Friday, September 27, 2013

Loneliness, thou dost stalk me...

We started Potty Training 201 today. We figure we completed the 101 class with kid 1, and are now at the beginning of class 2 with kid 2. Paugie is being the model student and has so far been willing to try very hard to listen to his body and use the potty accordingly. He, unlike his eldest brother, would rather not have the attention, so we're finding that minimal praise is preferred... he wants to succeed with as little adulation as possible. Such a sweet boy this is.

Learning to stand comes with it's drawbacks, our Jevy has discovered. Most often when we hear some desperate wailing coming from our youngest, we will find him standing up, clinging pathetically to something, unable or terrified to let himself sit down and move along on his own. This morning I found him white knuckled, gripping two of the support rungs on his crib, as if the crib was holding him captive. When I walked in and laid him down he sighed with relief, put his thumb in his mouth and closed his eyes to sleep. Wrestling with a crib is exhausting! We are slowly training him how to sit down without "crashing" down and reiterating his terror.

Madigan has started Awanas, a Bible club that meets once a week. He loves it! After the first evening, however, he informed me: "there weren't any awanas." I informed him that the club is called Awanas. After re-stating our points to one another a few more times, he emphatically said, "No, mommy, there isn't one." Finally, I realized his confusion... earlier that day, we had been to the zoo and seen Iguanas. And you know what... he was right. There weren't any iguanas at Awanas.

In these past several months, I have felt the loneliness that I think often must accompany this stage of life. The sometimes necessary isolation of having small ones (even if they are energetic and robust they still need naps, a lot of one-on-one time, almost-constant clean up and supervision, etc.). My life schedule is intrinsically less flexible and my ability to "go out and do other things" less probable. I definitely savor the weekends, when Daddy often gives me some much-needed time with my horse, or coffee-date with a friend. My boys' devotion to snuggling is a constant ray of sunshine on those less-than-sunny days in my heart. Caring for them and teaching them each day is the delight of my life, but every season, no matter how spectacular, is sure to have it's challenges.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Snippets of today

My 5:30 wake up call this morning was not a welcome one. I rolled out of bed with a grumble, but as I stood outside the door listening to the chitter chatter of the two youngest brothers, I giggled out loud. Lochlan was doing his Tiger growl imitation, which he started mimicking last night. We've been trying to encourage the Tiger in this household to growl (as a good tiger should) to express himself instead of the high pitched screech he (and Lochlan) seem to defer to. The growl is much kinder on the ears. The mini-growl from "Jevy" is positively loveable.

I signed "I love you" to Paugie this morning from across the room. He smiled, jumped off the couch and threw himself into my arms for a hug. Why, oh why, dear boy do you have to be so universally charming? Of course, those weren't my thoughts yesterday afternoon when I wrestled him into his car seat following a particularly trying run through Trader Joes. Life with Paugie is like one big wave... as long as you know how to surf well, you'll love it! To say nothing of my surfing skills, I do love participating in the process of this boy growing into manhood.

"Mommy you need to take me to the hospital in your truck." Going-to-sleep stalling technique number 4 from tonight. When I asked the Tiger why he needed to go to the hospital he assured me it would make his perfectly robust body feel better. Yeah, because hospitals do that.

On the discipline front, there has been some frustration with the "slipping standards" of regulation. Yesterday, Paugie got in Madigan's way when he rolled his car across the train track being so delicately crafted by the Tiger. Madigan walked over to grab the spray bottle ("Memory water", we call it - helps remind household members to be obedient when they are teetering on the edge of naughty choices) and headed in Paugie's direction. After removing the water bottle from his paws, I reminded him: "Only Mommy and Daddy will remind Paugie when he needs to make better choices. When I think Paugie needs a reminder, I will make the decision to do so." Madigan looked at me with his hands clasped behind his back, and waited a few seconds before saying, "Well, Mommy, are you going to make the decision?" The impatience in his voice made it clear that I was not meeting his expectations, by a long shot.

Well dear friends, we are headed out to take Lochlan to the car factory (chiropractor).

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Woes and wonders

This week has been both painful and unsatisfying in many ways, and yet I cannot count it as a complete fail, thanks to the little (and big) fellows in this household who have shined through my puddleglum as only they can. Tuesday was cloudy inside the house and outside the house, thanks to the rain and the departure of our beloved Ankie Tae, who had come to visit for the weekend. Every housebound soul that day was edgy and upon the 6th pooper of the day I did indeed cry. Disobedience was rampant in the ranks, energy was in overload due to being stuck indoors, and I'm pretty sure I spent the entire day tending one mess upon another (milk, dried beans, leaky diaper, dog vomit, more milk, water, overflowing toilet, to name a few). When Tiger woke up his brothers from their coveted (by me) nap after only 35 minutes, I decided the most effective method of discipline would likely be administered 15 minutes later, when the boiling I felt in my heart had simmered slightly. I sent the big cat to bed (sort of a trade, since his brothers had missed their time in bed) and promised him a "reminder not to be so unkind in the future". As it turned out, the mere waiting period was torture enough for the wee soul and I found a very penitent heart awaiting my return at the 15 minute mark. After putting the boys to bed that night, I confided in George that I had not mothered my sweet charges as I would have wished... that I felt like my mothering abilities were being held by a thread that day. He helped remind me that tomorrow is a new day, God is a God of forgiveness/restoration and that my boys do know that they are loved. I suppose every parent faces their own ugly limits at some point, and for me it was humbling. I awaited the coming day with mild trepidation ("please help tomorrow be a better day than this day has been"), and with deep anticipation ("I cannot wait to love on those little critters fiercely tomorrow"). The past two days have been rich, filled with much activity, as usual, but I have faced them with far more gratitude and delight than I was able in the earlier part of this week. Thanks to the men in my life.

"A couple highlights?" you ask:
Madigan mastered the removal/replacement of his trike seat. He announced this afternoon that replacing the seat in the backwards position is "much more practical". When I queried him, he demonstrated (as seen in the photos below). No questions, please.
"Jumping onto the couch from great heights was not my idea." Madigan's explanation as to why he was still jumping on the couch after I asked him not to. Hun-Hun's idea?
I heard whimpering in the living room and when I went to investigate, the Tiger was sitting with a pillow over his face. I walked over, placed him in my arms and asked him if he was alright. The tears poured, quite suddenly and he told me he had run into the gate and hit his head. I discovered a rather large scratch/bump on this head below his hairline. He snuggled into my arms and let me comfort him for over 20 minutes (a record for a Tiger on the go).

Paugie is a super tender heart. During this last round of "the plague" I got a nasty cough. Every time I cough, he runs into the room to find me and says, "You okay, Ma?". I am now!
When I ask Paugie to do something, he usually responds with "no" and a twinkle in his eye. If I give him "the look" he smiles and quickly acquiesces to my request. He's got spark, but not enough to burn you. :-)
Paugie pulled me over to the couch this morning, climbed in my lap and laid his head on my chest. When I kissed him, he reached up and touched my cheek. Oh my word...

Lochlan has FINALLY started sleeping through the night!!! At 5 months he stopped sleeping through the night, so after 6 long months, this is a welcome relief. We took him to a chiropractor and within two weeks, he's like a new man. He's also moved into the room with his big bros, much to his delight, so I think that's helped him on the sleeping front (social butterfly loves company).
Paugie refers to Lochlan as "Jevy" and Madigan has taken it a step further, so he is now affectionately referred to most often as "Jevy James". Kinda' kills me.
Our Jevy has a tinge of the dramatic, it turns out. When he's fussing and I call him to come over to me, he dramatically tosses himself onto the floor, placing his head in this hands and wailing pathetically. He looks up periodically to make sure the display is being fully appreciated. What a character!