Monday, February 20, 2012

Graham 17 months: The Shenanigans

Graham has really come into his own this last month. Etched in memory will always be the The Little Kitchen Shenanigans of 2012 when Gwen and Graham raided the fridge so they could 'cook' in their little kitchen. I accidentally fell asleep (and the kids were so kind as to shut my bedroom door); I woke to the sound of liquid splashing in the bathroom. Gwen and Graham were on stools standing at the bathroom sink gleefully stirring their soup of yogurt, Parmesan cheese, and butter. I give Graham credit for raiding and destroying the fridge (see below) and for helping himself to an almost dozen eggs (see below). After this episode of independence, creativity, and cunning, we decided Graham is a big boy and doesn't need to sleep in our bedroom anymore. The kids got bunk beds and he now sleep on the bottom bunk (IKEA loft bed with a mattress tossed on the floor of the 'loft'), and since it is a twin sized mattress, I can easily snuggle with him as needed. Which means I spend most of every night sleeping with him on the bottom bunk, which is fine, he is pretty cuddly and that IKEA mattress is surprisingly comfortable. The bunk beds have been great, except for 3 nights of teething, when he and I slept in our bedroom, the kids have slept together in their own room since we got them. Now that Graham's last tooth (his bottom right eye tooth) has erupted, he has all his teeth (except 2nd year molars) and I anticipate his sleeping to get much better. So far the best night was me being in my room until 4:30am (though I had already nursed him back to sleep a few times). Graham has taken to climbing on top of the kitchen table and trying to climb into his seat by himself. Alternatively he has protested sitting in his seat, demanding to sit in Gwen's booster, or stand next to her on the bench we have at the kitchen table. So we have banished the infant seat, and are in the market for a booster for him. Graham continues to be obsessed with books, Are You My Mother, Little Blue Truck, The Eye Book, being some of his favorites. He has learned some animal signs (pig, frog, and cat which looks nothing like the actual sign for cat) and animal sounds (moo, meow, and growling which he uses for dinosaurs, alligators/crocodiles, and anything else with teeth). He said his first real sentance, "Bye bay-bee" to his little newborn friend Willamina. He says dinosaur, puppy, cat, pretzel (one of his favorite snacks), and has figured out how to scream at the top of his lungs to make himself known. He used to scream only when hurt, now he screams if Gwen takes something from him, if he wants something she has, or if he just feels wronged somehow. He has taken to screaming hysterically when getting strapped in his carseat. He has figured out how to lock his knees and brace his legs against the back seat so it is impossible to strap him in. I don't have much to say about this except I find it very disheartening. Now that he is such a proficient walker, on the verge of learning how to run, he insists on walking everywhere. We had to buy him a second pair of little moccasin type shoes since he refuses to wear rubber soled shoes, and he walked all the way home from downtown, one and a half miles. Thankfully he likes to hold my hand. We had a few rainy days and I got him to wear an old pair of rubber boots, twice, but the novelty wore off. Even though he is more of a toddler than baby, he is still super sweet. When we are out and about he gets compliments on how smiley and happy he is, and how long and gorgeous his eyelashes are. Graham is super awesome and I continue to be super in love with him (despite The Shenanigans).

Friday, February 3, 2012

GWEN! Tipping Point

Gwen has reached some sort of tipping point the last few weeks (which I realize is really the last couple months) and it caught me off guard. She is bigger. She gets hysterical when clothes and shoes that used to fit her are tight screaming, "I"M A SIZE 5 NOW!" I was starting to think she was developing a sensory disorder. She is even more independent, more helpful, more playful, and of course smarter. This has made it that much more confusing to me when she clings to my legs crying for either an unknown reason (since I can't understand her through her hysterics), or answers, "NO!" to everything I suggest. Being three years old is apparently really hard. Being a parent to a three year old is down right crazy making. The mood swings are intense and it makes me dread the teenage years. She keeps throwing back at me the things I say to her, which is infuriating. It took me a few weeks to realize that I was allowing myself to be drawn into power struggles repeatedly, and that it was causing my beautiful sweet Gwen to be a brat. There. I said it. Well I have taken a step back and am dusting off all the tools in my parenting toolbox, and trying to take out some that don't work so well (during this crisis we resorted to bribes and threats which are satisfying to throw out in the moment, but not very effective in the long run). I have to remind myself she is only three years old. I am the parent, which doesn't mean I am in charge, but I am responsible for the tone of the conversation. Mama sets the mood, whether I like that fact or not. The tipping point for me was when she was screaming about something and I put my finger in my ears to block out the noise. She got very upset by this, and I told her honestly she was hurting my ears. I was acting like a child, and it dawned on me in that moment that someone who wasn't three years old had to take control of the situation. Now that I have adjusted to this growth in development, I am able to appreciate my three year old a little more. She has started sleeping through the night, and now sleeps on the top of the bunk bed she shares with Graham. She is such a good big sister. Graham absolutely adores her, and her possessions, and what ever she is doing, and more often than not, she is very inclusive with him. And this month she finally graduated to being able to go to gymnastics with the big girls (class without parent participation- yay!). I am constantly amazed at her and who she is and I am so grateful to be her Mom.