An Hour of Patience and Cleanliness

The upstairs of my house is almost spotless. Everything is in its place…clothes are put away, toys are put away. Two loads of laundry have been folded, three loads have been put away. Toys that migrated into my room have returned to their homes. And I have Jack to thank for this.

In the hour and fifteen minutes since I put him to bed he has come out of his room about every five minutes…
1. to pee
2. to get some more water
3. to pee
4. to pee
5. to poop
6. to poop
So, while waiting for the next time he comes out of his room, I’ve done a little tidying up there. But I’m about at my wits end with this whole process.
In the meantime, the downstairs has toys strewn everywhere and dishes are piled around the sink. I started to sweep and got about half done before I had to run upstairs again. Also, the dog is waiting for me to take her out. Not so patiently, I might add. But now it’s dark and I just want to go to bed myself. I’m just hoping that my patience and persistence might pay off some day soon and the child will just go to bed and stay there.

Where did my good sleepers go?

Not much from me lately because I seem to be spending my evenings trying to get Jack to go to sleep. Tonight I stood outside his door and repeatedly put him back to bed…it took about 15 times and a trip to the potty. I’m also transitioning Casey to one nap. She finally took a good one today.

Yesterday I put the kids down for a nap. I jumped in the shower about 20 minutes later. By the time I was out, Casey was screaming from her bedroom. After I got her, Jack appeared from his room and told me that he was just waiting for me to get out of the shower. Obviously he’d been out of his room and knew I was showering. But, I don’t know if he woke up Casey or Casey woke him up. Either way, they were both up after 30 minutes of napping. It made for a pretty long day.
On Friday night, Pat and I had date night. Jack managed to swindle the new babysitter into reading to him until 9:30pm. He kept saying, “Another one?” and she kept reading him another one. And then he was up bright and early at 6am. I heard go into the bathroom and use the potty. When I got up a few minutes later to check on him, he was laying on the carpet with his pants around his ankles, just waiting for someone to get up. I guess I should have just left him there…maybe he would have fallen back asleep.
We had a great time at a birthday party on Saturday at The Little Gym. Jack loved tumbling around and jumping on things. So much so, that we ended up enrolling him for the fall “semester.” Now I don’t feel so left out of all the back to school mania…Jack is starting a class too.

Conversation Twist

Conversations with Jack these days can tend to go like this:
Me: Do you want a snack before we go?
Jack: (Nods his head left and right, then up and down)
Me: Do you want a snack or not?
Jack: I want one.
Me: What do you want?
Jack: (Silence)
Me: How about a fruit twist?
Jack: Yeah.
I hand Jack a fruit twist.
Jack: Nooooo! Noooo! I don’t want a fruit twist. (Very whiny.)
Me: You just told me you wanted a fruit twist.
Jack: No, I don’t want one.
Me: What do you want for a snack Jack?
I toss the fruit twist on the counter in frustration.
Jack walks over to the pantry and looks in.
Jack: I want something different.
Me: Raisins? Crackers? Fruit leather? A banana?
Jack: A fruit twist. Why did you throw that on the counter Mommy?
But then, later in the day, he will come up with an ensemble such as this:
And the laughter makes me forget about the 5 minute conversation about a fruit twist. Those are my socks put to use as skates.
After thinking about the snack conversation a little more, I came to the startling realization that maybe he picks food the way I do. The whole conversation we had is almost exactly like the thoughts that go through my head when I’m trying to find a snack. That’s not necessarily a good thing in me and probably doesn’t bode well for a 3 year old (or his mother). I might have a little more patience for this process though. Although I don’t think this was part of it, my mother did curse me, in hopes that my children would be as picky as I was and I would endure her pain.
This blog is becoming quite introspective. Who knew?

Stall Tactics

My sister thought I should blog about my dinner tonight. I’m not sure if she thought my experience was funny or thought the food sounded good.

I was supposed to use toasted pita bread in the salad I was making, but since I forgot to get any kind of bread at the commissary this morning, I tried to toast some tortillas on the grill. I burned two batches of them and just gave up on that. Jack picked up one of the burnt ones though, and thought it was good. Kid won’t eat a potato but thinks burnt tortillas are good. He also tried a leaf of oregano today and thought that was yummy. Anyway, the salad turned out all right. The nice part was that I used my three ripe tomatoes from my sad looking tomato plants and oregano from my “garden” as well.

The other part of my dinner was some grilled chicken that had been marinating all day. I was a little hasty in getting it off the grill so it wasn’t cooked all the way through. I threw it back on the grill but Pat and I had both kind of lost our interest in it after that.
So dinner was kind of a disappointment, but that means we have more room for ice cream. Oops, forgot that aisle at the grocery store too.
I also thought I’d write about Jack’s efforts in delaying bed time. I have to commend him for his tactics despite the fact that it’s driving me crazy. He’s had me up the stairs at least 4 times every night since we got home last week. At least.
First, he wants another song. I sing another song and say good night again. 3 minutes later, he wants another song. I go up and tell him I’m done singing songs. Then he moves on to water. He’s thirsty. I get him some water. I wised up and started leaving some water in his room so he can’t use that as an excuse. He’s used all these stall tactics in the past.
Then he came up a with a couple new ones…
One night, he stood at his door and very quietly starting chanting, “Yum…yum…yum…yum…” He did it for about 5 minutes until it developed into, “I’m HUNGRY!” It very well may be true that he is hungry because he has a tough time eating the dinner that is placed in front of him. But he’s been warned that he’s not getting food at bedtime. Either way, this yelling from his bedroom prompts me to run up the stairs again and tell him he’s not getting any food. Tonight, it was tough because he wanted the cucumbers that he had left on his plate. I had to turn down my child asking for vegetables.
And finally, he’s started asking to go on the potty. He goes all day without asking to go on the potty. I have to literally drag him there half the time. (As soon as I tell him it’s time to go on the potty, he tells me that his legs don’t work.) But he’s cunning and he knows that I won’t deny him the use of the potty after bedtime. Especially now that he’s finally doing #2 on the potty. And so we’ve had a couple of cozy evenings in the bathroom while he tells me that he’s trying and trying and trying to go. To give him credit, he eventually achieves success after all this trying, but it’s a little trying on me. I will say they’re some of funniest moments I’ve ever had with him, but I’ll spare you the potty talk.
I’ve resorted to threatening him with no snacks the next day if he doesn’t go to sleep. Hopefully this will continue to work because I don’t have much else in my arsenal. Why can’t he just quietly read books after bedtime like I used to when I was a kid? If he were to answer that question, he’d probably say, “Because I don’t know the words yet Mommy.”

I think a 13 hour car ride (which we did on Monday and then 7 more on Tuesday) would have made for a better day than today. Maybe I should have let Jack watch as much TV as he would have in the car.

I’m just wondering how many million times I will have to remind Jack to say ‘please’ when he wants something before he finally does it on his own. I’m also wondering how many nights he will barely eat dinner and then tell me he is hungry once he’s in bed.
I think there are books out there that tell you how to get your child to listen and do things simply because he is told to do it. Maybe I should see if they have one at the library. Because I am tired of trying to come up with a negative consequence for all of Jack’s infractions. Not that they don’t usually work in the short term, but I think he forgets (maybe purposely) what the consequences are after a bit of time, like 3.7 seconds.
Speaking of the library…we have a book that is about two months overdue. Thinking about returning that this week. I was going to go on Wednesday until Jack informed me that he didn’t need any new books. Apparently this statement was only true for a few hours. After I scrapped the trip to the library, Jack let me know that we needed to go there before we went to the gym. We haven’t gotten there yet and I’ve racked up another 30 cents in library debt. Little does the library know that this book has travelled to Maine and back with a layover in Philly.
Anyway, the joys of having a 3 year old are little much for me today. We’ll try again tomorrow. It’s time to walk the dog and catch up on some Tivo shows.

A New Library

I told Jack that we were going to the library today but that we couldn’t check out any books because it wasn’t our library. I thought it was a good idea to mention it before we even got to the library so that he wouldn’t melt down when we tried to leave without books.

I had no idea how traumatic the thought of going to a library and not getting books would be for him. He started crying. Tears were streaming down his face and he was sobbing, trying to tell me that he wanted new books. “I need (sob) new books…the ones we have (sob) are old now…I don’t want to (sob) read them anymore…I need to (sob) get new books.”

A request for new books is one that I find hard to turn down…especially with how genuinely upset he was about the idea of not getting any. In fact, I’m kind of proud that he has a love for books so early. So, I promised him we would buy some books.

Luckily, there was a used book store just down the street from the library. And at 50 cents a piece, Jack got all the books he wanted and a few more. It was a well spent $5. Once upon a time, I think it cost $5 a year for our out-of-town library card. 20 years later, it probably would have cost more to renew the library card than to visit the used bookstore.

Casey enjoyed the library too. She actually looked at some books while we were there, or least she looked at one page each in several books. Jack was more distracted by the toys in the children’s area and didn’t seem to notice the books. Casey also enjoyed the bookstore and made herself right at home…

Traveling East

We took a trip to the eastern most point in the United States today with Grammie, Grampie & Auntie Jenn. I think Casey made her first trip to Canada and maybe it was even Jack’s first. I can’t remember if he has been over there yet or not. We visited West Quoddy Head Light, then looked for seals in the harbor in Lubec, visited East Quoddy Head Light and then spent some time at a grey sand beach on Campobello Island.

Here are a few pictures from Mum’s camera…

After we got home from our travels, Jack’s imagination went into overdrive. Clifford, the Big Red Dog came to visit and almost got run over by the lawnmower. Christmas also snuck up on us and Santa Claus came to bring presents. Only after the Christmas tree was up though…the Lego Christmas tree.
Also, Jack taught Casey how to say no today. A big thank you to him for that. I have a little more time before she figures out the context in which to use it, but not much.

Friday Night Running Lights

Most Friday nights are pretty laid back in our house. Pizza and a movie for the kids usually. After they’re in bed, I usually spend some time reading blogs and then tune in to Whale Wars or What Not to Wear, followed by Say Yes to the Dress. Pat is usually watching a baseball game. Pretty exciting stuff. We might mix it up a little by going out to dinner. Maybe “boring” is a more apt description than “laid back”.

Last night was a little out of the norm for a Friday night. The first part went about the same…we went out and found some pizza. Of course, usually the kids have had naps and they aren’t screaming for the pizza to be placed on the table as soon as we walk into a restaurant. Usually we don’t have to leave a restaurant and find one with faster service for fear that we won’t get food before a meltdown by either child. And usually Casey doesn’t yell, “Pee Pee!” between every bite of pizza that I give her. But I give her credit for coming up with her own version of how to say pizza. We perservered and eventually we were all fed and ready for bed.

Casey was asleep before her head hit the pillow. Jack’s way of proving that he is tired is to whine loudly and try every way he can think of to postpone bedtime. In the middle of all this, Mum got a phone call.

Yesterday (July 31st), Calais celebrated its bicentennial birthday. Part of the celebration included the voyage of the schooner Sylvina Beal from Eastport to Calais – the first ship to arrive in Calais bearing passengers in 150 years. The early morning voyage was probably a great ride…the sun peeking through the fog on the river. Also scheduled was a sunset cruise back down the river. Unfortunately it was pouring by the time that adventure was to start.

The phone call was an invitation from our cousin Louie to meet him at his cottage and head out in his lobster boat to meet the schooner. After a long day and evening with the kids, boating in a rainstorm wasn’t immediately appealing. But once promised some good raingear, I decided a little adventure would perk up my Friday night.

Mum and I donned rain coats, pants, hooded sweatshirts, rubber boots and hats and headed down to the boat. Luckily it was a warm evening and it turned out to be beautiful on the water. It was a lot brighter once we got out in the boat and we headed up the river. We stopped at a boat landing to see if anyone else was up for the adventure and we got one taker. We almost tempted the forest ranger to join us, but she decided she should stay and man her post.

A couple miles up the river, we finally saw the schooner. It was a little eerie at first…maybe I’ve spent too much time talking about pirates with Jack. Although, it would be more likely that we were considered the pirates. We pulled alongside and matched her speed. We got close enough for Mum to pass some lilies to someone onboard the schooner and passed some greetings back and forth.

The passengers looked pretty miserable, probably not all dressed head to toe in waterproof gear like we were. They had slickers and raincoats and were huddled in small groups, maybe a few were passing around tasty beverages. It was far from a sunset cruise and it lacked the live music that was originally scheduled but at least we provided a little entertainment. They seemed pretty happy to see us come alongside..maybe because they realized they weren’t the only crazy people out on a boat in the middle of a downpour. And it was still historic despite the weather conditions.

We circled around a few times and watched the schooner head down the river. Despite the fact that the sails weren’t unfurled, it was still an impressive sight.

We’ll probably have pizza and watch a movie again next Friday. It will be hard to live up to the high seas adventure of this Friday. Maybe we’ll get crazy and add some peppers and onions to our pizza. Crazy.