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So, yeah, I’m the mother of a first grader and a preschooler now:

Jonas is “homeschooling” at gramma’s and is rocking the connect the dots and colors and shapes. And we’re down to the last pullup from that first pack so he’ll be in just underpants soon.

Jaden is going back to her “magnet school” that focuses on math and environmental science. She doesn’t have any of her kindergarten friends in her class but she sees a couple at recess. According to yesterday’s report, there’s a bit of a power struggle as one of her old friends has a new friend who’s a bit bossy and Jaden doesn’t do well with bossy. She’s in the “let’s all agree on what to play together” camp.

  

Reading remains a thorn in Jaden’s side. She gets very frustrated and whines and just gives up. I tried something new last night: I told her I would read the book but before I read each page, she needed to pick five words she knew and one word she didn’t know but would try to read. It worked. By the end of the book she read a complete sentence all on her own without even realizing it. Baby steps. She’ll get there.

Looking at Jonas’ worksheets from yesterday, it looks like he has a long way to go before he’s an efficient writer of letters and numbers. But, dude, he’s three, I’m not worried. W all “mah baby is SOOO smrt!” looking at his work and how he circled the apple as his favorite red thing.

 

These four kids: my niece, my son, my nephew, and my daughter. God damn, but I am a lucky woman.

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Sibling equality (in the form of a poop story)

Have I mentioned here that Jonas is fully and certifiably POTTY TRAINED? WHOOO! HAZZAH!! ETC!! There was one morning in the last three weeks where his pull up was wet and that was  because someone (*ahem*daddy*cough*) forgot to have him go potty before bed. We probably could get rid of the pullups all together but how was I supposed to know the minute we bought a pack of the durn things, he’d stop needing them? In short: we got ’em, let’s use ’em.

Point: things are going great and I feel like I’m tempting the fates here but with Jonas’ history, I also feel that we’re good to go. Once he’s ready and has figured something out, that’s it. No more work required. We are DIAPER FREE and adorable Mickey Mouse Underpants abundant.

With that said…

Last night Matt was on his was out the door to take Jonas to the doctor for a routine check up. Shoes on, squeaky turtle in hand, Jonas says, “Let’s go, daddy!” Which is great and all except for the fact that he’s holding his butt with his other hand.

“Jonas, do you need to go potty?”

“No, I don’t need go potty,” he replies earnestly. Only now he’s starting to walk around in circles with a concerned look on his face which is his “I have to poop” dance. Minus the “my butt hurts” chorus.

“Let’s go sit on the potty just to be safe, ok?”

“Ok,” he quickly relents, still holding his butt and looking worried. We go into the bathroom and sure enough, he’d had a little accident. Not much and he did the rest of his nasty dirty sinful business (and it was a LOT let me tell you) in the potty itself. I reassured him that it was ok, he wasn’t in trouble and accidents happen. Then I rinsed out his underpants and got him a clean pair which he happily put on. I tried to put his shorts back on him but he protested: “No, mommy, der’s poop in der!” And I reassured him (much like I did his sister just over 3 years ago in a Target bathroom stall) that there wasn’t any poop in them, it was in his underpants which were being cleaned now. His shorts were all clean. He was happy and put them on then washed his hands because…yeah I don’t know how IT got on them but…well, he washed his hands really well.

I told Matt what happened and my theory around why it happened, which is this:

Jonas says his “butt hurts” when he has to go potty because he’s usually constipated so he’s associating the urge to go with the pain that comes with constipation. Now, usually, when his butt hurts, he’s got some time before the show starts, so to speak, and this time it caught him completely off guard because, for once, he wasn’t constipated. I give him mad props for holding the rest in (did I mention it was a TON) until we got to the bathroom.

So, in reference to the post a couple back when I lamented not writing about Jonas as much as I did Jaden, well now he has a poop story all his own on the internet for all the world to read. He can take comfort that his took place BEFORE he left the house and that no one stepped in it.

Good job, buddy, and you’re welcome!

Run

We celebrated Jonas’ third birthday this past Sunday at the Como Zoo.  We also celebrated a week of dry underpants (including dry mornings). Remember how  I was all, “Dude, just sit on the damn potty!” and he was all, “NO!! I DON’T WANNA SIT ON-A POTTY!” Well, one morning I gave him the choice, “You can sit on the big potty or the little potty, but you’re sitting on one of them.” And yes, there was some jelly bean bribes involved.

After we returned from our (awesome) trip to Montana, we started cracking down on the potty training thing. Jonas responded by peeing on my MIL’s brand new rug. And on her floor later that afternoon. BUT a few days after that, he stopped, y’know, wizzing wherever he felt like it. So, we’re over a week dry and I’m calling it done! Boy is potty-trained. And it only took two weeks once we actually started trying for reals.

It’s hitting me a little hard. More so than Jaden, probably because it took forever with her but, also, she had my undivided attention for the first three years of  her life.  Between his potty thing and talking and laughing at jokes and playing with his sister and pretending and asking and speaking in complete sentences…I feel like I’ve missed the last three years. Parenthood and holding a career and trying to keep a house together and all the rest of it just drains me and I missed my baby’s…babyhood.

I was so much better about logging Jaden’s toddlerhood and funny stories and I so didn’t want Jonas to fall under the “second child curse” where there is less documentation of their existence. Yet, here it is. It seems like I’m racing to the next milestone and I don’t savor the moments we’re in. I know that’s not the case. I cuddle and play and tell each of them how much I love them every day and check on them every night before I go to sleep because their sweet sleeping faces erase any fights or tantrums we may have had that day.

Jonas, if and when you read this, please know that your babyhood was as special to me as your sister’s. You were my squishy wonderboy and you will always be my special little dodo (you did that to yourself, Mr. Can’t Pronounce Your J Sounds.). I hope you always ask me for “more more hugs and kisses” and then ask for “little baby kiss” then “regular kiss” then a “great big kiss” and trap me into a giant squishy hug.

Going up...coming down

Last night we went for a walk: Jaden on her bike, me walking Daisy and you and Daddy walking. I decided to take off at a jog to let Daisy run a bit. Behind me I heard cries of protest and turned around to see Daddy holding you while you reached out to me, thinking I was running away from you. Some day you will run away from me and I’ll be the one crying and reaching out.

Try not to run too far and too fast, ok?

Into parts unknown (at least by us)

My cousin and her husband (I never know how to refer to him. I usually say “cousin” but if I’m referring to the two of them as cousins that makes us sound all Appalachian.) moved to Montana ages and ages ago. I honestly can’t remember when but it was after Jaden was born but before Jonas was and before Matt and I got married so, let’s say… ages and ages ago.

FOR. EV. VER.
They’ve been kind and gracious enough to make several trips back to Minnesota since they moved (forever ago, did I mention?) and Matt and I have been wanting to make a trip out there but things kept getting in the way (wedding, house buying, second baby, European honeymoon, etc.). FINALLY FINALLY we are making the trek out to Montana. In the car. With two young children. Total round trip time: 39 hours!! Or something close to that, I need to redo the map. But still, almost two days in the car.
We won’t end up not speaking to each other, I’m sure of it!
I’ve spent the last few weeks planning car games, buying car treats/activities, checking out audiobooks, making lists and more lists. In fact, I’ve planned the car part of the trip so much that I kinda spaced out on the actual Time In Montana Visiting Cousins part. Which is why I sent a frantic email to my cousin this morning: “So, um, what was all that stuff you mentioned that we could do while we were there? I kinda need to make yet another list.”
All dramatic LONGEST CAR RIDE EVER anxiety aside, I’m pretty excited for our first family vacation. The kids are excited, too, probably because they cannot conceive in their little minds exactly how long we will be in a car. We’re going to be camping for the first time with them as well. (OH! Must add “Jiffy Pop” and marshmallows to the shopping list!) Matt set up the tent this weekend to make sure there weren’t any giant gaping holes and I set up the ground rules for tent use:
1) Remove all shoes before entering the tent
2) Close all doors behind you upon entering tent
3) No running around or wrestling once inside the tent
4) If any of the above rules are broken, you will sleep outside with the bears.
“But, mommy, I don’t like bears! Bears are mean!”
“Oh, they’re not mean. Just don’t bother them and they won’t bother you. OR! Just follow all the rules and you won’t have to worry about it.”

Even after all that, they’re still excited so that’s a good sign.
I’ll have all kinds of fun stories and pictures from the trip that I’ll try to remember to post because regardless if anyone but me ever reads this, I’m gonna want to look back on this with a smile.

No sympathy from anyone ever.

It’s no secret to anyone who’s been reading this blog or who has known me during my parenting years that my daughter has a flare for the dramatics. She has turned “tugging at the heart strings” into a fine art. My favorite remains: (after being denied a second glass of milk and being offered water instead), “You are the worstest mommy, and this is the worstest house with the worstest daddy and the worstest brother!” (Matt not even being home at the time and her poor brother quietly eating his dinner and not participating in the debate at all.)

This morning we had another run-in with La reine de drame (The queen of drama). She’s not a morning person by any definition of the phrase and any slight will send her head spinning and the accusations of lost-love flying. This morning it was us demanding that she put her friggen pants on. She went with her old stand-by of proclaiming that we are the worst parents ever and we don’t love her and she doesn’t love us either. We used to be hurt by this but, much like a certain wolf-crying boy, we simply can’t believe her anymore.  So, instead of talking about hurt feelings and other hippie lovey dovey crap, Matt offered to call Child Services and ask if they had a better set of parents that she could go live with. He returned a few minutes later and announced that they checked their records and said they apologize, but we are the best parents around so she’s stuck with us.

That morning bit (save for the calling Child Services part) is pretty standard in the house and hardly worth mentioning. To get the REALLY good stuff, you have to wait until dinner time (see above mentioned favorite).

The other night Matt made burritos and we all sat down to watch the kids not eat. We have stopped fighting on this one. Either they eat, or they go to bed. We’re done. This night was no different and so when Jaden said she didn’t want to eat the bean and cheese burrito, I told her she could just march straight into her room and go to bed. She said she wanted a story and I said she didn’t deserve a story. She upped her game to pounding her fist on the table and screaming, “I WANT A STORY!!” I calmly told her that was not how we ask for anything and asked her when in her nearly 6 years of life her demands had ever been met (save for infancy, of course). I sent her to her room again. She stomped off to her room screaming about how unfair life was blah blah blah and slammed her door.

That was the WRONG thing to do. Matt jumped up and went straight to her room and explained that slamming doors was not permitted and if she didn’t start appreciating how good she’s got it in this house, than we would start removing the things she’s been taking for granted. He closed the door quietly and she burst into hurt and affronted sobs. Each round of sobs punctuated by proclamations of how hard her life was and how nobody understood her. (SHE’S NOT EVEN 6 YEARS OLD!! DEAR GOD ABOVE!)

After a few minutes of this, I asked myself why I wasn’t filming it because it was GOLD. In favor of protecting my child’s dignity, I will not post the video here. I will provide a teleplay:

Mom: *tip-toes down the dark hallway to her daughter’s closed bedroom door. Turns camera on and hits “record”. Films the closed door as there is no way to open the door without ruining the scene.*

Jaden: “incoherent sobs

Mom: *tries to film under the door but only gets glimpses of a very messy room indeed*

Jaden: “*sob* My mouth is starting to hurt from all my crying! And nobody cares! *gasp/sob* My vocal-cord is going to break–*gasp/sob*–and nobody will care! Not mommy! Not daddy! *gasp/sob* And I don’t even know sign language!”

Mom: *camera shakes slightly as she suppresses her laughter.*

Jaden: “DOESN’T ANYBODY CARE AT ALL??”

Jonas: *crouches next to mom and looks under the door* “Peaky-boo!”

/scene

When is a rose not a rose?

 
How he actually looks at 2 years and 9 months old.

This is going to sound more like a birthday post but it’s not. My Jojo turns three in August so I’ve got THREE months left of my sweet baby and then he’ll be…a pre-schooler (which I feel weird calling him as he’s not going to pre-school) (but he’s certainly not a toddler and I’ve been calling him a toddler for a year longer than I should’ve.) (The point I’m trying to make is since no applicable label is actually applicable, I’m just going to keep calling him my baby.)

Problem with calling him my baby, however.

He’s not a baby. Babies don’t make little explosion sounds over his dinner plate when his hands crash together. They don’t decry cute patterned training pants in favor of the plain white ones. They don’t insist on playing I Spy puppet theatre ON THE COMPUTER. Granted my baby doesn’t actually use the mouse but he does point at stuff and asks me or his big sister to click it for him. Babies don’t try to cut their own grilled cheese sandwich. They don’t sing planet songs and ask to read books about the solar system at bed time. They don’t copy all of his sister’s bad habits including suddenly not liking anything we prepare for dinner that isn’t pizza or waffles or toast or baby carrots. They don’t freak out and yell at you for trying to comb their hair and then promptly mess it up. Babies don’t shock their parents with sudden outbursts of coherent sentences like the following:

Jonas: “Mommy garbled toddler speak that I think involves his food.”

Me: “What, sweetie?”

Matt: “He said he’s eating his—“

Jonas: “No! I talking to mommy!”

—or—

Matt picks him up and holds him up high so he can reach for the ceiling and he exclaims, “Wow! I’m tall!”

He has opinions on his clothes, his dishes, he insists on brushing his teeth on his own and he’s not just sucking the toothpaste off the brush anymore. He helps unload and load the dishwasher. He likes to put clothes in the washer and dryer. He runs after me at the store with a pleading, “mommy, wait for me!” and his little hand held out for me to hold. He scolds Daisy with a firm, “Down, Daidy!” While I’m making dinner, he’ll sneak his arm around my thigh and look up with his big brown eyes and ask for some of the cheese I’m shredding. He claps his hands twice, holds his arms up and demands, “Mommy, up! Want up!”

It’s his speech that will strike me dumb more than anything else he does. He’s my youngest, my baby and while I sometimes throw things at him that I didn’t with Jaden thinking she was too young, I also underestimate him because in my brain he is my baby and my baby Jonas doesn’t talk. Why shouldn’t he be talking like an actual person? Because babies don’t talk! It’s harder for me now than with Jaden for my brain to accept that he’s growing up. I’m guessing it’s because I know he’s my last child. For some reason I thought that since I have two kids I could escape “The Baby” syndrome that falls on the youngest child.

How I will always see him in my mind at 1 year and 9 months old.

Let my poor little addled mind be a lesson to you: you cannot escape “The Baby” syndrome. No matter how many children you have, you will never believe that your baby can talk or dress themselves or hit a golf ball or ride a bike or read or write or make their own friends or or or.

I’ve got three months to accept that my baby is turning three. I’ve got the rest of my life to not stop calling him my baby.

 
 

Flashback

Potty Training my kids is like a Minnesota Spring: full of false hope and broken promises with giants piles of crap all over the damn place. Man, I was all excited, even though I told myself not to be, about Jonas’ sudden interest in potty training. Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself again when I say, “Kid as NO interest in potty training at all, the little stinker.” It’s just that with him taking the initiative to go potty on his own not once but a few times, I thought maybe he would get to it faster than Jaden? Alas, no.

1. He’s in complete denial that he’s messy at all. Tonight’s episode:

“Jonas, do you stink?”

“No, I not stink!”

“Yeah, you do. You stink!”

“No! I not!”

“Jonas, did you poop?”

“No.”

“Yeah, you got a stinky tushy.”

“No! I don’t!”

“Yes, you do!”

“No! I don’t!”

“Jonas has a stinky butt, stinky butt. Jonas has a stinky butt.”

“No! I don’t!”

“Yes, you do!”

“No, I don’t!”

“Yes, you do!”

ad nauseum because at this point his adamant denial if the obvious is hilarious so I totally egg him on.

2. He has a sudden and fierce objection to us changing his diaper at all. He screams and yells and sobs and insists he doesn’t need or want his diaper changed. “No! No change!” “C’mon, Jonas, you’re wet. We have to change you.” “No change!”

3. Come near him not with any adorable and cute Mickey Mouse underpants. If any underpants are to be offered they’d best be plain white Gerber Cloth Training Pants. But chances are, even if he says he wants to wear underpants the next morning, the sun will rise accompanied by the quiet yet firm, “No underpants. Diaper.”

4. Any probing on potty use needs will be met with an equally firm, “No potty.”

In conclusion: he’s just as stubborn as everyone else in the family. Fortunately, the majority of us are housebroken. Even the dog is getting the hang of this thing. Sure, it took ripping up the carpet and getting all new floors but the point remains valid.  Say, there’s an idea. What’s the equivalent for toddler?