Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Winter doldrums, life updates


It happens.

We've been around.  I've been around.  I think I just sort of got wrapped up in living life (which has for the most part been wonderful), and surviving this winter while trying to stay busy yet lacking motivation to really do anything super substantial with my time.  Specifically, obviously, I've been lacking the motivation to do any sort of life documentation beyond hitting "share" on Instagram or Facebook.

Ugh.  I have over 3,300 photos on my iPhone, which makes me a little sick to my stomach since I'm guessing at least 70% of them are blurry repeats and need to just be deleted but I haven't kept up on any of that nonsense.

Don't even get me started on my Gmail account.  

(Type A friends, are you feeling twitchy?)

So whatever.  The truth is, like everyone else in Minnesota, I'm cracking up a little after this long winter, and I hate to say it but I've spent too much of the last few months wishing the hours, days, weeks, would just go faster and we could get to the point where we could enjoy some freaking sunshine and fragrant flowers and muddy park time and green grass and burgers on the grill and music on the patio and windows open and iced coffee and donuts while we explore the neighborhood pulling the boys in the wagon.

I mean.  COME ON.

Instead, we've spent a lot of time being adorable and playing in the living room.  (Yes, that includes me, I am insanely adorable these days.)

Lots of time to practice sharing, to learn how to take turns, to work on controlling our emotions and taking deep breaths before expressing our anger in inappropriate ways.

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See?!  Totally Kicking A at this "sharing" thing.

(No, I still haven't painted my dining room.  Shut up.)

The hours of 4:00 - 6:00 PM still get dicey every single day, making dinnertime almost ALWAYS a real peachy, fun, relaxed family time in our home.

Gus is majorly into anything that has to do with outer space.  Obsessed with rocket ships, martians, planets, space storms, flying to the moon, and of course Wall-E.

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Superheroes, too, have started to become a big part of our life.  He loves to wear his Spider-man and Batman pajamas, and the exciting anticipation of wearing them makes initiating the bedtime process a whole lot easier some evenings.  Three is such a fun age, trying at times, of course, in fact there are almost always going to be trying times throughout each day even, but everything else?  Amazing.  It is so fun to see him become a kid, do kid things, get excited about stuff that I know I personally got excited about when I was a kid.  (Hello, SUPERHEROES!)

And then there's all the learning, the talking, the questions, the insights into his little mind.  He's telling jokes now, sharing these big ideas about what he wants to do, how he's going to do it, what we should be doing, telling us stories, asking questions, initiating games with his little brother that usually involve wrestling or jumping or chasing and almost always end in someone getting hurt.


And yeah, testing boundaries, pushing buttons, throwing fits, coaxing us into power struggles, wearing us down...  That too.  He's talking a lot about feelings these days, telling us quite often how frustrated or angry or sad he is, which, yeah, I'm glad he's understanding those feelings.  I'm relieved he's starting to be able to work things out, it's the reason why we talk so much about feelings, but it also makes my heart ache a little bit.  Because clearly this age is difficult for him as well.

Getting him dressed in the morning is something I dread more than anything else.  He HATES getting dressed and HATES having to participate in the process and almost every day he stalls and wanders around and ignores me when I try to start the process, finds anything else to do to avoid it, even runs away from me and flat out refuses to cooperate.

Gus wearing Louie's coat, which both boys found to be HILARIOUS.
Louie also is seen here chewing on his hands, per usual.  Because TEETHING  Constant.  TEETHING.

I'm trying to encourage him to dress himself, and I know that added pressure is possibly part of the reason he has started to resist even more, but OH MY GOD.  I offer choices, I try to make it fun, I offer rewards, and then when desperation sets in I make empty threats.  It's really quite ridiculous. A few weeks ago, a Monday morning, we didn't really have anything pressing to do or get ready for, other than a quick trip to Target at some point before lunchtime, so I tried to give him the time, no pressure, to do it himself.  When he refused, I went downstairs with Louie to do some chores, told him he could come down when he was dressed and we would then go to Target.  No pressure though, take your time buddy.  If you need help, just ask.

45 minutes later I was not so kumbaya about things.

"At least take your pajamas off yourself!  I'm very frustrated with you.  I'm not coming up until your pajama pants are OFF!  I know you can do it Gus!"  He did eventually do it, removed his pajamas and then with a tiny bit of direction and help, dressed himself, which I was quite relieved to see because I was honestly starting to wonder if there was something wrong with him, if maybe he physically COULDN'T do it.

But he did it, and he was proud of himself, and I do know he struggles with some other fine motor skills so it's something he just needs to keep practicing and working on, and eventually it won't be so difficult.  But I don't have 45 minutes to do this every day.  And there's such a fine line, when we put too much pressure on him, when we don't have time to let him take his sweet time, it just all blows up in our face.  He's the kind of kid that shuts down when something's difficult, wants to give up really quickly.  I can't tell you how often I hear "I can't do it mommy!" which is totally infuriating and disheartening, and I'm not really sure how to encourage him without being pushy and getting annoying.

Because goodness, my patience is running thin.  It is so hard to... just... wait...  But I feel like that's what I have to do.  It will click at some point.   I mean, no one ever went to high school without being able to dress themselves right?  At some point he will do it... right?  (Please.)  Well, we have until next fall for him to at least perfect the whole pants up and down thing, since he'll be going to preschool 3 times a week and they can't/won't be able to help him go to the bathroom.

Yup.  My baby!  Preschool!

I know many 3-year-olds are already in preschool, but Gus has the, in my opinion, good fortune of having an early September birthday, so he'll be basically 4 when he starts preschool, and then he'll do that for 2 full years before going to Kindergarten.  I'm pretty excited, and nervous for him since he doesn't have a lot of experience in such a structured environment, but I think the program we chose will be a good fit for him, and it's in the same building where we attend ECFE classes, so I'm hoping that will make the transition easier on him.  The whole thing still stresses me out, but I loved school so dang much as a kid, I just want him to love it too.  Hoping against hope that he does, and hoping that he has teachers that don't just understand but appreciate rambunctious, sweet, silly boys whom are a little reserved at first with new people and new environments.


And then there's Louie, my insane baby toddler.  He is such a handful, I can't even believe it, but also so perfectly beautiful.  Truly, he is gorgeous, I could just nibble on his little neck and cooch his little belly and inhale his delicious scent all day long.  He is funny and crazy, always smiling his big old cheesy grin, and we just love having him around, he brings so much joy to our lives.

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He talks so much, I don't remember how much Gus was talking at this age, but goodness.  Louie never shuts up. Some of it, most of it, is incoherent babbling, coupled with wild and sometimes forceful gestures, but he also knows how to communicate a number of things with actual words.  For months now he's been saying things like, bite and milk when he wants food or drink (if that wasn't clear), and now I swear it's something knew every day.  He says book, mine, up, down, mama and mommy, dada, ball, bye-bye, outside, Bella, puppy, baby, hi, truck, track, sock, hatnight-night (which can mean he wants to either actually go to bed, or he just wants to nurse), banana, rice, grandma, grandpa, and as of yesterday, Wall-E which made me laugh so hard I almost cried.  Oh and he has to have a word for Gus, I know he must, but I haven't figured it out yet.  Need to pay more attention to his incoherent babbling.  And I'm sure he has more words, those were all just off the top of my head.  And I'll add that I do apologize for the boring list, but I don't really keep baby books, (really meaning, at all), so that list is for future me's nostalgic enjoyment.

(Future me, I hope you're appreciating all that sleep you're getting regularly.)  

So I love the crazy cool communication that is going on with this boy, but I could do without some of Louie's patented "eh!-eh!-eh!-eh!" (it is the soundtrack to my current life, on a constant loop in my head) and pointing/reaching/lunging for when he wants something and it's taking me too long to figure out what.  If I remember correctly, this lasts for the better part of this second year, so... awesome.  ;)


What else is Louie into?  Well, besides his brother, and anything he might be doing or playing with at any given time, he's crazy into animals, books, books about animals, animal sounds, balls are still the greatest, peek-a-boo, playing "this little piggy" with his toes, climbing stairs, running around outside in the driveway before we leave to go anywhere, throwing things down the laundry chute, and climbing onto pieces of furniture like chairs and beds, and then yelling, stuck! when he doesn't know how to get down.  


Life with these boys is wild, and I'm so lucky.


Oh, and before I go, this also happened while I've been not writing:

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My nephew, my brother's little boy.  Life is crazy awesome.  Now THIS has been fun.  Seeing Ben become a dad.  And poor Michelle, she looks so tired there, after 16 odd hours of un-medicated labor.  But I'm so happy that she was able to get the birth she wanted and prepared for, she is a rock star.  And now a mom.  Though the two sort of go hand in hand, right?


Berbs33 said...

I love hearing stories about your boys! Mason is not far out of the stages that Louie is in and he is still very much doing some of those same things still (like getting himself up onto something and then yelling "stuck" until I save him)!! And hearing that Gus gets frustrated and says "I can't do it" makes me feel a little bit of relief as Colton does this quite a bit to us... usually when we ask him to do his homework. He will sit there and just stare at the book, and cry and get angry and really appear to be struggling but it is same book he read last week with zero problems... it is very frustating and makes me want to scream and shake him and tell him to stop with the crap and just read the book... takes every once of patients in me to remain calm and let him figure it out on his own and finally just agree to do it like we all know he can! Anyways, enough rambling. Love reading your posts and about your life and of course love all the pics of your beautiful boys! Hoping I dont have to wait 2 months to read another post!

Lisa said...

And she’s baaaaack! :)

Even though I reminded you a couple of times of your hiatus from blogging, it really only means your life is full of plenty of other more important things. And that’s not bad.

What a lovely post about the boys and what they’re like these days. It is crazy to think about Gus going to preschool soon, and for Louie to already be saying all those words. They really do grow up fast, don’t they? Wasn’t it just last week that I was over holding newborn Louie while Gus held tight to my pony tail and drank his milk? But as you pointed out, there is always something new to look forward to with their growing.

Good luck with weeding through your photos. Do you have the Flickr app to upload from your phone? It’s awesome.

Adore the nearly last photo, with the boys hugging each other. Seriously so dang sweet.

Cannot believe one of Louie’s early words is Wall-E. Just imagine all that Gus will be teaching him!

Let’s hope spring weather is near and we can all get out of the house and enjoy life!

Erin said...

OMG I was so excited to see a post from you!! So glad life is going well and I agree, it is SO hard to get caught up in the "whatever, life is blah now but soon (HA) we'll be able to go outside so I won't change anything" and that is totally biting me in the butt lately because it doesn't appear that anything will change soon!! I'm running out of ways to make weeknights even remotely enjoyable though. They are fine and I know it's just ME that's bored, the kids don't care but still.

The getting dressed thing is absurd and so frustrating. I'm very glad Annie is motivated by sticker charts/rewards because we just did one for getting PJs on and getting dressed in the morning and it worked well, and I think gave her the confidence to know she COULD do it. However, I do often just do it for her because her process is SO SLOW. Like it'll be fine and then she notices that her socks are pink and has to sit there examining them for 10 minutes when WE HAVE TO GO TO WORK!!! I don't know what it is about getting dressed, but unless it's one of her 3 favorite things to wear (LONG dresses that MOVE when she twirls) she often gets emotional and weepy when it's time to get dressed. Someday it'll end but not a moment too soon ;)

Erin said...

I love this post. I know I had a bunch of thoughts while I was reading it last night on my phone, but I can't remember any of what I was going to say... except that we are definitely dealing with the dawdling 3 year old around here!

For Miles it's not so much dressing itself but just getting motivated to DO anything in particular in a remotely timely fashion. Pee, get dressed and ready to go, etc. I seriously have to build in 20 extra minutes for going pee before we leave the house!

Julia Goolia said...

Excited to see a post from you, too!!

OMG, my Type A self didn't do well with your beginning post;)

Ugh, the dawdling. Hate it.

Suzi said...

So happy to see this :) Love you guys!!!

Angela said...

That is a great picture of Ben and Michelle!