Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Beloved Binkie

For all those that want to judge and criticize the fact that my three-year-old still has her binkie . . . let me give you some insight. Autumn is still napping, but not every day. On the days when she opts out of her afternoon nap, you can imagine how tired (and cranky) she is at night. Monday was a prime example. The other thing to note is that Autumn does not like to have her teeth brushed. So, on a very tired, cranky night, I made the mistake of suggesting she brush her teeth and then just as quickly decided against it. Daddy stepped in, though, as to not be on the losing end of a power struggle, and insisted. One thing led to another . . . there was some whining, screaming and hitting . . . and Jeff took her binkie away . . . which led to more whining, screaming and then kicking.

A full hour later . . . full of whining, screaming, hitting and kicking . . . an exhausted and weary Autumn finally agreed to have her teeth brushed to win back her prized binkie. Literally two seconds after she popped the binkie in her mouth, she was fast asleep. As if all the tears were not enough . . . here are a few things she repeated during the ordeal:

Autumn: "Daddy, can I please, please, please have my binkie back?"
Daddy: "Yes - as soon as we brush your teeth."
A: "Where is it?"
D: "In my room."
A: "Is it up high?"
D: "No."
A: "What color is it?"
D: "Pink."
A: "Can I see it?"
D: "After you brush your teeth."
A: "Can I touch it?"

It was too much for me. I had to go all the way downstairs so that I couldn't hear - and then had to deal with the guilt of feeling like I abandoned her. Yes, I know I have issues. Yes, I know I'm weak. But, I welcome anyone to come over to my house and wrangle that binkie away from her. I'll be in the bathtub with ear plugs in. Good luck.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snow Angels

I think it's safe to say that almost every mom of a toddler is on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I adore my children . . . and that's not a strong enough word. I am addicted to them. I want to be with them all the time and agonize when I am not. But, if I'm truly honest with myself . . . the stress of a full-time job sometimes takes over and my patience wears thin in the very moments where the imagination, innocence, and sweetness of my children are most obvious.

For example, when playing CandyLand, Autumn traces the entire (long and windy) path for each move (while singing a song that she makes up), knocking every other player off the board with gusto, until she randomly picks a space that she likes (despite knowing exactly how to play). It's adorable at the same time it is intolerable after 20 minutes of this kind of play. It's also similar to being angry for just a moment when my 10 month old wakes me at 3 am in the morning . . . again. It's not his fault both of his top teeth are coming in at the same time.

And, then I have a day that makes my heart grow even bigger. Monday everything ran smoothly . . . we had a complete Southern meal (ribs, baked beans, cheesy potatoes and cornbread) ready in the crockpot (my favorite appliance), Autumn was actually happy to go play with friends at day care, Gavin was a doll all day, and I actually got work done! We had a family home evening lesson on friendship, made an Amish Friendship Bread starter, sang songs . . . and Autumn and Gavin could not have been cuter (she actually had me repeat the lesson Tuesday morning again). They both went to bed relatively on time (and Autumn even let us brush her teeth without argument)! My sink was clean (a FlyLady mandate), Jeff cleaned and vaccuumed the family room and we enjoyed some time together. It all seems so simple . . . which is why it was so wonderful.

I think everyday, more than once, about how this is the only time in my children's life when they need me like this, when they want to be with us more than anyone else, and when my every thought and action is molding two incredible little people. And, I pray for more patience and for peace and self-acceptance that I am making the best out of the situation that I am in. That I am working for my children - even though they may not understand for a long time. That I am constantly striving to be the best mom and wife I can for two beautiful children and an ever-loving husband . . . but, it's okay not to be perfect.

A long, long way from Virginia . . .

It's hard to give everyone (especially my East Coast family) a sense for how much snow we get that stays on the ground in Heber. I LOOOOOOOOVE it. With a lot of bundling, it is possible to still play outside (albeit very short spurts for Gavin). Autumn could play for hours . . . until the idea of hot chocolate finally overtakes her.

The downside of a long, cold winter: Autumn tries to fill the portions of the day that she would be playing outside with TV. I have to spend all summer "de-mushing" her brain to compensate.

What a cute baby!

Dirty Boys

Gavin and our nephew, Trent, are just 2 1/2 months apart. The one issue for Gavin is that he is not as mobile as his counterparts and one-year-old babies have no real concept of being gentle. To his credit, Trent was soft about 90% of the time. Poor Gavin suffered the rest. I'm afraid he's going to develop 'other baby phobia.'

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Ones that Care

My father-in-law sent this to me . . . and, I had to post it. I think it is incredibly thought-provoking. Thanks, Russ!

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read straight through, and you'll get the point.
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America Contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with


The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

Pink Kitty vs. the "Kitty that Walks"

It started out so innocently . . . Autumn and Gavin made mention to several Santas along the way that he would have to come drop off their presents in Virginia since we would be visiting with Aunt Amy and her family and Grandma and Grandpa Ranson. We wrote a letter to Santa to be sure and we put together a plate of Santa's favorite cookies (Oreos, of course).
Autumn's wish list for Santa had not deviated at all in the past months . . . she wanted a pink kitty and a purple puppy. These were the two gifts that Santa made sure to drop off in Virginia.

She was thrilled by the doctor set from Grandma Ranson and had to use it right away.

Gavin even joined in the festivities and found a favorite toy among all the presents.

So . . . what could be wrong with this wonderful day? See below. My sister's little girl, Eva, decided only a few days before Christmas that she needed a "real" kitty. She drew pictures of Santa picking out her kitty (from a sack-full of kitties, funny enough) and bringing it to her house. I did convince my sister and brother-in-law to make the "real" kitty the last gift of Christmas . . . since I knew what was going to happen. Autumn's pink kitty was "one-upped." Hers "didn't walk." And, to make matters worse . . . Autumn adores kitties . . . or better said, she OBSESSES about kitties. It was all she could think of 24/7 during our visit. The first thing she thought of when we pulled in the driveway or got up in the morning . . . that poor kitty never had a chance. Jeff and I have never yelled, used time-outs, pleaded or bribed more . . . begging Autumn to not pick up the kitty (not because we don't love kitties - but, because a 2-yr-old picks up a kitty most often by its neck). We love our family and love being with family during the holidays . . . but, have decided that Christmas day will from here forward be spent at home.