Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Shopping Story

Once upon a time there was a Mom who went shopping at Target with her two young boys. And when she left the store she sent her husband this message:

"I am never going shopping with these boys again".

You see, a simple trip to the store for diapers and milk is never quite that simple. It begins with the older boy insisting on riding in the biggest cart the store offers. The kind where both boys sit behind the cart and help Mommy "steer". This is great except that it doesn't turn down most aisles and one of the straps is broken, so big brother keeps leaning over and hurting little brother. Little brother retaliates. Mom steers the cart with one hand while separating the boys with the other.

Mom decides to try on one shirt in the dressing room, after spending 15 minutes maneuvering the huge shopping cart into the handicap stall. Once she has the shirt on she can't see herself in the mirror because her boys and the cart are blocking her view. She gives up and moves on to the diaper aisle.

On the way there the little brother is no longer distracted by the assortment of snacks Mommy has been shoving into his mouth to keep him quiet. He starts screeching and screaming. This little boy is LOUD. Passing customers are staring, but the Mom averts her eyes and continues on, trying in vain to hush both boys. Nobody can hear her over the racket.

She gets the diapers (they are on sale! small victory) and steers the ship over to the milk. Along the way her boys knock as many food items off the shelves as they can. Mom takes away their toys, which is followed by even louder howling. She is pretty sure the adjacent stores can now hear her children. What was she looking for? Oh yes, the milk.

At this point Mom has already gotten the "You sure have your hands full" comment from 3 separate strangers.

Mom gets into line and remembers 5 things she forgot to purchase. She is too tired to get out of line and go look for said items. Besides, she's pretty sure one of her sons pooped his diaper. By the time her items are being rung up, younger son has reached his limit. The Mom unstraps him and attempts to hold him on one hip while searching in her purse for money. Instead she finds cracker crumbs and a toy car. Oh yes, and half a rotten banana from two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, older brother keeps threatening to climb down from his seat. The Mom sternly tells him NO multiple times. But the minute she turns her back he attempts to climb from his seat forward into the shopping cart basket. Except he had taken off his shoes about two minutes after they arrived at the store, and he isn't as agile without them on. He slips and comes thisclose to landing on the floor on his head. The cashier lets out a loud gasp and the teenage girls in line behind the Mom are staring in disbelief. They look at each other and make a silent vow never to have children.

The Mom fills her basket with her bags and pushes the cart out to the car. She is still holding the youngest boy, who rips the sunglasses off of her head and throw them into the street, popping the lens out of them for about the 99th time since Mom bought them. Once at the car the Mom spends 10 minutes trying to strap her youngest into his car seat. He screams and writhes as though he is being tortured. Mom breaks out in a sweat. When she finally has him buckled in, she turns around to discover that her older son has pushed himself off of the car with his hands, and he and the shopping cart he is sitting in have rolled halfway into the parking lot. The Mom races to grab him.

Everyone is safely in the car and Mom is on the verge of a breakdown. She pulls herself together, tells herself that the prior events are really quite comical, and that perhaps she should take the advice of others and "cherish" these fleeting moments.

When they are almost home her older son suddenly asks her why she didn't buckle him into his carseat. The Mom rushes to pull over to the side of the rode and buckles in her son, thanking God for protecting them from an accident. She sends up a quick prayer for patience, kindness, wisdom....anything that will help her with these boys.

And that is when she texts her husband. And vows never to go shopping with her children again.

Except that vow is broken only two days later, when they run out of bananas. They are the only fruit her older son will eat, so they are a necessity to keep in the house. Mom doesn't want to go back to the store, and considers scrounging around in her purse for that 2-week old banana to feed to her son, but wisely decides against that plan. See, God is already blessing her with wisdom.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ryan's 1st Dentist Visit

Ryan went to the dentist a few weeks ago for his first tooth cleaning. I wasn't sure how he would do, sitting still, with strange things in his mouth. But he pleasantly surprised me! He did so well. He sat still the entire time and didn't make a peep. (The cartoon they let him watch may have had something to do with this).

The bad news was that Ryan already had 2 cavities, in his back bottom molars. (Oops. Guess our brushing skills need some improvement) Because Ryan is still a few years away from losing his baby teeth, the dentist recommended having the cavities filled now before they get worse.

I was a little nervous scheduling the appointment, picturing Ryan running out of the room when they tried to drill his teeth. They assured me that some small children do really well and don't even need any numbing or pain relief.
 Yea, I'd say he did just fine. Dare I say he even enjoyed it? He got to kick back in his chair, wear some cool sunglasses, and watch TV.

I was so proud of Ryan! He definitely proved me wrong. What a tough little guy.

Afterwards I asked him how his mouth was feeling. His response was "Good!"

Monday, August 26, 2013

Germ Sharers

They might not be too good at sharing toys, but they sure know how to share their germs! Both boys (3 if you include Adam) are sick again. This is their second cold since July.
And once again I am the last healthy one standing, wiping noses and giving hugs and medicine. Let's hope this one doesn't turn into ear infections again! Or spread to me.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Brotherly Love and Hate

 A rare moment when they are being nice to each other!
More and more these days I am witnessing my boys genuinely having fun together. I sometimes overhear them giggling together and it is so special to hear. It doesn't happen all that often, but when it does I love seeing them enjoying each other's company. (Think of this picture as the calm before the storm. I'd say their limit of being nice to each other is about 3 minutes).
There's still a lot of fighting, and I know that's only going to get worse. But people tell me to just wait a few years. By that age my boys will love playing together. I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Naps: From 2 to 1

Just when I think I've got something figured out with one of my kids, they go and change things up.

Lucas' sleep habits used to be so good, but for the past two months his schedule has gotten all out of whack, and I can't seem to straighten it out. He started having a really hard time falling asleep for his two daily naps, so I assumed he was making the transition to one nap. I still think that's the case.....but we just can't figure out how to get from A to B. Or in this case, from 2 to 1.

The "experts" say that the average baby drops to just 1 nap by the age of 18 months, going from 2 1.5 hour naps to 1 nap lasting about 2-3 hours. Lucas has been so textbook in his sleep habits up until now, so I feel like he has the potential to take one long nap. But how to teach him this?
 
He will no longer fall asleep twice in one day, so now I just need to figure out the timing of his one nap. I've been trying to keep him awake until about 12:30 or 1 at the latest, and then putting him down for his one long nap. He seems really tired by this time, but most of the time he still takes an hour to fall asleep. And then he will only sleep for one hour. I can tell it's definitely not long enough for him because he's really crabby for most of the day. Perhaps I should be putting him down even earlier? (He wakes up around 6:30 or 7am)
 
His other new bad habit is to fall asleep in the car. He never ever used to do this, so I'm taking it as a sign of him being overly tired. The problem is that if he falls asleep in the car, even for 5 minutes, then that's his nap for the day. He won't fall asleep in his crib after that.
So I think now the nap issue is really a timing issue. I need to figure out that golden time of putting Lucas down so that he's tired, but not overly tired. Otherwise it's going to be meltdown city for most of the day.
 
And the little stinker is getting really good at throwing mini tantrums, so I want to figure out this napping thing soon!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Weelicious

Before I had kids I told myself I wouldn't be one of those parents who fed their children junk food. I wouldn't order them chicken nuggets and fries off of the kids' menu at restaurants. I would cook a healthy meal every night and they would eat the same thing Adam and I were eating. I would not be a short-order cook every night at dinner. If they grew up eating real adult food, they'd never get a taste for the unhealthy junk. Simple, right?

Then I had kids and a few things changed.
For the past 3 years I have continued to cook meals that sound good to Adam and I, telling myself that Ryan (and now Lucas) would eat what I cooked. Except they don't. I had it in my head that if I made a "kiddie" meal and tailored our dinner menu to the boys, even if it was healthy, that I was somehow giving in. And somewhere along the way, out of desperation to just get them to eat something, I resorted to feeding them kid food. Frozen chicken nuggets. Fruit strips. Cereal and milk for dinner. Frozen taquitos. And as a result, 90% of the time Ryan and Lucas eat a completely different meal than what I cook for dinner. That wasn't my intention, but somehow that's where we're at.
It's a lose-lose for everyone. Dinnertime is super stressful for me. Here is an example of what our house sounds like about an hour before dinner. I get stressed out and end up microwaving whatever is fast and easy for the boys to eat.
video
Something needs to change.

And then just this week I got a birthday present from my sister. Does she know me well or what? I LOVE reading through new cookbooks.

The weelicious cookbook! The author of this cookbook also has a blog where she shares her family-friendly recipes. The idea is that the food is healthy, yet kid-friendly. And the kind of food the entire family will enjoy eating. It's not so dumbed-down that the adults won't like it. But it's fun and familiar enough that babies, toddlers, and kids will (hopefully) eat it. I really needed this book.
 
So my new goal when menu-planning is to pick a couple nights a week and really think about my boys when planning those dinners. What will they eat and how can I present it in a way that is healthy and appealing? I looked through the recipes earlier this week and chose two that I thought might work. The first was chicken on a stick. Both my boys like chicken nuggets, and I have had some success in the past with homemade chicken nuggets. This recipe puts the breaded chicken tenders on a stick, which makes it more fun for the kids to eat. I was a bit hesitant because the chicken was coated in crushed up bran flakes, making it look really brown and "healthy".
 
 
As soon as Ryan saw it his eyes lit up and he grabbed a stick, sat himself down at the table, and started eating before I even asked him to. This never happens!
 Lucas even ate a few bites too! (He is SO picky these days). Now I'm wondering what else I can serve to them on a stick!
So hopefully being more intentional about serving my boys the healthy foods they will eat is going to pay off in the long-run. Last night Ryan ate a big serving of weelicious salmon for dinner because I coated it in a sweet honey teriyaki marinade. I guess this means we'll be eating salmon every week now! (Sorry Adam)

Have you ever made any weelicious recipes? Do you always cook dinner with your kids in mind? Or do you just cook what you want and hope they will eat it?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Quiet Time

I posted a while back about how I was going to stop allowing Ryan to nap. Bedtime was a nightmare, and so I decided that in order to make him as tired as possible at night, naps would have to go. The result? Success!! Instead of taking 2 hours to fall asleep at night, Ryan now typically falls asleep within 30 minutes of Adam or I laying down with him. It. Is. So. Nice. 
 
However, I would be lying if I said giving up his nap was easy. By late afternoon Ryan is just exhausted. And cranky. And I'm tired because I no longer get a little break in the middle of the day. So I implemented "quiet time". Basically, Ryan has to stay in his room for approximately 45-60 minutes and play quietly. The first few days were very rough, but Ryan caught on to the idea pretty quickly after a lot of discipline for coming out of his room. For about a week I thought everything was great. He was learning to play independently and I was still getting some time to myself. 
 
But then he started getting creative. And naughty. I would watch him on the video monitor and see him doing some crazy things.
Tying things to the doorknob, climbing up onto his dresser, unplugging the video monitor, unpeeling and snapping all 64 crayons in the box, taking all the clothes out of his closet, and his personal favorite, "cleaning up". For him this means picking up absolutely everything in his room and putting it on top of his bed. Oh and then there was the day he discovered the Christmas wrapping paper box beneath his bed.
Quiet time is turning into more work for me than I anticipated. I am going into his room every 5 minutes to tell him to stop doing whatever destructive/dangerous thing he is doing. Ryan's latest thing is to constantly come out of his room to use the bathroom. Except it always seems to be a false alarm. But how can I say no to his request when we're in the middle of potty training?

Uggg this is feeling like more work than it's worth. How do you make quiet time quiet? And non-destructive?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Twins

Surprise, I'm pregnant with twins!

Just kidding. I'm pretty sure I would pass out if I found out that were true right now.

I have been getting soooo many comments and questions lately about whether or not my boys are twins. Like almost every time I'm out in public with them, I get asked.

Good grief. They have some similar features, but they're certainly not identical. Or anywhere near the same size. At least not yet.