Sunday, April 27, 2014

My real, little baseball player

When Bjorn began playing baseball this season, he refused to bathe after his first game. He wanted to keep his uniform on forever - around the house, to sleep, to preschool. I finally convinced him that real adult baseball players smell nice and clean, like baby shampoo and flowers.

Yesterday, after his bath, he stepped onto the bath mat. 

"Do I smell like a real grown up baseball player?"

I leaned over and sniffed him. "Yep. You sure do. Like roses and baseball!"

"Mommy......when I am a real grown up baseball player, will you come to all my baseball games?"

"Yes, Bjorn, I will." I said.

"Mommy......All of them?" he paused before continuing. "Every single single one of them?"

I stopped drying him off, aware that he was asking me a very serious, very important question. I looked right into his eyes, answering the question he didn't ask. "Yes, Bjorn. I will come to every single single one of your baseball games when you are a real grown up baseball player."

I promise to be there for you every time you need me. As you grow up, I will be there. Even when you are a real grown up adult, with real grown up problems, I promise I will still be there every day whenever you need me, for as long as I can.

His face was the face every kid makes when their  parents show up to the school play, or the soccer field, or the preschool doorway at pickup time. Relief mixed with excitement.

She will always be there, he was thinking. 

"I'm always going to play for the Royals. Just like I do now. I am always going to be number 7."

"You know what, Bjorn? That sounds great."

"Number 7, Mommy. Just like you." Before he ran out of the bathroom to get his jammies on, he paused, reached over, and hugged me. My real, little baseball player.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Hug it out

How quickly I forget that my incredibly smart, stubborn child is just that..... a child.

He may be approaching five (too quickly!), and he may be able to count to 100, hit a baseball, and write his full name - and mine too.

But 5 years ago, he was still living inside me, having never breathed, ate or slept outside of my body. 4 years ago, he was drinking mostly breastmilk and formula, eating a few fruits and veggies. 3 years ago he was climbing and running and falling on his clumsy chubby toddler legs. 2 years ago he was just learning how to pick up a hockey stick and learning what letters are. 1 year ago he could buckle himself into his car seat, and ride a bike with training wheels.

So much has happened in the last five years and he can do so much more than I ever thought a not-quite-five-year-old could do.

Sometimes I forget how little he is. How emotionally fragile he is. 4 and 1/2 years ago, he was still screaming in the middle of the night and I could only figure three ways to soothe him - milk, diaper or rocking. 4 1/2 years. It's not so long ago.

5 years ago, I was new at this parenting thing, too. So I do give myself some slack. We are learning this together.

Tonight Bjorn made me realize that no matter how much of a superhero he wants to be, he really is just my little boy.

Peanut and he were fighting (of course) over the play tablet (of course) and when he tried to grab it from her, she hit him (of course). Not hard, but (of course) he had to play it up in the hopes of getting her in trouble.

I wasn't up for playing referee tonight. So I didn't.

"MOOOoooooooOOOM! She hit me! SHE hit me!" Bjorn cried, holding his arm.

Peanut had already said she was sorry for hitting. Without prompting on my part. He had tried to wrestle it away from her by brute force, and she wasn't having it. I didn't blame her one but for smacking him.

But of course I couldn't tell him that. 

I didn't want to punish them. Or referee. Or lecture.

I simply wrapped him in a hug. "I know it's hard to be a kid, Bjorn. I do know it. It's not easy being almost 5."

And I held on tight.

He let go first (I read somewhere to never let go first from a hug with a kid), and happily went to play with his transforming robot dinosaurs.

A few minutes later, I felt him tapping me on the arm.

"Mom? Do you think we can try that hug thing again?"

Oh, yes, Bjorn, we can. Yes, we can.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Four P's of Potty Training: Patience, Persistence and Princess Pan.ties

Oh, Peanut. You certainly do make life interesting.

You've been wishy-washy about potty-training ever since our Potty Party. It almost seems that as soon as you learned what a big deal going in the potty truly was, you no longer wanted to do it. You only liked it when it was an ordinary act, with no applause and great cheer.

So we let the potty training wane.

We let you refuse to sit on the potty. We let you shake your head and scream "NO!" when you were anywhere near a potty.

I've never been one of those parents who does the 3 day Boot camp potty training, or who feels compelled to push their kid before they are ready. But you changed me, Peanut. You called my bluff, and you forced my hand.

After one year of you partly potty training, it was on.

See - you know when you have to pee. You sing-song "I'm NOT going pee in my pull-up right now." And, yet, you ARE. Then you laugh and say "I get a new pull up now. This one is wet. I want another Ariel!"

Guess what, Peanut? The gig is up. I'm not buying any more fancy-pants Ariel pullups. No more Rapunzel or Cinderella or Doc McFreakingStuffins. I don't like spending $10 for stuff that gets wet and thrown away (or, as we have had lately, eaten by the Dog. That's another story, though.)  From now on, if you need a diaper, you are getting the generic, ugly, plain white non-pullup pullups.

Because now you have Princess Un.dies. And you are going to learn to wear them.

When I told you on Monday that you could have Princess Un.dies if you stayed dry for three days, you did. Easily. And then you picked out the prettiest, pinkest, girliest ones you could find.

You stayed dry all night, and put on princess un.dies in the morning. You peed in the potty.
You stayed dry the whole two hours at the gym. You peed in the potty at the gym (all by yourself!).
You stayed dry at the kids park with NO BATHROOM (seriously, who designed that?!). You peed in the potty at home.
You stayed dry all through your 3 1/2 hour nap.

And then you refused to pee in the potty.

I didn't push you, Peanut. It was early evening by this time, and I was fed up to my eyebrows with tantrums and fits for the day. My patience tank had run out the 300th time your brother asked to watch TV and play with my phone. You threw a mini fit when I mentioned going on the potty, so I let it slide. One more tantrum might do me in, and I was determined not to go down tonight. I gave up on forcing the issue with you,  and figured - hey, you're smart enough. You'll head to the potty when you need it.

Twenty minutes later, you had an accident. A big one.

Oh boy, Peanut, did you hate it. (Does anyone actually like having accidents? I can't imagine it ever feels good.) You were trembling and your voice, shrill and anxious, called out to me across the house. "MOMMY?! Mommy - my chair is all wet. It all WET! It smells like PEE PEE!"

Oh, Peanut, it smells like that because it IS.

We talked then, Peanut, about going to the potty after naps. We talked about pullups and un.dies and how everyone - even Princesses, especially Princesses - go pee pee in potties.

You put on a pullup, and I told you you couldn't have your Rapunzel un.dies back until you told me you had to go to the potty, and then went. A few hours later you did just that, and danced for joy afterwards.

I'm sorry I've been lazy with you, Peanut. I underestimated your persistence and my patience. I think if we work on this together, we can make it happen. We can make it fun and simple and easy.

What do you say, Peanut? Are you in?