Thursday, September 29, 2011

School is SO Cool!

Dear Ian,

We've officially made it through your first month at school, and I know I've said it before, but you really seem to be digging it lately.  Yesterday was your class' Open House, and Daddy and I both got to attend.  It was neat to get to look around your room.  I don't usually get the opportunity to hang out in your classroom since when I'm dropping you off, I usually have a couple of my students with me, and I pick you up in the activity room where you eat lunch.  This was the most time I got to spend in your room, and it was a lot of fun!  There's all kinds of cool stuff to play with, colorful artwork and adorable bulletin boards.  Your teachers, Miss Laura, Miss Jordan and Miss Karen really take a lot of time to make your room look inviting and fun, and they do a great job.

This post will be more pictures than letter, but that's ok, because they are fun and can show more of what your classroom looks like than I can describe in words.  Here we go...
One of the super fun bulletin boards in your classroom.
A close up of your picture on the board.  :)
Here you are showing Daddy the stove in your home living center.  You like to cook, so it was no surprise that you went here when we asked what you liked to play with in your classroom.
A pretty stained glass leaf that you made.
Showing Daddy y our paper plate apples.

Haha!  This is so cute!  I love it!

After touring your classroom, we all headed upstairs to the Parish Hall for a pizza lunch, and it was neat to get to sit with the other kids in your class and their Moms and Dads.  You are turning into quite the little social butterfly; you knew everyone's name, and I know it wont be long until you know everyone's business, too.  

I'm so glad I got to come to this event, and I'm really glad that you are learning so much and having so much fun.  Daddy and I are so thankful that you are able to have these experiences at such a great place; we really got lucky when we accidentally found your school.

Love you lots and lots, 
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Toddler Life #14

You know you are the parent of a toddler...

...(and in the throes of potty training) when you can't remember the last time you peed by yourself.  Sheesh.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Toddler Life #13

You know you are the parent of a toddler when...

... you count down the minutes to a child-free weekend, but then as soon as you drop him off, miss him terribly and start counting down the minutes until you can snuggle that little monster again...

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Mean Mommy

Dear Ian,

Dear, sweet, precious little baby boy of mine.  I love you with all of my heart, but no means no.  Today is your 23rd "month-day" (translation: you are 23 months old today), and the Terrible Twos have officially moved into this house.  Lucky for you, I am getting to be a pretty good two-year-old-behavior exorcist.  Or maybe not.

Not to make you feel bad when you eventually read this, but you nearly made me cry this morning.  WHY, Son?!  Why do we have to have these battles where you say yes, I say no and then you proceed to whine and screech like you are possessed by a banshee?  Oh, wait.  It's because you are nearly two, and it's my job to take your little self-centered-self and straighten it around so that way you become aware that Mommy is all knowing and so that hopefully you can become a socially acceptable little person.  May I just say that this job is not much fun?  Since I'm with you more, it seems I have ceremoniously been labeled The Bad Guy in this house.  Mommy is usually the one who says no, ignores your pleas for more fruit snacks/Caillou/jumping on Mommy's bed and dodges flying cups of juice and whatnot.  I am the one who takes away privileges, issues the stern looks, periods of isolation and the occasional hand to your bottom.  (Please note that this in no way implies that Daddy doesn't help; he's in this mix, too, but it's usually me with you the most, so I get the lion's share of this fun.) 

The fact that I hold this unlucky title of Bad Guy rewards me with ugly little looks, louder screeching and the bullet straight to my heart: "DAAADDDDDDYYYYYYY!!!!!"  Oh yes.  You are trying so hard to pit us against each other.  I believe I have mentioned this before, but you are working on those manipulation skills, and I've got to nip them in the bud.  This morning, we had only been up and awake and together for about 15 minutes before you got upset about something I did (Lord only knows what it was), and it resulted in loud, angry tears.  And calls for Daddy.  I managed to get you calm and collected, but then again, about 10 minutes after that, we were back at it again.  At this point it was 7:15 am.  I saw a LONG morning looming ahead.  I got really frustrated and maybe a little bit hurt; I was only trying to make you a yummy breakfast.  I was making you what you wanted.  I had woken up early (what's up with that again, by the way?!), changed your diaper, given you your favorite cup, and yet you still hurl cranky noises at me?  Sigh.  And then Daddy came out, and it was like the sun had come out.  Sigh, again. 

I know all of the developmental reasons behind it; I know that you are trying to assert some control and power into your world while I am breaking down that egocentric viewpoint you have.  It's an important job I have to do.  Our goal for you is for you to eventually move out of this house and join society as a productive and contributing member.  And unfortunately for both of us, that job has to start now: a time where, even with your amazing vocabulary, you still lack the ability to express yourself the way you want to, have any sort of impulse control, and completely lack the ability to reason.  But, it must be done.  Trying to start when you're older, bigger, smarter and still more energetic than me would be a disaster.  There's an amazing child development specialist that I love and worship, and he has a great book to which I have been turning called Making The Terrible Two's Terrific, and it's been a help.  Thankfully your terrible two's are mild compared to some the kids he uses as examples, so I am grateful for that, and also motivated that I don't let you turn into one of those kids.  "What would John Rosemond do," has sorta become my mantra. 

And now it's nap time, and you and I are both resting up.  You are perhaps dreaming of a world with no boundaries or limits, and I am preparing a litany of new rules and guidelines with creative ways to implement them.  Your waking will mark another round in the battle of wills that is Ian versus Mean Mommy.  Know though, Baby Bear, that one day you will understand my reason for being so tough.  You just might have a little boy of your own one day, and my wish is that he is just as vocal and determined as you are.  It will be a hoot to watch the two of you go head-to-head.

Big Hugs,
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Works of Art #23

The other day we tried something new:  Watercolors!  I wasn't sure how you were going to do with a little cup of water, dipping, mixing and rinsing, but you did a great job.  Of course you ended up tipping the cup of water over, but that was after you created the masterpiece you see below.
 So many colors to chose from!
 Being very careful with the water cup.
Your finished product.  Watercolors were a lot of fun.

Here are a few art pictures from school, too.  I'm curious, though, little boy.  For someone who loves his art so much, you must really be having a good time at school.  Your art is starting to take on the look of someone who is drawn to something even more fun.  Tee hee.
 Green marker art from school.
 The other side of your green marker art.
And a green-ish yellow-ish squiggle of sorts.  

I'm glad you're having so much fun creating different pictures. 
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Toddler Life #12

You know you are the parent of a toddler...

...when you suddenly find yourself involved in a manipulation game where when you discipline, the child immediately runs crying to the other parent. 

ps: you're not going to win with this, buddy.  Daddy's on my side.  Mwuahahaha

Monday, September 12, 2011

Little Memories

Dear Ian,

I've come across a compilation of photos recently that are just a bunch of random fun memories.  They don't really have any sort of category to fit in or any special lesson or story to go with them, but they are parts of our normal day to day stuff that make up memories.  They are photos that make me smile and illustrate how much fun we have having you around.

Here's a fun couple of pictures!  These are two photos of you in the tub.  No, you weren't covered in paint; these are Tub Tints!  We have these nifty little tablets that you add to bath water to make them different colors (without dyeing the tub or the kiddo), and you absolutely love them!  In fact, they helped you learn your colors.  Green and purple are your favorites, so that's why I added them, but we have done every color of the rainbow.  I have to admit, the color red was a little disturbing.  It was like you were bathing in a pool of blood, so I have to admit, I'm not wild about repeating that one.  And yellow is also a little funny.  There's this old adage about not eating yellow snow, and that bath tub of yellow water sorta reminded me of that.  No, I didn't share my opinions of red and yellow with you.  I'm not THAT bad of a Mommy.  But you are content with our frequent repeats of green, purple and blue, so it all works out in the end.

Next is an illustration of how big of a nerd your mother really is.  These are your Lunch Box Love Notes.  I made a few little cards that I rotate and put in your lunch box every day.  You seem to get a big kick out of what picture you have when you open your lunch, and it makes me smile to know that you notice and enjoy them.  My Mommy, your Grandma Davis, used to decorate our lunch bags with pictures of where we were going on field trips and such, so this is sorta my version of that.  And since I'm sure one day very soon, my little love notes will embarrass the daylights out of you, so I'm going to milk it as long as I can. 

Finally, here's a couple of pictures of some of the fun things we have done lately.  Football season has started, and you got to go to the first game of the season.  We got all decked out in our garnet and gold and had a total blast.  We sat in Grandma and Papa Davis' seats, which have been in the same place for 35 years, so that was pretty neat.  You're the 4th generation to use them!  You loved watching Chief Osceola and Renegade, the band, and you clapped and cheered right along with the rest of the fans in the stands.  We actually made it through three whole quarters and most of the 4th quarter, too!  I was really impressed with you and your ability to sit and watch the game.

The other day, we were lucky to have Daddy home most 
of the day.  Poor guy, he's been working like crazy, so it was nice for him to have a little bit of a break this past
weekend.  You ADORE and worship your daddy, so I know having him around was just awesome for you.  We all packed up and went to the park and played on the playground for a while.  I'm not sure who had more fun, as Daddy was running around, playing on the monkey bars and helping you go up and down the slides.  The two of you also ran the work-out obstacle course, too, and that wore you out!  When we came home, you took a three hour nap!  Holy moly!  It was a super fun Saturday, and we wrapped up our outing having a lunch at What-a-burger and playing after nap.  It was a really nice day.  This past weekend, Daddy also taught you some more Manly Man stuff, and you watched him shave.  Not one to be left out of the action, you sat on the bathroom counter next to him and got a front row seat on this little adventure.  It wasn't long before your face was covered in shaving cream, though.  Mommy went and created your own little razor by quadruple-taping the plastic cover on a cheap disposable razor, and you and Daddy got to shave together.  You took the whole thing very seriously.  (And I must take this moment to explain to everyone else reading that there was in NO WAY a chance for you to cut yourself.  Not every one call Child Protective Services at once, now...) 

So there you have it: my current hodge-podge of favorite photos, and more memories that we've made as a family.  We're having so much fun with you, and I can only hope that maybe you'll  look back and remember them the same, fond way that we do.

Love you bunches!
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Works of art #22

I am loving all of this are that you are bringing home from school!  It's neat to see the creative things you are doing.  

Here's a couple of pieces of green dot-marker art.  

And here's a butterfly that you decorated with chalk.  It's really pretty, buddy!!  Great job!

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Motivation, Toddler Style

Dear Ian,

Your potty sticker chart
I am a reasonable Mommy.  I get it that sometimes kiddos need a little help to get geared up for the tasks that face them, and it's up to us Mommies to figure out what creative prompting you little people may need.  For example, you are thrilled to death to pee and poop in the potty for a sticker.  I know some parents who use Skittles or M&M's candy for reward, but I have issues with toileting and food being combined.  Eww.  That's just me, though.  Whatever works for them.  Thankfully you are keen on the whole sticker thing.  I do have limits, though, when it comes to external motivation.  I don't believe in bribery, and I have this whole Karen-theory that I call the Ferrari Syndrome where parents bribe and gift kids to a certain behavior.  (In my theory, the gifts have to keep getting more and more extravagant to keep up with child manipulation until it comes to the point where the kid will settle for nothing less than a Ferrari.  I'm special, I know.)  But I will use stickers and other creative methods of brain-washing to move you along...

Case in point:

We are now in our third week of going to school, and I must say that week  number two was a toughie.  Tough on you because all of a sudden this school thing was REAL, tough on your teachers because you were upset a lot, and tough on me because I hate seeing you get upset.  I didn't think we were going to make it.  But here we are at week three, and I think we're getting it.  You have had two great days, and I have to honestly admit that I owe it to Caillou.  Yes, that cartoon character that I blasted just one post ago has revolutionized going to school for you.  Last weekend was Labor Day weekend, so we spent those three days being lazy and playing around our house and watching a bit of Caillou every now and then.  I realized that he spends a lot of time at play-school, and the wheels started turning.  "Look Ian!  Caillou goes to school just like YOU!"  We pointed out similarities in his day, how Mommy drops him off and picks him up, but most importantly, we pointed out that Caillou didn't cry at school; he was too busy having fun!  It worked.  Yesterday, which was the first day of school for the week after the long weekend (which I expected to be really rough) you had a GREAT day!  Miss Karen and Miss Laura were so excited to see a happy little you, and Mommy was just plain relieved.  And when I saw you at lunch, I commented on what a good day you had!  You were such a big boy!  Your response: "Just like Caillou!"

Apparently making the connection between the school day of your little cartoon hero and how it's like yours really worked.  And in this case, I will take it.  Caillou may annoy the holy mess out of me, but I have to give him credit for helping you see that school really is a cool place where you can have a ton of fun.  Today was just like yesterday, so I am so happy to say that I think we may be getting the hang of this school thing.  All thanks to Caillou.

Now if I could find a cartoon that shows the characters picking up their toys...

Love always,
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Monday, September 5, 2011

Toddler Life #11

You know you are the parent of a toddler when...

... theme songs from obnoxious cartoons haunt your dreams and waking moments.

In particular, the theme song from Caillou.  Oh.  My.  Stars.

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Who, What, When, Where, and Why...

Dear Ian,

I know that somewhere in this blog-baby-book I have previously mentioned that I love being your Mommy.  Nothing makes me prouder than having the title "Wife-and-Mother."  But I also recall somewhere in this blog that I have mentioned wanting to pull my pillow over my head and letting someone else take over for a little while.  This is because wife-ing and mothering is a tough job; it is not for the faint of heart.  Every day I am inundated with questions, decisions, problems and issues, and it gets to the point where I want to make no more decisions or answer any more requests.  Ask Daddy: Every now and then he'll ask me a question, and my response is honestly, "I don't know, and I don't care."  It's not because I don't want to talk with Daddy, and it's definitely not because I am not interested in what he has to say or wants to do.  Far from it.  I love your Daddy with all my heart.  But that answer is usually given after I have reached my breaking point when it comes to thinking.  All day long, all I do is think, and sometimes I just give up.  Below is a "typical" Mommy day of questions that I answer and decisions I make.  A few of these I ask out loud, but most of them are in my head.  Good thing, too...  Here we go:

1.  What was that?
2.  Was that Ian?
3.  Is he awake?
4.  What time is it?
5.  Why is he awake already?!
6.  Can I just lay here a few more minutes?
7.  How did you sleep?
8.  Do you want apple juice or orange juice?
9.  What am I going to make for breakfast?
10.  What aren't you eating your breakfast?
11.  Will you please take a bite?
12.  What is this sticky stuff on the table?
13.  What will we wear today?
14.  Did you brush your teeth?
15.  Did I brush my teeth?
16.  Do I match?
17.  WHERE are my KEYS?!
18.  Will we both survive school this morning?
19.  How is he doing in his classroom?
20.  How was your day?
21.  Did you eat your lunch?
22.  Are you ready for nap?
23.  Why are you awake ALREADY?
24.  What is that smell?
25.  Are you poopy?
26.  Why didn't you tell me you needed to go potty?
27.  LORD!  What did you eat?!
28.  What would you like for snack?
29.  Why aren't you eating your snack?
30.  What is this crusty stuff on the table?
31.  Want to go outside?
32.  Want to go inside?
33.  Why are you whining?
34.  Is it bedtime yet?
35.  What should we make for dinner?
36.  Where is Lovey?
37.  Where are my measuring cups?
38.  What did I decide about dinner?
39.  Is it time for Daddy to come home yet?
40.  Want to help me make dinner?
41.  Why are my measuring cups in the toilet?
42.  Ready to eat dinner?
43.  Why aren't you eating dinner?
44.  What is this slimy stuff on the table?
45.  Did you get ANY of your food in your mouth?
46.  Ready for your bath?
47.  Is Daddy home yet?
48.  Ready to get out of the tub?
49.  Where are your jammies?
50.  What book are we reading today?
51.  Where is Lovey?
52.  How many more minutes until bed time?
53.  Did you have a good day?
54.  Want me to tuck you in?
55.  Is he asleep?

And this list doesn't include the questions (usually one word questions) that you ask me all day.  And remember how I said that most of these are questions I ask myself in my head?  That's because Mommy believes in the "ask stupid questions, get stupid answers" philosophy of parenting.  This is because that your answer to most questions these days is a very adamant, "No."  So I usually just sorta by-pass your opinion on the whole decision making thing.  It's better for both of us in the long run. 

Do I love you?  Yes.  Endlessly. 


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Oh Geez

Dear Ian,

Here we are on your second week of school, and although week one went pretty well, this week has been more of a challenge.  The honeymoon is definitely over; and by this I mean, you are no longer impressed with the bright colors, fun new toys and other kids.  You want Mommy.  Or Daddy.  And lately, since she picked you up from school for lunch the other day, Grandma Davis.  I feel like the worst mother in the world as I hand you over to your teachers while you cry like your heart is breaking.  I know it is just a phase, and pretty soon we will have to bodily remove you from your classroom, but I can't help feeling, as you sob when I leave, that this will be one of those things you tell your therapist one day.

Here is a list of things that I fear you will tell someone while lying on a couch...

1.  Mommy and Daddy occasionally let you take "Redneck Baths."  These "baths" are those times when let you play in the pool or in the sprinkler and then dress you in jammies or any other thing that the moment calls for without actually cleaning you.  In our defense, you aren't really that dirty, so why not just let you rinse and wear?  Save some water, save the planet, save our sanity.  Don't judge, Son, because one day it could be you saying to your kid, "Meh, don't worry about it.  You can get really clean tomorrow once you're really dirty."

2.  Mommy made you cut two molars with no pain medications.  This I actually feel really bad about.   I honestly had no idea you were cutting teeth; I just thought you were being a grump, since we are at the advent of your "terrible twos."

3.  We sometimes skip "healthy snack" and consider eating the free cookie at the grocery store our afternoon snack for the day.  Hey, Mommy has shopping to do, and you can be the slowest eater in the world.  So why not kill two birds with one stone?  And I have peeled a banana for you to eat in the shopping cart a time or two.  It's not ALWAYS unhealthy.

4.  To make a point, I stepped on your toes.  Wow.  Written out, that looks terrible.  Well, it was for your own good.  You see, you had this habit of running down our driveway and into the cul-de-sac.  Not safe.  So I told you that if you are on the road, cars can squish your toes.  And to make sure you understood how that would feel, I stepped on your foot.  Not hard!  Just enough for you to feel it and notice that you didn't like it much.  You now stop on a dime at the end of the drive way.  Let's just say that you are a tactile learner, and this is how you understood my message and leave it at that.  

I'm sure there's more, and with all this time we have together, I'm sure I'll end up creating new things to add to this list.  A Mommy's job is fraught with mess ups and do-overs.  You little people don't exactly come with a manual, or an off-switch for that matter, so us grown-ups just do our best to keep you alive and survive ourselves.  If we end up warping you, well...

Hang in there, little son.  Mommy is feeling her way around this whole parenting thing, so it's "good luck" to both of us.  When you're a little more grown up, we can have a competition to see who got messed up the most during your childhood.  Right now, I think I'd win.

Love you anyway,