C is for Cart- tastrophe #AtoZChallenge

I should have known better. I raised three children. I went through the terrible, tortuous, tricky, trying threes times three. As I like to remind these little boys, “I’m not new here!”

And yet, despite all indications that taking Beej to the grocery store was a bad idea that day, I went. It began with his firm assertion in the car. “I don’t want to go shopping.” He proceeded to punctuate his stand by, well….refusing to stand when I took him out of his car seat.  I was determined to show him who was in charge. I carried him under my arm, no small feat when your baggage is a 34 lb. child flailing about and it’s icy and about 10 degrees out.

We made a grand entrance with Beej kicking and screaming and me trying to to stuff his legs into the  leg holes in the shopping cart. As we made our way toward produce, which was especially crowded for 8:40am, he kicked his crying up a few more decibels and his boots off. I tossed them into the back of the cart and continued walking. Beej decided to rip his hat off his head. IMG_2866The only problem was, it was one of those cute ones with those braided yarn things hanging down on each side and I had tied them into a knot under his chin when he had tried to take it off back when we left the house. (Oh yes, this battle had begun long before the parking lot.) As he tried to pull the hat off, his cries reached hysterical levels when he couldn’t. I tried to slide it over his face but it wouldn’t give. We stood there with him screaming and me picking at the knot that I had tied much too tightly. Once the hat was untied and off his head, he resumed yelling. As I would pick up a fruit or vegetable, he would add that to his never-ending litany. “No, I don’t want bananas! Put them back!!!” (Whoever thought it was cute that he was so articulate ME??? was rethinking that!)

People openly gawked at us as we made our way through produce. I admit that I was defeated at that point but I refused to give in. Over 20 years earlier, with Beej’s daddy, I had walked out of a store or two, leaving my cart of unpurchased items behind. I was more experienced now and I would not be deterred… or obviously defeated.

When Beej spotted the display of toy cars that are on the end cap of every aisle in the store but especially by the snack foods….. you know the ones. The doors and trunk open. They’re $5.99 each. I’m sure you’ve seen them! … well, he drew on newfound energy and reached his peak. “I WANT TO GO OVER THERE!” he yelled, pointing at the cars. I answered in a soft voice (frankly, it was all I could muster), “No, we are not going to go over there. You are not getting a car.”

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At that point, he clutched my purse strapped and wailed. I had the strength of a wet noodle and just wanted this ordeal to be over. I wasn’t embarrassed or upset or mad or frustrated. Beej was three years old. He was being three. He did not want to be there and he was making it known to me and everyone in a three aisle radius. I understood.

But we were there to shop and shop was what we were going to do. The only way he would learn boundaries and limits was if I made them perfectly clear. I acknowledged that he did not want to be there but we were not leaving before we were done shopping.

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At one point I stopped and closed my eyes, looking for strength. When I opened them, this was where I had chosen to regroup. Coincidence? I don’t think so. 

As I checked out, an employee helped me bag up my groceries and Beej flipped his switch. The storm clouds parted and sun shined down on him, illuminating his angelic smile and dimples and he even batted his eyes. Of course, the employee gushed and cooed at him. The electronic pony caught his eye and as sweet as pie he asked, “Please, Nonna, can I ride on the pony?”

Just as sweetly I smiled back at him and said, “I’m sorry, sweetie, but no you cannot. You screamed your way through the entire store. Maybe next time.”

And much to the employee’s surprise but not to mine at all, Beej returned my smile and chattered on about how he had been behaving (sometimes with a devilish glint in his eye) and how maybe next time would be better. And in the blink of an eye, the storm had passed and my sweet little boy was back.

Such is life with a three year old.

Although I have been back to the store a number of times since then, I freely admit that I time those trips during my Beejless hours. (Like I said- I’m not new here.)

And I have to admit that the 20-something me would have been in awe of my composure and calm throughout the experience. The now me just wanted it to be over.

Beej’s dad was my first three year old child and he was nearly my undoing back in 1993. In general, I find this little three year old exhausting more than anything else. I can’t speak for the other adults in his life.

Did your kids have an age that was just awful? ( I actually found the teen years to be more trying than the threes- but that might be because I spent 13 years in Teen Town.)

-Kat

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Favorite Place

Unedited and taken in the moment- anytime spent with this little guy holding my hand ranks at the top of my list of favorite places to be.

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 There’s joy and wonder everywhere, when you see the world through the eyes of a child. …

Weekly Photo Challenge: Favorite Place

Hope your weekend is filled with joy!

-Kat

Detour

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STOP

My plans for the fall have come to a halt. Or maybe just had to be revised. Due to circumstances beyond his control, my son finds himself needing some assistance in caring for CJ (almost 8) and Beej (approaching 3). Working a 24 on/48 off shift means that he needs more than just “keep an eye on the kids for a few hours” help. It requires at least two overnights and now that school has begun, on the average of three mornings getting CJ ready and off to school and then picked up and homework duty.

Cross Traffic Does Not Stop

Crossing the road both figuratively and literally can be quite tricky. I’m dealing with two children, who are quite precious to me, and although I know them almost as well as I knew their dad at these ages, I just never know what we will find around the corner. (or across the street). Whether it’s teething, an inability to sleep due to excitement, or a classic case of missing Daddy, I have to be prepared for anything. 

Detour

My life has taken an unexpected detour. I have always enjoyed spending time with my grandsons, and this takes that togetherness up a notch. I am blessed to have a husband who loves our grandsons as much as I do and brings his own kind of grandfatherly goofiness and priceless assistance to our days and nights. We have easily fallen back into long forgotten routines from years ago. I am happy to give my son peace of mind while he works at a job that requires him to be alert and free from home distractions while on duty. I am lucky to have this special time with these guys! 

“See any detour as an opportunity to experience new things.”

-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Happy Saturday!

-Kat

This post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Corner.

 

Two Time

readingDo you want to know what I’ve been up to for the past five days? Just a little summer reading. According to my calculations, I have read over 90 books* in a five day period.

Yes, I’ve been on two year old duty on and off for a good part of the week, including many sleepovers, which explains my absence here on the blog. But if you think we were just sitting around reading books the entire time, you would be mistaken. Little Beej remains the busiest two year old around.

In addition to reading endless books, he played with cars (big and small), trains (Thomas and others), play food, puzzle letters, xylophone, piano, figures, and as you can see from the photos above- he re-distributed the fluff that Ari removed from her stuffed animal after I gathered it into a handful and he assigned the Teletubbies their positions on the fire engine.

We spent a lot of time in the bathroom and we talked about going potty a lot. We made little to no progress in that area but it really does provide some memorable conversations. He knows all the right answers. He informs me when he has pooped. He is holding it when he’s sitting on the potty chair. He has peed next to the potty chair, on his blanket and socks, on the rug in the bathroom…. Yes, it’s been a bonding experience for us- as if we needed any more of that!

“A toddler believes that if you love a person, you stay with that person 100 percent of the time.”          -Lawrence Balter

Although the last week was unusual, at any given moment, I might find myself spending lots of  time with Beej. I don’t mind. I love this little guy more than anything and I think he feels the same. When his Daddy came to pick him up, I explained that he was going home. “To Daddy’s house,” he clarified to himself. I corrected, “To your house where you live with Daddy.” Beej threw his head back and wailed in pure two year fashion, “Noooooooo. It’s not my’se (the two year old word for “my”) house. It’s Daddy’s house. I want to stay here.”  This story has a happy ending. Beej is two (meaning his mood changes on a dime) and loves his Daddy and was happy to go home with him.

I know this time with Beej is precious and a gift and something I will always treasure. I also know it’s necessary and what’s best for Beej and I’m so grateful that I’m able to be here. Although it cuts into my writing time, it also gives me space, perspective and time to think while I’m enjoying this special little person that my son created (reminding me of a special little person I created so many years ago).

“Sometimes you need to talk to a 2 year old just so you can understand life again.”                       -Patricia Love

I’m working on finding a healthy balance. Writing and my blog is calling to me. I hope to get it right soon!

-Kat

*Here is a list of the books B and I read- Ten Apples Up On Top (3 times), ABC Drive (+5 times), Star Wars A to Z (1 time), A You’re Adorable (4 times), The Golden Egg Book (2 times), Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (5+ times), Hooper Humperdink? Not Him! (5+ times), Where the Wild Things Are (3 times), Do Princess Wear Hiking Boots? (5 times), Jake Baked the Cake (2 times), Giggle, Giggle, Quack (5 times), Have You Seen My Potty? (3 times), Even Firefighters Go to the Potty (5+ times), Potty Time (2 times), Too Big For Diapers (2 times), I Can Go Potty (3 times), Your Personal Penguin (5+ times), Time For Bed (3 times), The Going to Bed  Book (3 times), Goodnight Moon (3 times), Click Clack, 1-2-3 (5 times), Pajama Time, The Bunny Rabbit Show, and I know I’m forgetting a few more titles.

 

 

 

Simpler Days

This week what began as a 2 day stint watching my two year old grandson, Beej, stretched to  four. Fortunately it was a slower week in other areas of my life, so I had the time to spare.

My days were spent-

  • Playing with Thomas trains- but please know that the vintage (circa 1993) should never intermingle with the newer magnetic ones.
  • Watching Winnie the Pooh movies- Preferably Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree.
  • Standing in front of the VCR waiting for the video tape to rebobinar (since the VCR is set to Spanish)- And we do have a DVD/Blueray player, cable and Netflix but VHS tapes seem to be Beej’s favorite flicks. 
  • Carrying a flailing, protesting,  toddler through a parking lot- silently cursing the cart attendants for being so efficient that there were none in the cart corral.
  • Alternately looking for chickens up in the skylights or “Daddy climbing the ladder way up there” at Walmart
  • Confirming that Skarloey actually is Skarloey, unlike Wilbert, who obviously is not Oliver- Important stuff when you are an avid Thomas the Tank Engine aficionado.
  • Eating delectable meals, prepared in Beej’s own kitchen.
  • Reading Catch Me, Catch Me, Hippos Go Berserk, The Alphabet Book and Too Big for Diapers between 3-5 times each per day….. as well as countless other books.
  • Entertaining the folks at CVS Pharmacy trying to decipher the mysterious message Beej was trying to share that had something to do with honey pots.
  • Dashing to the bathroom, wrestling with pullups and straining to listen for any signs that Beej did indeed go potty like he insisted he did.

Although it might seem like a lot, the pace of a two year old- no matter how busy that little guy is- can be slower and simpler. It was a special time for the two of us and as always, I treasure our time together.

Have a great day!

-Kat

Daily Prompt: Simple

Nap Time

Little Beej and I have a routine. We like it. As he finishes his lunch and we wash his grimy mitts and his grubby mug, we run through the list of what’s coming next. First, we will change his diaper, then read books. Next I’ll hand him the blanket that I made for him and he will lay it against his belly while I reach for his bottle of milk. “Bottle time!” he loves to call out as he wraps his hands around the bottle.

We listen to the same song (known to us as “the bottle song”) as he drinks but recently he likes to chatter around his bottle. I usually remind him that if he’s old enough to be conversing at Bottle Time, then maybe it’s time for Bottle Time to go away. (He’s just over 2.)

BeejAs the song comes to an end, we wrap up Bottle Time and I offer him his pacifier. One or both of us utters the transition word- “Trade.” And then it’s time for him to roll over onto this belly and we rock while we listen to two songs, known as our “Rocking with Nonna” songs. Sometimes he will talk softly while we rock and other times he passes out. I never know if he’s still awake or not until we reach his crib and I go to lay him down. If he’s awake,I remind him that it’s nap time and I cover him. Most days he lays down, with his little blanket under him and warmer blankets on top. Sounds too good to be true? It’s one of the perks of being Nonna.

This entire routine takes approximately a half hour. I’m not sure when it actually came to be, but it’s been special to us for at least a year now. I didn’t expect it to last too long past his first birthday. After all, rocking? What active toddler, especially one who has been walking since he was 9 months old, wants to rock? Well, my little guy still does but only for me. Both of his parents have admitted that rocking has been a thing of the past for months now. And because I know that this is something special with only me, I cherish it even more.

There is so much of what I do with my grandsons that I did with their dad when he was growing up. And it works.

But this naptime routine with little Beej? Nope. The only resemblance it bears to days gone by is my laying out what is going to happen next. It was a habit I began early in my parenting days, probably for myself more than anyone else, but it certainly helped my kids to know what to expect next. While Michael, my oldest, rolls with the punches easily, Andy, my baby, needed lots of warning and was always asking what we were doing today- meaning he wanted the full line up.

Back then I wasn’t rocking 2 year olds with bottles and then pacifiers. My kids didn’t have pacifiers. And they were off bottles long before they were 2. And I didn’t rock anyone to sleep. I think that it’s because of all of those things, that I don’t mind doing it with Beej. Also, I realize how quickly time passes and you never really know when that last “rocking and holding” session will be.

And so today as I handed Beej his bottle, I told him, “This might be the last time I give you one of these. Your bottle days are coming to an end.” He doesn’t understand and he was just grateful for the bottle and the continuity.

Little does he know that he’s in for so many changes in the coming weeks. And these are not small ones. His bottles and pacifier are going away. The potty chair is coming out. The high chair will be leaving soon, too, and he will be joining us in his booster seat at the table.

He is embracing his “twoness” for all it’s worth. While he tends to be an angel for me (of course), he’s thrown some glorious tantrums for Mommy and he even gives Daddy a run for his money from time to time. He is the busiest two year old in town.

I know that his parents are eager for him to grow up, just a little more. This age can be exhausting for parents. But I want him to stay this size forever. I know that in the blink of an eye he will be in school, reading, riding a bike, playing baseball and the drums. It’s all going to be here soon enough.

And until that time, I’m going to look forward to my favorite part of nap time- the smile that spreads across his face when he sees me after nap time when he gets up and I lift him out of his crib.  He wraps his arms around my shoulders and lays his head down, after making sure his little blanket is smooth on his tummy. We walk downstairs and then I sit down, with him snuggled up in my arms and we rock while I talk to him softly, listing out what we are going to do next and savoring Cuddle Time.

This is the stuff that dreams are made of. 

 

 

 

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 21- Fresh

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For me, this is about as fresh as you can get. There’s nothing quite like a newborn. When my grandson was born 16 months ago, I was immediately transported back to 1990 when his dad was born. Being a grandparent is so different than being a parent. There is a wealth of experience and information brought to the relationship that makes it SO much easier!!! Watching my son navigate parenthood has been fantastic and frustrating all rolled up in a neat little messy package but I wouldn’t miss this time for the world!

You can view more images of fresh items at Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 21- Fresh. 

 

Season Now

I never knew what the name of this song- The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell-  was and I had forgotten it until now when I was searching for appropriate music to accompany this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasons.

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I find myself in a season I had not anticipated. 15 months ago when Beej was born and the baby equipment slowly overtook our house, I found myself plunged head first into the world of a newborn once again. Because Beej is my son’s child, I was experiencing it from the new perspective as grandparent. Watching this little guy, who looks so much like his daddy- but opposite in coloring, grow from infant to toddler these last 15 months has been been amazing.

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He is a curious mixture. He is the living embodiment of his dad in so many ways. He is very curious about how things work and spends much of his time examining his toys, discovering all the secrets they hold. He was born with a larger than life personality, just like his dad. He is always smiling and looking for the humor in every situation. And if there is no humor to be found, he will find his own, often laughing hysterically at things only he finds amusing. That really is his daddy all over again.

Beej reading

My son and his family moved in a few months ago while waiting to move in to their new house. I have been granted the gift of seeing this little guy daily. I am so grateful for this time. Because he was here, I was able to build on his interest in books. He has an extensive board book library and every day he spends hours either looking at his books, examining each picture or flipping through to simply look at his favorite pages. On any given day, we read the same book 5-10 times. One day, we estimated that between me, my son and my husband, Beej heard Goodnight Moon 20 times.

beej and ari reading

He loves Ari and she loves him in return. She has endless patience with him and he adores her. He loves to cozy up against her when she’s in her bed, usually holding one of his dog books- either Baby Einstein’s Dogs or Go Dog Go.

Whether it is reading his favorite books, stacking blocks or rocking in my chair listening to our favorite songs at nap time, I will cherish this season in our lives as the special gift it has been.

 

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 13- Love

“I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)” -e.e. cummings

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How could I NOT share the most special Valentine I received this year from my favorite 6 year old? A few things to note- the marks by the heart’s hands are the motion of his hands flapping, that is his curly hair on top although it is colored in orange (which it is not) and he has eyebrows. Little CJ and I have shared a rocky journey but I love him more than anything and it’s small things like this that tell me that he knows it.

And there you have it- my offering for Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 13- Love. Be sure to click on the link to stop by Hugh’s place and check out this challenge as well as the other cool things he does!

B is for Beej

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Today is B in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Well, if it gets much later, this will probably be published on C’s day. But for now it’s B day. Of course the first thing to come to mind is books. Next came boys because I’ve got lots of boys around here- sons, grandsons, co-workers…. I could narrow it down to brothers. I’ve got a lot to say about that topic too. My sons as brothers. My grandsons as brothers. My brother.

But my mind kept straying back to Beej. Probably because I found a pacifier in my cupholder when I got into my car.

The first time I typed out the name “Beej” I cringed. Was I really going to call him that? Would people think I was crazy?

See, I needed a name for my brand new grandbaby and since I used his big brother’s initials  CJ- for his name- it seemed logical to use little Beej’s too but CJ and BJ? I couldn’t. And when I thought about BJ, I was reminded of BJ Hunnicutt, Hawkeye Pierce’s bunkmate in the tv series- M*A*S*H*. He called his buddy “Beej” for short. So that’s where Beej came from.

 

So this post has ended up being a bit like its subject matter. It has been unpredictable with a mind of its own. Just like 4 month old Beej. I’ve written it, deleted most of it, rewritten it, saved it, thought I saved it but didn’t and lost it competely. My computer has frozen up, WP conspired against me and finally I had no Wifi. And that’s how I find myself writing this post on my iPad, which I do not recommend. 

What can I tell you about Beej? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Besides bearing a striking resemblance to his daddy, he has a lot of his old man’s personality traits as well. He is a happy adaptable baby. Once he got smiling down pat, he has used his adorable grins (sometimes with the added bonus of that elusive dimple on the left side) to give his stamp of approval. He’s an excitable little guy and he uses his entire body to get his point across. With arms flailing about and legs kicking wildly, head bobbing and eyes wide, he opens his mouth and makes his grand announcement. Sometimes it is the softest of coos, and other times it is a series of staccato shrieks with squeal at the end as punctuation. And I can’t leave out the unexpected chuckle. It’s hard to tell what he finds so darned funny but we never know when he’s going to laugh. 

He loves Tigger and his blanket (made by yours truly). He has the most expressive face I have ever seen. Now that his hands are working better he has achieved one of his lifelong goals, which was getting his thumb or any or all of his fingers into his mouth. He has mastered popping out his pacifier and making it fly 5 feet away. (I know- pretty impressive, right?)

Watching my son, Michael, interact and learn how to care for his new baby is precious. I’m amazed at how quickly  they bonded can and how natural Michael is, displaying none of those new dad nervous traits. Like I said Beej looks a lot like Michael did at that age and I’m reminded of all those similarities when Michael raises Beej up in the air, his little arms and feet dangling with a perfect “Baby Simba” expression as if he knows his role, and singing “the” song, he reenacts the Pride Rock scene from the Lion King. And so the circle of life continues…