Toddlerhood


Baseball

After our softball game last night, we gathered at our Coach’s house for a celebratory ‘que. A co-worker of mine struck up a conversation with V.

Co-worker: “So, your mom tells me you like baseball?!”

V, nodding vigorously: “Uh-huh!”

Co-Worker: “What’s your favorite team?”

V: “Yellow”

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Yet another tactic to try to get to stay up later …

“Mom, I’m too happy to go to sleep. I want to play”

He’s killin’ me!

The bed time routine at my house has changed, much to my dismay. I had the great fortune of enjoying about a year and a half of a no-fuss, no-muss, night time ritual. But over the last few weeks, bed time at our house has become a bit more fussy.

I can’t say I blame the little guy. I have to agree with him that staying up and building rocket ships and cranes with tinker toys is much more fun than going to sleep. But sleep he must! He simply must!!

Each night the list of excuses grows a bit longer. Most nights I chuckle with the creativity he uses in trying to stay up even one more minute. But last night I was sick. And I was tired. So our exchange went like this:

Him: “I don’t like this bed. I want to sleep in your bed”

Me: “You can’t sleep in my bed, honey.”

Him: “But I don’t like this bed. I want to sleep in the baseball bed”

Me: “We don’t have a baseball bed.”

Him, crying: “Yes we DO!”

Me: “Really? Where?”

Him: “My tummy hurts”

Me: “Then you need to fall asleep and get some good rest so your tummy will feel better”

Him: “I have a splinter in my knee”

Me, pretending to take out a splinter that’s not even there in the first place: “All better! Now good night, sweetie. Sleep tight”

Him: “But mama, my (insert about six other excuses he tries to use to stay up … hair itches, back hurts, finger hurts, the blanket’s not on right …)

Me, begging: “V, mommy’s not feeling well. I really need to go and rest so that I can feel better”

Him, stroking my hand: “I’m sorry mama. I go to sleep now. Feel better cuz I love you”

After nearly a month of wanting nothing for breakfast other than yogurt, my son has suddenly changed his mind. For the last week and a half breakfast has been a struggle. He doesn’t want any of the “regular” offerings … yogurt, cereal, bagel, waffle, cottage cheese & fruit. When asked what he wants, his answer is always “something else”. What something else? Can we get a bit more specific, please?

This morning after saying no to all of the options in the house, he finally opted for the yogurt. Great, we have a decision. Thank God. To the refrigerator I head, feeling a bit of relief mixed with satisfaction that we were able to come to a decision within about three minutes this morning. A record of late. I open the fridge, pull out the yogurt, and my heart skips a beat. It’s unusually light in weight. Are we empty? Yep … and yes, the empty is there – in all it’s glory – snuggled safely between the cottage cheese and apple sauce. Thanks, dear Husband.

Note to self: strangle said Husband.

In a moment of motherhood brilliance, I scrape out what little yogurt left in the bowl, mix it with some dry cereal and a bit of milk. Still looks like yogurt. Passes the taste test. Excellent. Oh, I’m quick. And damn proud of myself.

Twenty mintues pass as I’m getting ready for work.

“Mama?”

“Yes, sweetie?”

“My yogurt tastes funny!”

I come downstairs and taste it. “Let me fix it for you”, I announce – and swiftly pick it up, take it to the kitchen, and sprinkle an ever-so-slight bit of sugar in it.

“Okay, honey – here you go. Taste it for me and let me know if you like it”

He tastes. He smiles. He likes it!

Another twenty minutes pass and it’s time to leave for school. I notice he didn’t finish the yogurt, but that’s not unusual. I pick it up to put it away in an effort to get out of the house and get him to school on time. No sooner am I out of the room on my way to the kitchen do I hear a complete and total meltdown. Tears of massive proportion. I try explaining, reasoning, comforting. The tears are not stopping. I don’t have time for this. I try with all my muster to maintain composure and not lose it. Patience … patience … patience.

The pep talk works, as I put on his shoes and get him out the door. Tears the entire time. I’m still talking to him in a soothing voice, still trying to comfort, still maintaining composure. Damn, I’m good this morning. I make a mental note to reward myself with one of those tiny chocolate easter eggs once I get to work.

It takes a bit of time and effort to actually make it to the car. He doesn’t want to go to school because he’s hungry, he tells me. I calmly tell him that if we hurry and get to school that they will have breakfast for him there … something yummy, I promise. He plants himself next to the back gate and doesn’t budge. He doesn’t want to go to school. He wants to stay at his house today and eat.

I tell him to have a nice day, and I head for the car. He immediately follows, and the crying and tears have intensified about 2.5 notches. I still maintain. Two candy eggs, I promise myself.

Finally strapped safely in his car seat, we’re ready to go. Tears still flowing. But about thirty seconds after pulling out of the driveway, a miracle happened. That, or an alien entered his body. I’m still not quite sure which. He ever-so-slowly started to cry a bit less, a bit quieter. A slow wimper. It was actually very cute and made me chuckle. And then suddenly:

“I don’t want to cry anymore, Mama”

“You don’t?”

“No. Babies cry and I’m not a little baby anymore. So I don’t want to cry.”

“I’m so proud of you, honey.”

“Thanks, Mama. I don’t want to cry because I’m not a baby and cyring babies are afraid.”

“They’re afraid? Afraid of what?”

“They’re afraid of dinosaurs. The mean dinosaurs, not the nice ones. And they’re afraid of falling in the volcano and getting full of fire and smoke”

“Crying babies are afraid of falling in a volcano?”

“Yes. That’s where crying babies go. In a volcano. And they don’t come out.”

I need your help. Your input. Your ideas and suggestions. Please. Doesn’t matter if you’re a parent or not – if you’ve got a suggestion, I’ll listen. Two topics …

Topic One – The Hypochondriac. My son. Three years and four months old and suddenly he is always in pain. His head hurts, his foot hurts, his tummy hurts, his eyes hurt, he itches, he has splinters. You name it, he’s got it. And all of these lovely party gifts come with more than anyone’s fair share on whining. Somebody please tell me this is a very short phase.

I’ve tried changing the subject, I’ve pretented to remove splinters that were never there to begin with, I’ve done all I could think of including ignore it all-together. It’s daily, people. Constant. Nobody warned me about this!!!!!! Ugh!!!

I’m hoping, I’m praying, and I’m almost willing to babysit for anyone out there who has some suggestions for me. At the very least, please share your stories with me so that I don’t feel like the only mother on Planet Earth (GREAT Discovery Series, by the way) with a child who is constantly crying wolf! Anyone? Anyone?

Topic Two – Boys Clothing. Or lack thereof in terms of stylish boys clothing. The kind that makes them look like little men, and not little babies. All of you parents – or even aunts/uncles/grandparents of little boys – those of you who, like me, can’t afford (or aren’t interested) in living in cosmopolitan urban areas like San Francisco or NYC – do you find it nearly impossible to find a hip and stylish piece of little boy’s clothing that doesn’t have some cartoon character or yet another friggin’ (insert sport of choice) ball on it? Target and Old Navy occasionally offer some great options – but then I find myself losing my kid amongst the five other boys at the playground wearing the exact same shirt!

Why is it that 52% of all babies born in this country are boys, yet no less than 75% of every kids clothing store is dedicated to girls? Where are all the great clothes for boys? Does anyone else feel my pain?

Actually, I do know that some people out there feel my pain (unless they’re just humoring me). In talking with some girlfriends, they’ve agreed that the world is in need of more options for boys. Hence, my latest/greatest idea. I’m full of ’em, you see (insert sarcasm). I’m in the beginning stages of researching an online clothing store – boutique – whatever you want to call it – for boys only. I’ve found only a few other sites online so far that cater to only little men – five to be exact. Which means there’s certainly room for a sixth.

This is where you come in – those of you who shop for the young men in your lives. Are you like me and looking for other options in boys clothing? And if so, what kinds of things are you looking for? What styles (ie: surfer/skateboarder, rocker, preppy, etc)? And do you ever purchase kids clothing online?

So, that does it for today – my informal survey on two currently important topics in my life. Give a girl a helping hand, and share your thoughts, ideas, mind-blowing creative genius with me! Pleeeez!

Moon Sliver

I’m not a person who is known for my memory, but some things stick in my mind and I’ve never forgotten them, for whatever reason. I don’t remember much at all about my childhood, so I depend largely upon photos and stories. Years ago … I was probably in high school … my mom told me a story how every time she sees moon sliver, she can’t help but think of the time when I was about 3 years old and I saw the moon and exclaimed, “Mama! Look at the fingernail in the sky!” Since the day she shared that story with me, I’ve always thought of fingernails when I see moon slivers.

Yesterday, V and I were in the car – in broad daylight – when he announced to me that the moon looks like a fingernail. What??????? I looked back at him, and he was holding a sliver of a fingernail in his hand, looking at it. But the moon wasn’t yet out, so how? Why? Even though I went through the process of asking him questions, I knew immediately … it was my mom!

As those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile know, I lost my mom unexpectedly just about three years ago – and since then I’ve made an effort to pay attention to the signs that she’s still around, as I wrote about here and here. It’s not as if I’m looking for her in everything that happens to me, but the ways she comes to me have been so obvious that it just fills me up with peace.

Yesterday’s visit was yet another example. And I’ve been smiling ever since.

Beauty. Each of us has our own definition of it and what makes one beautiful. We often hear arguments that the media, television and movies dictates and defines “beautiful” for us. Whether you prefer Julia Roberts, Halle Barry, or Nicole Kidman it doesn’t matter. All three are thin and “beautiful”.

Since becoming a mom and watching my son grow, learn and develop I have been absolutely fascinated watching his “boyisms” develop. Whether it’s his obsession with baseball and trucks, or his fascination with dinosaurs and rocket ships, it seems he has neatly settled in to his role as a boy. About a year ago a girlfriend came over with her daughter who is three months older than V. We were all out in the backyard, sipping wine and listening to music while the kids played. I remember her daughter coming up to ask her mommy why V likes to throw things. “Because he’s a boy”, her mom replied. I was struck by that question and started asking my girlfriend questions. Does her daughter ever play catch? What kinds of things does she like to do? Typical little girl things, she replied. Dolls, stuffed animals, etc.

I find myself thinking about this quite a bit. Are boys and girls – and what they enjoy – a product of their environment? Just as society’s supposed definition of beauty is a product of what is fed to us? Of course they are on some level – but how much? Am I feeding my son “boy” things intentionally? He does have a basket full of stuffed animals that somehow appeared in our home (I hate stuffed animals, but I’ll save that for some other post) and he even has a few dolls, such as his Elmo doll. Every once in a blue moon he’ll pick one of them up and play with them – but given the choice, he goes for the traditional toys marketed to boys nine and a half times out of ten.

This past weekend I was sitting on the sofa next to V. He was flipping through one of his favorite books while I was flipping through a magazine. One one of the pages in the magazine there was an advertisement for shampoo. It featured a brunette with long, flowing, hair with loose curls. When V saw the picture, he looked at me and said “Her’s beautiful!” “Yes, she is. What about mommy?” I replied. I was completely curious what he’d say.

“You’re cool, mommy!”

Geez, thanks kid. I think.

So at three years old the kid already has a definite opinion of what he considers to be beautiful. The model is beautiful. Mom is cool. Although I agree with him on his assessment, I am curious about how he developed this conclusion. Where did it come from? What is it about the woman in the ad that is beautiful to him? And how is it that he picked the cutest girl in pre-school to claim as his girlfriend? Was it based on her looks? Or something else? I’m simply fascinated – even though I’m sure I’ll never know the answers, I am truly fascinated with how this kid is developing, growing, and formulating his own little opinions. So, so much fun to witness!

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