Excuse me while I channel Cher

Jack is in the middle of something…I don’t know if it’s a growth spurt or a developmental spurt or both but it is pretty aggravating. The last three or four (really I’ve lost count) nights we’ve been awoken by him wailing in his sleep. My guess is that he is having nightmares. He doesn’t wake up from them and although I try to calm him by patting his back it doesn’t really help. It’s frustrating to not be able to do anything except lay there awake and listen to him moan…I have trouble falling back asleep even after he’s quieted because I hear him in my head anyway. My brain isn’t working so well during the day now.

He’s also been eating a TON. Last night for dinner he had two tubes of yogurt, 8 pieces of salami, two rounds of cheese, half of a clementine, a cookie…I think that’s it. That is a lot though! This morning before we even left the house he had one and a half fruit/grain bars and half of a banana. I swear the kid looks taller already.

Jack has also been increasingly stubborn and bossy. He wants to do things by himself and throws a fit if we interfere without being asked/told. Last night David split Jack’s orange in half and Jack flipped out and cried for 45 minutes demanding that I put it back together. Sheesh! If I could turn back time…

I can’t even imagine what things will be like two or three months from now. The leaps he makes now are so startling and I’ve barely wrapped my head around one before another one comes into play. For his dad’s birthday, I was able to get Jack to draw a J and an A on the birthday card before he refused to draw the rest of his name. Ever since then, he’s started drawing random letters (and things that look like letters) on his artwork at daycare. I can’t believe I have a child old enough to be writing! That’s just nuts!

Sweet dreams

As much as I feel impatience when Jack and I go through the bedtime routine every night, I also cherish those special moments.

I love that, no matter what, we have time set aside each night to read books and talk about the stories.

I love that we will always say goodnight with a multitude of hugs and kisses. I love hearing him whisper, “I love you, mom” with a sigh.

I love discussing what he wants to dream about.

I love that when I tell him to close his eyes he replies, “I just want to close one eye.”

I love snuggling up to him, smelling his neck and nuzzling his skin while I hold his hand or caress his hair. It soothes me as well as him. It’s so soothing, in fact, that I have fallen asleep right next to him more often than not.

Even though I don’t love listening to him call for me over and over again when he should be drifting off to sleep, I love that he knows I will answer if he doesn’t give up calling.

I love that face. Photo (c) 2009 Sarah ReedeI love that face. Photo by @Sarahndipitea

For the love of naps

I know there are some 3 year olds out there who are no longer taking naps…and I am so very sorry for their parents. Every once in a while, Jack skips his, but for the most part we are slaves to naptime in our house. At a minimum, naptime usually lasts 1.5 hours…but typically it’s closer to 2.5-3 hours long. Sometimes I get a nap in there, as well! Oh naptime…how I love thee!

Yesterday Jack told his daycare provider that he wasn’t sleepy and skipped his afternoon nap. When I picked him up he was running around like a nut, circling me, climbing on me, throwing himself at me…I knew he was so tired he was loopy and it was only 5:30. He could barely sit still to put his shoes on, yet he was determined to put them on himself…I ended up having to help him because he couldn’t settle down enough to focus!

When we got home, Jack continued his wacky behavior. He consented to playing a java applet game that David programmed for a bit and then demanded to see princesses on the computer. I tried to get him excited about the Nutcracker Ballet (on our schedule for next month) but he wasn’t quite convinced the dancers were princesses. We found videos of a Sleeping Beauty ballet and then the kid spent a bunch of time pirouetting around the kitchen “like a princess.” Hmm, maybe ballet is in his future??

Jack used the potty by himself for the second night in a row, which was fantastic, but he did it after brushing his teeth and then he wanted a chocolate reward. ūüėõ That wasn’t too bad, but getting him to bed was a nightmare. Ever since Halloween he’s been wanting to wear his Buzz Lightyear costume. I’ve managed to hold him off by telling him it’s dirty, but last night he was not taking no for an answer. In the absence of his actual costume, he wanted to wear his Buzz pajamas, which are at his dad’s. He delayed readying for bed by jumping on his mini trampoline and ended up bonking his lip on the handles…which led to a fantastic fit of crying. I quickly ran out of patience when the owie crying stopped and the fake, loud-pitched “feel sorry for me” crying began.

He eventually settled for his Superman pajamas, but of course he had to get undressed all by himself and he refused to unbutton/unzip his pants first. If y’all see red bruises on his hips, it’s not from me, I can guarantee you that!

We read the program from Princess Classics as a bedtime story, and then Jack wanted to read more princess books. Unfortunately, we have none! I lied and told him that the mother in a couple of Edward Gorey books he has is a princess and he let me read those to him. Afterward he said he wanted “a big princess book” and threw a FIT when one did not appear. The kid was screaming like a banshee for a good hour and there was no calming him. I left the room to let him get it out for a while and then came back to read The Princess and the Pea out of the (terribly written) fairytale book we have (which he had refused to read earlier) and look at all of the pictures of princesses contained therein…he finally calmed down and went to sleep without too much fuss.

I then took a sudafed (still fighting a cold!) and watched a bit of a movie before totally conking out for the night. Thank goodness for sleep…and please let that kid never skip a nap again!

Preparation

I’ve never much liked surprises.¬† I am a planner and I like to know what is going to happen next.¬† Maybe that is why I feel so in sync with this stage of Jack’s development. ¬†Every night around 8:30 I tell Jack “soon we will go read books.”¬† He brushes his teeth and does whatever he feels like he needs to do and then announces that he is ready to read books.¬† We usually read three.¬† I can switch out one or two but it’s good to keep a standard book in there (right now it is “Underwear Do’s and Don’ts” by Todd Parr).

After reading through two of the books, I announce, “Okay, Jack, this is the last book.¬† Then we will turn out the light and go to sleep.”¬† The last book is read and Jack lays down while I turn off his light.

“You’ve gotta lay with me and snuggle, Mama,” Jack tells me.

“Okay, I will lay down with you for a little bit, but then you have to go to sleep and Mama goes to her bed.”

I tuck him in and lay down beside him.  We snuggle and hold hands for a bit, and then I tell him goodnight and walk out.  He usually tosses and turns for 20 minutes or so and then falls asleep.  Occasionally he calls out for me and I go back in to reassure him that everything is okay and he can go to sleep.

I’m continually amazed that this process works.¬† I think¬†preparation is the¬†key.¬† I let him know, sometimes several times before actually doing anything, that we are going to do XYZ “soon.”¬† Most of the time I do not even have to tell him when it’s time to do these things…he tells me HE is ready.¬† (Lest you think he is always this easy going, a random¬†“okay, time to go!” will elicit tears at the drop of a hat.)

I actually feel like I know what I’m doing these days as a mom.¬† I have my moments, of course, and I still struggle with guilt over various things, but I have Jack right there to show me that I’m doing a pretty good job.¬† He is happy and healthy and smart and sweet and everything that I could hope to have in a kid.¬† Bizarrely, I never prepared myself for that, and I’m totally enjoying this surprise.

Leaving toddlerhood behind

My baby turns 3 in less than a month. Can I even call him my baby anymore? He is so far from being a baby, I know, but he is the only one I’ve got!

Jack is the same kid he has always been – bright and shiny and creative. Funny and sweet and stubborn. As he gets older he just developes these traits more and more. I never realized before he came into my life that parenthood is its own kind of love story. I loved that little guy immediately but that love deepened, evolved, and continues to surprise me with how profoundly it affects my life. My existence is intricately tied to Jack and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jack is rapidly leaving toddlerhood behind. While this is great, it is also a little sad. His carefree attitude is starting to fade a bit. He now has nightmares about the things he used to love (spiders, monsters, dragons) and has developed a fear of the dark. He is more aware of illness and aches now; although he skinned his hand a few weeks ago, he still insists on wearing a bandaid. He is now less adventurous about trying new foods, as well. He was never especially good about it but we could get around it by placing a bit of food on his lips where he had to lick it off. Now he runs off yelling if we try to do that!

The boy has a pretty good sense of order now. He stayed the night with his dad this past weekend because I knew he wouldn’t be okay with Aunt Holly and Cousin Sabrina sleeping in HIS bed. And no way would he consent to sleeping in our bedroom! His dinner must be eaten in a particular place, his “sleeping blanket” (which he also calls his sheep – aka sheet) is the only thing he will sleep with, and if he holds the rail while going up the stairs everyone else has to! He declares that I am HIS mom when I pick him up from daycare and he doesn’t like it when I hold other kids. It’s a good thing I don’t have a second right now!

Although he is possessive of me and his things, he is also much happier these days to go between his two homes. It helps a lot that we have a steadier schedule and instead of four trips back and forth a week, it is only 2. As everyone knows, toddlers like consistency and routine.

I am working on planning Jack’s third birthday party. I am thinking of doing a rocket theme seeing as that is what his main focus is these days. He still LOVES George but we did that last year. I can just see the look on his face when he sees a big rocket on his cake. So much fun!