Sometimes ya gotta get mean

I bought Jack some new clothes recently.  He had grown out of all of his long sleeved shirts and it’s been cold and rainy here.  I bought some uber cute shirts from The Children’s Place featuring things like guitars and monsters on the front.  Only problem?  He refuses to wear them.  He says he doesn’t like ANY of them, claiming: “Those are BAD shirts.”  Yesterday Jack ended up in a too-small shirt at daycare because it was the only old piece of clothing that was clean and his fit was monstrous (especially after I tried to bribe him with a cookie and when it didn’t work, I withheld the cookie, which led to a 30 minute tantrum).

When Jack tried to put up another fight this morning, I decided to play hardball.  I asked nicely first and then when he refused…

“Jack, if you don’t pick a shirt to wear, I’m going to send you out in the rain without one.”

“Noooooooooooooo!”

“Which shirt do you want to wear?”

“I don’t like those shirts, moooooom!”

*opening the front door to show him the pouring rain* “Okay, let’s go.  No shirt for you!  You’re going naked in the rain.”

“Nooooooo, I’ll put a shirt on!”

And so he did.  He whined but I got a (pirate monkey) shirt on him and his new waterproof jacket and we got out the door without too much frustration.

Let it be known that I do not negotiate with terrorists, even (especially!) three year old ones.

Habitual Oddities

I’m kind of bouncing off of Nancy’s post at Fear and Parenting in Las VegasThe OCD Chronicles with this one.  I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while and I think about it every morning when I’m getting Jack ready for daycare but, well, between the new blog project in which I’m involved and a nasty cold (which I found out has resulted in a torn serratus muscle by my right rib cage, oh joy), I’ve been a little distracted…

Anyhoo, my boy has some odd habits. Sometimes they are great habits, and other times they are annoying.  I have to wonder at his future mental health at times, but mostly I know that he is just a typically wacky 3 year old trying to exert control over his environment and he’ll grow out of it…

  1. Any time we remove his socks, he has to make sure there is no lint between his toes. This wouldn’t bother me so much except when we are trying to get dressed in the morning and we are inevitably running late…if I stick the sock on before he is ready he will shove his hand down in it to clean between his toes even if there is nothing there.  At least I got him to stop doing this as part of the bedtime routine…
  2. Zippers must be zipped and of course they must be zipped all the way up to his neck.  This one wouldn’t bother me if he actually could zip it himself!
  3. Rockets are not space shuttles…and vice versa.  Honestly, I have no clue what the differentiation is with this but Jack apparently does.  I suspect no matter what I say, he is going to say I’m wrong and it’s the other thing.  He loves to tell people they are wrong…
  4. Picking his nose.  Probably every kid does this…right?  Please tell me yes.  No matter how many times I tell him not to pick his nose and to please ask for a tissue, he still prefers to pick.  I guess that’s why they make nostrils the size of fingers?  Blech.
  5. Standing right in front of the television.  What is up with this?  I remember doing it as a kid, too, but I have no idea WHY.  Jack does it and we have wasted a lot of breath reminding him to back up and sit in a chair or on the couch.
  6. Every day when I attempt to walk out of the door at daycare, he exclaims, “Oh, I forgot!” and runs up to give me hugs and kisses.  I suppose I need to teach him the difference between ‘forgot’ and ‘remembered’.
  7. It’s pretty cute that he is so polite with his pleases and thank yous.  The rebel in me who hated to be polite for politeness’ sake as a kid thinks it’s weird in a 3 year old, though…

I’m probably lucky.  I’m guessing there are kids out there with much stranger habits than Jack’s.  What do you think?  Is your kid wacky-doo too?

Rocket Ride

I finally caught Jack on camera with his imagination running rampant. Now you can experience the rocket obsession for yourself!

Rocket Ride

No Embarrassment

When we left the house this morning Jack was carrying a broken crab toy (last night’s bedmate), his magnedoodle (he is drawing again!), and a rammekin full of honey nut cheerios.  He was happy as can be wearing a Superman costume shirt under a red and black plaid jacket, with David’s bike helmet turned backward on his head so that the piece that normally braces the back of the head became a mask through which he breathed loudly a la Darth Vader.  He looked very “special,” especially considering that his hair stuck up out of the slits in the bike helmet.

My kid is awesome.  I love this stage where he has no self-consciousness.  I know it is too short a time in a person’s life and I rue the day it starts to fade (although I am still not embarrassed to goof off publicly…).

Unbelievable!

I was having issues trying to get Jack to go to sleep.  We would read our bedtime stories (three books usually) and lay down and snuggle and then he would climb all over me or kick me or hit me or whatever until either he fell asleep or I lost patience completely.  A few nights ago, after about an hour of trying to get him to go to sleep, he decided to up the ante and started stripping…I left the room and hid in the dark dining room, head in my hands, shaking with anger while listening to Jack yell for me.  David stepped in and distracted Jack, diapered and clothed him, and got him in bed.  Jack asked for me so he told him to wait there and he would get mama, then he walked out.

Here’s the unbelievable part – Jack fell asleep almost immediately.  I didn’t go into the room.  Yesterday was a similar situation – after an hour of trying to get him to sleep and fed up with being treated as a bounce house, I left the room and grudgingly asked David for help (yeah…it’s hard for me to ask for help).  He repeated his previous experiment – went in and got Jack to lay down, told him to wait for mama and walked out, closing the door behind him – and Jack fell asleep without a peep.

Tonight we changed it up.  I gave in to the awesomeness that is ‘David the natural step-parent’ and on his suggestion, I read to Jack and got him to lay down, told him I’d be back in a bit and to wait for me, then left the room.  I fluttered around outside the door for a bit waiting for him to call or cry.  I didn’t even hear a peep.  He fell asleep without making a sound.  When I looked at David he had a huge grin on his face and I guarantee he was thinking, “Yeah, I am so rocking this step parenting thing!”

I’m in awe of both the males in my house.

Grateful for imagination

Jack was not happy about getting up this morning.  From the moment he opened his eyes he was upset.  “We have to close the door!  We have to go to sleep!”  I wish, kid!  He spent the next 45 minutes or so yelling at the top of his lungs because he didn’t want to get dressed, didn’t want to watch George, dropped his piece of friendship bread, and then OMG my chocolate egg is broken and I wanted to crack it open but now I can’t!!!  Yeah, you can see how I tried to use bribery when all else failed.  And even the bribery didn’t work.

What did?  A SPACE HELMET.  I told Jack that if he got dressed he could wear the space helmet (David’s bicycle helmet) and we could go to outer space.  He changed his attitude immediately.  We got out of the door within 10 minutes.  I convinced him my car was my spaceship and we were going to take off!  He counted down to lift off at every stop sign.  He was smiling by the time we got to daycare.  I then told him he needed to find some rockets and teach his fellow astronauts about space.  Off he went to look for rockets among the daycare toys!

I lied to my kid - a huge, bald-faced, complete lie.  And I will do it again and again if it gets him out of the house in the morning and saves my sanity.

A story from Jack

There is a car and it goes into the street.
When the car goes faster it goes FASTFASTFASTFAST in the road.
And when the rocket goes up it goes way high up.
When the car goes down and crashes it turns into a dragon.
AND THEN YOU TURN INTO A SPACE RANGER!!!
And the space ranger says “and beyond!”

Flying is in, monsters are out

Jack’s imagination continues to explode.  Last week he was calling everything cylinder-shaped (from a toilet paper roll to a screwdriver) a rocket.  When he would inevitably lose one of his “rockets” he would ask me where it was.  To which I would reply, “Which rocket are you missing, honey?  Your screwdriver rocket?  Your bee rocket?  Your flashlight rocket?”  He would specify and a’hunting we would go.  We play rockets by launching them into outerspace (or “outerface,” as he says it because he has trouble with pronouncing the sc combo) and big rockets must sound louder than little rockets.  He then began (a few days ago) to take small red or orange toys and hold them underneath the rocket as the fire needed for blast off.  The letter magnets on the fridge are all now arranged as rockets.  And, if you didn’t know, we count UP to 13 before blast off ’round here (um, who taught my kid to count?).

This weekend he created the “baby chicky” game.  This involves swathing himself in blankets, sheets, or curtains and announcing, “I’m a baby chicky in the nest!  Cheep cheep!  And you’re the mommy chicky!”  This morphed a bit over a couple of days when he started hoarding his toys to create his nest.  His pseudo-rockets (comb, bee toy, screwdriver) as well as other random items are piled onto the bed, then he lays on top of them and pulls the blanket over his shoulders.  “Can you be in the nest?” he asks.  This hoarding chicky nest maker game is now a giant part of our bedtime routine.  If something is missing, he demands, “Where’s my screwdriver-nest?  Where’s my bee-nest?”  The specification of which object he is talking about has definitely stuck in his brain.

The downside to imagination is…nightmares.  Jack sleeps more fitfully now and has woken up to call for me a few times.  The most recent nightmare apparently involved monsters and aliens fighting, ”and I was sssaared, mama, ’cause they were sarrrry.”  I’m sad because Jack used to love monsters.  Not so much anymore, I guess.

Multiple personalities

A lot of parents worry that their children won’t do XYZ when they go to daycare because of how they do things at home.  I’ve heard (and sometimes shared) concerns about sleeping and eating habits.  But here is the reality: kids are better behaved at daycare.  I don’t know if it’s the herd mentality or the fact that at home he feels the need to assert his independence, but it’s pretty amazing the things Jack will do at daycare without any fuss at all.

  • At home Jack runs from me when it’s diaper changing time, but at daycare he will lay down when the other kids are getting diapers changed and demand that his be changed, as well, wet or not!
  • Jack fights sleep at home (unless he is *really* tired) and has very strict policies about being in his bed with only a sheet covering him.  Also, Mom must lay down with him and we can’t forget to read at least three books.  At daycare, he will ask to take a nap and lay down on the floor with toys clutched to his chest.  He rarely sleeps less than 2 hours and no snuggling or reading is necessary.
  • Many a day Jack has bemoaned going to daycare, claiming that he does not want to see his friends, and then when we get there he lights up and runs off to play without giving me a second thought.
  • Shoes are always a struggle.  You may all remember that I had to buy the same exact style of See Kai Run shoes in the next size up and hide the fact that they were new from Jack.  I have many other pairs of shoes for Jack, as well, which he will not wear at home but will wear at daycare.
  • Jack favors cucumbers and apples and cheese at home.  At daycare he prefers corn and carrots and pasta.
  • When I dance or sing at home he tells me to stop with a glare.  At daycare he is the star of the dancing/singing show!

What can you add?

Our Little Astronaut

Jack’s obsession with rockets rages on and has even expanded.  He now dictates which youtube videos of rocket launches we watch (they usually have to have a countdown, fire, and announce “we have a liftoff!”).  He will sometimes even consent to watching moon landings and shuttle orbits.  I took the opportunity Sunday night to begin educating him on our galaxy, but quickly realized I need to do some more research because I couldn’t remember the names of all the planets.  I knew there used to be nine and now there are only 8 because Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet.  (Side note: don’t you love it when they backtrack on the things you were taught in school?  Shouldn’t we all be notified by mail of the book revisions?)

Joe reminded me yesterday that Jack has had a fascination with the moon and stars since he was a baby.  This is the longest he has been interested in anything – longer than drawing and Curious George combined (although I believe the Curious George movie was the inspiration for his interests expanding to rockets).  So perhaps he will be an astronaut or astronomer!

One thing is clear – we need to get some more space-related educational materials.  My cousin recommended a movie called Space Chimps, but I think we need some more books, as well.  Any recommendations for toddler-friendly space media?