Saturday, June 11, 2016

You've Got to Be Kidding Me

Wow! The last few months have been a roller coaster of emotions with our firstborn. He's happy and then he's sad. He's angry and then he's calm. He's able to communicate effectively and then he's screaming incoherently. He wants autonomy over his own life; mostly dependent, but desperate to be independent at the very same time. Learning how to collaborate and play with friends. Singing and dancing without reservation. And all of this is exactly what he should be doing at two years old going on three.

We've lost our cool, apologized, and started again. It's been a bumpy road, but at the end of the day, we hope he knows how deeply he is loved and that nothing can shake this love.

For every difficulty, there's also a boatload of joy.

He's crazy about his brother. Ian loves to lie next to him on the floor and get him to smile. He's very respectful of my need to nurse him or put him down to sleep. Ian often wants to help, which is really sweet. Owen returns the love and absolutely adores him.

When I'm working in the kitchen, Ian is very eager to help! He brings his step stool in from the bathroom and asks how he can help. It's very sweet. Sometimes it's difficult to find something he can do and we really need a bigger kitchen, but there's usually something I can assign him :) Hopefully he'll enjoy cooking in the future, too. We have some great kiddo cookbooks from my mom that we'll have to start using more! 

Ian's singing songs to himself while he plays and retells sections of stories we've read. I love being able to identify the lyrics from his favorite songs (mostly from my dad's "If You're Happy and You Know It") or from books like Corduroy

We recently took my aunt Beth and her friend from England to the Floyd Country Store. It had been WAY too long since we'd gone and I wasn't sure if Ian would feel comfortable dancing. I went up with Owen in the carrier and danced while he was sleeping for one song. When I handed Owen off to my aunt, I asked Ian if he would like to come up with me and dance or stay in the seat. He readily leapt at the opportunity and we danced a few songs together. I can honestly say that I forgot all about the onlookers and danced my heart away. Dancing with a two year old will do that for you! He had a blast, stomping his feet, grinning from ear to ear, moving his arms up and down. OH WHAT FUN! I can't wait to take him back there soon.

Ian's really into roaring like a lion!!! Sometimes it's like a dinosaur. He runs up and ROARS, sometimes wanting you to roar back at him.

Since the beginning, Ian's had excellent lungs. You never have to wonder if you missed an upset emotion. But recently, he's been fake shouting and it always makes us giggle. Fake shouting in the cutest, non-threatening voice possible. My favorite is, "Mama, where are you?" as he walks through our incredibly small house searching for me ;) Jim does a great impression of it; I hope we never forget it.

On our way up to my grandma's memorial service, the boys and I rode with my dad. We stopped at a Chipotle for lunch on the way up and I ordered Ian his own kid's portion. We've certainly gotten to a place where he eats enough that it's really wise to give him his own meal. At Chipotle this means that Ian gets his own little bag of chips (since he never has them at home). While we were eating, I grabbed a chip from the tray (where Dad had dumped all of our chips to share. The tray was located directly behind Ian's chip bag. Ian's face showed complete betrayal as he started an ear-splitting scream. I had to take him outside of the restaurant and help him calm down. When he regained his voice and composure he said, "You took one of my chips from my bag!!!" As soon as he expressed this I was able to figure out the cause... Small stories like this happen often daily. He's figuring out this world and we're figuring out how to help him through it.

Often, asking him to use his words helps. And definitely using his words back to him helps him to know that we are listening and understanding him, even if we can't allow him to do what he'd like to do. One night he was having a tough time because he wanted to be outside while Jim was mowing and Owen was sleeping and so we had to stay inside. I just repeated everything he said back to him. "You want to be outside with Papa while he's mowing, but we have to stay inside." And after just a few sentences back to him, he stopped crying, looked at me and said, "I love you, Mama." And gave me a hug.

Amazing. I wish every interaction could be so fluid.

My mom gave us a really great book entitled "Raising Cain," which is all about protecting and fostering the emotional lives of boys. It came at such a great time. Jim and I have both been gobbling it up at different times.

Often he'll ask for a hug or decide to take a little break in his room when he's calming down. He'll often come out and enthusiastically announce "That feel me better!!!" So glad you feel better, sweet boy.

This week Ian's gotten VERY into saying "You're welcome" and "Thank you!" He had already said the latter, but now he thinks that it is an absolute requirement for someone to say "You're welcome." It's so cute and funny at the same time. If we don't say it, he'll say, "Can you say 'You're welcome, Mama/Papa?'" Yes, yes we can.

Perhaps my favorite thing he says is "I opened the door this mornin', but not today." The structure is always "We/I ______________________, but not today." It's his way of telling something that we have done, but letting you know that it didn't TODAY. It's so sweet.

Two weekends ago now, we went to the Strawberry Festival with my family. This year was SO much fun! Not because the festival had changed, but because we had a child who could fully enjoy it! Once in the festival, all of the activities are free.... free hay rides, petting zoos, face painting, straw bale maze, music, performers, the works! We did pay a small fee for Ian to ride on a pony for the first time. Boy, was he a happy lad! See the following picture of him in my arms; he had just gotten off his horse.

I took a video of him riding it and he watched it VERY often in the week afterward. So fun to make little dreams like this come true :)

Grumps drove the gator for the festival, so Ian got to hop on board for a little ride. It was a good day for a little boy.

The other day I said something that didn't warrant this response, but he said, "Are you kidding me? You've got to be kidding me!" HAHA! I think he heard his dad say this; a common line he's spoken.

He LOVES reading books. Recently, we were at the library and learned that they have a program where the children need to read 20 hours and then they'll receive a few pretty awesome prizes. I grabbed a brochure. Since then, I have been vaguely keeping track of our reading; we are going to make it to twenty hours in no time at all. Today we sat and read through all of Frog & Toad, which is actually three of those books combined, and Ian asked to read it again. The boy loves books. The longer, the better. And we catch him sitting like the picture below more and more often.

I love this front row seat, watching him explore and interact with this world.

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