Saturday, January 30, 2010

The food table

We have moved out of wedding showers, are toning down the baby showers, but have full bore arrived into the season of "kid parties". Today the boys and I went to a party for Gavin's friend Ali. She's three and loves all things pink. It really was a good party and she was so happy.
My issue:
I don't mind birthdays so much, what I do mind is having to take both my boys by myself, looking at the food table and knowing I will be consuming so little of it. It's always sad to me when I see this beautiful spread of food, that I did not have to prepare, and I barely get a chip in my mouth. Between feeding my always hungry sons and attempting to monitor their activity I felt my stomach starting to eat itself as I saw all this great food and could not find a way to make it into my mouth. I am pretty sure the folks I did not know there, and maybe some I did, thought I was a bottomless pit at the rate at which I was going back to the scone plate. I just wanted one for myself, but two little mouths always landed at my knee devouring them before I could taste the buttery yumminess.
When I went to fill my plate, Gavin had drama over sharing a balloon. When I went to get a drink, Brayden fell down the slide. Then it was time for presents. Then cake...which of course my sons get first dibs. Then I needed to get Gavin to the potty, which resulted in a full on fit (what is new there?). Finally, I decided it was probably time to go.
I was able to consume one bite of melon, half a pinwheel sandwich, three bites of scone and a half a cup of punch. Oh and quite a few chips, seeing as those were fairly portable, while trying to corral my kids and force them into sharing. My kids on the other hand, gorged themselves,loved the party and want to go back.
Tomorrow we have a one year old birthday for Shawn's best friend's daughter. Shawn is coming. I am going to eat until I hurt. And then I am going to have cake.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

nature vs. nurture

Today at MOPS a question was posed about nature vs. nurture. If there is one thing I have learned about having boys, it's that you can nurture as much as you want, but nature will have its way. I have not nurtured the fascinations with trains or garbage trucks, but still there is a natural fascination that I cannot break. It's unreal.
In no way did I attempt to get my child to learn the names of each Thomas the Train engine. In fact, until I had boys, I didn't even know there were more trains than Thomas. I most definitely did not encourage them to want all the trains, especially at $15 a pop (I have actually considered taking up wood carving, because those trains are so ridiculously priced.) And I do not encourage them to build tracks every day. Yet still...these things occur.
Garbage trucks are a whole different story. I now own four, ranging from hotwheel sized to half of Brayden's size. The boys have recently revamped their fascination with these and love to "Play garbage together," as Gavin says. They load up the plastic food, french fries being the most fought over, they apparently make for good trash, then go take it to a place to "dump, dump, dump." They'll play garbage trucks for up to an hour together. Not to mention, they got a garbage truck video (VHS, none the less) at the video store and it's actually the first video Bray will sit all the way through. Gavin watches it every night. It's crazy, annoying and they love it! No, I had nothing to do with teaching them the difference between the front loader and heil side loader, but they found out and they can point them out on the road. Nature took it's course.
As for nurture, I think I am the one getting nurtured. I can now name multiple Thomas engines and sing quite a few of the songs. I make a mean track, using all the track we own. I know how to play garbage trucks..."Tonka sanitation services, ready for pick up." I can quote the quotes from the buttons and I am eerily good about recreating the lift and dump noise on the medium sized front loader.
Do I let the boys play with dolls? Sure, we bought one when Bray was born. Gav knows what to do. Feed it, burp it, swaddle it and find a truck to drive it in. The last part he came up with on his own. Brayden found it once. He'll hug it, set it down, then run over to his matchbox truck, wrap it up in a small blanky, pick it up and pat it night night.
I don't know much, but I do know the question made me laugh. I am doing my best to nurture many things, and I believe you can. But we do have a healthy quantity of things in this house that arrived by nature and nature alone.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Friday: I'd been putting off a trip to the bank and Costco all day and finally decided, after naptime we are going! I got all ready, got the kids up, gave them a package of fruit chews (thinking this would be a great little treat to prep them for the outing) and went to take Gavin potty before we left. The chewies were gone and he had a complete melt down, screaming, kicking and yelling about how, "I don't want potty and I don't want Costco". You and me both, kid, but I am out of Ziplocks.
I finally just dragged him out to the van, where Brayden sat happily strapped and munching on chewies, and wrestled Gavin into his seat. He cried the whole way to the bank. The fake kind. The kind where they start strong, wind down and then stop. About a second after they stop, they realize their still mad and rev up again. It was a fantastic start to an already dreaded trip.
After another melt down about which drive through lane we use (Gavin wanted the one by the window, which of course had a line) we finally finish with the bank, hand back the stickers they give us and everyone is happy for about 5 minutes...until we pull up at Costco.
A jeep totally swipes a spot I was waiting for. I had my blinker and everything and it just swoops in. It was such a great spot, so close. I see the side of the jeep and the whole thing is covered with "Progressive"...I am now never getting progressive insurance.
I continue to the far reaches of the earth and park the van. "Here we are."
Gavin points out, "It's raining."
Mom, feeling like a louse because she has on a coat and they don't. "Don't worry, you have on long sleeves and it's only a sprinkle...we'll run!"
Gavin, "I don't want to run."
Mom, "No suprise there."
We get out and do our best to get into Costco fast. I think the attempt at speed may have slowed us down.
Finally, we are in. We spend an entire trip informing Gavin that the race track they had out at Christmas is gone. He doesn't get it and asks over and over to see it. I finally take him to all the mattresses and say, " race track. No toys. It's gone. There are none. Christmas is over and they took the toys. It's just beds and furniture." I felt mean. But I was tired of discussing the racetrack.
Gavin thinks and then says, "Okay mom, but can we go see the race track?"
Argh! I give up on trying to convince him and go on a hunt to find all the coupon items, which I swear they have moved to different locations. Upon looking in my purse for my last coupon I realize I don't have the envelope of cash from the bank. It's in the van. I search my purse another three times just to make sure I really screwed up.
Sure enough.
I wheel the cart up to the entry and park it to the side. Gavin asks where we are going.
"Out to the van, so fast so mommy can get our money."
"And then we go home?"
", we have to come back and buy the groceries."
"I don't want to."
"Neither do I."
I look outside. It is now a torrential downpour. I look at my cart, at the rain, my cart again. I've already shopped. We're out of Ziplocks. I love Ziplocks. I am not coming back here later...we're goin' for it.
I kindly ask the Costco lady if I can set my cart aside and come back to get it. She looks at me, at my coatless kids and declares, "It's really raining." Thanks Sherlock!
"Yes, I know, but I just can't come back again", I say as she gives me a look declaring me a horrible mom. At this point, I did not need that look, I had achieved feeling this way all on my own.
I put the kids in a new empty cart, take off my coat, put it over my kids heads and proceed to high tail it through the parking lot. I am in a short sleeve shirt, lightweight Yoga pants, getting SOAKED and my son is yelling, "Mama, it's so wet." We call him Captain Obvious.
I get to the van, get my money and run back to the entry way. The lady looks at me, dripping in my T-shirt and I take the coat off my kids, trying to salvage some dignity, but realize it is far too soaked to put back on. Brayden at least, is giggling, thinking the whole thing is hysterical. Gavin is just very concerned about his wet knees and insisting I get a napkin to wipe them off.
I head over to the lines and see that of course, they grew exponentially while we made our trek out to the Egypt, where our van was parked. I silently send up a prayer for the driver of the Progressive jeep, asking God to teach them a lesson or two about stealing parking spots.
We finally get through the line, get our smiley face on our receipt and head back to the van.
I throw my coat back over my kids and do my best, but with all the groceries it's slow going. Brayden has taken to pulling off the coat and Gavin is trying valiantly to keep his knees dry. My T-shirt and pants are stuck to me. I get the kids in the van as fast as I can and then try to load up. My back is soaked clear through. Gross.
We get home and I run the kids in and strip them down. Brayden is in his diaper, Gavin running around naked and singing, "Nakers Nakers Nakers." I get some underwear on Gavin and quickly pull together some dinner.
They are naked. They are happy. I have Ziplocks. I am happy. I guess this is what we call success. I never pictured it to be my kids naked, my hair drenched and crazy, my groceries piled high and all of us sitting around eating chicken nuggets, but I'll take it. However, the next Costco trip, we're bringing Dad.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Alien forces

The personality progression of Gavin has been an interesting one:
Newborn: Compliant
Infant: Compliant
One Year: Compliant
Two Years: Compliant
Three Years: Alien Invasion...which fight his sweet spirit and turn him into crazy boy.
It's been amazing to watch, really.
I tell him "Take your blanket to your room."
"Ahhhh, Nooooo!" I hear as he runs away and falls to the ground in a fit. Screaming at the top of his lungs about how he "doesn't want to" I drag him to time out. I'll go back and ask if he has self control.
"Noo! I don't want to."
Again. Same response. About a half hour later....
"Mooooom, have self control Mom."
We go through the routine. Talk about what we did wrong. Talk about punishment. He asks for forgiveness, I give him a hug and tell him,
"Okay, now it's time to put blanky in your room."
He crumples in my arms screaming, "But I don't want tooo!"
Again? Really?
I set him away from me and ask, "Who are you?"
"Grrrr" is the only reply. It's the alien talking.

I love my son and I still see daily glimpses of his sweet spirit as he works along side his brother, teaching and coaching. As he runs to me, just to give that hug. As he turns and makes a face, letting me know, "Mom, I'm silly." He's still in there and I am working so hard to cultivate that kid. However taking down the alien is a full time job.
I have given up on praying for an exorcism and have decided the best route is to pray for myself: Wisdom, understanding, and patience, and my son: gentleness, humility, and obedience.
In the meantime, I will continue fight the alien forces until my sweet boy knows how to do it for himself.