Wednesday, November 7, 2012

To Sleep Purchance to Dream -- Not a Chance

The toddler bed is slowing killing me: Part I

We moved into a new house back in August and with that switched James to a “big boy bed” – WOOHOO!   This wasn’t necessarily a transition I was excited about.  Eddie and I were among the lucky select few parents that had a child who slept through the night early on and James had grown to love his little crib with all its coziness and security.  On occasion he would ask to get in his crib and just chill for a bit.  He would play in his crib for a good 30 minutes after he woke up, giving me an “adjustment period” to pry my eyelids open (or on a good day shower and dress).  

But over the summer James started using his crib railing as a hand-grip and the crib mattress as a trampoline (as all wild animals will eventually do). So, we decided that when we moved into our new house we would transform James’ room into a big boy room, bed and all (except for the changing table—potty training is still a work in progress but I will save that misadventure for another day).  


The first week or so went rather smoothly.  James fell asleep just like he did before and didn’t seem to realize the infinite freedom to roam the new bed granted him. 
A few nights later my parents came over to visit and asked how James was adjusting to his new surroundings.  Little did they know they had just lit the fuse to the biggest what-the-hell-just-happened bomb I’ve experienced since the first time James pooped in the tub during bath-time.  (To save what little pride I now have left and to save James quite a bit of humiliation, I will refrain from ever expanding upon that story).  I can’t fully blame my parents though, because it was actually when I answered, “He’s doing great!  BLAH BLAH, My child is awesome, BLAH. He goes right to sleep just like before,” that the what-the-hell-just-happened bomb exploded.  It exploded right in my face, right before my eyes.  I realized what I had done as soon as the words escaped and while I tried like hell to backtrack and shovel those words back into my mouth the damage had been done and the jinx gremlins pounced. 

That next night, our bedtime wars ensued.  When I say bedtime wars think native uprising.  Each night James changes his attack strategy so we never know what to expect.  He started small:  Getting out of bed, pulling books of the shelf and putting them in bed with him to “read”.  Whatever, right?

 Well, a few nights later he upped the ante by opening his bedroom door and trying to sneak out.  He learned this strategy doesn’t work very well in an older home with hardwood floors that creak every few steps.  I stood at the bottom of the stairs and watched from afar as the door slowly opened and a single eye peeked out, then a round face followed by a head that first looked to the right, then to the left.  He disappeared back into his room for a brief second then the door swung open and he crept out holding is stuffed frog, Mr. Pickles.  He was smart enough to close the door behind him with the hope that no one would notice he and Mr. Pickles had escaped.  About 4 steps down the hall he saw me and ran back into his room and crawled in his bed.  I may have won the battle that night but the war raged on and the rebelling only worsened. 

Some nights while I’m brushing my teeth or folding laundry James will mysteriously appear at my side –
“I not tired Mommy.” Dammit…how did he pass the creak obstacle?
 “James, it’s late buddy.  Did you try to close your eyes?” 
 “Ummm…I want juice.”
“I can get you some water.”
“I WANT JUUUUUICE!!!” (Translation:  You’re going down lady.)

I go downstairs burned but not defeated.  I pour some water in a cup add a drop of Mio water flavoring and tell him it’s juice. He accepts the water as juice but then makes other numerous requests:  Read a book, sing, brush teeth, turn the light on, read another book, sing more, count all the stars in the sky, take him to Vegas, review the stock market crash of 1921, teach him Mandarin Chinese…

Brushing his teeth is the only thing this child enjoys about going to bed.

Good with going to bed....

Still good about going to bed....

One of his favorite moves is to ask to sleep in “mommy’s bed” or “daddy’s bed”.  We always reject the request thus ending all peace negotiations for the night.  A long series of shrill screams, tear-soaked cheeks and cries for the “other” parent (the one that had not denied the request that particular night) then ensues. 
Not so happy about going to bed anymore....

He has demanded, “Daddy, get on airplane” on a couple of occasions.  Most likely because he knows I’m the most tired of the 3 of us and with Eddie gone it he can work me down and seize victory at last.

There was somewhat of a lull in the dreaded bedtime drama when Eddie allowed him to carry one toy to bed with him.  This worked well until one night when he decided to abuse this privilege.

He thought I wouldn't realize that he used his beanbag and blanket to cover up the 50
 other toys he tried to smuggle in bed.

So I asked him where James was going to sleep...

And this was his response.

So we compromised.

It’s been a few months now since the war began and I am sad to say that we’ve been defeated.  We allow James to carry multiple toys to bed, we attached a night light to his bed and showed him how to cut it on and off so that he can read the stack of books that he also piles into bed, I have sung Jesus loves me 50 times in a row, Eddie has read him more books in one week than the average person reads in their entire life – ANYTHING to keep in him in that freaking toddler bed.

Mickey Mouse...

So OVER Mickey Mouse.

I know, I know – don’t give in.  It’s parenting 101.  But the kid's got my stubbornness and Eddie’s bargaining skills.  Throw those two traits on a toddler that should have gone to bed an hour ago and see what you get--trust me, parenting 101 get's tossed right out the window.  These bedtime battles wear us down, the ups and downs, the guessing what he will say or do tonight.  It’s absolutely exhausting.  I’m absolutely exhausted.  Some nights giving in is our only chance for survival.  


 We were hardcore with the crib.  James never slept in the room with us.  When he would voice his disapproval of being put to bed, we stood our ground and didn’t go back (except on a rare occasion).  It was easy for us.  James was basically trapped so the only choice he had was admit to defeat, lie down and go the sleep.  I’m starting to think James was actually using all that time in his crib to plan his rebellion.   

To Be Continued…

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Are they really THAT terrible?

 The defiant dos.   The never-ending Ni . 

The terrible twos. 

Every parent deals with the tiresome tantrums of a two-year-old terror at some point or another and while I knew there would come a time when my easygoing life-loving giggle monster would reveal –let’s say- his darker  side, I can honestly confess to you that I didn’t see it coming.  I blinked and my little one goes from taking his first steps to running across the playground.  I turned around twice and the baby that could barely utter mama and daddy is singing his ABC’s. 

As I was eating lunch with some of my favorite co-working-moms a few days ago, the conversation quickly fell to our sweet babes—that acted like wild gorillas on last night’s grocery trip or  compelled you to sing through your meal at Chili’s in order to have a cold, yet scream-free dinner or those angels you bribed to sit through a musical show with Can-Can girls at a theme-park by telling them if they look hard enough they might see the girls’ underwear.   

We gave testimony on potty training woes and disciplinary measures then vented about tantrums and the challenges of sticking to you “Mommy is a Hard Ass” guns after a “Mack-Truck” workday. (if you don’t know what a Mack-Truck workday is, let me assure you-- you haven’t had one…yet.) 

But on the way home today, I started thinking about everything that James is doing and saying and singing and showing us right now. And my itch to revisit this poor neglected blog returned.  Not because I want to share all the trying things James is exploring right now, but because I wanted to write down some of my favorite things about who James is right now…

His natural instinct to explore – incessantly.  The kid is a sponge.  He absorbs so much – things that I don’t even notice –  he takes it in, processes it and makes it his own.  In the sky—always looking for the moon, outside hunting for frogs and bugs, in the car, in the rain, in my closet.  Anywhere and everywhere  he’s observing the world around him.  I love watching him try to figure out how things work and what they can do.

His energy – okay, I admit, there are days when I don’t love this one so much, but I’m still amazed by how much of it the kid has.  Even on days where I would love nothing more than to have him cuddle up with me on the couch to read a book or just sit still for 5 freaking minutes, my heart can’t help but smile as he wheels by me at lightning speed on his tri-cycle. 

His songs – He sings the most beautiful (and unique) version of Baa Baa Black Sheep.

His Dancing –  The boy’s got moves.  Every once in a while I glance back at him in the rear-view mirror and see his head bobbing and hand waving.  His itch for music with a good beat existed months before he was born and his love for it seems to grow more and more every day.

The way he sticks his tongue out when he’s really concentrating on something – He doesn’t notice it yet, but his tongue will poke out on the left side of his mouth just enough to notice if you’re looking for it.  This only happens when he’s thinking really hard – like figuring out the intricate details of a toy, stacking a tower of blocks as tall as he is, or simply climbing a chair.  This time he was concentrating on the ever-so-important birthday wish!

His Stare – James has the ability to say it all with just one look.  He can stick his bottom lip out better than any child I know and will let you know he didn’t approve of what you just did or said by cutting his eyes just so.  Then in the next moment he shoots you a look that’ll make your heart melt.

His love for Love --  About 6 months ago James would randomly yell out some undecipherable words from the back seat of the car on the way home from town.  I knew they were significant because he would repeat them for a minute or so.  (At least until we crossed the railroad tracks and he was distracted by the possibility that a Choo-Choo might be coming.)  He did this for weeks and weeks – both of us getting frustrated with our inability to understand each other.  

Me: “Sorry?? There is nothing that you have done wrong.” 

James: “No Mommy…stwoooee.  O-Vu stwooee.” 

He said it so thoughtfully, too, like he had reflected on his decision to make this statement for quite a while.  This scenario played out week after week and always at the same point on the way home.  It wasn’t until about mid-June that I figured out what he was saying .


James’ eyes opened wide and he started bouncing in his seat.  Turning his neck almost a full 180 degrees James pointed to the grocery store where we shop almost daily. 

James (squealing at this point) “Love mommy!  Love you store!” 

So, that started a chain of love.  Once I figured out what in God’s name James was trying to tell me, James began to “love” everything.  “Love you Max”  “Love you Daddy’s new car”  “Love you tractor”  “Love you moon”  “Love you tree”  “Love you park”  “Love you Mommy-Daddy” 

The boy loves to love…even the things I “forget” to love most days.

Dammit—now I’m tearing up.  I hope James doesn’t sense the weakness…

Friday, June 29, 2012

If I had only kid would have never morphed into a blueberry yesterday.

(Willy Wonka) Well, I told you I hadn't quite got it right, 'cause it goes a little funny when it gets to the dessert. It's the Blueberry Pie that does it. I'm terribly sorry!
(Violet Beauregarde) Mother, what's happening to me?
(Grandpa Joe)She's swelling up!
(Charlie) Like a blueberry!
(Willy Wonka) I've tried it on, like, twenty Oompa-Loompas and each one ended up as a blueberry. It's just weird!


This is what happens when you leave your kid alone with a blue snow cone while you water your in-laws plants:

Way to use that spoon bud!  I knew I could trust you with the blue icy alone in the back seat.                                                   

Still good...a little around the mouth and a smidgen on the car seat.   Totally fixable with a quick wipe down.    Let's go to Moma and Papa's house so that you run around the yard with your blue icy while I occasionally look up from watering the flowers to make sure you haven't jumped the fence!

What this picture doesn't show you is that the BLUE from the icy bled through the shirt and dyed his stomach blue too.

I don't know why I agreed to the the "Blue Ice".
In fact, I don't know why I even asked...His ability to ID colors correctly is still a work in progress.
I could have handed him a nice white snow cone and just lied by telling him it was blue.
Lesson Learned?  Sometimes you're just better off lying to a toddler.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

So Much To Do! So Little Time!

We've been busy this spring and it doesn't look like Foy Family Calender is going to give us any much needed relief any time soon.  In an attempt to try to write about all the stories we've created in two months time I was overwhelmed -- by the celebrations, and milestones and even the simple things that have filled the lives of our little family.  Here's a rundown of what we've been up to!

Spring Sprang Sprung from JAMIE on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Rainy With a Chance of Fun

I came home early today with plans to pick up James and take him to the park or go for a run on the greenway.  But it rained.  And instead James stood at the door and stared through the glass that separated him from the freedom of the outdoors. 
 We had become prisoners in our own home. 
So we sang (meaning I sang because James was too troubled to partake in such childish non-sense) Rain Rain Go Away and It’s Raining It’s Pouring and If All the Raindrops were Lemon Drops and Gumdrops and the only two lines I know from Purple Rain mixed in with some random song I made up because I was tired and couldn’t think of any more songs about rain.  
But my “Rainy Day Concert” didn’t hold a candle to the real thing.  James was too spellbound by the falling rain and despite my very best attempts to convince James that playing in the rain was a bad idea in the most logical adult way possible, I was unsuccessful.  So, instead of defending my rationale all afternoon to an almost 2-year-old with a stubborn streak as irritatingly long as my own, I called a truce and compromised with a snack on the front porch.
The rain let up around 7 just long enough for all of us to explore the mud-puddles, slick grass and the sensation of rain on our faces.  James squealed and splashed and chased Max and we all soon became so lost in the excitement of the rain that our original plan for a sunny afternoon seemed pretty darn  boring.

I’m kind of looking forward to thunderstorms rolling in tomorrow afternoon…

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Easter Best

For me, the month of April did not exist this year.  Only a vague memory of a terrible sinus infection the week after the Pollen Blizzard in March, something about running around in circles at full speed for a good period of time, and losing my keys for half an hour before realizing I had forgotten to turn the car off.  Then l can recall being really tired from working and studying and chasing an energetic toddler around, falling asleep and waking up on May 1st…RANDOM – I wonder if the Easter Bunny even came?

I love Easter – always have.  The bright colors it brings to give the grays of winter that final boot, the thrilling feeling of searching for buried treasure during Easter egg hunts, the egg dying, the message of the Easter story, the chocolate bunnies, Peeps, flowers, jelly beans – I think I’ve made my point. 
This year though, Easter was comically brutal.  
We started our Easter festivities early and celebrated the return of warm sunny afternoons by sharpening our egg finding skills with impromptu egg hunts.  At first, James didn’t get it…but then we turned Easter egg hunting into a game of “pick-up” and when we started singing the “clean-up song” everything clicked.  James would run from egg to egg picking up as many as he could carry, losing only a few, before dumping them into his bucket…SCORE—James was going to dominate the egg hunts this year.
Getcha Game Face On!!
That’s not how it happened…
I think the pressure got to him...

He figured why search for eggs with candy and toys inside when I've got a perfectly good kitchen play set here?
James picked up TWO eggs.   
I'm pretty sure I made Eddie throw this one back onto the ground so that I could get a picture of James picking up at least one James decided to make sure I got more of his butt in the picture than of him and the egg.
And that was after a lot of coaxing, plenty of pointing and, honestly, a bit of begging.
"Mom, don't worry all these other kids are 'cleaning up' the eggs.  They don't need our help."
P-Lease lady, I'm too cool for this.
 The Easter Bunny sighting went as expected…
Okay...that's NOT cool.
Then James gracefully fell off of a tricycle and scraped his face…
You should have seen the trike...
I found myself completely exhausted Saturday night after staying up a little too late dying eggs with James and “MoMa” (Eddie’s mom) while still nursing myself back to health after the sinus infection from hell.  I had plans to clean the house and throw up some Easter decorations and magically transform this place into a Easter wonderland fit for a photo shoot in a Pottery Barn Children’s Magazine…but I accidently closed my eyes instead…No decorations, no eggs, and on Easter morning my house resembled an animal barn more than Pottery Barn.   The only decorations (with the exception of the blocks and puzzle pieces scattered on the floor) was the balloon we bought on Valentine’s Day and an Easter Lilly Eddie had picked up at the grocery store. Thankfully, I had managed to convince Eddie to help me with the Easter basket the night before and we made an attempt to Easter-fy the morning with some bunny-shaped pancakes and an unrehearsed performance of “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”.  
Eddie did a great job with Easter breakfast!
After searching high and low for the perfect Easter outfit for James, I was still left empty handed Easter morning and ended up hodge-podge-ing together his only pair of khakis without of stain, a button-up shirt and a size 6-12 month dress coat (James is in a size 18-24 month but I made it work like all good moms do on Easter). 
If you haven’t noticed, I stress about silly things, like Will James sit quietly in church long enough to make it to the children’s sermon?  NOPE? He likes music so, instead he cheered after every song the choir sang and every hymn the organist played...I’m pretty sure he was also sending up a special request to God when he yelled “MOMMY” during a prayer.  And boy did I need it.  If I had only known then how our Easter afternoon would go I may have also called out to God because James chose to scream instead of sleep through his naptime – and his naptime happened to be during Easter lunch with Eddie’s family.  If you’ve ever tried to eat a nice meal with a persistent 18 month old upstairs wailing, you know that trying to pretend like you don’t hear chaos ensuing from above is like trying to pretend like you don’t hear that annoying person behind you that talks through an entire movie.  
Yep, we let our kid have M&Ms  for breakfast...
 The rest of the day was a blur.  We played outside, we saw family, and we battled through the emotional roller coaster with James.  But, my vision of Easter 2012 with all of its pastels and Easter eggs and new Sunday suits and flowers was no more.  
We settled into pajamas early that night and looked out of the window to find the moon like we always do – Finally, perfect contentment in the simplest of simple everyday things.  It reminded me once again that so many of the goals and expectations of motherhood are more for me than for my kid.  Still, I stress about getting things just right – making things extra-special.  There’s this idea of perfection moms strive for with every holiday, every vacation, every afternoon outing, every family photograph.  Even as mothers-to-be, complaints about not getting a good profile or face shot during an ultrasound or grumblings about an unplanned c-section roll off our tongues so fast that we forget the true miracle of a healthy child – perfection in the simplest of simple things.  
Not all memories and traditions originate from grandiosity and perfection, in fact, most don’t.  Easter 2012 certainly did not. It’s the plain and simple that sustains us.  They come by the basket-full and they are just as special.