Monday, March 26, 2012

Trying to be Mad

Fact: Sometimes parents need a break from their kids.

As evidenced this morning.

Suffice it to say that potty training for Max has been polarizing. Earlier this month, he was clean and dry for a stretch of ten days. This weekend? Not so successful. Flash to Monday morning and the boys headed to the basement to play for a bit before embarking on the journey (across town) to preschool and daycare. They came upstairs to get shoes and jackets on and Max gave me the look.

"Uh oh Max, what's wrong?"


Then in one simple confirmation he points at his man-parts. Points.

With the tick tock of the clock in the forefront of my mind, I pulled his pants down and came up with a handful off something else. What I assumed was a wet diaper, was a pretty significant blow out. Poo everywhere. Before I could get him to the tub he had yuck from his bum to his ankle. I got him cleaned up (Jack headed to preschool with Gage) and he stood right in my face, yapping about something while I'm trying to clean up the bathroom, get dirty clothes to the washer and not mess up my own outfit. I was thisclose to losing my cool, but instead found my inner peace and requested, "Max, please go find something quietly to do in your bedroom. Find a book, sing a song, I don't care. I'm upset that you pooped your pants and made a mess, and I need a little break from you."

He said, "Ok!" and because he is Max the (usually) Listener, he charged off into his room. Moments later as I'm on my knees, hitting the bathtub with the Clorox he comes around the corner carrying a Bible, singing about Jesus. Kid you not.

The anger diminished, laughs ensued, I hugged the kiddo, delivered him to daycare and settled into work for a much needed break after the weekend.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Perfectly Different

Since Max came into our lives almost two and a half years ago, one thing immediately because clear: these two little boys have the same point of origin, but most similarities end there. Max has understandably picked up on many of Gage's tendencies as learned traits, but at the core their personalities are quite different. Each boy poses his own unique set of challenges, and thankfully they compliment each other quite well.

Cautious and Carefree

We'll start with Gage. He has always been extra careful, no doubt thanks to a hovering mother. Fifteen months old and the kid was in and out of his crib at leisure. That reckless behavior, among others, caused me to be over protective. My helicopter tendencies have given him a semi-paralyzing fear of the unknown. Last week I told the boys to go explore. It was nice outside and their obsession with all things hunting needed to be fed. "Put on your boots and go explore the long grass and trees on the hillside. I'll stay here and watch." Gage immediately started in with the questions:

What should I wear?
How far can I go?
Do I need my backpack?
Are there snacks in my bag?
When should I come back?
What if I can't hear you?
And on and on and on.

I'm trying to help him earn some independence, and take back my sanity. I'm also working to earn back my patience badge that was taken back after a period of incessant barking so I took the time to answer his questions. He seemed satisfied and turned (loaded with backpacks, snacks and boots) for an adventure.

Max was almost out of sight by the time he decided to leave.

Since I've spent every waking moment of Max's 2 1/2 years of existence answering an infinite amount of his brother's questions, he sort of just does whatever we tell him to do. I said, "explore" and he took off through chest-deep weeds and ankle-deep mud, fearless and alert.

Gage: Cautious, Details Aren't Optional

Max: Carefree, Under the Radar
Likeness: Both giggle when I say "booty" or "fart".

Scarecrow and Tinman

I'm 90% obsessed with all things Wizard of Oz. It dates back to our high school musical production which ingrained some of the best memories from my teenage years into long term storage. I've started introducing the boys to bits and pieces. I'm certain they aren't prepared to see the green faced wicked witch start on fire in the classic version, but they've seen some kid friendly flicks and seem amused.

Max is my Tinman. I realize in the film Tinman needed a heart but at the end, they realized he had one the whole time, blah blah...(it seemed so obvious to me through the whole thing, but whatever). Max often tells me things like, "You look like a pwincess mommy!" and "I love you most!" Friends have called his hugs healing and the boy just lives to love. He truly is a ray of sunshine.
Gage has his own way of loving. He has never been interested in snuggling or cuddling, prefers to run, laugh, giggle, tickle and fight to show affection. This morning he told me, "I have three best friends in this house. My brother, Wrangler (the dog), and Daddy!" It brought me to tears. I know he didn't mean to make me feel like the fifth wheel, but seriously. He clearly doesn't know how blatant this boy/girl ratio is staring me in the face right now. And he does love me. At that instant, he just loved EVERYBODY ELSE more.

In keeping with theme, he is clearly our Scarecrow right now. The boy loves to learn, loves to be fed new information, and loves to discover things on his own. He's really into math right now so our common conversation in the car goes something like this:
Gage: Hey Mom what's 4+4?
Me: What Gage?
Gage: 8! Know what happens when you take away 6?
Me: Nope.
Gage: You have 2!
This conversation continues until we reach our destination. Sometimes I quiz him, but usually the numbers just run through his head and he shares with anyone willing to listen. Not bad for a 4 year old!
Throw in my courageous hubby, my homebody self and our yippity dog and we're the full cast of characters.

Likeness: They have a definite opinion about what they should wear, and it usually isn't my first pick. Superman costume the 10th of May on Main Street? Have no fear, Cowboy Superman is here!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cookie Eaters

As I processed a few pictures for a client today, I came across these two and just had to share. The boys had an office day last week when daycare was closed and while they do a pretty good job of getting along and keeping themselves busy so Jack and I can attempt to get work done, it still takes a little forethought about surviving the day to make it work. On this particular secret weapon...Lofthouse cookies. Earned me a silver star on the nutrition chart.

I do not take our arrangment for granted. Being able to bring my kids to work when they're sick, when the babysitter's sick, when school is closed, etc. That's my luxury. Sure, it means needing to work a few hours after they go to bed sometimes, and I often have to overlook a mounting to-do list while they're here. But this? This is the reason I left the teaching field to work along side my husband at our businesses. And this smile? Makes it all worthwhile.
 Max saw the above picture and said, "My ate my cookie all gone!"