Baby! Baby! Baby!" Over and over. For ten minutes. When I finally cracked and demanded that he stop, he paused momentarily, then resumed his laps while chanting, "Mommy's holding the baby. Mommy's holding the baby."

But after I put the baby down on the couch, Nico climbed up beside him to visit. I don't think he actually ever stopped talking. "Look at this baby. I love this baby! He's so little. He's covered in little. He's little all over. Why is he little? Hi! Hi, Elliott! I think he said hi back to me. Hi, baby baby baby. Hi, baby!"

He's also reciting in their entirety two storybooks we've read to him fewer than a dozen times. He seems to be enjoying his five-week Kindermusik class. He constantly negotiates to get coins to put in his piggy bank. He asks me how old I am and then says, "Mama, you're so pretty!" Last night I put Elliott on the glider chair with his little stuffed fox to take his four month photo and Nico kept bringing more animals to set beside the baby. "Now you won't be scared while you're sleeping!" he told his brother. "You won't be scared when the dream ends because you'll have all your friends."

So in a year when I come here to post about how four and a half is killing me (just like I did for two and a half), maybe this post will give me hope that he'll be pretty awesome even while he's utterly exhausting.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

By the numbers

Butts, by the numbers

2: hours it took from starting my sandwich to sitting down and eating it, due to interruptions from my children and their butts

2: baby outfits changed due to blowouts

1: bed changed due to toddler nap accident

3: children who screamed through butt-related bathing (Nico cried through his own shower and then hollered through Elliott's bath because he wanted me to cut the tag out of the pajamas he's worn a dozen times with no complaints.)

3: loads of laundry due to spread-out timing of butt activity

$140: amount we spent on fabric treatment and warranties for the couch we bought yesterday. Well spent, I'm guessing.

1: CDP I'm going to open tonight. I feel that I'm exercising remarkable restraint.

They are pretty cute, though.

Saturday, June 01, 2013



My Nico has always been a bit of a cautious child, resistant to change. He gets a lot of it from me, I'm sure, and I've always tried to be patient with him because I remember how upsetting it can be to be asked to deviate from routine. And when he does try something new or step outside his comfort zone, it's all the sweeter for knowing it was hard but he did it anyway. I suspect other parents probably think I'm crazy or a coddler if they notice things like me praising Nico for trying out a toddler slide so small that his feet nearly touched the ground from the top, but maybe not. Maybe they see the pride in his face at these moments and realize that some of these small things are a big deal.

Nico has had two different pairs of little girl buddies for over a year now. We get together about once a month for a playdate, and the girls have been playing together for at least most of the year. Nico usually plays beside the girls, or across the room from the girls, but only very recently has started to play with the girls. I always worry a little bit about him as a somewhat cautious only child who doesn't go to daycare, so seeing him actually play with other kids is very encouraging. We had several friends with kids at our Memorial Day cookout and toward the end of the evening, three of the girl buddies were playing a game with our little wading pool. They'd run to the pool, jump into it, sit quietly for about 30 seconds, then leap out and run away. At some point I noticed Nico nearby, watching them intently. Then he very carefully removed his crocs and peeled off his socks. After that he had to work up the nerve to walk across the grass barefoot. Once he made it poolside, the girls tried and tried to convince him to get in, but he wasn't sure. Finally, finally, he stepped into the water.

When I was pregnant with Elliott, we gently tried suggesting to Nico that he'd be a big boy now, a big brother. He emphatically informed us he didn't want to be a big boy. One day he shouted "I don't want to be a big brother! No!" When I asked him why not, he said, "I'm not big! I'm little!" So we let him be the little boy and told him the baby was the baby boy. When he resisted potty training and wearing big boy underpants, we tried really hard to be patient. Then he went to preschool and he slowly blossomed. He gained confidence and started playing with other kids. He tried new things. He went back to Grandma's last week and is now wearing underpants at least part of every day. He insists upon bringing me the baby's bottle when he needs to eat and working the finger puppet in the baby's bedtime story book. And the other day when I absentmindedly told him, "Come on, baby," he told me, "I'm not a baby. I'm a big boy." I won't tell him he's still kind of my baby, because he is a big boy. He is, and I'm so proud.

Reading:  Hidden America by Jeanne Marie Laskas

Playing:  Babel by Mumford & Sons