Friday, October 09, 2009

Well, it's been awhile since I've sat in this chair to blog, but life has been nothing short of chaotic lately. While we are about 3 weeks (or is it 4 now?) into our adventurous kitchen remodel, it's felt more like a move around here. While I am enjoying the finer things of life now with an oven that has a handle and sink with a garbage disposal that works (or will once Mike hooks it up) it's hard it even remember the kitchen that I dreaded seeing everyday for the past 5 years. With new cabinets, new floors, new paint...I can't say I miss the mold and mildew that used to lurk under my sink before, and the musty smell of the nicotine soaked cabinets. Before Mike started to tear apart every ounce that was the before kitchen, Tanner and I packed our bags and skipped town to Chicago, so as not to be in the way of course. I would have loved to stay and help we all know that. With Bob and Jim helping Mike every step of the way, Tanner and I got to spend some much needed time with his cousin, Caiden. Without knowing when we would be able to return home, we waited for the okay from Mike to come on home...but must sleep at my mom's. Hmmm, I wasn't sure after those couple of weeks of playing musical beds, that Tanner would even feel comfortable in his own environment again. Living out of our suitcase, even once we were home, and occassionally a plastic grocery bag for our overnighters at mom's, it was quite weird to feel as though I was doing the walk of shame every morning when leaving my own mother's house. Both of us in pajamas, looking homeless, then returning the next evening with another plastic bag that hopefully didn't have a hole in it, holding some clean undergarmets and a diaper or two for the little guy, maybe a tooth brush if I remembered. Anyways, we've now been "living" at home now for awhile, and I must say I think that Tanner is getting used to the fact and actually quite likes eating his meal on the stairs..on the floor. I've since lost an array of kitchen utensils that I remember packing, but Mike doesn't remember putting away. For now I will measure out my cups and teaspoons like they did in the old days, eyeballing it. As for all the work the boys' put in trying to give us a functional kitchen, they've done a fabulous job pretty much all on their own. They ripped out the cabinets, sink, countertops, stove, oven, subfloor. They hung the new cabinets, put in the countertop, a new sub floor, and repainted the walls and after Bob and Jim left, Mike laid the tile for the floor and hooked up the sink, which only took him 3 day, which I am amazed by considering his lack of plumber abilities. Yes, they have worked so hard on this kitchen, and I love spending time in it. I'm sure Mike will feel the same way once he takes out the grout in between the tiles and redoes it (whoops, you can't have all your cake and eat it too). I am lucky to have a very handy guy for a husband. He's never done any of this kind of construction work before we moved into this house, and has taught himself along the way to do it all. Kudos for my husband and his harworking dad and bro to fix the unfixable. We are going to be able to enjoy our new kitchen for many months to come.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Boys vs. Girls

I never saw myself as having a boy as a mom. I always pictured having a girl. Although I dreamed of having a boy, I never really new what that would be like nor could I picture it because I only have a sister and growing up it was just us girls, doing girl things and playing with girl toys. We played with barbies and dolls and kepts ourselves busy for hours, days sometimes, playing house. If ever there were a a brave little neigbhorhood boy who dared come over to our house during one of our so-called "Barbie and Ken" weddings, he was probably bored out of his mind watching us. We had no race cars for him to push around the room, unless you want to count the pink Barbie convertible. Now, having have a boy, I am really starting to notice the difference in the way boys and girls act and play and also the difference in the way parents of only boys act, and parents with only girls act. Since Tanner has turned 3, I think we have acquired at least 50 race cars, 10 trucks, 2 train sets plus the trains themselves. He will play with those cars and trucks all day and never get bored even though there is only a couple of make-believe sounds that you can come up with, one being a "VROOM-VROOM" sound and another being a "CRASH". There's only so many different ways you can say them (once). Although, he does not get bored playing with his cars, his attention span for everything else is miniscule. He craves attention every second of the day, and whether it's good or bad attention, he will do whatever it takes to get it. I haven't figured out if it's a boy thing or an age thing. Probably a little of both but when I watch my friends' with little girls as they sit and play with their dollies, compared to my boy who is maybe pushing the doll stroller but most likely racing it around the room..Or, throwing and breaking the chalk rather than drawing with it. I can't help to feel a little jealous that I can't make Tanner sit quietly for 5 seconds. Boys are just different than girls in every way. Little girls who are learning to talk will most likely not talk until they know exactly what words they are trying to say and how it is going to sound coming out. Boys will ramble on on and tell you stories all day in jibber jabber and then look at you like you're supposed to know what story it is that they are telling. I'm not sure if I will every be so lucky someday as to have a girl too, but I am sure that if I do it will be completely different and interesting. One thing is for sure, and that is I'll definitly have to change the lullaby songs that we sing at night, considering the titles: "Big Green Tractor" and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". Yes, boys are different than girls. And for those of you out there who told me boys are easier than girls, you obviously forgot what it was like to have a 2 and 3 year old boy so I won't hold it against you for getting my hopes up. I will say at this point, and maybe I am bias, but I think boys are more fun than girls (of course, I'm bias). I love my strong-willed, kind hearted little guy who loves to play with trucks and stomp in the mud, but he also looooves his mama. He's taught me so much about life and he's only 3. Even though the good days are great and the bad days are awful, I wouldn't take back even one second with him and I can't wait to see what tomorrow holds for us...hopefully a really looong nap!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

You Have to be Smarter than the 3 Year Old

Days like these are physically and emotionally draining. I could write a Top 10 list of "You know you've had a bad day when..." I actually don't have the energy or the alcohol in me to make such a list (kidding about the alcohol), but I do sit here pondering to myself, how and when did my (almost) 3 year old get smarter than me? We'll start with the fact that I put him to bed at 6:30 tonight and not a minute later because he didn't have a nap today. Whenever someone asks me if he's outgrowing his naps, my usual response is "If so, then I'm outta here." Half kidding. When Tanner doesn't take a nap, bad things happen in my house, and the afternoon usually starts with me yelling and the night usually ends the same way. I hate that I've started yelling at my child. Good parents don't yell at their kids right? Yes they do, because good parents can't practice perfect parenting all the time. Anyways, back to the part where Tanner grew smarter than me. Tonight, I was trying to make dinner, and as usual when he doesn't have a nap, he was a crab and a grouch and not I take that back, ignoring me and doing all sorts of 'disruptive behaviors' as Dr. V would call them. I just call them flat out naughty, but if we're getting technical here. So, I put him in time out. Tanner has since learned that since we try to get him to go on the potty all the time that he is now going to use that to his advantage. In the midst of his time out and since he's not wearing any pants, he stands up and says to me, "I have to go potty." Before I can even tell him no, he's gone in the bathroom and goes #2 on the toilet which is a very big deal in our house. "I DID IT!" OK, hit the pause button. Now what do I do? Yell at him for not listening, or praise him for going poo like I so desperately want him to do all the time? Of course I praise him! And then I put him in time out again. Is that mean? Before you answer that, let me also say that not 20 minutes later was he in time out again and decided once again to use this so called, "potty training" against me. I saw him looking down at the ground with that concentrated look on his face, and in the middle of me yelling, "DON'T YOU DARE!" he was peeing on my floor. 20 minutes after that, it was basically deja vu all over again, except this time I didn't see him do it therefore stepping in a puddle of pee in my bare feet. I don't know how I didn't think of making sure he's wearing at least underwear when he is in a time out, but I'm going to get smarter than him. I can't see him peeing on the floor for very much longer considering I make him finish his time outs and the casually hand him paper towels for him to clean up his own mess. All in all, today was a tough one. They are few and far between, because he a sweet, lovable, funny, handsome little man who is all mine. When we have these days it definitly tests my patience and me as a person and parent. Of course I will go to bed tonight feeling guily for most everything I did today, but thinking of ways that we can have a good day tomorrow. There's going to come a day, and I hate thinking about it, maybe in 15 or 20 years that I'm going to miss these bad days with him, and it makes me feel blessed that I do get these days with him.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Goodbye Terrible Twos....I think

In just 1 short week, our beatiful boy will be 3 years old! It hurts to know that my baby is slowly turning into a big boy (in his own mind). And with this transitional turn of a page, this turning yet another year older, there are really only two topics we need to discuss here: Tantums and Potty Training (or lack there of). I must admit that when only a few short months ago I was with at my wit's end with the screaming fits of rage that would come out of nowhere and usually before I could down a single sip of coffee, the tantrums have somewhat subsided. I can thank our wonderful behavioral psychologist for his sudden changes. Maybe they're more subtle changes but just because I felt they would go on forever, they feel sudden to me. Either way, with one gingantic bill from the Doc, and a few tantrums less a day, I would say it all evens out to me. Although, I don't quite understand why 2 year olds' favorite word is no. Me: "Eat your breakfast." T: "No." Me: "Pick up your toys." T: "No." But now, Tanner has a whole new phrase that he's added into the mix. He really likes doing things himself. And when I say things, I mean everything. If I carry his oatmeal from the microwave to the table, he gets very offended that I did it, when he wanted to do it, and he'll say, "NO! MY DO IT!" No, I did not make a grammatical error, he says, "MY do it" for everything. And if I God forbid do something that he feels cannot be undone, watch out. Let the flailing begin. I'm not quite sure where he gets his OCD from (daddy) but if I happen to unlock the door and crack it, but he wanted to do it,he can't just start from where I left off, he has to start all over and complete all the steps. Close door. Lock door. Unlock door. Open door. As annoyed as this makes me, part of me has to laugh because I'm not sure if in his 2 year old (almost 3) brain he's thinking he just wants to annoy us or he really does have OCD tendencies. I'm leaning toward the later.
So with the tantrums simmering, we have yet another big event happening in our home. Whomever came up with the title, 'Potty Training', first of all, can go to Hell. I was once clueless at this whole process but now I'm starting to catch on. I'm starting to get smart. You see, the phrase 'potty training' is not meant in terms of the child. I mean yes, you are teaching this young soul to go to the bathroom on the toilet...but it is meant for the parents. See, it's the parents who have to come up with all the millions of steps taken to create a 'perfect' potty senario for our child. We have to ask the child repeatedly 100 times throughout the day if they have to go potty. When they say 'no', which in my case is every time, then we have to start the bargaining process. "If you sit on the potty, then you can have your snack." "We can't go outside until you go on the potty." And when that doesn't work, we have to bribe them. The books and all the potty training videos in the world are meant to just confuse us poor parents even more. Let's face it, if you looked up potty training in the dictionary it would read, 'The training of the parent to come up with their own ideas and solutions for making their kid go to the bathroom." I do also think that those parents who came up with all those potty songs and dances are super smart, because when your backs up against the wall, you sing a song about potty and you make up a story about poop. Why? Because the kids listen to that stuff. For instance, if I want my child to go on the potty, I don't ask him if he wants to go. I bribe and bargain and sing and dance about the poop fairy. All kidding aside, potty training is not a box of chocolates, but after a day of doing it, I find myself usually eating a box of chocolates. The moral of this story, is that I'm pretty sure that by trying to do everything right in the potty training process, I am doing everything wrong. I've now switched it up. If you go poop on the potty, you get a car. I don't care how many times you go, but every time you do you get a car. Go poop. Then get in the car, drive to the store and pick out a truck. Judge me all you want, it works and I don't care if I go in debt buying matchbox cars, first of all they're a dollar and second of all he'd rather play with those than eat, so lucky for us we found our secret weapon. Happy pottying everyone!