Tag Archives: Toddlers

17 Reasons Why Toddlers and Puppies are EXACTLY the Same

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  1. They both like to put inappropriate things in their mouths
  2. They both like nuks and blankets
  3. They both like to dig through the garbage
  4. They both like to unroll the toilet paper from the roll
  5. They both like to eat food off the floor
  6. They both require me to clean up their stinky poops
  7. They both steal things that don’t belong to them
  8. Neither of them understands boundaries
  9. They both impede getting out the door
  10. They both require you to close all the doors to all the other rooms
  11. They both like to rip paper into tiny, tiny pieces
  12. They both move methodically from prohibited item to prohibited item
  13. Neither one can be left alone unsupervised
  14. They both respond to the same commands – out, stay, leave it
  15. They both get ridiculously messy
  16. They both see an open lap as an unequivocal invitation to sit in it
  17. They both invoke hysterical laughter, which combined with their cuteness, means you can’t stay mad at them for long

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This is What I’m Going With

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Lately, I feel like everything with Bean is an epic battle to the death. And obviously, there are no winners.

Here’s a typical scenario from our house in the last three weeks:

Morning

The mere mention of going to the bathroom and getting dressed sends Bean into a flailing tantrum complete with arm waving (and mostly unintentional) hitting, kicking, tears and screaming. We’re talking head thrown back, on the floor, ear-piercing screams.

Sometimes, she will willingly take off her clothes, but then when I suggest getting dressed, she just runs away. If I happen to grab her before she gets away from me (because I refuse to chase her), then the above tantrum ensues.

Bedtime

Most of the time Bean is all too happy to get into pajamas, but the tantrum inducer is when (gasp) her father, (God forbid) attempts to help her with getting ready for bed. Last night as I was brushing Monkey’s teeth and told Bean that daddy was going to help her, the above tantrum ensued. Same goes for helping her go to the bathroom, getting her pajamas on, washing her hands, you name it.

Mealtime

I made homemade waffles last weekend. They were dang delicious and so much easier than I remember. Especially now that my waffle iron is accessible and I learned not to overfill the darn thing. Bean loved them. But then she accidentally dropped one of her last two pieces on the floor. No biggie, right?

WRONG.

I picked it up and threw it away. Bad idea. Cue tantrum. Except a mealtime tantrum has the added bonus of Bean being strapped into a chair, thus able to fling her body back and forth and all around without falling out. It’s awesome.

I was stunned.

I explained to her that the waffle was dirty, but that it was okay because I would give her one of my waffle pieces.

Didn’t matter. She wasn’t hearing it. She wanted that dirty waffle piece back and there was nothing I could say or do to make her happy.

And generally, that’s how it goes.

The instant something happens that she doesn’t want (or the suggestion of something she doesn’t want to do), it’s the end. There’s zero ability to talk with her. There’s no communication. She just shuts down.

All of the wonderful parenting techniques that we employ with Monkey (all of the parenting articles I’ve been poring over), don’t really work.

  • It doesn’t matter if I give her choices. She just screams “NO!” back at me about everything.
  • It doesn’t matter if something is a rule (establishing rules and expectations so that I’m not the bad guy). “The rule is that when we get up in the morning, the first thing we do is go to the bathroom.” Or, “The rule is we brush our teeth in the morning and at night before bed.” We run through all the people who brush their teeth and go to the bathroom in the morning. Meh. Most times she could care less what the rule is.
  • Asking her if she wants to do something now or “in a minute” always gets the “in a minute” reply. But then when 5 minutes goes by and I tell her it’s time to do XYZ, generally we still get the tantrum or the running away, or the running away followed by the tantrum (like this morning).
  • We’ve been really trying to talk to the kids like we would talk to another adult. The example in an article I read was along the lines of, “If you saw an adult knock over their milk at McDonald’s you wouldn’t jump up and start berating them about how clumsy they were and how they should be more careful and then huff off to get some paper towels.” Not that we’ve ever done that; generally we’re pretty calm about those types of things. But, you get the point, which is, “Don’t treat someone poorly, or more importantly, force someone to do what you want, just because you’re bigger than them.” Because that sets up all sorts of problems that leaves kids vulnerable to sexual predators, peer pressure, etc. How-ev-er, like I told Husband, if he dropped his piece of waffle on the floor and I threw it away because it was dirty, he wouldn’t start flailing his arms, kicking his legs, throwing his head back and screaming. I’m pretty sure we’d just talk about it.

And that is my biggest frustration. There’s just no communication. No opportunity for any of the above. The only thing that somewhat works is empathetically saying how I think she feels. “I know you’re mad, honey. I know you want to keep playing. I’m sorry that we have to get ready for bed.” But even if she stops to listen to me, she still doesn’t then cooperate.

The only time she wants to do something is when she can possibly beat her sister to it. Which honestly is unfair to Monkey because then Monkey’s always second. Or, if Monkey beats Bean, Bean still cries and has a tantrum. Good grief. I’m exhausted just thinking of all the tantrums.

I feel beaten down. I feel like I’ve just had it. I am pulling out all the tricks and it doesn’t make one damn bit of difference.

I don’t yell much. We don’t spank. We do use time-outs, although this Aha Parenting Web site advocates for doing time-ins (sitting with your child) instead of time-outs (which apparently make them feel isolated and alone with their feelings). I tried that this morning with Bean when she wouldn’t cooperate about getting dressed. She just laid in her bed (naked) and yelled at me to get out. I stayed anyway. I have no idea if it helped.

Up to this point we’ve been trying to follow Love and Logic parenting techniques (I say “trying” because we like the philosophy but we don’t always execute) which focuses a lot on empathy and consequences (as well as choices, routines/rituals, etc.). However, Aha Parenting advocates for not issuing punishments or consequences (unless they’re “natural” and not “parent-imposed” consequences) because when kids are acting their worst, that’s when they need you to love them the most.

Aha Parenting argues that when kids are dwaddling and being slow getting ready for bed, the last thing they need is for you to yank away stories or cuddle time as a consequence. But when we’re running out of time to get Bean to bed (and we KNOW she’s probably acting out from being tired), it seems like a natural consequence that if you’re not cooperating and you’re making things take longer, that you don’t get stories. It’s not even really a punishment! It’s not like we’re saying “No stories because you’re being sassy or because you hit your sister.” It’s a natural consequence. We ran out of time. I feel conflicted about this whole “consequence/punishment” thing.

I don’t really yell much. BUT, when pushed, I do raise my voice (not to a yell, but it’s raised), I do get a mean look on my face, I do lose the ability to negotiate and communicate and just start barking orders. Basically, I get angry and frustrated. I also say things I shouldn’t; things that I try not to say. And then I find myself still saying them: “Why do you have to be so uncooperative?” “I am so sick of this.” I know this is bad because I’m sending her the message that she, as a person, is bad.

Day after day, night after night, these are my interactions with my child. She knows that I’m frustrated. One of the things I remember from the Love & Logic CDs is that if you send your child the message that you can’t handle them, they’ll think, “Geez, I must really be bad if even my own parents can’t handle me,” and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The kid acts worse and worse, and the parent is less and less able to get a handle on the situation. I’m afraid that’s going to happen.

I also feel like the frequency of these occurrences makes it more and more difficult for me to remain calm when they happen. I’m immediately on edge because I feel like I already know the outcome (major tantrum), and no amount of choices, or empathy, or quietly speaking to her, or whatever is going to help.

I feel like a failure. Not just because she’s not listening and cooperating. But because there’s no room for any negotiation, communication, education, discussion. Period.

Aha Parenting says “Kids who feel connected to their parents naturally want to please them,” and that:

Defiance is always a relationship problem. If your child does not accept your direction (“I don’t care what you say, you can’t make me!”), it’s always an indication that the relationship is not strong enough to support the teaching. This happens to all of us from time to time. At that point, stop and think about how to strengthen the relationship, not how to make the child “mind.” Turning the situation into a power struggle will just deepen the rift between you.”

Since I seem to be engaged in a non-stop power struggle (epic battle to the death), obviously I’m not connected. Failure.

My child does not feel connected to me, she will think that I think she’s a whole lot of trouble and that she can’t be contained, therefore she will become increasingly troublesome, and basically I just ruined her chance at becoming a successful person, not to mention we don’t have a relationship.

I know this is extreme, but it’s my fear.

I am not used to this. I am not accustomed to encountering a problem that I can’t solve, even with repeated effort. Am I not trying hard enough?

Can anyone tell me they’ve been through this and have come out the other side with a happy, well-adjusted, still free-spirited but more reasonable child?

Will this get better? Will time (maturity with age) make this better? Will she become more reasonable so that I can actually employ these very useful techniques that seemed to work so well with Monkey? Am I ruining my child? Is she not connected to me?

I will also add that I think she’s definitely not getting enough sleep.

After getting through the difficulty of her wanting us to be in the room while she fell asleep and waking excessively at night (2-5 times every night), we’re now dealing with her early rising. She goes to bed beautifully now, but instead of sleeping until 7 a.m. like normal, her waking has gotten earlier and earlier. First it was 6:45 a.m. Then it was 6:30 a.m. The past two weeks it’s been 6 or 6:15. And today it was 5 freaking 40 A.M.!

She’s also started taking shorter naps. At least I feel like that’s more normal for her age — she just turned two, so I can’t really expect her to continue taking 2+ hour naps. An hour and a half is more in line, but sometimes it’s only an hour and 15 minutes, or like yesterday — 45 minutes! Between early waking and shortened naps, she is just not getting enough sleep.

And thirdly, her picky eating is at an all-time high. We trying our best to follow the advice of our pediatrician who tells us every time I express concern over her picky eating, “Your job is to prepare and serve healthy food. Her job is to eat it. If you start bribing, rewarding, coaxing or cajoling, you’re not doing your job.”

So, for the most part, we serve the food. Sometimes we’ll ask her to try one bite (she always refuses). But do you know how hard it is to serve your child a meal that has all the components of something they would like (or have eaten before) and have them push it away on sight, screaming and crying??? Or just start picking things off the plate saying “Yucky?” (Yes, I’m sure you do, because you’re probably a parent reading this). UUUUUGGGGGHHHH.

I bet Bean is down to a list of 20 things that she’ll readily and gladly eat, not including dessert, and only two of them belong to the fruit/vegetable category.

Since we don’t make separate meals, and since we nearly always give dessert (so as not to set up a good food/bad food paradigm), Elise gets a lot of yogurt for “dessert.”

Do all of these things mean anything together (lots of tantrums, not getting enough sleep and picky eating)? Am I missing something?

I have been praying. Praying that God will guide me, help me, direct me to the resources I need. I pray that he will let Bean see how much we love her and that he will open her heart to listen to us.

Believe me, I DO NOT want to crush Bean’s spirit. I do not want her to grow up believing that people who are bigger than her get to tell her what to do.

I get it that it’s a good thing that she isn’t going to do what she doesn’t want to do, just because someone else says so. I know that research shows that she will be “almost impervious to peer pressure.”

But in the meantime, I don’t know what else to do.

Aside from reading parenting articles, pouring out my feelings on this blog, asking for help, and praying, the only thing I can think to do is this:

Every time I see her naked butt running away from me I’m going to think, “She’s running away from drugs,” or “She’s running away from a stranger trying to harm her.”

Every time I see her flat-out refusing to do what I ask, I’m going to think, “She’s saying no to underage drinking,” or, “She’s saying no to teenage sex.”

At least that’s what I’m going with now.

But I’ll repeat my plea: Can anyone tell me they’ve been through this and have come out the other side with a happy, well-adjusted, still free-spirited but more reasonable child?

Will this get better? Will time (maturity with age) make this better? Will she become more reasonable so that I can actually employ these very useful techniques that seemed to work so well with Monkey? Am I ruining my child? Is she not connected to me?

Belated

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It’s almost two weeks late, but I didn’t want to let my Bean’s second birthday go by unmarked.

She is such an interesting child. She is so determined. I think her biggest daily goal is to keep up with her big sister, and it doesn’t EVER occur to her that she won’t be able to do something that her big sister can do.

Whatever Monkey does, Bean does. When Monkey runs, Bean runs. When Monkey jumps, Bean jumps. When Monkey climbs, Bean climbs. When Monkey screams, Bean screams. One time Monkey jumped up in the air and Bean mimicked her so instantaneously that I couldn’t help but laugh.

A few weeks ago we went to a local indoor activity gym with a giant climbing obstacle. Bean ran right in there after Monkey and Monkey’s friend, and managed to climb up the first few obstacles by herself. Eventually the spaces between the levels got a little too tall for her legs and she cried while I looked on from the floor level. She wasn’t crying because she was scared though. She was crying because she was mad. Monkey had gotten so far ahead of her and she couldn’t keep up.

Monkey, bless her heart, came back and gave Bean a boost at each next level.

The girl has no fear.

This past weekend we went to the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, which has a gigantic indoor water park. In the center of the park, was an expansive multi-level kids play area with slides as tall as 20 feet.

This is what it looked like.

Kalahari's Leopard's Lair. Bean scrambled to the top of this gigantic kids play area to go down those green and yellow slides you see on the left. (Copyright: Kalahari Resort)

We no more than walked over to it, and Bean was already making her way to the top. The very top. Like, I was literally running through this thing to keep up with her. She got all the way to the top, pushed past the line of 5-, 6, and 7-year-old kids waiting for the tallest slides, and stood expectantly in front of the lifeguard who nodded at her and motioned her over towards the yellow slide to which she casually walked over, sat down, and went. I got there just in time to see the lifeguard nodding at her (did he not see her push past all the other kids waiting in line??), and incredulously watched her go down like she had done it a hundred times instead of her first. I frantically started waving to Husband who was 20 feet below that she was on her way down. The pool at the bottom of the slide was only six inches deep, and the slides were okay for kids as young as her, but still! She just took off and didn’t wait for anyone’s approval or permission.

A little too brave for her own good, if you ask me.

She also followed her sister up this rope wall without any hesitation, and mastered it after the second attempt.

This is the rope net that Bean tackled as soon as Monkey approached it. (Copyright Kalahari Resort)

I think her favorite word is “Me!” As in, whatever Monkey says she wants to do, or we tell Monkey she can do, Bean is right there to echo “ME!” because she wants in too.

I think Bean will be the type of child who constantly is emulating her big sister. And given that Monkey is a natural leader, I think it will be a good thing. I feel very blessed that their “short” age gap (just under two years) has led them to be the best of friends. They’re always looking out for one another.

Bean remains loving and empathetic as she tends to her babies, and while she can be very cuddly and clingy, she won’t give up kisses and hugs when she’s in a stingy mood.

She has more interest in reading books (by herself), and still wants to color and draw like her big sister.

She’s never been a real big “entertainer,” like her sister, but we do notice her laughing and trying to make us laugh more often. I know that sounds weird, but she was never that baby who would just laugh and laugh at your silly antics. It was only six months ago that this was still her face du jour:

This was Bean's emotion du jour for the longest time - the pout; aka stink face

And she continues to challenge us in ways different from her sister. After reflecting for awhile, I think that Bean is more strong-willed than Monkey, but Monkey was no cake walk either. Monkey was the child who, when transitioned to a big girl bed, was an ABSOLUTE TERROR. Ev-er-y single night she would rip ALL of her clothes out of her drawers, scatter her books all over the room, and tear the diapers out of the box in her closet. Every night. FOR MONTHS. Bean has not done that even one single time. She mostly stays in her bed and the “worst” she’s done is gotten out of bed to read books.

Bean seems to have more of a desire to control things, have things her way, and is less willing to listen and cooperate than Monkey was at the same age. Maybe this is because she’s the second child and is constantly “keeping up” with her sister, rather than getting to choose things for herself. Maybe she wants to leave her own mark. She also seems to want to experiment with pushing the boundaries more than I recall Monkey doing. Latest case: after being potty trained for a month, she’s majorly regressed. After ruling out a bladder infection and constipation, her pediatrician and I think it boils down to peeing in her pants because she can. Because she wants to gauge our reaction. She wants control. I find it highly unlikely that she forgot her body’s cues because she still proactively asks to go to the bathroom for No. 2 and hasn’t had any poop accidents.

I have to say, that I may be putting on my rose-colored glasses when reminiscing about Monkey’s Terrible Twos. I mean, at the time I certainly remember thinking she was *extremely* challenging. I wonder now if I’m forgetting some of the most challenging parts, or if Bean really is more challenging; or, like I said, that they’re just challenging in different ways. 

I’m hopeful that as her vocabulary is starting to expand, she’ll be more apt to communicate with us so we can reach compromises, rather than just throw fits and/or run away when we want her to do something.

One thing I know for sure — she is one smart kid.

Her pediatrician just reminded us this week that the traits we find most challenging — her stubbornness and desire to control, will translate into really good things later on. She definitely has a strong sense of self.

Finally, here’s a fun little thing I saw on Pinterest that I thought would be fun to do with the girls every year on their birthdays. Technically, you’re supposed to start when they turn 3, so Bean is a little young for this, but here goes:

20 Questions with Bean — Age 2

1. What is your favorite color? Pink

2. What is your favorite toy? Baby doll

3. What is your favorite fruit? Um. Nothing. The kid doesn’t eat fruit. She eats vegetables. Preferably green beans

4. What is your favorite TV show? Sesame Street

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Mac and cheese

6. What is your favorite outfit? Nothing in particular, except she has to pick it out

7. What is your favorite game? Trouble (because she likes to push the bubble)

8. What is your favorite snack? Cheese, Goldfish crackers, pretzels

9. What is your favorite animal? Dogs

10. What is your favorite song? Mr. Bassman (Laurie Berkner)

11. What is your favorite book? Duck and Goose: How are you feeling? (she loves to make the “angry” and “happy” faces)

12. Who is your best friend? Monkey

13. What is your favorite cereal? None

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Climb, swing, slide (but without getting her hands dirty)

15. What is your favorite drink? Milk

16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas?

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Blanket, lovey and Curious George

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Eggs

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Mac and cheese and green beans

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? TBD

A Different Kind of Terrible

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I started this post over two months ago and I never finished it. Initially I entitled it “Way More Terrible.” And it’s about Bean. And her terribleness compared to Monkey’s. But rather than being way more terrible than Monkey’s foray into the terrible two’s, I’ve realized that she’s already mellowed some after only two months, and that she’s really not way more terrible. She’s just different.

Monkey is high energy. I can handle high energy. I can do high energy all night long standing on my head. I rock high energy.

When Monkey was in her “terrible twos” I remember thinking she was pretty terrible.

In retrospect, she wasn’t that bad.

Because Bean is high energy. Bean is busy, busy, busy, combined with extreme willfulness and independence. Emphasis on extreme.

She’s just not easily distracted. She is unusually focused and determined. And we could see that about her even when she was a little baby.

As an infant she could be very difficult to console. While it took awhile for her to get worked up, when she did, she was MAD. She was just very intent on being really p*ssed off!

I distinctly remember being totally bewildered during these intense crying fits as she continued to scream her head off even after I picked her up, shushed her, swaddled her, bounced her and showed her a stunning and magical array of blue elephants. Finally, I would be like, “Dude, I’M HOLDING YOU. Do you SEE ME, holding YOU?” Which didn’t work either.

Honestly, she’s been like this since the SECOND she was born. Literally. She was born, she screamed, I got to hold her for a minute during which time she was stunned into silence … and then commenced screaming again. And then the nurse took her to clean her off and she SCREAMED the entire time. I think it took that nurse like 20 minutes to do the APGAR, handprint and footprint her, and then even after I got her back, she continued to cry and cry. Major. Stress Hormones.

So yeah. The whole introduce a new toy to distract her from the toy you just took away? Didn’t really work for her. Needless to say, the whole introduce a new activity to distract her from the activity you don’t want her doing works equally well. That sofa she’s bouncing on? That chair she’s climbing? You’re gonna have to physically remove her from the room and lock her up somewhere. Because when you ask her nicely to stop what she’s doing, she looks at you and nicely responds back, “No.”

And that very specific toy that she’s looking for? Well another pink plastic toy pacifier will just not work. She doesn’t want the HARD PLASTIC one, she wants the SOFT PLASTIC one. WHY DO YOU KEEP SHOVING THIS CLEARLY INFERIOR HARD PLASTIC TOY PACIFIER IN MY FACE? Excuse me while I lay crumpled and sobbing on the floor.

I’ve learned that I just need to let her go. When she’s reached that point I don’t try to console her because the more I try to talk to her, the more angry she gets. She’ll just continue shouting “NO!” at the top of her lungs. If I try to empathize with her? Forget it. If I offer her a hug when she’s angry? She doesn’t want any of that either. She’d rather turn her back than look at you.

Monkey in general was (and still is) more amenable to compromises, and hugs and empathy. And reason.

She is doing less hitting and throwing when she’s angry. I think timeouts and ignoring her has really helped. Thank God too, because it’s the awesomiest thing when we’re in a public place and she starts hitting you.

Her ability to listen and follow directions is still up for debate. Some days she’s great. Other days? Not. At. All. Sometimes I feel like trying not to tell her what to do because I know she’ll just do the opposite of what I want.

And when we try to pick her up and make her do what we tell her to do — like don’t run away from me during Monkey’s school performance, don’t run away from me in the library, don’t run away from me down the hall —  she usually cycles her legs and flails her arms all around in an effort to get us to put her down.

Maybe I should just let go. 😉

That “Okay we’re leaving now,” trick where you walk out the door and leave her? Yeah, that totally doesn’t work with her. She’s completely unphased.

Two weeks ago she didn’t want to leave the neighbor’s house so Husband, Monkey and I walked out the door and stood there watching her through the window as she continued to play. She didn’t even look around for us after we left. After a Christmas parade last weekend we started walking away from her on the sidewalk and she just turned around and walked the other way. And when we were leaving my cousin’s in-laws’ house (people Bean literally sees 2-3 times/year) we said, “Okay, we’re leaving now. Are you staying here?” And she said, “Uh huh,” and started unzipping her coat.

Little sh*t.

Monkey definitely seemed to listen more. And that leaving trick TOTALLY worked with her. Hysterical sobbing usually would ensue with Monkey. Monkey’s still shy and Bean generally is not.

Monkey also is more prone to emotional outbursts. She’s a more emotional person. So while we had more frequent, but shorter tantrums with Monkey, we have fewer, but longer ones with Bean. Not necessarily more terrible. Just different.

I think the first four months of Bean’s life were so peaceful and easy because God knew how terrified I was about having a Toddler Tornado and a newborn.

Guess we were in for a surprise. I can’t wait to see how these traits manifest themselves in future years.

I Love This Face

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Runny nose and her crooked smile. Love it.

I just love this face. I am truly, madly, deeply (thank you Savage Garden) in love with this face. The love I feel for Bean is so intense and so deep and that makes me SO happy.

(Especially because I didn’t feel that instantaneous deep connection with her like I did with her older sister. When another blogger told me she felt the same way with her younger daughter, and pointed out that it was almost impossible to compare the love you have for someone you’ve only known for a few months versus someone you’ve had a chance to love for years, it made me feel so much better. She was totally right.)

Bean has an opinion about fashion.

She pushes away shirts and socks she doesn’t want to wear, and when I hold up pants she says, “No, mama. Jean.”

Whaaa!? What 21-month-old doesn’t want to wear an Elmo shirt and has a preference on what elastic pants and multi-colored socks they want to wear!?

Her hair is finally, FINALLY starting to grow longer. It’s definitely in an awkward stage, just barely peeking out from behind her ears, and when it gets pushed forward (instead of swept to the side) it covers her eyebrows and she looks like a crusty old man.

Are these not the tiniest and most adorable pigtails you've ever seen? She *insists* on having her hair done like her big sister.

When she wants to show me something that she knows I’ll find exciting or surprising she runs to me with this priceless look, eyes wide and mouth open like an “O” and then waits for my reaction. I’m guessing she’s modeling that after me. She also says “Ta da!” OMG. Cracks. Me. Up.

She seems to understand humorous things better than Monkey ever did. If she’s watching Sesame Street she’ll laugh at the funny parts. Monkey’s just starting to get that stuff now. Either Bean just gets humor better, or she’s learning from her older sister.

It’s so interesting to me to see how these two children are affected by birth order. For example, we purposefully spent time teaching Monkey her colors, the alphabet and how to count to 10. With Bean, I’m a little ashamed to admit that it’s kind of an afterthought. Yet, the other day I started counting with her and asked her if she could say “One,” and she immediately replied “Two!” So she knew it, but probably because she observed it and not because we purposely taught it to her. In some ways Bean seems “smarter” than Monkey was at this age, yet her language is not as developed. I think it’s because she spends a lot of time copying her sister and less time talking.

One of her most adorable phases as of late is that we’re seeing less and less of “the pout” and more and more of the “CHEESE” face.

Classic pout. Or stink face as we like to call it. Copyright McManigal Photography

As soon as the camera comes out she starts saying “CHEESE” over and over again, many times without even actually looking at the camera. After I took pictures of her yesterday she also set up her baby for a photo shoot, saying “Cheese, baby.”

CHEESE!

She was trying to make a cheese face here, but I think it turned into stinky cheese.

I can’t believe she’s almost two. 😦

That’s How it Works, Right!?

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Dear God,

As you’re aware, Husband and I are thinking of having a third baby. Every time we think, “Okay! We’re going for it!” one of our existing children acts so heinous in public that we think, “Clearly, we are not capable of this. Let’s sell them immediately.”

Just kidding.

So I was thinking, if you could just ensure that our third baby will be super mellow, laid back, and agreeable, that would be great. Because surely, you wouldn’t expect the same two people to raise a Monkey, a Bean, and an equally willful, determined, high energy third baby. That would just not be fair. Because I know people who have TWO super laid back, mellow kids already. I actually know those people. Okay, maybe just one person that I can think of with two of them (and her middle name starts with a “P” as in “Penelope.”). But anyway, I don’t think those people should get all the mellow babies, especially when they already have two. It’s just not equitable.

Oh, one more thing. So please make the potential third baby super mellow, laid back and agreeable, but also driven to succeed and not easily influenced by others. I mean, when the kid gets to school age I still want her/him to be a leader and not give in to peer pressure and other such nonsense. So maybe they could just be super mellow until they’re old enough to listen to me all the time, can reason and logic, and never be sassy; then they can have some of that drive and determination that Monkey and Bean have.

Again, I’d just like to make it clear that it would not be fair to give us a Monkey and a Bean, and a similarly-tempered child.

And I know you are very concerned about fairness and equality for all.

Right?

THAT’S HOW IT WORKS, RIGHT!?

Oh. That’s not the way it works?

(sigh).

Just tell me what to do.

Shining a Light

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Reading everyone’s comments on my post yesterday made me a little emotional. In a good way. It was so affirming for me.

As I had hoped, getting all our thoughts, fears and concerns written out instead of stuck in our heads, shined a light on our situation and we realized that we probably had the decision made all along — but on those super tough parenting days when no one is listening, everyone is purposely being naughty, the kitchen floor looks like there’s been a food fight, the crying and whining won’t stop and no one’s going to bed easily — you look at each other and go “We must be effing crazy to even consider this.”

But as my friend Anna, summed it up: “If your heart tells you that you have more love to give, then everything else will just fall into place.”

And as several of you said, “You will not regret it, but probably would if you didn’t.”

A few other key takeaways for me:

Whether you’re going from zero children to one, or one to two, or any number, you have concerns about “will we be able to handle it mentally and financially.”

Well, duh. I hadn’t thought of that before, but that’s so true! These are the same questions we ask ourselves when we’re considering any big life change — buying a house, changing jobs, having kids.

It’s the fear that holds us back. The fear of the unknown. You get comfortable with the ways things are, and change is risky.

But as another friend said, “As a mother you can adjust to ANYTHING. Especially for the sake of your kids.”

Amen. Eventually, caring for three kids would become a routine and there would be nothing scary about it. We would adapt.

And finally, I had never heard anyone say that the “KNEW” when they were done, but apparently people feel that way just like others intuitively know when they’re not done. And we definitely don’t feel like we “know” we’re done.

Thank you to the many of you who said “God will provide.” It’s comforting to know that other people believe this too.

I encourage anyone who’s having this discussion in their household to read all of the comments. Also, a mom-of-three friend sent me a list of very thought provoking questions. I honestly appreciated so much her taking the time to help me think through some very realistic scenarios. I thought about my responses, and I’m including the questions here in case it helps someone else decide:

  1. School — this includes homework AND seeing their performances. School plays during the day time, concerts at night. Homework with three kids!
  2. Don’t worry about the money. That’ll come and you’ll find a way.
  3. Vehicles — eventually you will need a new vehicle. Someone is going to want a friend to come along. Be prepared.
  4. Uh, plain and simple. The amount of work doesn’t double when you go from one to two. It increases exponentially. LOL. And that is NOT a joke. But the JOY increases exponentially, too.
  5. Babysitters — it is WAY harder to find someone to watch three kids. Even grandparents, not that they don’t love the kids, but it can be overwhelming with so many. You can always find two sitters, but then you worry if one cancels, who is the backup, who goes where … etc. This is easier as they get older.
  6. Sicknesses — a third child is a fifth person to be bringing germs into the house, which is another vehicle for illnesses. More doctor bills, more time off work, etc.
  7. Think of the WORST DAY EVER POSSIBLE with having three kids (short of any life threatening things). Someone is begging to go for a bike ride, but hasn’t done her homework, someone has the flu, and baby three is ripping apart books. Your husband is late at work, no mothers can come over, and you have a long list of work to get done (still make dinner, clean up after the kids, basically do everything on your own). On this worst day (and it’s likely to happen many times over and over again), do you think it would cross your mind that you might wish you didn’t have the third baby. I could tell you my answer, but you need to figure it out for yourself.
  8. There are moms of multiples who have successfully raised well adjusted, happy kids into adulthood. It is possible for you to do it, too!
  9. Your world will be turned upside down, sideways to the left, to the right, back upright, to the left, upside down, right side up, to the right, to the slight left, spun a few times if you have a third. But it did that after the second, and it did that after the first. You’ve been there before. You can do it again.

Thank you for your affirmations, your encouragement and your positive thoughts.

Thank you for helping my brain understand what my heart already knew.