Friday, September 14, 2007

Like sand through the hourglass

I’m still here. I’m managing to survive solo days with the boys. In fact it seems to be going fairly well. The secret to my sanity is just keeping busy. I have to get Noah out of the house every day because for me it’s far harder to care for the baby and entertain Noah all day at home. Plus the baby does better out of the house too – new things to stare at wide-eyed – that is when he’s not sleeping. So we’ve been to the Please Touch Museum, to the Smith House twice, to the library, to a few playdates and then to do assorted errands.

Of course that isn’t to say we haven’t had some challenges. Noah has got me racking my brain over two issues. The first is mealtime. Noah is a good eater. There isn’t anything he won’t consistently eat and he eats plenty. However he takes FOREVER to do so. He’ll sit at the table for over an hour with me begging him to pick up the pace – meanwhile he’s off in his own little world, talking, singing, making sound effects and playing with his food. I’ve suggested setting the timer for meals and if it goes off and he’s not done eating he won’t get dessert – but he absolutely panics when I suggested it. One night in his sleep he shrieked “Don’t turn on the timer!”

The other problem is bigger. Noah has always had a difficult time disengaging. If he’s in a zone, having a good time and you try to tell him he needs to stop what he’s doing he is less than thrilled. And when he’s the least bit tired he reaches hysterical meltdown levels. These are particularly alarming because Noah is normally so well behaved, so reasonable and so good at expressing his feelings. But when he’s shrieking, crying and making irrational nonsensical demands I’m at a loss. It’s like a Jekyll/Hyde situation. In fact normally after calming down he’ll say of his own accord “I’m sorry I was crying. I was a little tired.” But when he’s in the heat of one of those crazy moments there is nothing I can say to get him out of it – I just have to wait for him to boil over and run out of steam. This is particularly taxing when Ray is awake and requiring care at the same time. On Wednesday after twenty rounds of "I don't want to go. I want to do ONE MORE THING" I had to carry Noah crying, kicking and screaming from the Smith Playhouse playground with a sleeping Ray strapped to me in the Bjorn. It was nasty. I have to pull out my parenting books to try and refresh myself on the dealing with tantrum strategies. Suggestions?

Noah’s first day of preschool is on Monday. He’ll be going on Mondays and Thursdays from 12 – 2pm. When anyone asks “Are you excited to start school?” Noah says “Yes. But it’s gonna be a little sad because Mama won’t be there.” But I think he’s going to be fine. Today we went to an orientation and he got to meet some of the teachers and play with the toys. At first he was hanging by my side and asking me to come and play with him but I told him no and encouraged him to play on his own. As I suspected he glommed on to a teacher who put a bunch of puzzles together with him – and then he was ready to strike out on his own. I asked him before bed tonight if he’s going to cry when I drop him off on Monday and he said “No.” I told him some of the other kids, the younger kids might cry and he told me he’d help them stop crying because he was a magical king. I might need a magical king to stop my crying on Monday – but I guess Ray will be enough of a distraction.

But I have a feeling that Noah is really ready for school. Just in the last few weeks he’s seemed so much more social at picnics and parties we’ve been at. At a picnic at my Dad’s place he spent all day running around with his cousins James and Julius and at my Aunt Jill’s surprise birthday party he was cavorting in the disco lights with his cousins Aelan and Evan. Both times he barely seemed to notice I was still there – and that feels really good and also makes me sad. It’s like he’s a REAL LIVE BOY! GOD – the time is going by so fast already. Blink and I’ll miss it all. Any day now I’ll be one of the older ladies in the grocery store oohing and ahhing over random children and telling their mothers “I wish my kids were still that small” and “Treasure every moment.”

And with the passing of each day Master Ray grows. He’s two months old today. He’s really begun cooing, throwing his arms and feet around and smiling. His awake and content time is increasing and I look forward to him “doing” things like playing with toys and laughing. He is happiest in a sling or in my arms. Seems he didn’t get the memo that second babies should be content to hang out alone and untended to for long periods of time. Like Noah he wants to always be close and cuddled. Don’t know how on earth MY kids got to be so emotionally needy. Ha. Mark says “It’s not my fault. You are the one that doesn’t like to be alone.”

Hmmm. Me. What is up with me? Well I look a mess. I need to lose 30 pounds and I desperately need clothes. I’ve realized that for the most part I wear disposable clothing. I buy almost everything from Old Navy – because of the basic styling, price and convenience. And I only have a handful of things that I wear and wash and wear and wash until they are shrunken, threadbare or stained – so by the end of every season my clothes are trash. Add to that the increasing and decreasing weight with the pregnancies and it gets all the more complicated. I have nothing remotely fitting and flattering for fall – forget fashionable - and I don’t have the time or money to buy anything. It makes me want to hide in the basement in my maternity tank tops and faded, saggy Levis.

I have to rap this up because I have TV to watch with my husband. We’ve actually been Netflixing a lot of TV shows lately. We were never watching the movies we received – the two hour time commitment seems too much when you’re exhausted after putting the kids to bed. So we switched to shows and have really been enjoying Weeds Season 2, Extras Season 2 and Dead Like Me Seasons 1 & 2. Next on the list I believe is Dexter as well as 30 Rock. And I’m eager for The Tudors to be released. Also considering the 4400. Anyone like that? (I should italics and link all those titles but screw it.)

Oh and I’m SUPER behind on blog commenting but not so much on reading. I can get to a site and read with a baby in one hand and a toddler hanging on my leg – but can’t type. So I’m sending comments via super internet brainwaves. Anyone receiving those? Julie? Katie? Lonna?


juliloquy said...

Brainwaves are coming in loud and clear. Never feel obligated to comment - you have a lot on your plate!

I'm glad to hear that your solo days are going pretty well. You're amazing!

I don't know if you were looking for eating suggestions (or how you feel about snacking), but my sister and others have had a lot of luck with setting a variety of healthy snacks out in a muffin tin and just letting the kid graze.

I don't have good ideas about the disengaging problem - we face it, too. I try to give a 5-minute warning ("you can play a bit more, but we have to leave in 5 minutes"). But I've done my share of the grab and carry (or forcing legs into pants to get out the door). Yeah, will be rough with a baby to wrangle, too.

I'll be thinking of schoolboy Noah next week!

patrice said...

ha. my mom used the timer on me. I hated it too. do you have to sit with him to eat? maybe if you wait a reasonable amount of time and then tell noah you have to go do other things, it will spur him on to eat faster. or maybe some sort of activity will happen at x time and if he's not done, he can't participate. it's like a timer without a timer?

oh, and I know about the disengaging. that was trent's downfall when he was potty training. I'd see him squirming all over the place and when I finally had to threaten to stop whatever he was doing (unplug the tv, put away the toys, etc) and march him to the bathroom, he'd be bursting and would pee all over the place. I have no advice there. the books all say to let him have the tantrum and quiety and firmly carry him out, which is what you're doing.

my clothes are all disposable too. I have a few things I wear year after year, but not many. it blows.

patrice said...

uh, those were like 4 thoughts in that second paragraph where I kinda left out the transitions. I have a headache. bella makes me sleep with 4,000 items in bed anymore - under my pillow. makes for sleepless nights finding bracelets and stuff animals stuck to my face.

Stine said...

I had a friend who had problems with a child moving onto different activities/disengaging etc. She would give multiple warnings to the child, at 15 minutes, 10 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 1 minute. And then if and when the time came to change activities and she still had a tantrum, mom would not comfort her, grab her/or her hand, and take the child wherever she needed to go etc.

It took awhile, but it eventually got a lot better. Don't know if that helps.