Well we finally got there.. double figures. There were many days when I had to stop myself from leaping across the breakfast bench to wrap my hands around that scrawny little neck when I had just had enough but we made it in the end.
Today my little guy has reached the ripe old age of 10. The day started with gifts and friends and ended with ice cream cake. I love this kid more than life itself and even though there have been many times when I did not know what I was doing we made it here anyway.
I love you baby. Have a wonderful birthday.
I read a tweet the other day where someone said how beautiful her children looked when they were sleeping and I thought, aren't they all? No matter what kind of crime your children have committed during the day, including driving you to the brink of insanity - they still look like little angels when they are asleep.
I think that fact is a gift - to help you wipe away all the annoyances and frustrations and start fresh again the next day. I know I myself sneak in each night and just spend a few moment gazing down on them both in their sleep and it fills my heart with love for them and their vulnerable little bodies. I think I need to work more on holding onto that feeling the next time they are driving me crazy and I have visions of running away from home.
O.K, I admit it my son sucks and the really weird thing about it is that people don't mind. In fact most people say he will just grow out of it. When?? When will this happen? When his little teeth are so buck tooth that he can't bite into an apple? When his bite is so out that even when he has his teeth clenched there is still a gap? Too late, this has already happened. Yes, I know at two and a half that they are only baby teeth but I don't see how this can't possibly effect the way his little mouth forms. So what do you do about it??
Well, I have looked at multiple solutions, I would like to say with varying degrees of success but in truth, nothing has made the slightest dent to his addiction to his thumb. I have been told not to make a big deal of it in front of him, mostly by adults who also sucked and still harbour resentment to their parents for embarrassing them about something they enjoyed so much. So I casually remark as I walk past, "take your thumb out" and variations of this. He does for a moment and then pops it straight back in. So, off I went to the chemist in search of a cure and all of the products I was offered were for adult nail biters and had alcohol in them - which I am not going to give to my child. There seems to be nothing available on the mainstream market, so I headed to the health food shop in search of an answer. Again I was left with an assistant scratching their head and not being able to offer one. In fact one health food shop suggested putting lemon juice on his thumb. But seeing that we had spent the previous day making lemonade
and he had spent a good part of it sucking on each lemon, I failed to see how that was going to make any significant impact on my problem.
So I am left with a delema in search of an answer. There must be someone out there with an answer. Anyone?
When you become a parent a whole new world is opened up to you. Some of it is wondrous, some of it is disgusting and a lot of it involves you doing things you never dreamed you would ever be doing.
So for all those people who are thinking about having a baby, about to have a baby or dream one day of having a lovely little bundle of joy, I give you the 12 things I had never done before becoming a parent, so that you can feel much more prepared for what is to come than I was.
For those of you who are already parents, not only will you be fairly familiar with each thing on the list but you will more than likely have a number of things you had never done before to add to the list. Feel free to comment and add at the end, by no means is this a definitive list... I am sure as the children grow there will more things I never dreamed I would ever be doing.
Before becoming a parent I had never:
1. Been bitten
2. Held someone still so I could smell their bottom
3. Wiped someone else's nose with my fingers and wiped it on my pants (no tissues around)
4. Caught vomit in my hands so it wouldn't go on the carpet
5. Bit food into smaller pieces so I could feed it to someone else
6. Squashed someone into the washing basket so I could drag them around the house
7. Carried a screaming person out of a very public place over my shoulder
8. Stood for a long time just watching someone sleep
9. Put my fingers under someone's nose to make sure they were actually breathing and just asleep.
10. Gotten into an argument at a play centre
11. Spent so much time discussing why girls don't have a penis and where babies come from
11. Hidden the mop so it could not be used as a make shift weapon
12. Loved someone so unconditionally
Please feel free to add your own.
I am away from it all at the moment and yet I still carry it with me. My big guy who is 9 about to turn 10 has gone away on a school camp today. I am away on holidays myself with my 2 year old this week and I have left my husband "in charge", at home. I had his camp bag packed and ready a week ago, which made me look overly keen for him to go but really I just wanted to make sure he didn't need anything.
Almost 10 is a hard age, well hard in that it's in between. Too old to hold my hand but not too old to not want to slip into the middle of a hug I might be having with my husband. Old enough to want more "swagger" (something he has
already asked me how he could get more of) but really too little to know what
to do with it, if he actually had it.
I love that boy more than life itself but he doesn't know it. He thinks I love his little brother more. Mostly because 2 year olds take up more time and energy.
We had a really big fight last week, over not much really. The usual. Not wanting to make his bed, a bit of smart mouth and then being mean to his little brother. Not life changing, but still. I had to man handle him into his room just so he was out of my site because I really wanted to strangle him. Not metaphorically - literally. He had just pushed me right to the edge and then over it. I had had enough.
Later when it had all calmed down I gave him a hug and I said "I love you so much" but he didn't look convinced. I asked if he knew how much I loved him and he said no, he didn't. Maybe it goes against all mothering by letting kids in behind the curtain, but I said I didn't like him very much at the moment but I always loved him, no matter what.
He looked up at me with big confused eyes and asked - perhaps for clarification because he didn't think it seemed right. "You don't like me?" and I said "No, not much at the moment" and then I said something which really clicked for him because I could see it in his eyes
"Well, you don't like me very much right now do you?" to which he replied "No, I don't" and I said "well sometimes that's just how it is.... but I still love you. No matter what".
After all that, I've had a few calls from him this week telling me how much he misses me and because I have been so busy with the two year old tornado I didn't think about it much, until now. Now that he has gone off into the world to try something new. Without me. He only got on the bus for camp this morning and I wasn't even there for it ....and I miss him already.
Sometimes my little guy sits so close to me he would have to hop in my shirt to be any closer and whilst it is lovely to feel his little body there and know that he loves being next to me, it's not always conducive to cooking dinner or a multitude of other everyday tasks.
Now I am not saying that he sits by me all day, truthfully he is like a jumping bean and lives his life by the motto "why walk when you can run" - in fact he's often covered in bruises and scrapes because of this (nobody said moving everywhere double time didn't lead to more personal injuries). The thing is, he has a problem with personal space and I am beginning to wonder how he can possibly get past this when I am so often in his face, smothering him in kisses and cuddles.
I was trying to get off a plane once when there was some kind of hold up and we were all left standing in the aisle. Now I am not a smaller breasted woman myself but I don't want to be feeling anyone else's either. So as we stood there waiting in this airless space the woman behind was so very close to me that I could feel her breasts pressed against my back. So I moved forward as much as I could to allow for some space (as you do) and she came up again behind me bazoombas pressed squarely into my back. Inside I was screaming "back off lady" but as it was an incredibly close space I didn't want to make the whole thing any more uncomfortable than it already was. So I bit my tongue and she continued to use my back as some kind of resting space for her boozies. Maybe it was cultural, maybe she just had no concept of personal space - I don't know what the deal with that was.
Whilst reflecting on this story it got me thinking about kids and personal space. How can you expect them to learn it when you're in their faces all the time?? Sometimes when me little guy (whose two) and I have a bit of a tumble and play together on the floor, I will pin him down and say "Now what will it be?? Would you like to be smothered in kisses or tickles??" - he always used to pick kisses but as he gets more of a grasp on the language of the natives he often picks "cuddles", which wasn't actually a choice but seems to give him a bit of a breather.
I have noticed that as he grows, learns new words and develops an understanding of the world - personal space is not something he's actively working on. Any time I am at his level he is in my face, there are no two ways about it. I think, he thinks that's just how it is and as he sometimes likes to play at being a dog this has resulted in my face being licked on more than one occassion.
When he is not strapped into his high chair at meals times he wants to sit on my lap and eat from my plate. I have tried to remove this issue by creating the same dining experience for him on his own plate but apparently it doesn't taste as good when it's not coming off someone else's plate. He often grabs my face and smoothers it in wet sloppy kisses and is always trying to steal my sunglasses ... while they are still on my face.
My nine year old on the other hand has now got to the stage where he won't hold my hand while we walk to the bus stop. Actually, I should say he will hold my hand - just not when anyone else from the bus stop is looking. Although he still accepts cuddles and will magnanimously let me give him a kiss before he gets on the bus.
I guess I should probably make the most of it, licks and all. One day they will be teenagers and probably won't even want me to stand next to them - I guess we'll all be getting enough personal space then.
I had all these great ideas for today's post and I knew exactly what I wanted to share with you and then cyclone two year old hit!
The thing is that Spring arrived in downtown Melbourne and then in a matter of moments, it looked like it had slunk away to allow a little more winter to hog the lime light and as a result both myself and my two year old have ended up with some hideous flu that shows no signs of abating.
Anyhoo, I dragged my sorry butt around the house this morning trying to make it look as if at least one person here wasn't on a mission to trash it, as my small friend followed me around duly dragging more stuff out behind me as he went. I don't believe that he is malicious..... at least I don't think so. But when he waited until I laid down on the floor for a moment with him and then dived up and wacked me in the head with a rather heavy plastic toy, I began to re-evalute that.
It all started this morning when I noticed his older brother (who is 9) had thoughtfully left some textas on the carpet in the front room, which the two year old of course found. He decided to go with a lovely green colouring job on the floor tiles and grout and then moved onto the cream coloured mat of the pool table. I was folding laundry in the other room and foolishly thought as long as I could hear him (which I could) then he was not up to no good (which is usually the case when things go quiet).
After that I sent him outside, where I could see all his goings on with a hat he insisted on wearing. Once he started beating the dog with said hat, I knew this day was not going to pick up. So I brought him back inside, onto my newly cleaned floors not realising that he had also been enjoying some quality time in the dogs bowl and now his shoes were not only wet ... but muddy.
Now don't think for one moment I totally left him to his own devices all morning and hoped for the best ... because I didn't. I tried reading him books, to which came the reply "no thanks". I tried signing songs, playing with toys and when all else failed to capture his attention, I tried the "let's have a little lay on the floor together... we'll snuggle. How about that?." Which resulted in him trying to take me out with a ninja turtle get around vehicle ( I actually think it's bruised behind my hair line ... he's leaving marks that don't show. Should I be worried?).
In the end, I did the only thing I could think of and sent him to bed, for his midday nap (at 11ish). He wailed and cried all the way there and then .... nothing. Ahhh piece at last.
I think that's why they make them so cute.... so you don't go out into the back yard and eye of a nice soft area of soil to dig up....
I better go, I think I just heard him stir and the tapping of the keyboard will alert him to my presence......
How is life going with your two year old? Or what age is giving you grief at the moment?
In an effort to make sure that my kids have a direct line of communication with me and know that I will always do my best to be completely honest with them, I have often said that they can ask me anything. I will tell them as much as I know and I think they can handle (of course it goes without saying that I have had this conversation with the now 9 year old, not so much the two year old).
Now as you would assume with kids, lots of unexpected and uncomfortable questions are often asked. Of course you eventually expect the "where do babies come from?" to which I promptly headed off to the book store to purchase Where do I come from?, which we read and re-read together with added questions (and answers along the way). We also got the "Why is it called a penis and how come girls don't have one?", to which I answered and my husband was horrified that we should be talking about penis' and vaginas at the breakfast table. My theory is that you should tackle the topics when they come to hand (time and situation permitting) so that I can hold true to the "you can ask me anything" motto.
The thing with answering such questions honestly is that a small person can only take on so much information at a time. So even if you are brutally honest it might just go over their heads or perhaps even give them unnecessary issues about the topic. So I feel that it is always important to give age specific answers to questions and go back and revisit topics as my children get older and need more of in depth knowledge about stuff.
When we tackled the notion of where he came from (this question came up at around five), this included the proviso that the mum and dad needed to be married. Now that is not to say that babies are not born out of wedlock or that I even have a problem with that happening (which I don't - to each his own), I just didn't want to have to go to far into detail with a call from the principal later in the week because it was a bit hard to put an age limit on it all (who knows how literally kids are going to take your answers "well, I'm a boy and you're a girl so ...." ).
Anyway, he must have taken it all away and mulled it around because about six months later we were walking to school one day and he had more questions about it all - but this time relating to friends of ours, who are also a gay couple. It went something like this "So Charles and Doug are a couple right?" to which I replied the affirmative. "So they have sex then, right?". Again I answered to the affirmative. "So, which one of them will have the baby?". Ahh, a question I had not seen coming and was not prepared for. (Do they have a book at the library about that??) So then we talked about how having a baby required a man and a woman (now remember this is an age appropriate talk - so we didn't discuss how in this modern day and age it is possible to have two mothers or two fathers or just one parent or any other variant, we were just doing the basics). We continued to walk on for a bit in silence and he was obviously still working on this one because later that day we were on a car ride somewhere and he pipes up from the back. "Well, if they can't have a baby then why do they have sex?"
So, at this point I am thinking it's all good to be open to questions but you just never know what your going to get!! Having said that, at least he's getting his information from me instead of some other random primary school kid.
Have you had any "hairy" questions and how did you go with them?
Have you ever gotten into the middle of a really riveting discussion about Pokemon you could just not tear yourself away from? No, me neither. But, unfortunately that hasn't stopped me reluctantly being a part of such conversations.
The thing with kids is that you often have to show interest in things because they like them. As a parent I have developed ways in which to deal with such conversations which make it seem like I am interested without me actually having to listen to it. And the lesson is this, just say yes. I developed this technique over multiple story telling sessions involving the latest Pokemon and or Skylander characters (whatever, it doesn't really matter what it was) and I wanted to share it with you.
Now some of you might be horrified by my total lack of interest in my kid's latest interest. But, to you I say, perhaps you have more time or patience on your hands than I do, so good luck to you and you should tune out now.
It all started when I realised that discussions about Pokemon (or whatever) always involved an introductory story. Such as "Mum, you know the Pokemon character named ... " (I have no idea, I tuned out) to which I would reply (more often than not) "Ah, no". Then I would have to spend 20 minutes listening to a story which detailed that particular character and all its attributes before he then launched into another 20 minute story about what the character was up to (which was basically what he had wanted to tell me in the first place, before we got stuck on the back story). So from this I gleaned my new technique. Which goes more like this "Mum, you know the Pokemon character named ..." I would then reply "Yes" and then he would just tell me the one story and it made no difference to my in depth understanding of the character or it's motivation to do what it did. The result of this was that everyone was happy and nobody got hurt.
The only glitch with this technique was that my husband wasn't aware of it. So when we were all in an enclosed space such as the car and we got the inevitable "Dad you know the Pokemon character who...... " and his response was "No". I still had to endure the back story, the actual story and any other related stories once he got on his Pokemon bandwagon and had a captive audience. Obviously I have had to share the technique with his father and we have all gone back to the obligatory one story which is not too bad. The only downer in this story is that whilst I have to ask the 9 year old five (or more times) to set out his school clothes for the next day or feed the dog he must have heard me passing on this tip to his father.
So the next time we were alone and my son said "Mum, you know the Pokemon ..." (you know the rest) and I said "Yes." My 9 year old came back with a wry smile and a "You don't really know do you Mum?" to which I thought for a moment and responded "Well, no. I just want this to be over". He looked at me for a moment and then started to laugh and told me the abridged version of the final story. Although a little white lie is sometimes good for a relationship (no I don't hate your new hair do - it's very fashionable, I just saw it in a magazine), honesty seems to be working alright sometimes too. I guess you have to choose your audience.
So give it a whirl, just say yes.