Monday, July 31, 2006

Backseat Drivers

The boys are very interested in driving, as I imagine most little kids are. They like to drive the car whenever possible, and I often let them do so while the car is parked in the driveway. This has resulted in 2 episodes of dead car battery (the first time they left the headlights on, the second time it was the interior lights), but on the whole it is fairly harmless as long as I lock up the sunglasses and other potentially delicate/dangerous items in the glove box.

They seem to have become experts on driving as a result of these driving sessions. Well, perhaps not experts, but they certainly are free with the commentary these days. The other day I was taking a sip of my beverage while driving, and Kemper shouts, "Mommy! You're not driving with both hands on the wheel! Put your other hand on it!"

My other personal favorite involves backing out of our driveway. This is a long, narrow driveway, and getting the minivan out without incident has taken a fair amount of practice (as evidenced by the paint streak on the fence side of the car, and the cracked rear view mirror on the house side of the car) as there are only a few inches of clearance on either side. After the rear view mirror incident, we instituted the "everyone be quiet while the car backs out" rule, as one of the boys had been in the middle of a fit that broke daddy's concentration. For the most part, everyone complies. Not long ago, I found a way that works well for me to get the car all the way out without hitting anything. When I pulled into the street, Rowan shouted, "Hooray for mommy!" Excellent show of support. Except that a few days later, after Morgan backed out, Rowan again shouted, "Hooray for mommy!" I believe he has since learned that it is better to give credit where credit is due.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

You Can Lead a Toddler to Bed, But You Can't Make Him Sleep

Sometimes I really wonder how the human species has survived this long. Maybe it's just my kids, but honestly there are days that I really wonder how anyone ever decides to have MORE children.

Yesterday was such a day. The boys were exhausted, as they had been up since O'dark thirty. When we put them down for their nap, they of course got all wound up and crazy. They can really egg each other on when they want to, and while it can be cute to listen to over the monitor, it can also make me crazy when I know how badly they need to rest. (Especially when I too desperately need a nap.) Anyway, after a very long time (maybe 2 hours) of them playing, giggling, unplugging the monitor and air conditioner, etc, we finally put our feet down and separated them. (Actually we had done so already, but they were back together - a long story not worthy of a post.) Kemper stayed in his bed, and Rowan came into our room. Morgan and I were both lying on the bed, trying to get him to settle into a horizontal position. He was having none of that. He kept sliding off the bed, all the while screaming bloody murder and having a major tantrum. After several attempts on our part, he slid off the bed again and started playing with our alarm clock. It's one of those fairly small digital am/fm clock radio alarm clocks, about 5 inches long, maybe 3 inches deep, and an inch or so high. I asked him several times to leave it alone and get back in bed, which he simply wouldn't do. In fact, he picked up the clock by the cord, right near where it meets the clock, swung, and walloped me in the face. Let me just say that for a 2 year old, he managed to really hurt me. (This is the point at which I left the room and went downstairs, allowing Morgan to fight the nap battle.)

Fortunately I woke up this morning and am not bruised from the incident, although I am still sore. The other upside to this event, as Morgan pointed out last night, is that I'm probably one of the few people who can actually claim to have been "clocked upside the head".

"That Can't Be Good"

The ongoing sleeping challenges are certainly keeping things interesting. We've been trying a number of tactics to improve our overall sleep quality and quantity, with varying and inconsistent results. There have been a couple of mornings when the boys went back to sleep after their 4 a.m. wake up, and stayed in bed until 6 or 6:30. But for the most part, they're ready to play at 5 or 5:30.

Yesterday Rowan woke up very early, but allowed me to lead him back to his bed. I dozed back off, but not long after that, Morgan and I heard some strange, distant noises that woke us up. We had determined that Rowan had gone downstairs, and strained to hear what was going on. We suddenly heard a very curious noise, kind of like a jar full of marbles or pebbles being shaken. We both sort of giggled, then Morgan said, "That can't be good". I agreed, and went to see what kind of damage was being done.

I turned the corner into the kitchen, and there was Rowan, standing in the middle of the room. He was holding one of his plastic bowls, which was full of frozen corn. There was also a small amount of the corn scattered on the floor at his feet. I was speechless. Yes, both boys have suddenly become quite fond of frozen veggies, but at 5:30 in the morning?! He had managed to open the freezer (we have a bottom freezer), find the right bag, get the clip off, procure a bowl, and do a pretty excellent job of pouring some out. Oh, he also got out the peas, but apparently wasn't as successful at removing that bag's clip.

Now, it isn't that our house is particularly unsafe for our children. However, without an adult present, they could potentially get into trouble or get hurt. So while a part of me is pretty happy that Rowan showed this burst of independence, I'm also somewhat terrified that he can get downstairs without waking me up. A gate on the stairs won't work - he'd just climb over it. So I'm not entirely sure how this is going to play out. This morning both boys were playing downstairs while we slept up in our cozy bed. Fortunately they didn't do anything particularly evil. We'll have to see how things progress.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sleep Deprivation

Apparently the opposite of laying down is "laying up". As in, "Mommy, lay up! I want to go downstairs and have some cereal!"

This is particularly challenging at 5 or earlier in the morning, which is the hour that the boys insist on waking up. We even have experimented (granted, only for two days, and yesterday was not very successful) with eliminating the afternoon nap in the hopes it would exhaust them enough to end the bedtime battle and the early wake up time, but no such luck. It would seem that we have been cursed with early risers.

Of course, when they're in school, we won't be able to budge them.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Amusing Things The Boys Say (or said)

I really should be keeping a baby book for each of the boys, but come on. I can't even keep my kitchen counter cleared off for more than about 5 minutes. The daily rush of having two 2 year olds is unrelenting. Even when they're sleeping I always have something to do - you know, load or unload the washer, dryer, dishwasher; or prep dinner; or maybe eat lunch without anyone tugging on me. So no, I don't have baby books.

Which creates a problem. I haven't been consistent about keeping a record of all the cute/funny/unbelievable things that come out of the mouths of babes. An occasional scrap of paper here or there, which, if I'm lucky, doesn't get lost, eaten, or thrown away. What follows is an attempt to catalog some of their choicest.

1. The past tense of go is "gowent". As in, "Yesterday I go went to the playground." (Kemper)

2. Even two year olds remember the smallest things. Earlier this summer, we bought them their first ice cream cones. We had given them ice cream before, but only bites from our own. Daddy explained that if they eat it too fast, they'll get a brainfreeze. Wouldn't you know it, but the next time we took them for ice cream, Kemper says, "Mommy, I getting a brainfreeze!" Followed by the palm of his hand pushing against his forehead in an effort to stop it. (Also known as a harmless example of the "little pitchers have big ears" dilemma of parenting.)

3. As mentioned in my last post, we recently bought twin mattresses for the boys. Last week I rearranged their room, as I had previously only shoved everything out of the way to make space for the two beds. Since one of the stalling tactics had been to ask for more books, I decided to locate the bookshelf against the same wall as the heads of their beds. I left about 6 or 8 inches between each bed and the shelf. That night, during one of the still numerous nightly wake-ups, as I was walking down the hall Kemper says, "Help mommy, I stuck!" He had fallen out of bed, and was wedged between the shelf and the mattress.

4. Toddler logic: "This is in this room because it's in this room."

5. We know all about those odd times of day based on our wakeup times. As in, "It's oh-dark-thirty". This after daddy tried to explain that most people don't get up at that hour. Of course, they aren't quite clear on the subject, as they think it applies to any time it is dark outside.

6. The more they talk, the more interesting things become. Yesterday was a brutal day for Rowan and me. He found my egg slicer, and was strumming the wires on it like a harp. It was pretty impressive, actually. Sounded nice, too. But when it got to be naptime, I told him it had to stay downstairs until he woke up. A major fit ensued (a full hour of screaming, book throwing, etc.), followed by a shorter than usual nap. I had told him that he couldn't have it back until he put all the books back onto his bookshelf. Well, he woke up screaming that he wanted "that friend" back, and we went back and forth about how I wasn't going to give it to him until he cleaned up the books. (I won the battle, by the way. He eventually did it.) Anyway, he never really asked what the thing was. So this morning after breakfast, he asked me for "that other thing". When I asked what he meant, he said, "That thing I had in my room yesterday had to pick up all the books have it back". Leaving absolutely no doubt in my mind what it was he was talking about.

7. The more they talk, the more interesting things become, part II. The downside is that you can't always trust that they're speaking the truth. Kemper woke up in the middle of the night having difficulty breathing. (Turns out it was croup, but we didn't know that at the time.) He sounded really awful. Daddy asked if he swallowed anything, and he said, "Yes." At which point I took him to the emergency room, as I couldn't assume that he hadn't. Turns out of course that he hadn't swallowed anything to obstruct his airway, but when questioned, he told me he had swallowed some water.

There are surely others, but those paper scraps are nowhere to be found right now....