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.
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.
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
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, hat, night-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:
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?