heart in the clouds

Monday, September 28, 2009

What happens at convention stays at convention

Okay, just returned yesterday from MOPS convention in Nashville. It was amazing, uplifting, motivating, challenging and exhausting all at the same time. The music was indescribable, just completely off the charts good. It was great to spend quality time with other moms like Sharyl, Gina, Holly, Jana, Sarah, Lisa, Amber and new friend Betsy! We don't often get extended periods to just talk without being interrupted by little voices or tugs on our clothing. I think though that we all missed those interruptions and tugs more each day we were gone though. I'll keep parts of the experience with me for a long time and no I can't talk about everything because well, some things are better kept among mommies :)

While I won't go into detail about the mommy talks, I will recall a few funny stories regarding my phone calls home to Z. The first night was hard for him and he really was upset with me because I was not going to be there to hug him goodnight, but he trudged on and so did I. He kept telling me he didn't want me to be in Nashville and asking if it was far away...in his mind, him upstairs and me downstairs is sometimes considered far away, so this was a stretch. I reassured him that Deanna's mommy, Ezekiel's mommy, Eli's and Mac's mommy were with me (he knows all these ladies pretty well so I thought that would help. He was still pretty sad and I could barely take the broken up quality in his voice.

Z: Mommy, when you comin' home?
Me: Saturday
Z: Today is Thursday?
Me: yes, then it's friday and then Saturday
Z: When it's Saturday you will be home?
Me: yes, that's what I said.
Z: Are you coming home today?

That circle went around about three times, but he finally accepted it...at which point he told me he was sick, he swallowed a rock and he needed me to come home and take him to the doctor so his throat wouldn't hurt.

So Friday was a little better. I called to tell him goodnight and things were better. In the middle of the conversation it's as if a little light bulb went on in his head "OH MOMMY, Tomorrow IS Saturday!" haha, gaining such a good grasp of the days of the week.

Saturday morning, I called again during a break to see what he was up to and began telling me how his fan blade were broken and he needed to get a ladder and climb up there and fix them. How I needed to go get some batteries for the fan because it was just not working. I explained that ceiling fans don't need batteries. When he asked me what then do they need, I made the mistake of saying "electricity." I should've known that would lead into 15 minutes of question and answer about electricity....he was so interested in learning how it gets from the box in the office to the fan in his room and how it runs through the walls, etc. I was at a loss for explaination at times and just hoping he'd be satisfied with what I said. Ifinally had to cut him off and tell him to go ask daddy hahaha. Sorry David :)

When convention ended, we were on the road and calling our families to let them know how long we'd be and Z answered the phone.

Z: what are you doing mommy?
Me: Driving home, just leaving Nashville.
Z: No you're not.
Me: ummm, yes I am.
Z: No mommy, your car is HERE!
Me: OH well I'm in Miss Gina's car.
Z: you're not driving.
Me: no, you're right, I'm not.
Z: seeeee

(perceptive little cuss isn't he?)

I put him on speaker phone and told him Miss Gina and Miss Sharyl were in the car with me. He told them he could see the moon...Z: "Well part of it, part of it is lighted and part of it isn't." Too funny, I guess it was a half-moon; we couldn't see since we were about to drive into a torrential downpour.

Z asked me where Miss Sharyl was after I took him off speaker. I told him she was in the backseat and he told me I needed to get her for him. I'm not quite sure what he talked to her about, but I'm fairly sure it was entertaining.

I got home at midnight, so too late to sit and talk with Z, but I went in and hugged and kissed him in his sleep...he sighed and was so peaceful. I couldn't wait until Sunday morning. I was just really anticipating his excitement to see me...expecting that whole running and screaming mommy scenario...well, not so much.

He came in my room and then started screaming that he didn't want to get in bed with me, didn't want to cuddle with me and didn't want to see me...ugh what a let down. I told him fine, I'd just go back to Nashville...took me actually starting to get out of bed to follow through with the threat before he came to hug me...welcome home...right?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Clean Sweep...Toys R'Us, we ain't

For the past couple months, we have been dealing with a very troubling attitude from Z. He wants to be in control and every attempt we make to show him he's not, he shows us how much he doesn't like it with all the ire and contempt you'd expect from a strong-willed 3-year-old boy...plus some.

I should've known there would be issues of control from the countless nights I had to spend bouncing up and down on the exercise ball , holding Z tight to my chest as he struggled to show me he was not going to sleep. Then we hit this honeymoon phase when he was about 10 months to 15 months where he would comply with just about every request I made...don't touch that, hands off...he immediately did what I said. We were amazed that we had such a little obedient child. I think he was already starting to pull the wool over our eyes.

When he walked at 7.5 months, that should've been a clue that this child was fiercely independent and it would be our biggest struggle and probably one of his greatest traits...once he learns to use it the right way.

Lately anything we ask him to do is met with a bold "NO!" or "I DON'T want to, I WON'T." This is usually followed by crossing his arms, lower lip protruding and devil stares. Time outs and spankings and removing a few prized possessions is occassionally a temporary fix, but I knew we were coming to a crossroads where I would have to take a stand and show him he is NOT the boss...although he likes to tell me he is, literally.

So last night, we got home from preschool about 4:15 and I gave him a choice of watching Mickey Mouse or helping me fix supper. He first chose the TV but very quickly decided he'd rather help cook. He was a great helper and so proud of himself for the things he was able to do.

When supper was ready, I made his plate up for him after he chose what fruit he wanted...I scooped out some spaghetti, cut up the peaches and plced it on the table. He climbed up there and took one look at the plate and the switch flipped. He said he didn't want to eat and promptly pushed his plate across the table and threw his fork on the floor. I told him fine, and took the plate away...then he of course said no, he did want it. Well I wasn't going to have this argument and told him his behaviour was unacceptable, then told him he could either sit at the table and eat supper with us or he could sit on the stairs in time out...and that if he could not decide I would decide for him - and my choice was time out.

In short, he couldn't decide so I started to carry him to time out and he began kicking and screaming, daddy popped his bottom and took him to the stairs. Once there, he proceeded to throw the timeout timer across the kitchen and start hitting and kicking the walls. I went to talk to him about it and he took a swing at me, so then I picked him up and popped his bottom. This all just seemed to infuriate him more and so then daddy took him to his room. More banging, throwing things so right then I made a decision...it was time for the clean sweep.

I walked in his room and began to gather up his toys. At first, he stopped crying because he was curious as to what I was doing and asked about it. I told him he no longer deserved his toys and he would have to earn them back. As he watched me remove toy after toy, stuffed animal after stuffed animal and even the big fluffy rocking horse, he held onto a stuffed "boinger" ball, layed on top of it and began to sob huge crocodile tears. I almost lost it, but I knew I had to stay firm and finish the job. Once every toy was in a closet in our bedroom, I went back in and Z told me I'd forgotten some things and HE carried them to the closet...not sure what that was about because then he ran sobbing back to his room, slammed the door and started asking for his toys back.

By this time, I was sitting on my bed crying, thinking I was damaging him for life and that I would never get this mother stuff. I started second guessing myself, like all mothers do I suspect. It's hard to discipline your children....really hard.

The only "fun" item left in Z's room was his railroad crossing bank....and when he didn't stop banging the door, I went in and took that too. I told him when he was ready to talk about his actions, he could come out of his room, but he'd need to tell mommy and daddy he was sorry.

Little sucker stayed in there for about 20 mins....he missed gymnastics. Once he finally emerged he still had a little fire in him, you could tell it was just waiting to be stoked, but he did finally apologize and for that we allowed him to have one item of his choice back. What did he pick? The silly little Frische's Big Boy figurine bank. I thought he'd learned something, but I guess it takes longer than that.

I had to go to a parent/teacher meeting at his school, so I left at 6...I'm told about 10 mins later he lost the big boy bank again....sigh. Threw a wall-eyed fit in the bathtub splashing and kicking water everywhere and just had a miserable evening.

At the meeting, which once again God was showing me he's not leaving me hanging...it was providence that I even had this meeting on the night of the clean sweep, I told his teacher of our struggles the past few months and she was shocked. She said she never saw any of that behaviour at school...that he was very well behaved and cooperative. Even though I was confused by the stark difference, she wasn't. She said if he did it in both situations, we'd have something to worry about, but since we knew he could control his emotions and actions the majority of the day it was probably a case of releasing his feelings at home.

She reassured me I was doing the right thing by giving him choices and that is exactly what they do at school. She urged me to back off the spanking because it clearly was just escalating the problem and that more creative discipline was probably going to be more effective. When I told her the story of our supper explosion, she smiled and said she could give some insight...that in a Montessori school, meal time is family style. They don't fix the children's plates. Instead, they place bowls of food on a small table and children make their own choices about what they will eat and they serve themselves, then they clear the table and wash their own dishes. So she suggested we let Z try to serve himself...that maybe he has a picture of what his plate will look like in his head and then we serve it and it's "all wrong" which causes some frustration and he doesn't know how to fix it.

Just talked to David and apparently Z earned back his big railroad crossing bank this morning for being so cooperative....maybe there's something to this...only time will tell. I guess that will require patience...oh crap!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Policeman and the Playa'

I have to backtrack a bit and tell a little story from earlier in the week. Zachary and I were coming home from preschool on Tuesday, when I apparently grazed a stop sign in our neighborhood. Yes, I know...I'm such a bad driver...whatever. I thought I stopped, so I was quite surprised to see the cop in my driveway behind me as I got out of the car. He quickly announced over the megaphone that I was to REMAIN in the CAR, MISS!

Just then, I had visions of my neighbors, who were outside doing various things, thinking they had some drug dealer next door. So I got back in the car, but left the driver door open because it was pretty hot and he wasn't letting me turn my car back on because oh yeah, I was going to either drive it through my brick house or back over his car....with my preschooler in the backseat, mmm hmmmm.

We argued momentarily about whether or not I stopped at the sign and then he asked for my insurance info, which of course was inside the house, just steps away. He told me that didn't matter, if it wasn't in the car, it was a violation. Geez, can I catch a break here? He went back to his car and Zachary was asking all sorts of questions, but the most prominent one "Are you in time out mommy?" Ummm, yes I guess I was in a way, so I told him that yes, mommy broke the rules and must sit and wait for the policeman to tell her what to do. He had obviously heard the cop telling me I didn't stop so he began to question why I didn't stop, where I didn't stop and when. I explained all of it and finally the cop came back and said he'd been able to find my insurance proof on the computer and he was just going to give me a warning.

Zachary, "Thank you Mister Policeman, My mommy WILL stop tomorrow!"

The cop got a chuckle out of this was and laughing on his way back to the car. Z got out and walked toward his car waving and telling him repeatedly that mommy would stop at the signs tomorrow. And believe me, he hasn't let me live it down. He's been asking at every intersection..."Is there a stop sign there, did you stop Mommy?" I GET IT!! :)

Zachary's had a tough transition into preschool. He's been very adamant in the morning that he doesn't want to go to school, usually followed by many tears and screams and just generally a bad attitude. However, the past two or three days, the morning fits have eased and he's even shoved Daddy out the door of the school after getting dropped off.

I wondered why such a drastic change in attitude...was he finally adjusting and enjoying his class, teachers, etc. so much that he didn't even think about missing us? Well, I think I've figured it out....it's spelled C-A-M-R-Y-N.....yes, my 3-year-old has a girlfriend....well more than one, but I digress.

Now I must say that we met Camryn in a round about way. On Tuesday after the po po incident, we took Z to gymnastics. We were sitting upstairs in the observation area watching his class and we got to talking to another couple about our kids. They said they had a 3.5 year old...and her birthday ends up being just about a week apart from Z's. We then figured out that they are in the same montessori preschool...in the same class. Now at gymnastics, she is in a different class, but they are right next to Z's class. Her mom said it was funny, because the more she thought about it, Camryn had been coming home talking about a new kid named Zach.

So afterward, we are introducing them to each other....but really they already knew.

I go to pick up Z last night and he's walking around the playground with her and Miss Jalina proceeds to tell me they've pretty much been inseperable and holding hands all day -- they even fell asleep at naptime holding hands under the mat....hmmmm

So I ask him about Camryn last night and he tells me she is his girlfriend....wow okay, you're THREE lol. He said Kenzie is his girlfriend too, at church! But then starts giggling and saying Taylor and Piper are his girlfriends too...and then he added ME to the mix. Okay, I think we're good for now....hope Camryn's mom thinks so too! :)