Entries Tagged as 'threenagers'

a letter to my son on his third birthday

23.03.17

GB, Geebs, Geebo–

Well, kid, you’re three. A threenager, as they say nowadays, and boy does it show. I was rereading last year’s letter and it seems at two you were just practicing for the horror that was to come.

We both feel today has been too much one-on-one time. #pottytraining #mrgatsby #ohbotherblog 🍯

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I’ll be honest: the past month or so has been pretty rough. You get, um, explosively emotional sometimes and it seems most of your ire is directed at me. I say sometimes that you’re like an abusive boyfriend–you go from yelling and hitting me one second, to stroking my face and telling me I’m pretty the next. Sometimes, though, you’re very calm and you’re telling me and Holdy, “it’ll be alright.” So my sweet GB is still in there somewhere, but he’s a little more hidden than he used to be. It’s sort of a Bruce Banner/The Hulk situation, I guess.

"GB, why did you take your clothes off?" "To be like Bruce Banner." #hulkout

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Speaking of The Hulk, you are obsessed with superheroes. Spider-Man and Captain America mostly. You know all of the Avengers’ first names and like to use them: “Spider-Man Peter Parker” (or Petuh Pawkah in your accent), “Tony Iron Man.” You like to pretend you can climb the wall and you have Spider-Man shoes, shirts, hoodie and underpants.

Spidey testing out his climbing abilities. #ohbotherblog

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Weirdo #giventhecamelback

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Ah… underpants. We just did our potty-training bootcamp this weekend and it actually went pretty well. I did have to take home several bags of wet clothes from yesterday’s first attempt at school, but we’ll get there. You’re refusing Pull-Ups now, saying, “I’m big” with a shrug. It’s true, you are.

You started school this year at York Day Nursery. Your teachers are Miss Jennifer, Miss Sheryl and Miss Latasha. You thrive at school. You like to work with your hands and you are so creative. Your school likes to send little notes home with interesting things you’ve said throughout the day. The latest was when you were coloring with a yellow crayon you said, “I’m making sunshine!” You speak in complex sentences and you have an impressively large vocabulary.

York Day Nursery Valentine's Day party

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Of course, that vocabulary also includes curse words. Man, you have a filthy mouth; way worse than your sister ever had. The other weekend you were having a morning meltdown in my face so I removed you from my presence. You sat outside my bedroom, banging on the door, repeatedly moaning for me to, “open the fucking door.” Two days later, you were angry at me for not getting your milk (and I was angry at you for not asking nicely), and you yelled at me to, “get the milk, fucker!” I mean, you were using the terms correctly which makes me secretly proud, but obviously that’s not cool, dude. We’re working on it.

Your favorite food is scrambled eggs. You and your sister would eat breakfast for dinner every night if you could… and during Restaurant Week this year you literally did. You love “white milk” and “bars” and that’s about it. You need to eat, kid! Your lack of appetite drives me nuts.

Valentines #whatholdywore #mrgatsby #ohbotherblog 🍯

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Your sister is your best friend but you guys fight like cats and dogs. You’re at each others necks (sometimes literally) all night, and yet somehow you both choose to sleep together in the same bed every night. I’m so glad that you guys have each other and I hope you stay just as close as you grow… though it does make for some crazy evenings at our house.

Good morning. #ohbotherblog 🍯

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You’ve grown to love Sally, who sleeps with you guys every night. You’re warming to Brutus, though I understand having a large creature who’s literally 100 pounds larger than you bounding at your being might be a little frightening.

Best buds both had a big weekend. #brutus #mrgatsby

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You’re warm and curious and thoughtful. You’re funny. You’re reserved with people you don’t know. You’re my buddy. You really are a mama’s boy. Sometimes it’s a little ridiculous–you really should be wiping your own nose by now. But I’m glad you still like to give hugs and kisses and I’m secretly happy to still carry you around (sometimes. Not when my hands are full of bags and whatnot). 

Watchin' superheroes.

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Happy Birthday, Buddy. We love you.

 

to my daughter on her fourth birthday

07.06.16

Christmas Card Photos 2015 @ohbotherblog

Holden, Holden, Holden. My little (not so little?) ham, performer, comedian, fashionista, artist, American Ninja Warrior, feminist, kitchen helper, dawdler, (sometimes) sweetie. You are four years old today.

Holden, my dear, you are something else. When I asked you two weeks ago what you wanted to do for your birthday you said, “punch someone in the face.”

(I should add that you did later request a hug from your mom and a kiss from your brother for your birthday. You’re sweet like that sometimes. You also said you wanted your Duke to give you soda for your birthday. Here’s hoping your requests will always be this easy.)

For the record, your presents this year are a pink baseball glove and a pink bike helmet. We’re all going to a York Revolution baseball game tomorrow night to celebrate.

Someone once described you as “living life out loud.” Mind you, you were only two at the time so your strong personality has shown from the very beginning (I’d even say from the months you spent kicking me before barreling into this world a week early). Everything about you–minus your tiny little body–is big. 

 

This freaking kid. #weefees #ohbotherblog

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Big hazel eyes. Big joyful smile. Big messy perpetual bedhead. Big, bold fashion choices. Big singing and dancing performances (any time and anywhere). Big strangling hugs around your brother’s neck. Big displays of affection. Big, explosive meltdown tantrums.

You see, I’ve come to believe that you feel stronger than other people. You have really big emotions, kid. And that’s okay. We’re learning how to work with them. I’m learning how to work with them.

 

“I’m the boss.” #weefees

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Four is the magic number I had hoped for the past two years would flip a switch and immediately imbue you with the ability to self-soothe, reason and empathize. I’m wondering if the last two weeks in particular have been your body fighting to get the last of the threes out of you. It’s been rough.

“Threenager” is a term I thought was invented by mommy bloggers for Facebook Likes. I’m here to tell you that the threenager is real. I have seen into our future this past year and I’m frightened. But luckily we have nine years to get our shit together, buddy.

It’s been quite a year. You started at York Day Nursery in the fall and it’s been wonderful. Your teachers are Miss Catie and Miss Nikki. You love to make art and every day you come home with at least six pieces of construction paper with various scribbles and random things glued to them. Every day, I throw most of these papers away. I’m sorry, dude. I promise that I keep the really good ones or the ones that have your hand or footprints on them, but this house would look like an episode of Hoarders if I kept all of your art. 

 

Happy Mother’s Day to me! Thanks #weefees!

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I did, of course, keep this self portrait.

 

Holden drew a self-portrait. #weefees #ohbotherblog #kidart #accidentalpenis

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You love to climb and play outside. You really are an exceptional climber, mastering the monkey bars before you were even three. I still legitimately want to find you some Parkour classes.

 

ANW #weefees

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You took ballet classes this year on Thursday mornings at the Strand-Capitol. Your recital is this weekend and you’re dancing to an absolutely terrible song called “I Can Sing a Rainbow.” You seem to enjoy it but we won’t be returning after your non-dance-mom mom was chastised for providing you with the wrong shade of pink ballet slippers and not watching the required YouTube video to twist the pre-approved bun for you.

Holden the Ballerina @ohbotherblog

This seems like a good time to insert a plea to remember that I’m always trying my best for you and your brother. Even if that means you show up late to dress rehearsal with a messy bun and dirty tights while eating a cheeseburger because mom had to leave work early to rush you across town.

This timely internet-approved story came out the day after said dress rehearsal, so I’d like to think that this child is your kindred spirit and I want to remind you too to be the Hot-Dog Princess you wish to see in the world.

Hot Dog Princess

Speaking of hot dogs, they are one of the foods you will currently eat. Hot dogs, cheeseburgers, “peanut jelly sandwiches”–basically anything you can eat with your hands. I’ve been getting away with “charcuterie” and veggie “trays” lately. You also still of course love pancakes and eating breakfast for dinner. You could eat your weight in berries. You love carbs and pastries. When I asked what you wanted for your birthday dinner, you said “cheeseburgers, cake and marshmallows.” So that’s what we’ll be having.

 

Mommy-Holdy morning at @glazinyork before school. #weefees #breakfastofchampions #ohbotherblog

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So the eating is still a struggle for us. And don’t even get me started on the sleeping.

About five months ago, we moved GB’s crib over to your room to ease some of your bedtime worries. I debated over doing it because GB was such an excellent sleeper, but I remembered having trouble sleeping myself and the times I would drag my brother over to my bed in the middle of the night, so I decided to give it a shot.

It, surprisingly, has not been that bad. Bedtime itself is a little crazier, but for the most part, the sleeping through the night has gone smoothly. You do try every trick in the book to avoid going to bed–needing water, needing chapstick, being afraid of the dark, having to pee. I gave you a mini flashlight to sleep with and a dreamcatcher above your bed and every night, I tell you a story about the good dreams you will have that night. 

By the way, you literally sleep with two bags of junk in bed with you and freak out if I try to put them on the floor.

 

OH MY GAWD

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About your roommate: GB. That kid adores you. Literally one of his first words was “Holdy.” He said your name a good several months before he said mine. Before you shared a room, the first thing he would ask when he woke up was “Where’s Holdy?”

Please don’t abuse that power, buddy. I hope you’ll always be his idol and that you take that seriously and strive to be a good example for him. You guys are partners in crime. You rile each other up. You’re pretty good at sharing with him, but he’s better at sharing with you. He likes to get his toenails painted so he can be like you.

 

#whatholdywore #ohbotherblog

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You continue to set trends with your outfit choices. We still use your hashtag #whatholdywore to share some of your best work with your adoring Internet fans, though like everything else (this blog included), I lapse a bit in updating it regularly.

 

#whatholdywore #chaps #ohbotherblog

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You are four years old today. I could marvel at that fact and lament, “where has the time gone?” but I am daily reminded of the saying “the years are short but the days are long.” It’s all true. It gets rough sometimes (almost daily), but I’m glad you’re mine.

Happy Birthday, Punk. You are the best, most-challenging, most-joyful, most-infuriating thing that has ever happened to me. I love you very much. I will not let you punch me in the face today, though.

Blizzard Jonas 2016 @ohbotherblog

 

#sundayfunday #minime #madeinyork #snowbarn

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At Miss Vio’s Fairy Tea Party Birthday @arthur_daughter

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bedtime bedlam

15.02.16

We have a problem in the oh bother house. A big problem. A bedtime problem.

It started a few months ago, but we’ve now reached Desperation Point, peaking during the week we were snowed in (god, I hate snow).

Bedtime has become a nightly battle with Holden. She doesn’t want to go to bed. She doesn’t want to brush her teeth. She wants me to tell her one more story. She wants to tell me a story. She wants me to rub her back.

Once her door is closed, she immediately comes out five more times because a) she wants some water, b) the dog moved to the foot of the bed, c) one of her drawers is open, d) I didn’t turn out all the lights and close all the doors on the second floor, e) she just wants to see my face.

She gets up in the middle of the night because: a) she has to pee, b) the dog moved to the foot of the bed, c) she can’t find her flashlight that she insists on sleeping with, d) she had a bad dream, e) she doesn’t know.

During the snowstorm, she started wetting the bed at night, after having been Pull-Up free for months. After three straight nights of washing all of her bed linens, I gave up and went back to Pull-Ups. Her Pull-Up is now wet every morning.

It’s to the point now that we both fear bedtime. I’ve been trying various tactics to improve things.

Dream Catcher to improve bedtime @ohbotherblog

  • I’ve been using some random old Bath & Bodyworks Lavender Pillow Mist as “Good Dreams Spray.”*
  • I bought her a dream catcher.
  • I gave her a mini flashlight to sleep with.
  • I bought her a nightlight (that she refuses to use).
  • We practice deep breathing and talking about the good dreams she’s going to have.

When I was little, I remember I used to have trouble sleeping too. I’d make my mom leave the hall light on and my door open “just a crack.” I’d lie awake for hours. Sometimes I’d sneak over to my little brother’s room and pull him over to my bed with me.

Because of my experience, I’ve always thought I want the kids to share a room at some point in their lives. Maybe that point is now.

The problem is (or… it’s not really a problem so much…) that GB is an excellent sleeper. The kid essentially requests to go to bed and never fights it. He’s never climbed out of his crib once. Do I really want to mess with that?

Probably not. Not yet anyway… but I did find a super cute bunk bed for when the time comes.

Dorel Living Brady Bunk Bed @ohbotherblog

In the meantime, I guess we just power through and hope this phase ends soon.

*Here’s a cute recipe for “Monster Spray.”

the mean jar

10.10.15

the "mean" jar for toddler behavior redirection @ohbotherblog

I’m probably jinxing myself terribly right now, but I just have to give a shout out to Holden’s much-improved behavior in the past few weeks.

I started to write a post this week about Holden’s improved behavior as of late, but–expectedly–as soon as I wrote it, her good behavior crapped the bed. Le sigh.

But yeah, up until Thursday night, Holden had been almost like a new kid–polite, helpful, sharing with her brother, eating her dinner, etc.

Part of the improvement could no doubt be attributed to the new preschool she started a month or so ago. I’ve also been a bit more diligent about explaining behavior expectations to her before we go to a new place or embark on a new activity.

But about two weeks ago, we also started using these behavior jars. These were a tip given to me by another parent in the “Raising a Toddler” workshops I took this summer. Basically you have two jars–one for “good” behavior and one for “bad” behavior–and you place beads/tokens/etc. in each jar accordingly as needed.

For me, I realized that I needed to do a better job of praising positive behavior, rather than always pointing the negative behavior, so these jars have provided an opportunity to do that. To be honest though, “a bead in the mean jar” is proving to be a pretty effective threat as well.

Living with a threenager continues to be a struggle, but it seems like we’re figuring it out bit by bit. Let’s call it “two steps forward, one step back.”

playing catch-up

13.09.15

Every night, I sit down to write a blog post and every night something comes up, be it a teething 18-month-old, a three-year-old with disciplinary issues, a house full of laundry, a dog that has peed on the floor or, frankly, just a new episode of Playing House that I’d rather watch. Anyway, long story short, life gets in the way. So here’s what we’ve missed.

We got a new pet.

Our new turtle, Rupert @ohbotherblog

Meet Rupert, our new turtle.

Rupert, our new turtle @ohbotherblog

Truth be told, Holden kept calling him, “Poo Poo,” so I figured “Rupert” was an acceptable alternative.

We had an adventurous summer and learned about Holden’s natural affinity for climbing.

Holden is a future American Ninja Warrior @ohbotherblog

I’m seriously considering finding some Parkour courses for this future American Ninja Warrior.

GB is teething and has some crazy big molars coming in.

GB is teething @ohbotherblog

Poor little guy has had some fevers and lots of snot and saliva… but that hasn’t kept him from getting into any and everything in the house.

I had to work a lot.

Watching mommy work @ohbotherblog

The beginning of September was really busy for me at work, so that of course came with a side of some working mom guilt. But my job is important to me and I feel like the work I do is important so I power through. And I try to include the kids when I can.

Holden at York City Boutique Week @ohbotherblog

Holden started at a new preschool.

Holden's first day at preschool @ohbotherblog

We’re all very excited that Holden has started a new five-day-a-week program. My fingers are crossed that the structure and curriculum will do big things for her because honestly, her sass and behavior issues have increased over the summer as well.

Holden's first day of preschool @ohbotherblog

One thing is for certain, her art skills are blossoming. That kid comes home with like 18 pieces of art every day after school now.

Holden the artist @ohbotherblog

Oh and obviously her amazing fashion sense continues to be on fleek.

So, all in all, an eventful and fun few months. We’re all doing pretty great.

The ohbother kids @ohbotherblog

Just busy. Oh, bother.

 

“power struggles”

28.07.15

This past week, I attended another great parenting workshop offered by Family Child Resources and Family First Health, two wonderful community-oriented organizations in my city. Last month, I took a class called “Parenting the Preschooler” and found it to be really helpful so I signed up again.

Truthfully, things in the behavior/discipline department have improved since the last class. Whether it’s Holden responding better to my cues or me just ignoring her craziness, overall things are looking up. Now the issues seem to be how to handle two little toddlers at very different stages of their toddlerdom at the same time. But that would be a semester-long class all to itself.

This month’s workshop was called “Power Struggles,” a topic I’d say I’m somewhat familiar with. We started by talking about the struggles we’re all currently facing and I tried very hard not to dominate the conversation, as I have a ton of great material. We were asked to identify our physical triggers that we feel before we get into an argument with our kids (muscles tensing, gritting your teeth, breathing heavily, etc.) and then we talked about ways to stop ourselves from getting worked up: namely, Square Breathing.

Square Breathing: a tip for parents of toddlers @ohbotherblog

Square Breathing: Take a deep breath in for 4 counts, hold it for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts and hold for 4 counts. Apparently the counting requires your concentration and requires you to focus on your breath, rather than the incorrigible little monster standing before you.

Not getting worked up is important: once again the moral of this class was Do. Not. Let. Them. Win.

The Toddler Power Struggle Cycle @ohbotherblog

Our teacher demonstrated for us two hands pushing against each other. When one side stops pushing, the other side “falls”/loses. This hearkens back to the lesson from the first class: keep your cool and ignore the bratty behavior. Don’t fight with them and they lose the power to push back.

Power struggles with your toddler @ohbotherblog

For me, though, the best way to avoid getting worked up is to avoid the situation in the first place, so luckily, we talked about that too.

Toddler Power Struggles: Turn Your Word into Gold @ohbotherblog

One of my biggest takeaways from this workshop was this: “No” is a complete sentence. Don’t allow them to talk back. Don’t continue the argument. This is something I struggle with.

I also noticed that I tend to phrase things as a question when I talk to Holden: “Are you going to come eat dinner?” “Why don’t we go to the potty?” “Can you stop hitting your brother with that wooden train track?” I guess I was trying to make her feel like she has a choice in the matter, but really I just open myself up for arguments and pain.

So really, in the end, we’re all just struggling to be The Boss.

Goals of Misbehavior: Power @ohbotherblog

But in order to be The Boss, you actually have to act more like that  “Like A Boss” meme. Don’t let those little jerks cherubs ruffle your feathers. Keep cool and stand your ground.

 Parenting Like a Boss @ohbotherblog

Easier said than done, right?

calling in the professionals

29.06.15

Tips for Parenting a Preschooler @ohbotherblog

Recently, I attended a workshop series called “Parenting the Preschooler,” which is offered by Family Child Resources and Family First Health, two great organizations in my city. It’s no secret that I’m having some challenges raising a spirited little girl, so I’ll take all the help I can get.

While nothing in the class was particularly mind-blowing or new information, our instructor was very informative and knowledgeable and I found it extremely helpful and refreshing to be surrounded by parents and caregivers who were experiencing my same frustrations.

Our instructor led us like she was prepping us for battle. There was a lot of talk of not giving in, not letting them see you cry and not letting them break you. It’s us vs. the toddler… and let’s be real: a lot of times it feels that way.

The big takeaway for me was the importance of completely ignoring irrelevant behavior, as in ignoring your kid when they’re acting like a brat.

Parenting a toddler: ignoring irrelevant behavior @ohbotherblog

Our instructor emphasized the point of not giving in to the whining and the tantrum. If you break after an hour, your kid knows that they just have to whine for an hour next time and then they’ve got you. 

She warned us that the behavior will most likely get worse before it gets better. Again, don’t give in. And then, when the behavior finally stops, immediately praise your kid for working through their tantrum. This will teach them that tantrums don’t get your attention and encourage them to try a different approach to communicating.

I had an opportunity to test out this approach immediately on the car ride home with Holden. And… it worked. It took 25 minutes, but she stopped. I’ve probably used this technique at least once every other day since taking this class, and it really does get easier and the tantrums are shorter and less severe. Sometimes it’s easier said than done to completely zone out and ignore your kid who’s going full Exorcist in front of you, but I’ve really been happy with the result.

We also talked about effective Time Outs, which should be reserved for serious rule breaking like hitting, throwing things or breaking a family value you’ve deemed important.

Tips for effective Time Outs with a toddler @ohbotherblog

Another mother in the class mentioned that she had trouble getting her daughter to stay in Time Out, a problem I have been experiencing with Holden. Her solution was, rather than make her daughter sit facing the wall, she let her daughter sit with her back against the wall during Time Outs. That way her curious, busy little girl could still see what was going on around her.

Immediately after the workshop, I also Amazoned (yes, I shop on Amazon so much I use it in verb form) a new Time Out timer: the Amco Digital Color Alert Kitchen Timer/Clock.

Amco Digital Alert Color Time Out Timer @ohbotherblog

The clock slowly (soothingly) flashes yellow during Time Out, then flashes faster red during the last minute and beeps when time is up. If you set the timer for more than 10 minutes, it flashes green. At this point, the recommended Time Out length is one minute for every year of age, so three for Holden. 

I think the flashing yellow light mesmerizes her, which helps to calm her down. The red light is an indicator that she’s almost finished with her punishment. So far, this timer has been an amazing tool in my discipline arsenal. As a bonus, she’s much more calm when she comes out of Time Out than in the past.

Ain’t no shame in my game: I’m super glad that I went to this workshop and am already planning to attend next month’s workshop: “The Power Struggle.” Sound familiar?

Parenting a toddler @ohbotherblog

 

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