Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Swimming Hole

The kids are pretty fond of the water. Benjamin much more than Claire, but both are decent fans of the pool. (But don't make sister take a bath. THE WRATH!) We've had a pool membership three years now and absolutely love it. This particular "pool" is actually a small waterpark with four waterslides, one small waterslide, a sand area, splash pad area, kiddie pool, swim lanes, zero-depth main pool and a smaller pool. There are free floats to use for the kids and passholders have additional perks.

I never have my phone on me to take photos at the pool (because water), but my mom shot these when she was in town last month.

A little extra mom love and some Claire bubble blowing action

It's all fun and games until there are swim lessons. Benjamin had two weeks of them (at the pool we go to), totaling 8 days. He reluctantly participated three days, happily participated three days, and refused the final two days. Of course, that meant his behavior chart (grumble, it's a must...) had a couple sad faces for those days and no treats following meals or any screen time. He'd gleefully tell his swim teacher, "I will see you tomorrow!!!" and then completely refuse the pool the next morning. There's no predicting his crazy.

As soon as the swim lessons ended, he practically sprinted into the pool and jumped into the deep end like it was HIS JOB. After sitting in the stroller, dry and bored and pouty for the previous 40 minutes.

As long as no one is forcing him, he's on board. The moment it becomes a requirement, he's backing out. Ah, the life of a mom with a stubborn fish. At least it's not because he's not afraid of the water and only because he's a total punk.

Insert exhausted mom emoji here. And maybe the beer one, too. But not the fish one. That's just cruel.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Thumb Sucking Bootcamp

It's probably no surprise that we had to bootcamp this process, too. (Remember potty training?) The good news is, this whole bootcamp business seems to be the hot ticket with this hot-tempered kid.

I blogged about this eight months ago and we really only committed to helping him quit in late June.

Benjamin was thumb sucking often, especially at sleep times. He was a champion sleeper and irregular napper at 3+ (from 0-3 was crazy stellar!), but if there was any nap happening at all, we had that thumb to thank.

After a visit with the dentist, she scared us with words of head gears and mouth surgery if this continues and affects his overbite drastically. Sure, she gave us worst-case scenarios, but that was enough for us to head straight to Target for a new water bottle (to attempt to ditch juice as well) and some nasty thumb polish.

Thum was purchased. For $3.04, I thought it was a steal because the stuff they were selling on Amazon was like $14. Still VERY cheap also considering mouth surgery and whatever.

Regardless, this wasn't about the money. It was about potentially putting him through all that later in life when we felt responsible for teaching him good habits (or overcoming bad ones).

He was sucking his thumb within the hour. Not because he wanted to, as he'd heard the dentist and actually seemed to want to follow her instructions, but because it was a habit. He didn't even know he was doing it most of the time!

I needed that Amazon stuff IMMEDIATELY. Our local Ulta carried it, so I headed over with Benjamin and we snagged a bottle for like $16.

Worked like a charm. Really, if you have thumb sucking or nail biting issues, this is the stuff. Look nowhere else. We've used about .0004% of the bottle and he's done. No thumb. He hasn't put his thumb in his mouth for 2.5 weeks.

The first few nights, I was sweating it. He was waking 3-5 times and I was certain my good sleeper had just turned into a bad sleeper. I was super bummed. He'd wake screaming because he'd accidentally put his disgusting thumb into his mouth. He'd been sleeping with the aide of his thumb since he was 6 months old, and now we're nearing the corner of 3.5 next month.

After three days, he was back to normal sleeping and hasn't looked back.

We stopped using the Mavala Stop stuff after 5 days. He'd even tell me he needed it occasionally or help me apply it (little goes a long way).

It's been a huge relief for us all. The only major casualty in all of this is knowing he is officially never going to nap again.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Benjamin Babble IV

Scene: In the garage and B is on his scooter (which always lasts about 4.7 seconds). Don't be impressed.

Me: "Where are you going?"

B: "I am going to storytime."

Me: "It's too far to go on a scooter (about 3.5 miles)."

B: "I can handle far away."


Scene: Sitting on top of the playground equipment at a local park. Benjamin insists I play. He has just handed me the Bud Light blue football necklace we picked up as swag from a local geocache (that I didn't know was that when he asked if he could have it). I stick the necklace between two frisbees and start jiggling it around to make noise.

B: "This is not a time for play." (Anyone want to continue on from the Go Dog, Go! book? -- literature is powerful, hah!)


Scene: B is in the backseat of the car playing with the old school GPS while I'm driving. I've recently started turning it on and sending us to destinations (I generally already know directions) to occupy him, because he loves the technology and maybe to teach him left and right

B: "Fix this, Mom. It's making me a crabby pattie." (I call Claire that when she's being crabby.)


Scene: Sitting on the deck eating dinner together.

B: "What is Claire having for dinner?"

C: "Gobble, gobble."

B: "Are you a chicken, Claire?"


Scene: Claire returns from the living room with a small bouncing ball. She attempts to balance it on her head and then let it fall (having seen me do this before).

B: "That's cute, Lady Bird."


Scene: At the dining table finishing reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear.

B: "We will read that again tomorrow."

Me: "We like that book, don't we?"

B: "I want that book again."

[Claire hears the words I want and immediately assumes he's going to snatch it from her hands. This time he wasn't going for it.]

C: Growling, "Noooo!"

B: "Claire is being a crabby pattie because she is not sharing with me. She is not being kind. Claire, we need to be kind to each other." (Please see the latest Instagram video of Benjamin being "kind".)


Scene: Claire spills blueberries out of the container and all over the floor.

B: "I will clean them up. I will go get my sweeper thing." (Cleaning is an extremely rare unicorn-like sighting in our home.)


Scene: Benjamin is attempting to fork his mini penne pasta alone at the table.

B: "Oh, they are falling off. Mom, my bites are not playing fair. They fall off my fork."


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Visit From Gawbee

June brought Gawbee on an airplane, and also a date night for us! As always, it's so nice to have family in town to love on the kids and spend our time with.

Gawbee treated Benjamin to a movie date. He was thrilled. Especially since she actually put quarters in the arcade games.

Arboretum exploring and dinner in cute little chairs in the children's garden.
We even took Gawbee on a geocaching adventure in the woods and spotted 3 deer and hundreds of frogs. One of those frogs still lives under our deck.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Birth Order Baby Drama

We had friends staying at our house a couple weeks ago for about 5 days. They have two kids, 7 and 4 (...and they're going on a crazy road trip from California > Florida and back with those kids!).

They're pretty skilled at just about everything. They both swim proficiently and ride bikes and the older can read and is partially fluent in Spanish. They're awesome.

The oldest is also very cooperative and listens the first time. He's well-mannered and behaves and is typical of a firstborn.

Their youngest is a little wilder, tends to be more mischievous, must be asked many times to complete a task and often will answer with the naughty "no" instead of being agreeable. Typical second born.

We have local friends whose kids are identical and identical in ages, too. Sure wish they were in town to meet! Their family dynamics and similarities are off the charts (Marriotts!).

My friend (the mom) commented about Benjamin not being typical of a firstborn and more of a second born. And while he isn't a firstborn (and she knows), what does that say about birth order family dynamic when the firstborn died at birth? While Benjamin is not the firstborn, he very well should be assuming the role, right? He's never lived with an older sibling and it hasn't changed his daily dynamic. Is it in the gene makeup of the kid? Was he born with second-born traits because he actually is the second born?

The speculations and what-ifs of life with Andrew continue always. It makes me angry knowing that I'll never know what the family dynamic would be like if Andrew were here. What I do know is that if my second born had his firstborn brother here, things would be a whole lot sweeter (and the second born might be more mellow). Parenting after loss is all kinds of loaded. Among the many things I wish I had after losing Andrew, I wish I just knew what he would've been like and how he would have shaped our family. The ever gaping hole will always be present.

Can you guess their wild card? You easily know mine. ;)