Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving this year. We got to spend a lot of time with family and Nate had a ball playing with his cousins, aunts, uncles, friends and grandparents. 

A top contender for highlight of Nate's long weekend (food is out, since he ate a peanut butter sandwich for his Thanksgiving feast) was definitely Uncle Russell's barn tour. The tour included a ride on his great-great grandfather's tractor, sharp tools and heavy machinery. Nate was in heaven.

I loved watching Nate hand out generous amounts of hugs and kisses to family we don't get to see often enough. Nate was so comfortable, it was like we see them every weekend.  We had a lot to be thankful for this year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The boy who liked time-outs

You may have noticed I've been posting less frequently lately. It is due to the fact that I am now employed - YAY! I'm thrilled to have this job and feel incredibly lucky to get hired right now, especially in this economy.  Since I have been working, Nate has had to adapt to a lot of changes, namely starting school and a lot less mommy time.  Fortunately, Nate is super social so he's adjusting to school very well. I really couldn't be happier in that regard.

But I have noticed that when he is home, he's been testing me more and more lately. I know part of it is his age/developmental stage and part of it is undoubtedly from less exercise now that summer is over and we don't go to the park every day for hours. But also I am sure that he is adjusting to the amount of attention and stimulation that he is getting from me everyday. I mean, I'm simply too busy for ABC drills and multiplication tables over breakfast now.

Speaking of ABCs, after ONE week of school, Nate started singing his:

I do think I should get some credit for singing the alphabet song just about everyday for the past two years, but still - yay, school!

So back to that limit-testing. As a result, Nate's been receiving more time-outs lately. I follow the one minute for every year of life rule, so he usually sits in his Mets chair for a little over two minutes while I pretend to ignore him.  The thing is,when he does something that he's not supposed to do, half the time, he'll ask me - expectantly - if he's going to get a time-out. Like he likes it. Now, I know children crave discipline, but he can't like time-outs. What does that leave me with? I'm not spanking him. I couldn't be more against corporal punishment. I think hitting a kid only teaches the child that (a) violence solves problems and (b) you are bigger and stronger.

So, I have turned to time-outs for the toys. If Nate colors on the wall, his crayons get a time-out. If (when) he hits the dog with our arts and craft project, the mask/puppet/picture gets a time-out. It's been surprisingly effective.  And I also get to stick annoying/problematic toys on a high shelf that Nate eventually forgets about. In fact, his Halloween ax is still up there. And our television doesn't have a plastic ax sticking out of it.

How do you discipline your children?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gobble, gobble

We like hats. Especially holiday hats. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Whitney Houston, Bono...same thing

Nate has really gotten into dancing lately. He has some killer moves and dances most furiously in front of his mirror, fresh out of the bath. I won't be showing those videos, but here is a toned down version for all to enjoy...

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dear Santa

Okay, family, listen up. I asked Nate what was on his Christmas list and he told me the following in this order (and yes, I know it's a bit early, but some of these items may be tough to come by):

My demanding - and odd - child

  • vacuum cleaner
  • Elmo or Spiderman band-aids
  • pancakes
  • "my own grass" (Yeahnot sure what this one is about.)
  • cookies
  • stickers - Mickey Mouse, Pooh or Tigger
  • Beps (This means another horsey to ride on. Because one isn't enough.)
  • forks
  • spoons
  • 2 eyes (When pressed for details he said two green eyeballs. Hmmm.)
  • earwax (He laughed when he said this. More proof he is my child.)
  • blueberry muffins with nuts
  • toy rat or mouse
  • pompoms (the arts and crafts kind, not the cheer leading kind)
  • lollipops

Oh, and by the way...

First day of school was a big success. There were no tears and he had a great time. He gave me a huge hug when I picked him up, told me he missed me and showed me the Elmo puppet he made. Good times. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Letter to Nathaniel: Two and a quarter years

Dear Nate,

I'm not naming any names, but somebody starts school tomorrow and is SO excited, that he never wants to take off his big boy backpack (or his jammies, but that has nothing to do with starting school):

When I was filling out the paperwork for school, I came to a section which asked about your strengths and weaknesses.  I had a hard time with the section because there was only a tiny space for your strengths and I couldn't think of anything to put down for your "weaknesses."  So I attached a three page addendum for your strengths (just kidding, I put "communication skills" and had to write really small to fit it in) and asked Daddy to help me think of a weakness.  He was no help.

Now, don't get me wrong, we know that no one is perfect. But I just wouldn't call any of the challenges we face while parenting you a "weakness."  They tend to fall into two categories (1) personality traits that make you a tough nut to crack when it comes to developing and maintaining healthy sleep habits and (2) traits you have because you're two.

As far as (1) goes, you are persistent, extremely active, full of energy and sensitive to changes in your sleep routine.  With the exception of being sensitive to changes in your sleep routine (and that info wouldn't help your teaches out), I wouldn't call any of those weaknesses. Those are strengths. And as far as (2) goes - do you get frustrated when you can't accomplish your goals - especially when they relate to your independence? Sure. Do you whine sometimes? Of course. Can you always control your impulses? Nope. Do you test me? Absolutely. But none of these are character traits that I would define as a weakness. You behave this way because you're two. And if you didn't behave these ways from time to time, I'd probably be a little worried. So I guess for weaknesses, I'm just going to put: "Two years old."  And I guess I'll have to be satisfied that they'll figure out all of your strengths as they get to know you.

Speaking of your strengths, have I told you lately how much I love your sense of style?

I'd stay in my pajamas all day if given the choice too.

And you know what else I love about you? How sweet and affectionate you are towards me, Daddy and Ava. I know that when you are ten, chances are you won't be hugging and kissing me while telling me that you love me and I am your best friend. So I am going to enjoy it for as long as I am lucky enough to have it last (a couple more years? please???).

I love you more than tongue can tell.

~ Mommy

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Patio massacre

In an effort to show our backyard bugs a good time the other day, Nate attempted to give them all rides on pine needles and/or twigs. 

There were no survivors.

R.I.P. unidentified, weird winged bugs 2011-2011.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cooking with gas

We have hit a breakfast slump. Nate ate pancakes every morning for like a year and a half, and it looks like he's finally gotten sick of them. Instead of eating any of the alternatives I offer him, he usually decides to go hungry until I offer him a peanut butter sandwich a couple hours of hours later.

Nate has a new obsession with cranberries and a long running obsession with muffins, so I thought I would try this cranberry bran mini muffin recipe from  Nate was really into making them, and they turned out  really well (although a bit too cranberry-y for me) even though I added lemon juice to the milk to substitute for buttermilk and I only put in half the honey because I ran out.  They're good and total Nate food.

And Nate would realize this too....if only he would just TRY them. I think I might have to stick them in a peanut butter sandwich if I ever expect him to taste them.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pink boots are for girls

A couple of weeks ago, Nate and I were at the store looking for winter boots for him. I learned my lesson last year regarding kids clothes and the changing seasons. Get your gear early. By the time we'll actually need the boots, they'll be sold out of anything appropriate. Then in desperation, you'll order something online, they won't fit and you'll be too lazy to return them. So they'll just sit in the dining room, half out of the box for MONTHS and stare at you. Or, you know, something like that.

Anyway, we were looking for boots and I was putting various styles and colors on him and asking his opinion. Because he most certainly has one. And I like his input too. He spotted a pair of hot pink boots and asked, "How 'bout the pink boots, Mommy?"  I told him the pink boots were for girls. As soon as it came out of my mouth, I felt awful. How stupid is that? Only girls can wear pink? I've discussed this with my good friend before about how ridiculous it is. If Nate was a girl and wanted the navy blue boots, I wouldn't have hesitated  to let him try them on.  But boys aren't supposed to wear pink boots.

He wasn't even fazed when I told him he couldn't try on the pink boots. He just accepted it and happily supported the choice I ultimately made - I think they're green and gray. But two weeks later it is still bugging me.  I mean, I can't even say - well, I did it to protect him from getting picked on by the schoolyard bullies (which is never, in my opinion, a good reason to prohibit something) - because he is two and two year olds don't care.  I guess I'm a bit disappointed in myself. What would you have done? 

In other, totally unrelated news, I am really enjoying this stage in Nate's development and I'm particularly loving his interests right now. I fully support his love of trucks and cars, but since I don't share the interest, I've never been personally excited by it. But now I am discovering that he also really loves art. Nate colors and draws for hours on end (okay, not really, but a long time anyway). He loves using different media - colored pencils and pastels are big favorites. And we do an "art proje't!" just about every day.  

And also? He is loving some pillow fort time. I tried forts awhile ago, but I guess it was too early. But now...

I think we're going to need more cushions. These are some interests I can really get into.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Over a year ago, the incredibly adorable - and occasionally vicious - tigiraffe made his appearance on the scene. 

I now present to you the Diggiraffe.  Part feral (yet often cuddly) animal, part machine - he subsists on pea'butter sammiches and NEVER runs out of energy. Ever.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sneaky Pete

Nate's dad has a pair of heavy old binoculars, with an old shoestring for the neck strap. (He uses them for birdwatching only. Obviously.) Nate just loves to play with these binoculars.  And put the shoestring strap around his neck.  We were in the kitchen when I told Nate - for the hundredth time tonight - to stop putting the binoculars around his neck, and he quickly complied. A minute later he told me to go in the living room. ("Mom, go in wiggin woom.")  Why, I asked, so you can put the binoculars around your neck again?  "Yeaaah..." he answered with a huge, devilish grin.

That is one of the many things I love about this age. When Nate is being mischievous and I call him on it, he will totally cop to it. He hasn't figured out the lying thing yet. Unless I ask him if his diaper is dirty. In that case, the answer is always, "no."

He's also getting really crafty. He's been negotiating for months ("Few more minutes! One more time!"), but he has hit a new level. Out of nowhere tonight at dinner he asked me if water was messy. I told him not really, but you could make a mess with it, I suppose. "Can I take off my bib to drink my water? Water's not messy."  I always convince him that he has to wear a bib when he eats pasta with red sauce because it's messy. Tricky little bugger trying to use logic to get free from his bib.

"Can I?" is a new addition to his speech. It's an awesome change from him demanding everything. And every time he requests permission for something, his voice takes on the cutest tone, with a slight rise at the end. He almost sounds like he has a southern accent. "Can I have a pea-butter sammiiiich? With bat cutterrr?" (The bat cookie cutter allows a much more efficient use of bread than the pumpkin or ghost. It makes one very nicely formed bat, one slightly deformed bat and one little baby bat.) Okay, I'll make you some bat sandwiches. "I like you."  I like you too, Nate.
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