A little bit of discipline in my life

There is a part of me that really misses those earlier days of parenthood when all I had to worry about was keeping my baby alive and myself sane.  It didn’t seem like such an easy task at the time but at least it was fairly simple.  Now it’s not enough to keep the kid alive – I need to teach him stuff, too, and he is not quite as open to learning as he was as a little chubby, spongy baby.

Jack has been testing limits all over the place.  When he is asked to do something, he says “Mooom, I WILL – in 5 minutes.”  When that 5 minutes is up, he needs another 5, etc.  It’s not enough to give him choices or bribe him – he thinks even if he takes an hour to get dressed, he is still entitled to a reward.  And whenever he eventually does get around to doing what he is supposed to, he doesn’t want any adults watching him.  It’s like he is saying, “I can behave, but I refuse to do it for your benefit!”  Then there are the times when I tell him I need to take something away from him until he complies, he often responds with, “You can’t do that!”  It takes a lot of self control to not engage in an argument about what I certainly CAN do as his mother!

He’s been increasingly vocal about disliking going to daycare, as well – a place he has loved for nearly two years.  He claims he doesn’t like it there, that he doesn’t like the provider, that he doesn’t like learning or painting…nevermind that he is the last one to put his painting supplies away and many days when we pick him up he doesn’t want to leave.

Last week he started pushing some of the smaller kids in daycare (apparently because he doesn’t want them to touch his toys), and he has gotten into a “fight” with another boy his age.  Suddenly I am needing to discipline my kid!  We had a talk about appropriate behavior and I took away one of his favorite shows (Ben 10) until he could show me that he could behave at daycare.  There have been some major crying fits over this and that has been very hard for me.  My instinct to make him STOP CRYING is insanely strong and it kills me to hear him upset (and I now TOTALLY understand why some moms say “your dad will deal with you when he gets home!”).  I held my ground, though, and finally yesterday he got himself in gear.  He got to watch his show last night and this morning he asked if he could watch it again if he had another good day.  I said yes and then we talked about alternatives to pushing when the younger kids try to grab for his toys.  So…fingers crossed.

I’m not entirely sure what is driving Jack’s recent behavior (maybe it’s just a 4 year old thing) but theories include the testosterone surge that supposedly happens in 4 year old boys and the possibility that daycare isn’t challenging him properly anymore.  No matter what the case, we’re thinking it’s a good idea to channel this energy into something productive and maybe more physical like a tumbling class or peewee sports, where he can learn better impulse control.  His dad will be taking him an extra day a week soon and there are a lot of community resources for this type of thing in his area, so he’ll try some things out soon.

This is a weird place for me to be in.  I’m a real grown up now.  I’m that person saying, “You need to listen to me because I’m your mom and it’s my job to teach you about life!”  This more than anything makes me feel old.

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New Year Frenzy

A little more than 3 weeks into the new year and I’m already exhausted.  We adopted a dog from a rescue group right before the holidays:

Lambert has kept us pretty busy with walks and training and dog-proofing, which we fully expected.  What we didn’t expect was a skin infection right off the bat, followed by our next door neighbor deciding to take up a personal crusade to try to force us to get rid of our new dog – a dog who doesn’t bark or growl, who quickly and eagerly learned his name and basic commands, who climbs into our laps for love, and who whimpers because the cats won’t play with him.  How could anyone say that this dog is vicious (as it was called in to Animal Control)?  I don’t get it.  Neither did Animal Control…

We are lucky in that this is just one neighbor and everyone else who meets Lambert finds him to be a great dog.  Still, we have a lawyer just in case (said neighbor has threatened to sue) and there is a lot of activity surrounding this situation that we could have never anticipated.

In other news, Jack is doing great and is growing up too quickly for my liking.  He told me recently he wants to be mummified when he dies.  When I responded with, “Jack, I don’t really want to think about you dying and I hope it doesn’t happen for a very long time,” he told me, “But mom, everyone dies!”  I never thought I’d hear that from a 4 year old!

I still need to submit the application for Jack to attend Kindergarten in the fall.  I can hardly believe I have a child that age but there is no denying it!  We sat down recently and I wrote some words on his Magnedoodle and he could actually read them.  I suspect he can read even more than 3 letter words but he refuses to do anything of the sort in front of me.  He also dislikes to have his picture taken these days.  At least by me.  Maybe I am already embarrassing him…

I’ve attended a couple of baby showers this month for two long-time friends who are pregnant with their first babies.  It brought back a lot of memories and contemplation, especially with the addition of the puppy in our house.  I’m glad that I can be there for friends who are beginning the parenthood journey and share my experience so that maybe others can do it better.  I’m also hoping that if I do it again I’ll be able to keep in mind that I kind of know what I’m doing now.  That’s a good feeling.

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I’d like to call this red Lego Friday

I woke up at 8am this morning and Jack informed me he had a Lego lodged in his nose.  I was not able to determine WHY he had stuck a Lego up his nose until later, but I could see that it was a small, one-unit round Lego.  I grabbed a pair of tweezers to try to get it out but could not get a handle on the friggin’ thing.  Oh, and Jack doesn’t know how to blow his nose.  I know, weird.  I woke David up to see if he had any ideas.  He also tried with the tweezers but then sent me to the store for a nasal aspirator.  I stopped for some coffee, as well.  Hey, I needed something warm to hang onto!

Back home and the nasal aspirator didn’t do a damned thing.  Then we tried to get Jack to sneeze with pepper and feathers.  No go!  I started to get more desperate.  I tucked his right nostril closed, had Jack close his mouth, and tried to suck that puppy out of the left nostril with my mouth.  Yeah, ewwwww.  Also, salty!  I tried a couple times and it just wasn’t working.  ARG!

So at 9:30am we trotted down to Kaiser’s emergency room.  An ER nurse advised me to try reverse-CPR by pinching the unaffected nostril closed while blowing in Jack’s mouth.  Jack thought this was hilarious.  I tried several times and again, no luck!

In comes the doctor.  She had me try once again with the reverse CPR and saw that the Lego didn’t move.  She then got a few tools (longer tweezer type things with no sharp edges and an alligator clamp) and the nurses held Jack down, instructing him to only say “stop” if he felt pain.  Jack pretended he was a dragon and told them “the dragon is scared.”  Telling them about the dragon distracted him enough and the doctor was able to use the tweezers to get the Lego out.  Jack was as good as new!

We got a nice souvenir out of that $100 trip – the doc put the Lego in a specimen cup and gave Jack an Iron Man sticker.  It was then that Jack told me the little red Lego was dragon fire…he had wanted to breathe fire out of his nose.  Now that he has the Lego in the specimen cup, it is venom.  Awesome.

Happy black Friday!  And remember – the ER does not participate in post-Thanksgiving sales.

Growing Pains

Life is seriously nutty and busy right now.  I’m not sure how I’m even rolling with all of this but I seem to be keeping up for the most part.  Ya know, except for the part where I am not very present on my blog or twitter or any other social media platform.  Yikes.

Jack is in one of those phases of “disequilibrium” or whatever.  He has been more difficult during the past two months or so.  He will straight up ignore someone who tries to say hello or if the person persists Jack will make a face and squeal.  He climbs on me and head butts me.  He has poked me in the face with a stir stick and thrown toys at me.  He was acting up when we went out to dinner with the family prior to the wedding, and at one point actually sat on the floor and kicked his feet.  He can’t stand for me to be on the phone for any length of time – he will either ask me a million questions or start climbing on me.  He dawdles when he is supposed to be getting ready to get out of the house, so his dad has instituted a “no dawdling chart” wherein he gets a sad face if he procrastinates getting dressed in the morning.  I need to get one going, too.  David has a magical ability to just threaten to institute the dawdling chart and that gets Jack in line, but when I try to do the same, I get ignored by the kid.  It’s pretty nerve-wracking.  One morning recently Jack refused to get dressed, told me he didn’t like his daycare provider and also didn’t like learning…I think he is feeling overwhelmed by his realization that there is so much that he needs to learn.

His behavior is normal, I know, but knowing that doesn’t keep me from being stressed out by it.  I’ve been thinking a lot about how best to get us through this period but so far haven’t come up with much.  The best thing I can think to do is to wait it out.  Growing up is hard, yo, even if you aren’t the one doing the actual growing.

Random notes on Jack

  • He wants to be a bat for Halloween.  NOT Batman (which is unfortunate because he has quite a few costume options there).
  • He is determined to grow his hair long “like a Viking warrior.”  I have a feeling this idea came from his dad.  I haven’t been able to convince him to cut his hair yet and, to be honest, it is pretty cute.  Still, I’ve taken to calling him Beiber Boy, especially when he swings his head to get the hair out of his eyes.
  • Jack is suddenly very modest.  I’m not allowed to see his “parts” and usually have to leave the room while he is getting dressed (even if he is getting dressed in the living room).  This made for a conundrum during bath time last night because he wanted company while bathing.  I was instructed to look at the ceiling at all times, even while launching him into the bath like a rocket.
  • Naps appear to be a thing of the past.  Jack doesn’t seem to need them anymore and bedtime goes more smoothly without them anyway.
  • Jack will do almost anything for chocolate.
  • Scooby-Doo is now a big deal.  I wish he would have consulted me first.
  • We can usually interrupt Jack’s television or movie watching if we promise to record it.  He has that Tivo down these days and even paused a show all by himself to use the bathroom.
  • By the way, he is super fully potty trained.  He can still hold it for hours, though.  It’s pretty awesome that he uses the toilet, wipes his butt, and washes his hands all without help.
  • He is a child of a million questions, usually something that goes like, “What does doll mean?”  I feel like a walking dictionary.
  • Half the time he says something so grown up sounding that we feel like we couldn’t have heard him right.  I couldn’t figure out what the hell he was saying about “My gray shun” and that was because he was talking about migration.  It’s not totally my fault, though – when he’s not using big words, he is making up words like “swack” and “cackrages.”
  • Thankfully, Jack will still snuggle with me.  Other than that, I can hardly see a trace of baby Jack in him.  He is growing up!  *sniff*
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