Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Happiness is...

...hearing Ben say, "Sam, I'm going to miss you while I'm at school!" after signing him up for kindergarten.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Growing up

Ben is growing up. Kindergarten registration starts next week. On one hand I'm very ready for him to go to school. As I've mentioned before, Ben and I are very different, and I think more time away will help us appreciate each other more. And Ben is totally ready, too. He loves school and he's so excited. I think he needs more social interaction than I'm providing, so school is going to be perfect for that.

On the other hand... it's that "my baby's going to kindergarten" thing. He won't actually start until August, but signing him up is the first step in putting him on that conveyor belt that will eventually take him away from me. It makes my heart hurt a little.

He's been maturing. Sometimes we can have actually interesting conversations. Most of our conversations are about Super Mario Brothers, which he finds endlessly fascinating and me not so much, but occasionally he'll ask what things mean or how things work and when I explain he actually GETS IT. That's fun.

He can also be a big help with Sam. At dinner last Sunday Sam didn't want to eat any more of his hot dog. Heath and I both tried to no avail. So Ben grabbed the fork, pretended it was a train and got Sam to eat!

And now that we've entered a tantrum-y phase with Sam, Ben seems to have sensed that I can't handle two kids who are acting up. So he's been more obedient and helpful lately, which is AWESOME. Especially because he's getting big enough to do actual helpful things. He can get a snack for himself and Sam, he can pour milk, he can wash his own hands, dress himself, brush his own teeth. It's really neat to watch him become more independent, and to see his pride when he accomplishes something all by himself. He's been practicing tying his shoes and though he's not quite there yet, he's been getting better and it makes me proud to see him keeping at it, even when it's frustrating.

School age is the time I've been looking forward to since Ben was born. They're independent and can handle most self care on their own, but they're not so old that they don't want to hang out with you. I'm sure there will still be hurdles and plenty of frustrations, but I'm hoping it's going to be more fun and enjoyable than the baby/toddler stage.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dinner... the final frontier...

I would never claim that Ben is a hugely picky eater, because I know some of those kids, but he's pretty bad. However, I make what I want for dinner and he has to deal with it. So Thursday night I made chicken tikka masala, never believing in my wildest dreams that Ben would eat it. I even kept some plain chicken out of the sauce for him. We always make him at least try what we're eating, but I never thought we'd get past that first bite. The first clue that something weird was happening was that he tried the chicken in the sauce without complaining. And he didn't make faces or say, "Blech!" He ate the bite and then I - to me, jokingly - asked if he wanted more. He said yes... AND THEN HE ATE IT. Without complaining. He said he liked it. He even ate some of his rice, which he NEVER eats. We didn't even USE the plain chicken, because as soon as Sam saw Ben eating the chicken in the sauce, HE ate it, too! Both of my children ate Indian food. It is truly a day for the record books.

From the above paragraph you can probably imagine what our dinners are normally like. Unless I serve spaghetti or pizza it's basically Heath and me trying to hold a decent conversation in between exclamations of horror at what's being served, whining, gross out noises and Heath saying, "You need to eat 5 more bites." It's so exhausting. Dinner is usually quite unpleasant for me. So to have a dinner go that smoothly is such a breath of fresh air. I want to remember it and hope. Maybe I can get him to eat stir fry!

Friday, January 10, 2014


Since Sam turned two, almost two months ago, his speaking has exploded. What's interesting to me is that even though he started speaking much later than Ben (who started at 14 months), he's picked up words and sentences at a much faster rate. With Ben it was a new word every week or every few days. With Sam we started out at "blue ball" and now we're getting phrases and short sentences out of him. Keeping track of how many words he's saying isn't even an option, as with Ben, because everyday he's saying so many new things. It's not like we're having intellectually stimulating conversations yet, but after waiting two years for him to speak, having him tell me he wants, "More milk" is awesome.

However, we are venturing into the terrible twos with him. It's one of those things that honestly made me pause for a second while considering having a second child. Do I really want to do that AGAIN? Well, it's here and we're doing it. Monday afternoon Sam woke up from his nap in a HORRIBLE mood. Everything made him mad. We were out of milk, so he had to drink water. Tantrum. I put that water in a straw cup instead of a sippy cup. Tantrum. I showed him the sippy cup I was going to use, and he agreed, but then I poured the water from the straw cup into the sippy cup. Tantrum. Unfortunately, we really needed to go to the grocery store, because we weren't just out of milk. I was hoping the car ride would calm Sam down. It did, but when I suggested he ride in the car cart, instead of pushing one of the small carts they have for children (curse you, Schnucks!), he flipped the fuck out. Total melt down. I could not calm him down, so we had to leave. We did not get his precious milk or anything else. Then when we got home he went right to the fridge asking for milk. Tantrum.

It was frustrating, to say the least. For some reason this week a switch was flipped in his brain and suddenly he wants to do everything himself, which is good and a very toddler thing. But of course it leads to even more frustration on both our parts when he just CAN'T do something, either because of lack of skill, or danger. It's just one of those things we have to get through and he'll emerge from it a more competent human, but I'll probably have a couple more grey hairs.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

We had a lovely Christmas

Sam loves Ben's backpack, so I-er-Santa thought he should have his own.

From Arianne. She knows me so well.

Also from Arianne. A book is always a good guess with her.

From Uncle Nick and Aunt Melissa.

Heath, with one of several presents he bought himself.

Ben with the new Mario game. We didn't get a picture of him opening the new video game system to go with it. Heath took a video and it's the most anti-climactic Big Present video ever. He figured it out before he even opened it!

Avery's not looking, but Sam is so cute!