Friday, August 29, 2014

Parent of the Year {Today}

I'll level with you. Three has been tough in the age department around here. A year ago, I always told people the terrible twos were a silly myth. Gehrig was a dream at two. Most nights Jason and I would look at each other and say, "We got the best kid. He's so awesome!"

Then he turned three. The tantrums became epic. He learned how to hit. He learned how to kick. The naughtiness showed signs of spite. Boundaries were pushed and pushed and shoved. We've gone through some tough days and long weeks where he seemed to be fighting us on everything. 

Lately, though, things have been simmering down. We're in a time of peace {this week}, so naturally I'm feeling like I've finally mastered parenting and life from here on out is going to be a breeze. Want to hear what I've learned? Here are my best moves for getting through the threenager days:

1. Defend his sleep. Gehrig is a kid that requires a lot of sleep. He will sleep 12 hours at night and he can still take a 2 hour nap if he has to. We've been lax with bedtime this summer and I'm pretty sure this is the number one culprit of meltdowns.

2. Keep him fed. That blood sugar drop is deadly. Give him snacks between meals and meals on time

3. Pee the evil out. Gehrig is the king of holding it. He doesn't have to go potty until HE HAS TO GO POTTY. That's kind of the worst feeling ever, right? So when he starts to act cranky, I try to usher him into the bathroom as quickly as possible to avoid a battle later.

4. Give him attention. I am big-time guilty of trying to get things done at home and getting annoyed when my kids make it difficult. But when I close my computer, ignore the laundry, and just play for a while, it makes such a huge difference in all of our moods. I don't get anxious about what I could be doing {well, I try not to anyway} and they get to have my undivided attention.

5. Keep things in perspective. Three year olds are tough because they can reason with you to a point, so it seems like they should get your reasoning, too {like, "you have to brush your teeth because that's what we do every night."}. It can be easy to forget how little he still is because so much of the time he's talking like a big kid. One night, after a series of time outs and lots of frustration on our part, Gehrig went potty {see #3} and ran out of the bathroom as happy as a clam...with his underwear backward and inside-out. Jason turned to me and said, "And we're letting this person control our moods." Then we laughed, because, seriously...

Other random things that have been working lately: 

-Avoid "no." This sounds like I'm an annoying, "we just want to facilitate a positive environment" type of parent. I'm not. But if I change "No, we can't go to Grandma's today" into "Well, first we have to go to the grocery store" it holds off the argument and keeps him happy.
-Praise him when he's being good. It can be really easy for me to just point out his negative behavior rather than recognizing and rewarding the little things he does that are so great like, randomly kissing his brother or coming up with a new game for us to play.
-Give him a win. Everyone needs to feel like they're getting a win every now and then. If I'm fighting him on something that really doesn't matter to me, I try to just let it go. You really need to wear a baseball helmet into the grocery store? Fine. Gonna take that {probably-not-water-proof} toy into the bathtub? Knock yourself out.  
-Talk in an Australian accent. Seriously, if I use my "safari voice," the kid will do anything I tell him to. I think this has something to do with it:

So, there you have it. The magic answers you've been waiting for. You're welcome! I'm going to go enjoy my award and bask in the ease of parenting now.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One of Those Nights

Little did I know Wednesday night would be the first of a series of ridiculous, sleepless nights. This just happens to be the only one I documented, hour-by-hour.

This is what he looks like when he's sleeping. But not much of this happened that night.

12:30am - Go to bed later than I probably should, but that soy latte's keeping me up.

2am - Wake up to Milo's cries over the monitor. Get him. Hear Gehrig fussing as I'm leaving their room, so he comes with us to my bed. Nurse Milo. He doesn't fall back asleep.

2:30am - Wake up Jason who fell asleep on the couch and ask him to go in our bed with Gehrig while I rock Milo in the living room {because this baby of ours knows not the concept of falling asleep in his own bed}.

2:30-3:30am - Rock a spoiled baby.

3:30am - Milo won't let me set him down even though he's clearly asleep. Lay on the couch with him since it's the only way he'll keep his eyes closed.

3:45am - Milo is crying again. Let him flail around on my lap while I rub his back. He lets out two very faint toots and is out within seconds.

4am - Set Milo in his crib. Decide to sleep on the couch, but first check on Gehrig in our bed only to find him soaking wet.

4:15am - After much struggle with a boneless, protesting child, finally get Gehrig in dry clothes. Zombie mom can't change sheets right now. Strip the bed, throw down a towel, and try to sleep.

4:17am - Open eyes to see Gehrig 2 inches from my face saying, "Mom, sing to me." Sing to him.

4:18am - Gehrig interrupts, asking, "Where's Milo?" {because he always needs to know} "In his crib," I say. "Can I go in my bed?" asks Gehrig.

4:19am - Relocate to toddler bed.

4:30am - Tell Gehrig to close his eyes and sleep. He resists.

4:32am - Try to get comfortable in a bed that was clearly not made for someone of my height or weight.

4:50am - Wake up from a brief doze and find Gehrig still wide awake. Mutter inappropriate things.

5:15am - Remind him that it is not morning yet {even though at this point it is}.

5:17am - Threaten that I am going back to my bed unless he falls asleep.

5:20am - Mom and Gehrig are back in the big bed.

5:21am - Mom is asleep. Doesn't care what everyone else is doing.

8am - Gehrig announces, "The sun is up!" Mom hears, "The son is up!"

Just a little night-in-the-life for ya. It's a crazy life we lead.

But they're cute, right??