Archive | November, 2011

37 Months. It’s On

30 Nov

I was induced at 41 weeks with you. Have I ever told you that particular detail? I cannot remember. You were finally brought into this world via an emergency c-section and after sitting in my birth canal for so long when you did come out, your head was cone-shaped. Your dad thought it was actually going to stay cone-shaped and the nurses were just being nice by not saying anything about it. In any case, at the time I just thought you were a difficult birth. In hindsight, I know that you were really mad that you had not been born on your terms. I can actually imagine you sitting inside me with your arms crossed pouting refusing to come out. You were an angry infant for the first few weeks of your life. You would sleep all day and then be up all night long. Every night I would nurse you and change your revolting diapers on a fifteen-to-thirty-minute cycle. I kept one of those journals everyone told me I was supposed to keep about when you nursed and when you slept. After awhile I stopped because it was so repetitive it seemed silly to write it down. Midnight: nurse. 12.30: change diaper. 1.00 AM: nurse. 1.15 AM: change diaper. It was, I would tell people, like living in a town being ravaged by a werewolf. Night would fall and you would start screaming. Like I said, in hindsight, I think you were just really angry about being forced into the world on someone else’s terms other than your own.

Three years later, you are actually a pretty good sleeper, not that we didn’t have to sleep train the hell out of you for months on end. But for the most part, you usually fall asleep on your own sometime between the time I shut the door at 8.00 and when I check on you around 10.00. Of course, the other night I checked on you and you were asleep on the floor with your head half under your bed. Who knows what you had been doing when sleep finally descended. But the point is not about you sleeping, it is about living your life on your terms. That part of your personality has not changed one bit and once again I feel like I am that villager living in the werewolf ravaged town except that those villagers could just keep an eye on the moon and know when to lock their doors. I feel like I am living with a land mine that could go off at the moment when I least expect it.

Just like that it’s really hard again. I am reading a book right now called Your Three Year Old, Friend or Enemy. The book, published in 1985, came before the word frenemy came into being, but that is exactly what you are right now. You are my best friend and my worst enemy rolled into one very frustrated, eager, adorable, charming, maddening little boy. But instead of being mad like an infant because you were hungry (or just mad about being born) you can tell me why you are angry and much of the time it isn’t rational at all. I know, I realize I am expecting way too much of you if I think you can be rational at three. Well, maybe it is rational, but it just seems incredibly annoying to me. If I take the iPad away from you after your allotted 30 minutes in the morning you throw yourself across the couch and scream. Where warnings of 10 more minutes, 5 more minutes used to have some effect, now we get to the end of a time period and you just flat out refuse to do anything else. Sometimes you suddenly decide that putting on your shirt is “too hard,” or that you don’t know any of the letters of the alphabet.

You collapse onto the ground at the slightest provocation and nothing short of threatening to take your favorite toys away will compel you to get up and start moving again. If I try to take you on a walk, you will stop stock-still and not move at all. You demand to be carried and when I refuse (you weigh more than 30 pounds now) you resume your soldier-like stillness and simply say, “I can’t walk.” You will crumple at the smallest thing telling me, “Don’t look at me. Don’t smile.” and you contradict every single thing that I say. If I mention that the sky looks particularly blue, you will respond, “It isn’t blue Mama. It’s red.” My favorite, because it is just so obviously meant to get a rise out of me, is at bedtime when I am closing the door and say, “I love you Luke. See you in the morning.” Your response? “I don’t love you Mama. I won’t see you in the morning.” Last week I walked into your room in the morning and you cried for ten minutes because you thought I shut the door. I am sure the teen years are even worse, because when you tell me you hate me you’ll probably mean it, but it feels like I am living with a tiny 13 year old. Nothing is ever right. Nothing will ever be right and everything I do makes you very angry. You might as well say, “You never let me do anything!” slam your door and turn on some terrible music that will give me a headache. Actually, you started asking for the Polar Express song again and you do slam your door, so we’ve got two out of the three already. Who needs 13 when you’ve got three?

It’s not all gloom and doom every minute of the day even though it feels like it some days. You finally totally understood Halloween this year and could not wait to get into your costume and go trick or treating. You are still talking about it weeks later. You were Thing One from the Cat in the Hat and everyone kept asking, “Who is going to be Thing Two?” Luckily your dad stepped into the role with a helpful sign reading, “Thing 2” the night of Halloween. You also dressed up for Red Butte Garden’s After Dark Halloween event and had the most magical amazing time running through the twilight with your friends. The other week we took you to a model train show, which you could not get enough of. Your father and I were fairly certain that we were the only registered Democrats in the building given the number of Tea Party conversations we overheard, but you had an amazing time and managed to keep your sticky little fingers off of most of the trains most of the time.

Thanksgiving was a few days ago and you spent some time this week at home and at school talking about what you were thankful for although I am not sure you totally grasped the meaning of the word. You reported that at school you said you were thankful for the bikes. At home you said you were thankful for me, Dad, Buddy and the chickens, but I am fairly certain that came from the fact I told you I was thankful for those same things. You also said you were thankful for “all the food,” but I know that came from your Thanksgiving plate from Pottery Barn Kids printed with those same words. I think that you love us most of the time ins spite of your behavior to the contrary. You are an incredibly outgoing friendly kiddo and are rarely shy except when asked to sing your Turkey song from school; then you clam up immediately.
But a lot of our conversations are about the same topics and you repeat the same greetings and goodbye routines verbatim every morning and evening. The night we drove home from Thanksgiving with friends and your dad and I were chatting about the party and what a nice evening it had been. We were above the city and the valley was filled with twinkling lights and some houses already shone with Christmas lights. Suddenly you piped up from the backseat, “I like both your voices.” My eyes filled with tears because I could not at that moment think of anything I was more thankful for than driving in the car through the beautiful night with you and Dad and hearing that sweet completely spontaneous comment from you.

Three Years. 1095 Days. 36 months.

12 Nov

Luke, you are three! Three! After months and months of talking about it endlessly and telling everyone and everybody that your birthday is October 19th and that right now you are two but on October 19th you will be three, October 19th finally did arrive and at 7.00 on the dot, you banged on your door and yelled, “MAMA!!! I got up at seven-zero-zero!” and I went downstairs and gave you a big hug and said, “Happy Birthday Little Bear!” You got to watch two episodes of Curious George instead of your usual one as a birthday treat and then you went to school all dressed up because picture day corresponded nicely with your birthday. We took apple slices and honey and caramel (caramel SAUCE you were quick to remind me each time I mentioned it) for dipping as a birthday snack treat for your class and then I drove around doing errands while you were at school all day reflecting on how very different my life was from three years ago on that day.

I wrote about your birth here. I re-read it from time to time and it seems like a lifetime ago and simultaneously thirty seconds ago . You now do all these things I could not even begin to imagine you doing three years ago. You talk. I know you have been talking for ages and ages, but you talk all the time about everything and anything. I know you don’t know every word in the world, but it feels like you have the words for everything you need in your little world. You walk. I know you have been walking forever, but now you run, hop, try to skip (it’s more like a gallop) and climb the ladder at the playground with an ease you seem to have possessed forever but it’s really only been about a month. You eat. You use a fork and a spoon most of the time and the only meal that really created a complete mess is still mac n’ cheese, which always correlates directly with bath night. Shh, don’t tell anyone but you don’t get a bath every night. Dirt is good for you.

I cannot grasp all that you have taken in over the last three years. Three years sounds like such a long time, but it skipped by in a flash. In three years I learned enough to pass the Utah Bar. In three years you have learned your numbers, colors and letters, how to smile, put yourself to sleep, and almost get dressed. You know that the clock says 7.00 a.m., how to spoon tomatoes into jars for canning, how to use an iPad, an iPhone and any other device that requires tapping a screen, how to dig in the garden, carry an egg without squeezing it too hard, how to feed Buddy his dog food, load the dryer and help me sort clothes. You finally worked up the courage to ride on an animal on the carousel at the Zoo and you can climb into the car and into your carseat by yourself. You know how to give the best hugs and huge smacking kisses on our cheeks. You memorize books after reading them once or twice and you tell people you are good when they ask, “how are you?” You remember to say please, thank you, you’re welcome and excuse me most of the time. You constantly amaze me. I am in awe of how much you have accomplished and figured out on your own.

You are mind-bogglingly stubborn. You have a very clear sense of what you want in life. You will hold out for fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes in hopes of getting what you want even if I have made it clear I am not going to give in. You can be very bossy. You tell me all the time that I have to do something. You get upset with your teachers sometimes if they aren’t singing the song that you wanted. You often try to “help” your classmates (whom you call “your kids”) with things they don’t want help with. But you also, so your teachers told me at you parent-teacher conference, are a leader and the kids look up to you. My heart burst with pride when I heard this. But more importantly, they told me you are an exceptionally happy kid and this made me so very happy. Your father’s and my greatest wish for you is to be happy in your life and to be happy with who you are and with those around you. To know that you are happy gives me hope that somehow between all of the timeouts, the lectures, the frustrations and the battles, we are doing something right. We are giving you a home that you love and where you are safe and secure and content. We are trying so hard to be good parents and hopefully you know that in the last three years, it is you who have given your parents the greatest gift – we are so very lucky to be your parents. We love you little bear.