Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Terribly Cute Twos

Getting him dressed is the worst part of the day. This is as far as we got on Saturday.

Yes, we've officially entered the terrible twos. At first, I assumed his bad behavior had to do with the fact that Sean and I are basically switching off days with Aiden, as I go to school M/W/F and Sean works T/TH. I thought maybe the back and forth was confusing him, or maybe he was just better for Sean. It wasn't until Sean asked me "So....does he act up all the time for you?" that we finally realized this wasn't our parenting styles clashing, this was a new phase for Aiden.

Its tough because we never know how to react to his behavior. At first, there was a strict pattern we had to follow to prevent meltdowns. For example, at bedtime it was always : brush teeth, drink a cup of water, he'll wipe his mouth, he'll shut the bedroom door, he'll turn on the humidifier, and then we sit and read stories. If you did one thing out of order there would be a tantrum. I recognize that he probably gets this penchant for order from me, and I always tried to make sure things went as planned, but I started to see that no matter how carefully we followed his lead, there would still be a tantrum.

We still try to let him determine how little things, like the bedtime routine, will go, but we've stopped walking on eggshells around him now that we realize the tantrums are going to happen no matter what. He is so independant and refuses to hold our hands, always wants to climb the stairs and get into and out of chairs all by himself, and it's hard when we have to step in for safety's sake. However, I think we've found small ways to let him be independant and still keep rules in place.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Worn Out from the Weekend

This was a big, big weekend. The weather was so nice that we were constantly on the go, getting things done, and now that it's Sunday night I am ready to fall asleep standing up. Every night this past week we've made an effort to take Aiden out for a long walk in his big green car that my stepdad, or Papa as Aiden calls him, gave him for Christmas. So, naturally, we kicked the weekend off with another trek around the neighborhood.

The envy of the neighborhood under-6 set

Then on Saturday morning, we went to Starbucks with my mom and got a Frappuccino (to celebrate the 70 degree weather) and took Aiden to the elementary school playground. He proceeded to run laps up onto the playground equipment, over the bridges, through the tunnels, and down the slide for about two hours. My mom, Sean and I were all trying to keep up with him and it was so much fun and so utterly exhausting at the same time.

If we weren't tired enough, we came home and Sean proceeded to start resealing the deck. Friday he carefully sanded the ENTIRE deck (it's pretty big) and it took both Saturday and Sunday, working late into the night both days, to finish the entire thing. It was an amazing feat involving a lot of power tools and varnish and manly things like that. I was impressed and quite happy to have married such a hardworking guy.

Before: weather-worn and gray

After: GORGEOUS, you're all invited for a BBQ

So in addition to park hopping and walk-taking, we made several trips to Lowes, where I also picked up a new edger for next week's project: painting the two unfinished bedrooms! I can barely contain my excitement.

After all of this, I still finished my schoolwork and did two loads of laundry, although the gigantic ham Sean bought did not get cooked and will have to be saved for Tuesday.

Now I would just like to fall into bed and sleep for about a hundred years.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

East Bound and Down?

My Yankee stereotype of South Carolina, and all states south of the Mason Dixon

So, as most of you know, Sean has finally gotten the information about when he will be leaving for his training in South Carolina. Originally, we planned for him to go and for Aiden and I to stay. It would be really reallly reallllllly hard to be apart for sixth months, but we were not going to uproot ourselves AGAIN.

And then we got the information for the apartments down there. And they're totally gorgeous, and pretty affordable, and there are parks and gardens and beaches and children's museums. Now we're in a conundrum of whether to go all together, or stay here while Sean goes. There are a million reasons pro and con, and everyday we wake up with a new decision.

"We're going! I've found tons of amazing things for Aiden to see down there"
"We're staying. What about the house?!"
"We're going! We have to stay together"
"We're staying. We'll be fine here"

You get the idea. It's totally up in the air right now. Parts of me are dying to go, because I just don't want to be apart from Sean anymore. I thought we were done with that part. Also, I'm dying to just see what it's all about down there, and to live within forty-five minutes of the ocean. And selfishly, I'd like to experience living out of New York state once before we get too settled here.

But parts of me are dreading another move, a move after we agreed we'd never in a million years ever leave our beloved town, with all of our family and friends. I dread the packing, the fourteen hour drive, apartment living with a toddler, and being away from my mom.

How could we separate these guys again?

I've spent a lot of time on the internet, looking at pictures of the apartment complexes complete with pools and gyms and hiking trails right outside your door. I've found beautiful beaches, and historic plantations with miles of rice patties and floating gardens. I've even found a state park with a whole water park in it meant for children and toddlers, just down the road from where we'd be.

Then I think about the meltingly hot and muggy summer weather. I think about how we're in the middle of getting the house ready for any children we'd like to have in the near future. Then I remember how Charleston is filled with monuments to the "War of Northern Aggression" and how the Christian Knights, part of the Ku Klux Klan, are still active in South Carolina (oh yeah, that one freaked me out).

Like I said: we have no idea what we're going to do yet. In my heart I think we're going to go, because once an idea like that creeps into my head, I have to follow through, no matter how much I know I'm going to miss home and family, because I can't turn down and opportunity for adventure.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Playground Day

"I see you!" : Aiden's newest sentance
Of coures, it comes out closer to "Ah seeee ohhhh!"

It was fifty degrees today! Only twenty degrees away from spring weather! We went to the playground to take advantage of it, and we met a nice stay-at-home-dad and his two daughters. Aiden had a blast playing with the older girl, who was five and very blonde (this is his favorite type of girl. Who'd have thought a two year old could have a 'type' right? It's true though, he naturally gravitates towards older blonde women).

She came over to me and said "watch out for the bull pits! they're all over the place!". I nodded, having zero idea what she was talking about until two unleashed pitbulls came trotting over. Luckily, a police officer came and claimed them.

Then the girl's father came over to strike up a conversation about how he likes to take them into the woods and teach them to find dry wood that can be whittled into tinder, which they use along with two large sticks and a few bars of magnesium to makes campfires. He advised me to keep the magnesium out of Aiden's reach since it burns at about 3,000 degrees.

This is a new face Aiden has been trying out. Whenever I say something he doesn't like or he just doesn't want to listen, he looks as far to the side as he can and pretends to smile. I also tried out this face while I listened to the playground dad talk about how I should carry a pocketknife, in case I need to whittle dried sticks into tinder, so that I can start campfires where ever I happen to be.

Yep, the warm weather brings all the crazies out.

Captain Underpants

(No, he's not really wearing underpants, it's just his onesie snapped over his pajamas)

I have been having potty training anxiety on Aiden's behalf since he was about eight months old. Maybe it's because I'm a psych major and I've been reading too much Freud, but it seems like such a huge deal and I have zero idea how to go about it. Everyone has their theories, some seem reasonable and some seem like they're verging on abusive, but everyone has an opinion. Children typically potty train somewhere between 18 months and 3 years, with girls leaning toward the early side and boys lagging behind a bit, but I know the process can take a while so we've gradually been getting Aiden comfortable with the potty.

For awhile, he was pretty frightened and confused by the whole idea, but slowly he'd sit on it once and while, and now he's really comfortable with it. I had planned to wait until summer when I'd be home all day with him, but since he's been home with Sean most days they've been working on it and Aiden actually seems ready! He will willingly sit on the potty almost any time we ask him, and he's been telling us before he needs to go. He loves to wear Pull-ups and flushing the toilet and generally being independent. My main concern is that I'd like to keep this momentum going and start a regular routine with the potty, but he'll be heading back to daycare in a month and I'm afraid he won't be comfortable enough around his new teachers to go at school. We could still wait until summer to really get him going on it, but that seems like throwing away a lot of progress. I don't know what to d0! My stepdad always tells me not to worry about it because every adult he knows is potty trained, so whenever it happens, Aiden will get there. I wish I were that laid back!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Some People Call Him the Gangster of Love

We watched the movie "Happy Feet" with Aiden on Sunday. Turns out it's quite scary for a two year old!!! There was the very realistic, very vicious Lion Seal trying to eat the cute penguins (which Aiden kept referring to as the babies). There was also the part where the father is so disappointed in his son's inability to sing he begins to weep, which in turn caused Aiden to very quietly start crying. It's was a bad, bad choice of movies on our part, but who would've known! It's about dancing penguins!

The movies saving grace was the fact that they played a Jason Mraz cover of the Steve Miller song "The Joker" during the ending credits, during which Aiden showed us his happy feet.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Our Hobbit

Aiden, and his noble steed

Frodo, cousin of Bilbo

When we were on our awesomely awesome date night last Saturday, we happened across an edition of Alice in Wonderland that had beautiful artwork by Robert Ingpen. Sean likes to add to Aiden's book collection, so when we went home he purchased it online. We also bought him The Wind in the Willows (my favorite children's book, I actually didn't read it until I was 18) illustrated by the same man, and an illustrated version of the Hobbit.

Aiden has been expanding what type of books and stories he'll allow us to read him (what a benevolent dictator, no?). This has saved my sanity because I was going to lose it if I had to read Little Ambulance (or the Nah-Nah book, as he calls it) one more time. Sean will literally spend and hour or two reading to Aiden from books of poetry, he even managed to read him large sections from David McCullough's 1776. Mostly he's stuck with poetry, but just recently Sean read to him from this illustrated Hobbit.

Hoo-boy, this has set off something in Aiden and now it's all he wants to hear. I personally think the book is pretty scary (goblins! giant man eating spiders!) but Aiden LOVES it. His new favorite word: Bilbo! ( the main character). Anytime we sit down to read it's "Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo!". It's kind of neat because Sean loves the Hobbit and the following Lord of the Rings series, but I have a secret fear Aiden's going to end up being one of those kids that plays Dungeons and Dragons all day.

I guess reading anything is good, and Aiden isn't really old enough to grasp a whole lot of the story anyway, but if he ends up being twenty five and living in the basement playing Magic cards all day, I'm blaming Sean.