Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wake Up, Mommy!

I miss staying up late and sleeping in until mid morning.  Once we began having children, sleep went right out the window.  We eventually got them into good habits.  However, we never did salvage our time to sleep late. 

It all stems from the time we taught our oldest son about going to bed early.  He did not like to go to bed at all.  So, my husband came up with this little jingle that said.  "When the sun comes up...time to get up.  When the sun goes down...time to go to sleep."  Son #1 loved the jingle and would repeat it often.  He also internalized the jingle and began to get up at the crack of dawn.  Then, he would come to our room to make sure we were getting up as well.  Son #1 would sing.  "When the sun is up time to get up!"  Ack!  I just want to sleep!  Fortunately, I have made peace with the fact that I will almost always have to get up early.  However, there are rare moments when I do get an extra hour of sleep.

When Son #1 was four, I would have him sit at the foot of my bed with a pile of books whenever I tried to get a bit of extra sleep.  He would read and look at pictures for ten minute increments while I blissfully kept my eyes closed.  After a while, Son #1 would get up from his spot on the floor and tap my arm.  "Mommy, wake up."

"Mmmm."  I would grunt.  "Ten more minutes."

"You said that the last time!"  Son #1 would complain.

"Ten more minutes."  I would continue to mumble sleepily.

"Alright."  Son#1 would say in exasperation.  Son #1 would plop down onto the floor and flip through his books irritably for a moment.  Finally, he would pick up something that looked interesting and continue to read.  Then, I would continue to sleep until the next time my little boy got tired of his books and tried to wake me again.

Now, Son #1 is more independent and will play in his room in the morning once he awakes.  Son #2 has taken his older brother's place tapping my arm and pulling at my eyelids as I try to get an extra hour of sweet, precious sleep.  The other morning, I peered through half closed eyelids at the clock on the shelf as my youngest son patted my face.  The clock said 6:50 a.m.  My baby began to pull the comforter off of my arms.  "Mmmm.  Let me sleep."  I muttered.

"Mommy, get up!"  Son #2 demanded.

"Shhh!  I'm trying to sleep."  I whispered.  "Go play.  Ten more minutes."

"O.K."  Son #2 ran to get his trains from the other room.  He happily chugged into my bedroom and drove the trains across the furniture.  "Choo choo!"  He puffed loudly. 

I pulled the covers closer to my head and squeezed my eyes shut.  I needed more sleep.  "Shhh!  Your dad and I are trying to sleep."

"O.K. Shsss!"  Son #2 replied.  He continued to race his train around the room albeit in a more silent fashion.

I fell asleep and began to dream again.  Midway through the dream, I felt a little hand poke my eyelids.  I clumsily swatted the hand away but did not open my eyes.  "What?"  I asked.

"Wake up, Mommy!"  My youngest son commanded.

"No."  I responded defiantly.  "Ten more minutes."

Son #2 would not be dissuaded.  "No Mommy!  Get up!" 

"No.  Ten more minutes."  I implored.  Then, I thought of a new tactic.  "Where are the helicopters?"  I asked trying to redirect him to a new activity.  Sadly, that tactic failed.

"NO HELICOPTERS, MOMMY!"  Son #2 shouted.  "GET UP!"


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ear?

Son #2 has been learning to identify different parts of the body.  We have a game that we play often.  I'll say.  "Show me your nose."  Then, Son #2 points to his nose.  I'll ask.  "Where's my nose?"  Then, he puts his finger on my nose.  Sometimes, I mix it up a bit by pointing to my mouth and asking.  "What's this?"  Most of the time, Son #2 will shout out.  "Mouf!"  We have a lot of fun playing this little game. 

When this game first began, Son #2 could only identify the ears.  He learned about the ears first because he used to hold my ear while I rocked him to sleep in the rocking chair.  His sleepy, little eyes would blink open and then close while he grasped my ear lobe with his tiny fingers.  I would laugh and whisper.  "Do you have my ear?"  Son #2 would pull at my ear and mumble.  "Earw."

Now, Son #2 is getting quite good at identifying different parts of his body.  However, he still loves to pull on my ear randomly throughout the day.  Sometimes, he reminds me of a honey bee in the vegetable garden flitting from flower to flower.  All of a sudden, the honey bee will abandon his game in the garden and rush over to a spot of honey hidden between two pieces of siding on the house.  There is no bee hive.  (We've checked.)  Yet, the bee sits on this spot of honey for a moment.  After the moment has passed, the honey bee will return to the garden to fly among the flowers once more.  I can only guess at what the bee is doing.  In my imagination, I can picture the bee playing among the flowers until it realizes that it needs to check its surroundings.  Then, it rushes over to the honey spot almost as if checking a map.  I can hear it buzzing.  "Bee #2 checking in.  Looks like everything is all clear.  Returning to the flowers.  Over and out."

When my youngest son stops a game to pull on my ear, I wonder if that is his way of checking in with the grown ups.  He will usually tug on one of my ears and then turn my head to pull on the other.  Then, he smiles at me with an impish grin and says.  "Ear?  Ear?"

I nod and assure him.  "Ear."

Then almost like the honey bee, he runs off to play with his toys again.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Abuelita is 93!

One Saturday afternoon after a fabulous meal of enchiladas at my mom's house, Son #1 sat with his Tia (Aunt) on the landing of the staircase.  We had just gotten done eating cake and ice cream in celebration of two birthdays.  The presents had been opened and the cards had been read.  One of the birthdays was mine and the other was Tia's.  Son #1 was curious about our ages and asked innocently.  "Tia, how old are you now?"

Tia smiled and said.  "I'm thirty."

"Oh!"  Son #1 exclaimed.  Then he looked at me repeated his question.  "Mommy, how old are you?"

"I'm thirty-eight."  I answered sweetly.

Son #1 thought for a moment and then questioned.  "Who's birthday is next?"

"Well, your baby brother has a birthday next.  Then, both of your Tios (Uncles) have birthdays.  After that, Abuelita has a birthday."  Tia replied.

"I know my brother is going to be three but how old are my Tios going to be?"  Son #1 asked with a puzzled look on his face.

"One of your Tios is turning thirty-eight and the other is turning thirty-six."  Tia responded.

"O.K."  Son #1 paused to absorb this information.  He fidgeted with his fingers as his mind processed everything he had learned.  You could see his mind analyzing our ages and forming conclusions.  He hadn't asked about Abuelita's age yet but he did realize that she was his grandmother.  Son #1 also knew that his dad had a grandmother that was in her mid nineties.  He thought for another moment.  Then after a couple more seconds, his face brightened as he cried out.  "After my Tios' birthdays, Abuelita has a birthday!"

"Yes.  You're right."  Tia said calmly.  She smiled and wrinkled her nose at me in amusement.  "How old do you think Abuelita will be on her birthday?"  Tia asked.

"Abuelita will be ninety-three!"  Son #1 shouted with excitement.

Poor Abuelita.  She can't catch any breaks.  A few months ago, Son #1 practically fell over when he found out that "Abuelita" means grandma and is not her actual name.  Now that he knows she is a grandma, he thinks she is almost one hundred.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I Wanna Do It!

Son #2 admires his older brother and wants to be just as independent.  Sadly, Son #2 is only two years old.  His older brother, Son #1, is an agile seven year old that jumps, climbs, runs, rides, scales, and slides across many different things inside and outside of the house.  Of course, Son #2 wants to do it all, too.  When I try to help my youngest son, he screams.  "No!  I wanna do it!"  He is even becoming more independent about using the restroom or taking a bath.  I'm very proud of his new found independence yet sometimes I wish he would let me help him.

A couple days ago, Son #2 danced into the living room holding the front side of his pants.  "I need to go potty."  He announced with a little smile on his face.

I jumped up from my chair and cried.  "Run, Baby!  Hurry!  Let's go potty!"

Son #2 ran quickly to the bathroom and waited at the door until I turned on the light.  Then, he pulled down his pants and underwear.  I began to lift the lid of the toilet when my youngest son yelled.  "No!  I wanna do it!"

"Fine."  I said as I rolled my eyes.  "You do it."

Son #2 pushed the lid up and cheered.  "I did it!"

I smiled sweetly at my young son.  "Hurray!  You did it!  Now, get on the potty."

Son #2 scooted onto the toilet and proceeded to poop and pee into the toilet bowl.  He grinned proudly.  "I did it!  Oh! Wow!  Look at the poo poo in the potty!"

"Good job!"  I said.  "You're such a big boy!"  I helped him wipe and then I reached around him to flush the toilet. 

Immediately, Son #2 scowled and fussed.  "No, Mama!  I wanna do it!" 

"But it's all gone.  You can flush the toilet next time."  I consoled as Son #2 wiped tears from his eyes.

Son #2 slowly pulled his face up from his hands.  He looked into the toilet bowl once more and then shouted angrily.  "I want my poo poo back!"

Monday, June 30, 2014

Go to Bed!

One summer evening, Son #1 and Son #2 decided that they wanted to camp out in our youngest son's room for the night.  The boys dragged out their sleeping bags, special blankets, and pillows.  Son #1 brought in his stuffed Snoopy while Son #2 cuddled with Pete the Cat.  I sat down on the floor with their devotional book and a fun story book.  The boys snuggled under the covers as I read.  Then, we prayed and gave each other kisses.

Son #1 pulled the blankets up to his chin and hugged Snoopy tightly.  He closed his eyes and whispered.  "Good night, Mommy.  I love you."

I kissed his cheek one more time and said.  " I love you, my little Coo Agoo"

Son #2 wiggled around under his covers.  He reached up with his tiny hand and asked.  "Ear? Ear?"

I leaned down and let him hold my ear for a second.  Then, I pointed to my cheek with my finger.  "Kiss?  Kiss?"  I requested.

Son #2 pursed his lips and planted a kiss on my cheek.  I kissed his chubby cheek and whispered.  "I love you, Baby Jangly June."

As I walked out of the room, I reached out to turn off the bedroom light.  Before the light went off, I turned to blow kisses to my sweet boys.  The boys began to bounce around and I warned them in a growly voice.  "Lay down.  Go to bed."

They immediately lay down and apologized.  Then, Son #2 picked up Pete the Cat and placed the stuffed animal on his bed.  He covered Pete with a soft blanket and scowled.  "Go to bed!"  He scolded loudly.  Son #2 crossed his arms, sat on his sleeping bag, and wrinkled his brow. 

Irritably, Son #1 admonished his younger brother.  "Be quiet!  I'm trying to sleep."

Son #2 replied to his older brother.  "You go to bed!"

From under the covers, Son #1 muttered.  "Shut your pie hole."

Before things went completely awry, I turned off the lights and reminded my boys.  "Shhh!"  Then, I quickly ran to the other side of the house before they could argue again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Valentine's Day Flowers

My family is your typical one income family with a couple kids and no extra money.  We are blessed by God to have enough income to pay our tithe and offering, save for a rainy day, pay our living expenses, pay for medical expenses, and treat ourselves to one fun thing or activity.  Our budget is incredibly tight.  I don't mind.  We just have to exercise our imaginations when we want to be romantic. 

This last Valentine's Day, my husband and I laughed about our simple plans.  The kids wanted to make a heart shaped pizza and get some flowers.  We could afford to make the pizza but flowers were a bit pricey.  So, we came up with a fun idea.  I happened to have pink construction paper, scissors, and a bag of pipe cleaners left over from some school project.  I called the kids over to the table and told them to draw as many big and little hearts as they could on the pink sheets of paper.  The kids looked at me like I was crazy but complied.  Son #1 immediately began to draw the hearts as fast as he could go.  Son #2 held the pencil in his hand and cried.  I asked.  "Do you need help, Baby?"  Son #2 shook his head up and down as tears welled up in his eyes.  I placed my hand over his and we began to draw hearts together.

When the boys were finished with their hearts, I told them to go play.  Once they were out of the room, I cut out all the hearts and punched a hole at the bottom of each heart.  Then, I stuck a pipe cleaner through each hole and made a knot at the end of it.  Silently, I dug around a bottom cabinet for empty vases.  Finally, I arranged a group of hearts into each vase.  When my husband and the boys came out from the other rooms, they gazed at each vase of "flowers" in amazement.  We were able to have flowers for Valentine's Day after all.



Friday, June 20, 2014

Whoa Whoa Whoa...

Two year old children have the distinct ability to fling themselves backward whenever they encounter something disagreeable.  Son #2 is no exception.  This habit of throwing himself back regardless of who or what may be behind him began at the ripe old age of one and 7/8ths.

If his little mug contained something that was not to his liking, he threw himself backward.

If his older brother took a toy away from him, he threw himself backward.

If he didn't get a cookie first before his brother, he threw himself backward.

If he didn't know someone and was scared, he threw himself backward.

If he was told not to touch something, he threw himself backward.

There were and still are an endless amount of scenarios that could make my young son throw himself backward shrieking "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" on his way down.  There are an even larger amount of reactions that I display when his tantrums occur.  When he hits his head on the way down, I snuggle and comfort him.  Other times, I rush to catch him before any damage is done.  However when he cautiously throws himself to the floor and catches himself before injury occurs, I eyeball him and voice my disapproval.  Inevitably, I talk to him about being patient or listening and obeying depending upon the situation.  We always end with a hug, a kiss, and a child's promise to end the fits.

Do I believe the tantrums will end? 

Sure. 

Eventually in a year or two, we'll be able to have a conversation instead of "Special Cry Time" performed by my two year old child.  I look forward to the day when I don't have to stick my fingers in my ears to drown out the naughty protests and demands when Son #2 does not get his way.  Yet, I shrug my shoulders and accept the fact that my two year old wants independence but does not know how to explain himself.

I think he is slowly learning to control his temper.  With time, he'll find better ways to communicate his displeasure.  I'll be curious to see if he can learn to construct well thought out arguments minus whining and complaining.  As my mom always says.  "It's only a phase.  When this passes, something else will take its place."