Monday, February 17, 2014

Did He Just Say...?

One day while the boys and I were eating lunch:
Me:Who's handsome?
Eli: ME!
Carson: ME!
Me: Who's funny?
Eli: ME!
Carson: ME!
Me: Who's smart?
Eli: ME!
Carson: ELI!


Eli has been very introspective since starting Sunbeams. His teacher is really getting through to him in a way that we never have. It's been awesome to see! Today after church we had this conversation:
Me: Okay, Eli have a good nap.
Eli: Mom?
Me: What?
Eli: Are there bad people in this world?

The "in this world" is the part that was hilarious to me. I could tell it was a phrase he picked up today at church.


For the rest of the day he kept saying "in this world." Examples:
"Mom, did Jesus put monsters in this world?"
"Why are there so many signs in this world?"


One afternoon as we were trying to get out of the house to run errands:
Me: Eli, you have to clean your room before we can go.
Eli: O-KAY.
Me: Eli, have you cleaned your room yet?
Eli: I told Carson.
In the car one afternoon:
Eli: MOM! We have to talk!
Me: Oh! Okay. What do you want to talk about?
Eli: Hmmm. We haven't talked about meerkats yet.

(Jeff had just read him a book that had a meerkat in it, and he latched onto meerkats. He could not stop talking about them for a whole week.)


We were painting hearts for Jeff for Valentine's day. I always love that Eli is such a boy's boy, so this quote really captured that:
Me: Eli! You're a great painter aren't you?!?
Eli: Mom. I'm a tough painter.


We just started a joy school with Eli. One evening at dinner:
Jeff: Eli! What did you do at joy school today?!?
Eli: Ummm. (nonchalantly) I did some crafting.


I went with Eli to the first day of joy school. The teacher was singing Old McDonald Had A Farm with the kids...
Teacher: And on that farm he had a ... (points to Eli for him to tell her an animal)
After he wasn't responding, Me: Eli! What animal do you like?
Eli: I just like Barkley. (Jeff's parents' dog)


I bought a plastic dresser thing from Wal-Mart one day while Eli was at Preschool. It came with wheels, but I wasn't going to use the wheels, so I put the wheels down on the kitchen counter, and I put the dresser up in Eli's room to store his clothes in.

Eli found the wheels on the counter as soon as he got home, and he made me open them up for him so he could play with them. Then he ran upstairs for his nap while I cleaned up lunch.

Five minutes later, as I was walking upstairs to put Eli down for his nap, Eli came wheeling his new dresser out of his room. He figured out that the wheels went on his new dresser, and he assembled the wheels correctly onto the dresser -- all in under 5 minutes! I was completely amazed!

Jeff and I always say he's got the brain of an engineer. He has a burning desire to figure out how things work. He will stare at things until he figures them out. And when he doesn't understand something, he will ask endless, detailed questions about whatever he doesn't understand until he can come to grips with it.
And he's so awesome at figuring things out. And his attention to detail blows my mind. If one thing is mildly out of place in the house, he will recognize it. Or if I get something new, he picks up on it right away. Or as soon as we took down our Christmas lights, he was so concerned whenever other people had their Christmas lights up because that didn't make sense to him for people to still have their lights up after Christmas. We love seeing his little mind work.
(I walked into my bathroom one morning to find this mess. When Eli wants something, he finds a way to get it!)

We are having so much fun with Eli! He has taken a turn over the last 6 months. I feel like he has figured out a way to harness his energy into constructive things, and he's learning to control himself. Everyone has been telling me three-year olds are harder than two-year olds, but Eli has been a dream the last several months! He has had such good manners, and he is starting to get a good grasp on consequences, and on deciphering between good and bad. Anyway. I just can't say enough good things about my little Eli.

Carson on the other hand is STILL not sleeping through the night after approximately 546 failed attempts to sleep train him. So I will save my words about him for another day.
One last Eli story. Tonight we were at my grandparents' house for our monthly birthday dinner. Eli was playing with the lighter when this happened: 
 Then he proudly announced, "I did it!" As everyone stared in unbelief and laughter ensued. He's too smart, I tell ya!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Shout Hooray!

I had a birthday, shout "Hooray!" Do you know what the best thing in the entire world is? Having a birthday on a Saturday. In years past, I found myself expecting the kids to miraculously know and understand it's my birthday and be on their best behavior for me. Well. They are children. And don't really get the concept of giving mom a special day of rainbows, holding hands and getting along for once, so my birthday expectations for my children were never quite reached.

But on a Saturday! Oh! A blessed Saturday birthday. Guess what. It was all rainbows, hand holding and getting along -- at least from my perspective, because I let Jeff deal with all the kids' mischief on January 25th. And it was awesome.

Bonus -- I even got a hot breakfast first thing in the morning by the kids' only caregiver of the day.
And then I hopped online to decide where we were going to spend my birthday, and I was surprised to see Google had a bunch of cakes and candles for their page. "Oh look! They knew it was my birthday!" I joked, thinking it was for some other birthday related holiday, or the invention of the candle, or something like that. Well. I was quite surprised to hover over the logo and see a special message just to me!
Then I heard a honk outside, and Eli said, "I've been hearing cars honking all morning!" I looked outside to find a treat in my front yard from the Young Women leaders.
Then I requested the whole family sing me Happy Birthday. Eli covered his eyes like so, hoping to escape my only demand of him for the day.
We decided to journey down to Ikea for the morning.
As we were driving northbound on the freeway, trying to decide where to eat, I realized we were within 5 minutes of Schlotzky's! Well, I think we all know what happened after that.
Schlotzky's lunch. At the park. And I didn't even wear a jacket for the first half of our lunch. The weather was nice!

I got a nice walk in in the afternoon, and then we waited for the party to arrive!
I invited Kenz, Melissa, and their husbands over for a little Nintendo64 Birthday Party.
I like cake batter. It's one of my most favorite things on earth. But I do NOT like cooked cake batter. So since I didn't think my guests would have gone for us dishing up spoonfuls of cake batter for my birthday treat, we settled on our latest favorite dessert -- peach cobbler in our new dutch oven! Best birthday decision I made all day.

The bad news -- Melissa's husband is a state champion at Super Smash Brothers. Yeah. That's a real thing. So he kind of dominated.
And then we had the suspenseful battle of Eli vs. Joe. Better luck next time, Joe.
After Nintendo fizzled out, we played The Newlywed Game.
I don't remember who won, but it wasn't me and Jeff. It was probably these little love birds.
It was a fun night and a fun birthday! Thanks for coming, Kenz and Melissa!

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Hasta La Vista, Bebe

I hadn't made meticulous plans to strip Carson of his binky (or bebe as he calls...called it). But then Carson began slinking back into his wake-up-every-hour-at-night routine, and after one particularly rough night, my inner sleep nazi erupted and I decided it was time to introduce Carson to Mommy Boot Camp.

I began devising plans to sleep train Carson. I read experts' sleep training blog posts, I gave myself pep talks and I was practically on the verge of drinking my first Mountain Dew to prepare for the long nights ahead. I was going to get Carson sleeping through the night once and for all!
And then it hit me -- Carson kept waking up at night because he would lose his binky and needed help finding it. If I was going to sleep train him anyway, might as well just take the binky away too. One of my motherhood secrets is if you're going to embark on a planned week of awfulness, get all the awfulness that needs fixing over with at once. So if I was going to have a screaming kid over sleep training, might as well get the binky screaming over with at the same time. 

So I made a very sudden, somewhat experimental decision to snip the binky. I was just going to see if he threw an all-out raging tantrum at the damage done to one of his precious bebes. I was just going to test the waters and see how attached he was to his treasured pacifier. So I dangled the bait.
Carson took one try with his broken binky, and threw it out of his crib. He didn't even really cry about it. It was just...broken, and he decided he didn't want it anymore. That was that. He asked about it like two more times a couple days later, but I just reminded him it was broken, and he continued on with his day without any tears shed. Well that was easy.
Miraculously, once the binky was out of the picture, he stopped waking up at night! But getting him to sleep for naps and bedtime was not so easy.
For sleep training, I used similar techniques to what this mommy blogger wrote about. The plan was basically to have a consistent bedtime routine -- putting him to bed at the same time every night. Then go in to check on him every 10 minutes until he fell asleep.

The first night he fell asleep faster than expected (under 1 hour). The second night he fell asleep within 15 minutes of putting him in his crib. And night three was the dreaded regression day which was the worst day. Over an hour of crying. We almost gave up, but he finally hit the sack just before we reevaluated the sleep training plan.

After night three it's been pretty smooth! He still cries when we put him in bed, but it never lasts more than 5-10 minutes. We did notice tonight that he has a sweet spot for when it's best to put him down. If we put him down too early, he's not tired enough, so he screams like crazy. If we put him down too late, he's overtired and screams like crazy. But if we put him down right around 7:45-8:15, he does pretty good.
Tonight we put him down, and he didn't even cry at all! Eli's room is right next to Carson's, and Eli was playing really loudly in his room right after we put Carson down. After a few minutes, Carson yelled, "ELI!" He does this often when he is in bed and can hear Eli next door. But then he said this, "Eli! I'm sleeping!"

Ha. It was hilarious. So there's hope that all this sleep training really might be working.

Next step -- toddler bed, potty training and getting the boys to share a room. But we'll let Carson have a little break before Mommy Boot Camp Phase 2 starts.