Thursday, July 28, 2011

Imagination

When I was little I had a very vivid imagination. I thought of such scenarios that my parents often wondered what the heck I was thinking. My ghoulishness surfaced early, like the many plots I had for how Barb.ie was going to be kidnapped and tortured and how Not-K.en (meaning ME) would save her (from the peril I put her in).

When I had Michael, I was so excited to venture into imaginative creative play. However, children with ADHD issues have problems with non-directive play (i.e. when they are supposed to lead the play using their imaginations). Of course, at the time I had no idea (otherwise I would have probably tried something like this). So, instead of these elaborate playscapes, he was into characters fighting each other. Over and over. And over. You hold the character out...he would bash it with another character (or a truck or dinosaur). Don't get me wrong, he eventually enjoyed Legos and other things like that (I did a lot of crafty projects with him). But the idea of imaginative play pretty much went out the window.

With Willow, I can see the imagination take off. And it has been wonderful to see her go off somewhere and have conversations (sometimes very loud) between characters. She often comes up to me and asks me to play "the mommy" character. (Her scenarios seem to mostly be about family groups--there is a mommy and/or daddy and children...the smaller toys being children).

The most surprising thing about her burgeoning imagination though--her imaginary person. She has an imaginary mom. Named Coco. (I think this springs from issues with her changing from a family daycare to preschool...her daycare provider went from being a "mother" figure to her going to school and having teachers). Coco is a menace to my existence. She was cute (and somewhat alarming--I mean, I have images of Coraline in my head). But Willow uses her as a way to express her opinion, a way to try to manipulate the situation. For example, Michael has a new action figure. Willow wants it. She grabs it and says that "her Coco" gave the action figure to her. Or, if she is mad at us (for, oh, the unreasonable demand that we made that she eat her vegetables) she will say "I don't like you. I am going to Coco's house." (I am curious where Coco lives...she has by definition, lived in a rock, the woods, a playground and in Willow's room). So far, I would say that Coco is a WONDERFUL mother who gives Willow juice boxes and chocolates and gum whenever she wants...

Maybe I want a little less imagination in my life....

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Take Me out to the Ball Game

Our friend Ana had tickets to a minor league baseball game last Thursday. She was kind enough to invite us. Only catch--it was the second day of the HEAT WAVE.

The game was in the evening, so we hoped that it would cool down by then.

Until then, we visited with Ana. She made burgers on her grill; and we had some fun in her new above ground pool.

As we got to the game, we realized that even though it was 6 p.m., it was still pretty damned hot. Thoughts of the pool helped to keep us cool. And lots of water. And Italian ice. And ice cream (oh the horrors).

The fun of a local team and the antics that they do between plays (like "chucking" rubber chickens into a net) helped to pass the time. Michael got a little bored, especially since "our" team was not winning...but he helped out by going to get the ice cream.


Before the game started. Got our "dinner" of chicken nuggets and french fries...and first of many waters/juice breaks.
I sprung for the huge "Number One" foam hands...meanwhile Ana tries to tie Willow's hair back with an improvised hair tie; while our friend Shelly texts some pictures of us.



Willow looking cool.


And after the game--Fireworks!

(Oh, and a dip in the pool after 10 p.m. also helped cool us off again!)

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

OMG -- THREE (or why I have a birthday ticker up)

Something has happened in this household in the last couple months. Oh, you would think it was my lay off...or Chewy's cellulitus outbreak...or Michael having a doctor recommended lay-off on his ADHD medication during the summer...oh no. FAR WORSE.

Willow has embraced the Dark Side. Oh yeah. She is THREE. And she has blossomed into a whiny, bossy, manipulative, drama making, screaming out loud, laughing, giggling, cute-as-a-button Three Year Old. Oftentimes I am counting to ten, gritting my teeth, mumbling under my breath.

Nothing like a Three Year old to just make you feel like an awful parent. Take a Three year old anywhere and they will make sure to somehow have your parenting skills called into question.

You would think that I would have been prepared...but Michael was such an easy toddler/preschooler. Little did I know what Three could be.

And I love her and this is just a phase (Oh yeah, I mutter that a lot to myself). But...OMG, can she turn Four already?!!?

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Hanging out at the Mall

I asked what Michael wanted to do as we had a couple hours to kill. I found myself at the mall. For no particular reason (I usually avoid the mall except for a few restaurants we like and certain particular stores).

We just walked around and checked out some stores. It was reminiscent of when I was a teenager hanging out at the mall (except not with my parents). It is interesting to see him make these first forays into teenager-hood. I let him lead the way (which meant the sales at Children's Place and Gymboree went unheeded). The places he went to were a blend of teenager and child (we had to visit Lego store and Build A Bear). It almost seemed like it was a farewell tour.

Especially when we ate lunch at Rainforest Cafe. I used to take him there all the time when he was small. It was a place that promoted fear and excitement in him. And it was his FAVORITE place to go for quite some time. While there we talked about the various characters and figures that he had as boy. He got a character souvenir glass. While waiting for our food, he went to the store a few times. But, in the end, he got nothing, did not ask for anything. And we vowed to come back here at the end of the summer with Willow.

Because Willow might be ready again to visit and get that fear/excitement experience that he remembers so well.


Yes, he is wearing a shirt from Diary of a Wimpy Kid: "I am pretty much one of the best people I know"



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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Growth

She wants me to rock her to sleep tonight. I have not rocked her in a while, and to feel her length and weight against me is such a surprise...this is not my little baby anymore...this is my three year old. With her feet touching my knees as I try to position her to be able to rock her over my shoulder as I used to. Time slips by with each rock back and forth and I can remember back to when I used to be holding a crying baby singing softly to her. Tonight I do not sing to her, I just hold her and rub her back and listen to her breathe.

And then the boy bounces up the stairs near her room, saying he is going to bed now too. I was sort of hoping he was going to stay up a bit so that we could hang out (re watch another Dead Like Me).

I put her into her bed and then go quickly to see if he needs anything. Some days he just wants to go to bed on his own, most days he still likes to be tucked in. Today I tuck him in and we kiss good night...and then I hear her at the end of the hall asking me to "sit with her". I know that he also likes me to sit in his room with him for a bit, but she is the one that is harder to get to sleep...so I go into her room.

She finally drifts off and as I go into his room, I half hope he is still up (maybe we can talk or maybe I can even get him up so we can hang out--re watch another Dead Like Me). But he is asleep.

And I marvel at the changes happening in both of them and wish that there was a pause button.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Potty Training Post

Been pretty silent about her progress on this aspect. Mainly because I have taken the most hands off approach I could think of and because I feel that there are so many techniques out there--and none of them are fool proof.

Bringing individuals into our world is what we are striving for, so why do we assume our children must adhere to certain milestones and techniques in strict timelines? (Yes, there is a bigger thought in this, which basically grounds my whole philosophy to parenting--but I digress.)

So, with the help of preschool, a little over 2 months ago she started wearing underwear during the day. At first, only during preschool, as it seemed that on the weekends as soon as we put her in underwear, there was an accident. She had a few accidents at preschool, but other than that, she has been pretty vigilant. She finally has comprehended when her body is needing to eliminate and she is really pretty good.

Three weeks ago was the last time I put her in diapers at night (no more diapers in our house!). She still has pull ups at night, but most of the time they are dry in the morning. She is in underwear all day now, although my general rule is if she has two accidents, it is then pull up time.

So far, I would say that she averages 1 accident every other day. She has not had a BM accident at all during this whole process (now I have done myself in, haven't I?).

She is three years and 2 months old, she is pretty on target here. I think that by winter time she will be totally out of pull ups.

There have been some wonderful times when I have found her holding it, making sure we get to the bathroom. I was very proud of how she did while we were on vacation.

While the whole potty training experience can be exasperating, time consuming and annoying (I am still getting used to the extra time and energy I need to spend to make sure she has opportunities to go, etc.)...I must say that so far I have learned that my patience has really paid off.






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Monday, July 11, 2011

Glimpses of Vacation 2011

Packing the car up on our own (my own). Needed to get the beach chairs onto the top of the car with the bungee cords. He found a grabbing toy that helped us grab those cords across the top. My son and I working together got it done.

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In the pool she stands in the wading pool section with her Barbie dolls. She stands at the edge and barely goes further as she plays and dips the dolls in the water. Wanting her to get into the pool--I take one of the Barbies and toss her into the pool area. She follows into the pool and we are finally "swimming".

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Burying himself in the sand has become an art form. I barely notice he is doing it, until I find him almost completely buried.

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Going into most restaurants illicits this plea "I want choc-olate
milk." (Sometimes with a "please").

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The Bad Restaurant Day.

Sick from his antibiotics, Chewy cannot even get to the breakfast table at his favorite restaurant. We already ordered, so we eat while he goes back to the house to get cleaned up. I bring his food back for him. He is alright later on (he was supposed to have something on his stomach when taking the medication). Feeling bad that he did not have a good restaurant experience, we try for lunch. Again one of his favorite restaurants by the water. Very nice (but kinda $$) lunch. Our son is trying more and more seafood so it is fun. She has new toys from the aquarium and plays nicely. But we are outside with not too stable seating...and she falls. As I grab her, I fail to see that she has grabbed the table cloth--and most of our lunch (partially eaten) is on the ground (luckily, no one hurt and the waitresses do not kill us but instead give us new food). After an uneventful dinner at the house--we tempt fate again for ice cream. Where she lets us know that she is peeing...right NOW as we sit on the bench eating our ice cream (yes, there was change of clothes in the car--we know we are in the midst of potty training here and are usually prepared!). (Think we should have stayed by the pool that day)

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The many many many bathroom and restroom trips. A new way to see vacation...where are the bathrooms? Worst was in the dark during the drive-in movie...and she had her shoes off and I could not find them...so I had to carry her through the parking lot to the bathrooms. Then there was the time we were driving and she HAD to go (and we even encouraged her to go ahead and pee in her pull-up) but we instead found an exit and a bathroom...she had held it all that time.

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He orders a whole lobster. And proceeds to eat it so expertly that an elderly lady comments on how well our son did eating that lobster.

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mmm...mudslides....

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Hunting for crabs, we find several hermit crabs and I find a larger crab--crawling up my swimsuit (!) Hiding my alarm, we exam it before putting it back into the water.

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Sparklers and glow in the dark bracelets, fireworks on television, red-white-and-blue frosted cupcakes, someone wrote in the sand "Have a Happy Fourth!"

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Buying and cooking our own lobsters and having surf and turf out on our deck for Chewy's birthday. Watching chipmunks scurry under our chairs for scraps.






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Friday, July 08, 2011

Home Again - Fuzzy Photos

Got home around 12:30 in the afternoon today. Seems unreal that this morning we were on the Cape and now we are back at home. Mostly unpacked now, laundry going and water shoes and flip flops outside getting the salty water out of them.

Lots of fun times and another summer vacation on Cape Cod is over...I will probably post some memories later, but for now...fuzzy photos from my cell phone!

Michael yesterday at the Lobster Pot in Provincetown.

Michael and Willow at Woods Hole (there was a fog--really bizarre weather on Wednesday )

We had two (2!) trips to Ben & Jerry's in Eastham!

Dress Willow was able to sucker daddy out of on Martha's Vineyard...

Playing near the Tabernacle at Martha's Vineyard in new dress daddy bought her.



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Monday, July 04, 2011

The Walk

Having to figure out a way for her to be out of their hair for a while, I come up with a plan to do something useful--we will walk to the grocery store nearby and pick up a birthday cake for daddy. Its a secret mission and we are on top of it!

Off we go through the trails to the sidewalk. Along the way she stops and finds more flowers (the collection of flowers given to me has grown with the start of summer). She finds some pine cones, but then finds that she cannot carry them all and carry her toy and her change purse. So she hands me the pine cones. One of which then gives me a splinter (pine-ster?) I wonder at the fact that she did not get hurt by this particular cone--as I toss it behind my back when she is not looking.

I begin to wonder if my little trip to the grocery store 10 mins. away was a bad idea. We are hardly moving as she stops to pick up some discarded what-a-ma-call-it (it wasn't garbage per se, more like something that someone dropped--perhaps part of a game?) We move on to butterflies, bees and ants. And FINALLY I see the grocery stores parking lot.

We get in and she immediately insists that the birthday cake is not enough--we need cupcakes (!!) Of course my reluctance at first starts a sit down strike. And I have had enough rants for the day--so, I say, fine (heck, we needed Fourth of July Cupcakes anyways, right?)

And then I realize that she has underwear on--and she has just said "I have to pee" So...with a birthday cake in hand...we go the store's bathroom. Whereupon I feel like I cannot put the cake down (too icky). She finishes up, we move towards the checkout. (I hope she has forgotten about the cupcakes--but, no...we have to get some...)

I put the cupcakes onto the conveyor belt--and the package opens up and cupcakes with red, white and blue icing go all over it. I hastily clean it up with paper towel provided by the cashier--as she sits down frustrated ready for another tantrum because the cupcakes are ruined (DRAMA!!)

We pick up more cupcakes, we buy the birthday cake. She insists on carrying the cupcakes in the bag. She struggles with this burden, but she insists...and we start the long (really should be short) walk back.

She sings a song: "We are walking; we are walking; we are walking for birthday cake!"

My heart melts...and then we stop for another damned butterfly....

Wearily I warn her to say nothing about the birthday cake--that the cupcakes are special Fourth of July ones and she should burst in saying "Happy Fourth of July!" (Thereby presenting a distraction so that I can hide the birthday cake that my husband surely knows we have bought for him)

She does it perfectly, then proceeds to eat two cupcakes. Blue icing all over her face.

And then she wants to go on another walk. (DAD's TURN!)

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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Sometimes the simplest thing to do is breathe

Trying to take it in and not hide behind the video, the camera. The little things like the salt on my lips, the warmth of water warmed by the sun. The shells on the beach and the sand. Being in the water watching the activity on shore. A father flying a kite with his daughter. From the water, I cannot see her. I know she is there. I can see only my husband and the kite high up in the air. Occassionally he looks down at her and shows her what to do. Considering the drama of yesterday, this is a wonderful time to just enjoy.

He buries himself in the sand. Later, we visit the beach again and we walk, just the two of us, across the shoreline. He runs ahead of me. And I observe my little boy, grown up.

As we walk back from the beach, I am in the back...I can see my son, husband and my daughter. As I watch her walk with her bucket full of shells in one hand, her flip flops in the other, one of her butt cheeks peaking out of her swimsuit...I love my family and these times to breathe even more.

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