Big Kid Things: The Nearly Three Edition

We’re at the end of the age of two.  That means that when he turns three he’ll be completely agreeable and well behaved all the time, right?  RIGHT?

From what I hear three is the new two.  And if that’s true then we’re in for a real treat.

I’ll start with the good: Max is potty trained!  And he has been since December!  AND! He did it all by himself!ThreeEdition_04Seriously though, he really did.  I gave him underwear, or unduway as he calls them, and he would wear them around the house and go pee in the potty (his little potty seat).  Then one day when I said he needed to put a diaper on because we were leaving the house he said no.  I panicked for a moment then told myself this day was going to come sooner or later.  So we left the house with him in underwear.  And he did just fine.  Then a few days later as he was getting ready for bed he said no to putting a diaper on for bed.  I trusted him and let him wear underwear and he woke up dry!  I was blown away.  He was ready.

He went over a month without any accidents at all.  He’s wet the bed a couple of times and recently seems to have regressed and is having accidents all the time now.  But I think that’s more of a Eff You to us because when we see that he needs to go we tell him to go and he says “No.  I don’t want to!”.  And then we argue and there’s timeouts for everyone.  And that seems to be the theme recently.ThreeEdition_03I feel like we’re living in a constant power struggle.  He knows what he can get away with and with who.  He plays me and Rob differently.  It’s kind of funny.  Except that it’s not really and some days you want to drop everything and leave.

But then he starts asking you where the cats are and unless you are myself or Rob you will have no idea what the hell he’s talking about.  You see, Max has an entire family of cats for imaginary friends.  There’s a mommy cat, a daddy cat, a Max cat and a baby cat and they are all named Tree.  Is it their last name you ask?  Who knows.  To us they’re just the Tree cats.  They come with us everywhere and they love to play chase.

While he can be just precious and talk about imaginary cats, he can also test your patience and make you feel like your brain is going to explode.ThreeEdition_01He’s opinionated and knows what he wants, or doesn’t want.  For a while anytime we asked him to do something it was “No.  I don’t want to.”  Okey dokey, Max.  We resorted to bribery, it was literally the only thing that would get him to go to the bathroom, or get dressed, or even EAT.  For the most part we’re past that, for now.  Every once in a while we have to make some sort of deal, and let me tell you that this kid can drive a hard bargain.  Now he’s really into us setting the timer on our phone for a number of minutes of his choosing.  Then he’ll do what we want when the time goes off, supposedly.  I’ve seen no evidence of this.

He’s not napping anymore, which has turned out to be okay.  Basically, he’s so tired at bedtime he just goes right to sleep.  It’s glorious!  No more sitting next to his bed for hours, no more standing outside his door for hours!  The downside?  He’s awake all day.  And in the early evening he gets pissy.  Then I get pissy.  And then I have wine.  Or beer or bourbon.  Whatever’s closest.ThreeEdition_02While he’s a pain in my backside, he’s also just the most fun right now.

Listening to him talk is incredible.  Especially after he had such a hard time with it.  He’s officially done with speech therapy and I’m so so so glad we put him in that program.

Since he’ll be three in less than two weeks we’re looking into preschool.  We visited a cooperative preschool last week and I think we’re going to sign him up.  He’ll only be there for two months, as they follow the school districts calendar.  He was shy at first but warmed up eventually and didn’t want to leave.  I know that when the time comes to drop him off there will be tears.  His and mine.  I also know that it won’t last forever and that this is the best thing for him, and me for that matter.

His 3rd birthday is five days away and I’m starting to feel all the feelings.  He has requested a red cake for his birthday and for dinner he would like hot dogs.

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On Accepting Myself and Turning Thirty

Tomorrow I will be thirty years old.

THIRTY.  30.  Three-zero.

Is turning thirty hard for everyone?  Just me?  OK.

It’s all in my head.

I don’t want to grow up and I don’t want to be responsible and I don’t want to worry about money.

I’ve learned that I’m a control freak.  Which might explain where all of this anxiety comes from.

Recently I realized that I’m old.  I know I’m not old, but just let me explain.  I work a very part time job where there are a lot of college kids in their early twenties.  I’ve become work buddies with some of them (one of which shares my birthday, and I’ve never met anyone who shares my birthday! But god knows I know at least 12 other people with a birthday the first week of December as well.).  A few days ago at work I was talking with a few of them and one of them mentioned a show they were going to to see, a band I’ve never heard of.  And the others chimed in and they made plans.  And just like that I felt old.  I had never heard of whatever band they were talking about, I don’t go to shows anymore, and I can’t make plans like that on a whim.  And I don’t get asked to.  And it’s not like I actually want to hang out with these kids outside of work, but I just realized that that part of my life is over.  Forever.  And realistically that part of my life was over when I found out I was pregnant but for some reason I’ve held on to the hope of still being able to be a reckless twenty-something.

Now I’ll be a responsible thirty-something.  I remember my mom watching that show, Thirty-Something, and she had a t-shirt that said thirty-something on it and it was teal with pink cuffed sleeves.

I know what I have now is so much better, it really, truly is.  But I really miss the days of hauling my camera around and sneaking it in to shows and staying out all night with my friends and not having to worry about what time my son will wake me up in the morning.

I’m just having a small moment of crisis.  Actually it’s not small because it’s been going on this entire year.  I have spent this entire year feeling like this and beating myself up and feeling like garbage.  I want to be done with it.  But I know these things are easier said than done.  No amount of therapy or drugs can make this feeling go away instantly.  Believe me, I know.

I’m going to do my best to welcome this new year, new decade of my life and myself with open arms, and to kick 29 and 2013 in the ass on their way out.

Onward and upward!

***We had our first real family photos taken a couple of weeks ago by my very talented friend Lacey.  Check out her work at laceymonroephotography.com***
Max&Erin_LaceyMonroePhotography

My kid gave me a black eye.

There we were, all three of us laying in our bed (our KING SIZE BED! Thanks mom!) watching tv, being an adorable little family, when BAM! It happened.

Max had sat up in front of me and flung his head directly into my face, landing on top of my cheek bone, just below my eye. All I could do was cry. The pain, oh the pain. I could feel a knot forming and I could see my face swelling.BlackEye_01Rob attempted to explain to him what he had done and why I was crying but he didn’t really understand. He could tell I was upset, and he kept pointing to my mascara-tear streaked face. This all happened about two hours before we were supposed to meet my family for my brother’s birthday dinner. Rob, being the fantastic husband/father/man that he is, offered to stay at home with Max so I could go out and enjoy myself and have a breather. It was just what I needed.

That was Saturday. Since then my face has been transformed into a colorful display of bruises. LOVELY!BlackEyeThe bruising is continuing down my cheek and up in between the bridge of my nose and my eye. I try my best to cover it up with makeup, but it still shows through, that pretty, pretty purple!

From now on I’m always on defense when Max is around. No more of this abuse I tell you! NO MORE.

20 Months Old

“They roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws”

That about sums it up.  While his name was partly inspired by Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are (also inspired by Max Fisher in Rushmore), he’s more of a Wild Thing than a Max and it’s not cute.  At.  All.  Each day there is struggle between the two of us.  It can start first thing in the morning when I get him out of his crib and attempt to change his poop diaper while he kicks, screams, cries, throat kicks, red in the face screams, slaps me.  Now, I’m not a patient person so this kind of abuse -by-toddler is really hard for me to tolerate for too long.  There have been many mornings where I’ll leave him diaperless in his room while I go make my coffee because I just can’t.  After he settles down and after another minor struggle of getting a new diaper on, we have breakfast.  This is where Battle #2 begins.  He’ll tell me he’s done (via signing) then throw a fit when I try to clean him up and get him out.  And there are many other Mom vs. Max battles that are fought throughout the day.  It’s really, really shitty.20Months_01I’m sure some of you are like Relax, you have no idea how good you have it now.  Just wait til he’s ____! Or I’m sure some of you are all It can’t be that bad. You’re just not being patient enough.  It is that bad and I couldn’t try harder to be more patient.  But I have to.  He’s testing his boundaries and I know he’s learning while doing so, but does he have to sit on the dogs or throw everything or scream bloody murder when I tell him he doesn’t need to brush his teeth for the 3rd time in an hour (this actually happens, almost daily).  I’m so sick and tired of saying NO and Don’t do that! and Stop!  Don’t stand on the couch!  Stop throwing that! etc.

Here’s my theory: He’s upset because I’m not around as much.  Most days it’s him and Rob and they have built that Father, Son bond and they have their own way of doing things and when I come home it’s all interrupted.  I don’t know.  Trying to find an answer to this is like trying to to get me to eat ranch dressing.  NOT POSSIBLE.

It’s just really hard to get through the day or the hour sometimes.  I know he’ll grow out of it, and when he does he’ll do something else that drives me to drink.

Ok, on to other 20 month old Max related things!20Months_02All of the photos above were taken on my iPhone and shared on Instagram (I’m rederin).  I find myself using it far more frequently than my DSLR.  Going to try to change that.

He had his hearing test on Monday, which I was so anxious for even though I knew his hearing was perfect.  The test took about ten minutes and it consisted of him sitting in my lap with a nurse in front of us and the doctor on the other side of the window pushing buttons that made these little animatronic animals move and make noise.  He aced it.  Duh.  When the doctor was discussing the test results with me I almost cried because now we still don’t know why he’s not talking and of course I didn’t want him to have a hearing problem but I just wanted an answer.  The next step with all of this is to get in touch with the state early intervention program to continue speech therapy.  Rob and I want to hear his little voice sosososo bad.  And yes, of course there will be times when he’s older and he’s talking back to us and I’ll think about the good ol days of the no talking, but it would probably do wonders for all of us if he could talk.  He would be able to tell us why he’s so upset!  Or tell us what exactly he wants to eat!  He could tell me that I’m a mean mom and I’ll love it!  I just want to be able to communicate better with him.20Months_03For all the terrible toddlerness he brings to the table, he still is just the cutest, greatest, most loving tiny boy person.  When I come home from work I love getting greeted with squeals of delight and hugs and kisses.  Oh the kisses!  He puckers his little lips and makes the kissy sound and it just makes me melt.  And his hair.  Oh the hair.  That wild mane will be tamed very, very soon.  I do love the bouncing golden ringlets but it’s just out of control and constantly in his eyes, as you can see.  20Months_04It’s pretty incredible that such a small, adorable little boy can cause so much terribleness.  But he does, and we’ve just got to deal with it.20MonthsWhen I hung up this tablecloth (my favorite Christmas tablecloth!) he got all upset because he thought it was a blanket, but when I was finished taping it up he realized what we were doing and he happily stood against it while giggling.  I’ve finally (sort of) got him trained to take photos!  Also his monthly birthday is on the 30th and every single month I’ve taken his photo on that very day, but this time I was a day late. I blame work.  And now that the doom and gloom has settled in here the lighting is awful and I have to use my flash.  Blech.

Only four more to go til he’s 2!Month by Month

It’s tired in here.

I’m tired.

Max has been getting up earlier and earlier it seems and it’s really taking it’s toll.  Last night he woke up at 3:50 and went back to sleep just after 4:00.  The night before last he woke up at about 3:15 and didn’t go back to sleep until after 4:30.  Rob and I spent that hour + racking our brains on how to get him back to sleep while taking turns in his room with him.  I could spend hours trying to figure out what the hell his problem is (Teething? He does have 3, almost 4, new teeth coming in.  Is he not feeling well?  No fever, no runny nose no cough.  No visible signs of illness.  No dirty diaper.  Etc.).  He woke up at 5:37 this morning.  I went in his room, made sure he had his pacifier, tucked him back in (for, like, the 1938435w94657th time tonight) and went back to bed.  About 10 seconds after closing his door he started screaming.

He was ready to get up.  I was not.

In my mind, getting up before 7:00 should be illegal.  That being said, Max’s new “normal” wake up time is 6:00.  On. The.  Dot.  Except for today, of course.  Or any morning where I’ve been out the night before.

It’s like he knows I was out late consuming alcoholic beverages and wants to punish me for it.  Thankfully, Rob has gotten up with him the last couple of times he’s tried to punish me.

It’s really hard to be in a good mood when you’re woken up every morning by a whiny, crying toddler hollering at you. It’s also really hard to keep my anger in check on these mornings, especially when he’s being all clingy and super whiny.  I try to tell myself that it’s no big deal and just go on with my day, and some days it works.  And some days it doesn’t and I snap at him and feel guilty about it.  Some mornings I feel resentful towards him for making me get up at such an ungodly hour.  And then I feel guilty about feeling resentful.  I know these are all things all parents feel, but it’s something I think I need to work on.  I shouldn’t be that angry that he woke up early.  I just need to learn to not let it get to that point.I just want to see more of this.

I’m not asking for advice or answers.  Because in a few weeks his sleep pattern will change, AGAIN.  Because it always does.  And if it doesn’t I’m just going to have to accept the fact that Max is a Dark and Early Morning Person, and I’m an After the Sun Rises at a Reasonable Hour Morning Person.  I’ll probably need help in the form of quadruple shot espresso drinks, 5 Hour Energy Shots, crates of Red Bull and cocaine.  I hear that stuff really gets you going.  (I kid, I kid!  Geez, relax.)