Sunday, March 18, 2018

Woe is Three!

Guys. Lincoln. 

Lincoln. Lincoln. Lincoln.

He is of the age of utmost frustration. His life is an infinite oxymoron with constant requests that go something like this:
"Mom. I want cereal."
I pour the cereal. Get out the milk.
"I don't want milk in it."
Grab the milk to put it away.
I assure, "Lincoln. I'm just putting the milk back."
Hand Lincoln the bowl of dry cereal.
"I want milk."

That sums up Lincoln's entire existence in a nutshell right now. He is in a constant state of aggressively wanting and then not wanting everything all at once. There is no satisfying him. There is no negotiating. There is no logic. His opinion is final until he convinces himself otherwise. 

He's at the age where the minute he falls asleep I collapse into a ball of emotionally drained lunacy and spend the evening debating if he's the crazy one or if I am. I savor his sleeping hours as a time to regain my cool and rev up for the next day...which has been starting earlier and earlier for no other reason than to further his tormentation of my exhausted soul. 

He recently discovered he can outsmart naptime by refusing to stay in his bed, so one would think this would result in lazy, relaxed mornings of sleeping in. No. It has translated into 6:00 AM wake up calls from a wide-eyed boy heavily breathing next to our bed every morning, ready to start his conflicting demands of the day. 
After we get him his dry cereal with milk...he has to have a cereal box to look at and then he has to wait for the older boys to come down and join him at the table. Because without the older boys, he's unable to scream at them for looking at him while he eats. And whether or not the older boys are actually looking at him, he will become agitated as he peeks around the cereal box to insist they stop looking at him. Which will make them look at him. Which will quickly send Lincoln spiraling out of control.

But don't worry. Some mornings the school provides an over-hyped Dads and Donuts day on the one week of the year Jeff is out of town, but I convinced myself, "Hey. I could pretend to be a dad if it means I don't have to listen to Lincoln scream about how he does and doesn't at the same time want milk with his cereal."

So I go to Dads and Donuts. Like a man. And I eat a donut. And I sit with my legs unnaturally far apart. And just as I start talking sports with my boys, I feel a splash of milk. Ironically. Only to discover the enemy of my morning (milk) was now splattered all down my leg. Dripping. Pooling. Freezing. Taunting. And Lincoln threw his head back in frustration because his entirely full cup of milk that he never had a single sip out of had decided to seek its final revenge on my leg. Proving to all of us that moms just can't do Dads and Donuts the way a dad can and Lincoln will find a way to take issue with milk no matter how drastically we try to switch up our morning routine.
So Jeff was gone on a work trip to Florida where I was planning to join him at the end of the week. But I had to survive a few days with the Lincolnator all by myself first. So not only was I single-parenting it for the week, I was also trying to prepare to send the older boys off to my sister-in-law's house, Jonah to my sister's house, pack my stuff, and clean the whole house to prepare for my trip.

As I was getting things ready, I walked by Lincoln's room and noticed Jonah had just gone in and had started looking at books with Lincoln. Cool. I thought to myself. They will be busy for at least 5 minutes so I can hurry and put new sheets on the older boys' beds. I heard giggling. I heard getting alongness. I gave a nod towards heaven for the gift of a peaceful moment to get a few quick things crossed off the to-do list.

In the 5-10 minutes I was making the beds, the laughter in the other room became increasingly wild, and I began to tune in to Lincoln chanting something. I stepped out into the hall to try to decipher the noises when I noticed they had closed the door. I grew suspicious as I stepped closer, starting to more clearly hear through the door that Lincoln was periodically bursting squeals of "FIREBALL!"

Fearing they had found a way to get in trouble, I took in a deep breath as I opened the door and caught Lincoln mid "fireball" throw. The fireballs were the clothes and the mom was not impressed. Every item of clothing Lincoln owns was thrown in every corner of his room. How he pulled off such a feat in such a short amount of time goes against all rational explanation.
Lincoln has refined his ability to reliably detect any unsupervised writing utensil and, with inhuman speed similar to his fireballing techniques, relentlessly scribble on as many out-of-mom's-eyesight walls as possible before being caught. It's like the toddler version of streaking. He does it just for the thrill and he knows he'll be caught, but the rush is worth it.
All of the above training prepared him for his master plan to break into the refrigerator. I should have noticed as I made a double batch of salad dressing in the afternoon that Lincoln was eyeing my lunch enhancer for his next masterpiece. Little did I know he was devising a plan to attack, and siezed the opportunity when I went in the office to finish up my last 10 minutes of work for the day.

I noticed the rest of the house hushed to a suspicious level of quiet, but I convinced myself I was being paranoid. (This was before I learned you can never be too paranoid in a house with a 3-year-old Lincoln.) I finished up work as I started tuning in to bursts of giggles coming from the kitchen. With Lincoln and Jonah in eyesight, I walked towards them, noticing a giant pile of Cheerios dumped in the middle of the floor.

"What is this?!?" I tried to keep cool as I walked closer. "Why is the fridge open?...What the..." I secured an egg carton that was dangling off the edge of the fridge when the baking soda sprinkled all over the fridge shelves and kitchen floor caught my attention.

As I further surveyed the damage, Lincoln began working on his escape plan. Then, in a moment of pure horror, I saw it. The container I had just hours before put my double batch of salad dressing into. Laying on the floor. Empty.

"DON'T MOVE!" I yelled at Lincoln as though any step he took could set off a bomb...because basically it could. Our house had turned into a poppyseed explosion and we needed to minimize the casualties. Lincoln responded with a convincingly innocent and drawn out, "Why?" As he always does to any request I make of him these days. Even Jonah had his first ever look of guilt and started making a b-line for the carpet. One crawl away from reaching the carpet, I scooped Jonah up and saw his whole belly was covered in a sticky, mustardy, poppyseeded mess.

The evidence seemed to suggest that Lincoln, aka The Mastermind, had dumped the salad dressing all over him and the floor. Meanwhile, smear duty was left to Jonah who made sure the whole corner of the kitchen had a nice, even layer of the food version of glitter -- poppyseeds.

So to sum it up, this is why I can no longer eat salads. Or vegetables. Basically, this is why I eat cake every day for lunch.

I've decided the only way to keep Lincoln out of trouble is to strap him to his car seat. 
Okay, okay. I don't really strap him to his car seat in the house. His seat was brought in so I could clean it before he left for his trip down to Panguitch. He buckled himself in there...but I definitely wasn't arguing with his insistence to be momentarily confined. 

I think Lincoln was just trying to make it easier for me to say goodbye as he knew it would be hard for me to leave my kids for the first time EVER for an overnight trip with Jeff! Maybe he's just kind and thoughtful and sweet and considerate and helpful after all. Thanks for all your hard work preparing me for my trip, Lincoln! I spent the whole week leading up to my departure screaming, "I NEED A VACATION!" And then a smile would creep onto my face every time as I remembered there was one just around the corner! 

My Funny Valentines

We've had lots of fun in February. The boys are all at ages of hilarity and they've been cracking me up all month. We'll start with parent teacher conferences. 
Both boys are doing an A+ job! Eli has doubled his reading speed in the last two months and Carson is still soaring above his reading grade level. We somehow ended up with some clever little boys!
I've been loving the warm winter we have had. All through January and February we were found walking to school, often times unapologetically dressed as various Nintendo characters. 

Every time we walk to school, Carson finds one rock to pick up for his "rock collection." His "rock collection" is currently entirely stored in his coat pocket. I love Carson's interest in starting a collection, as that's something I frequently did as a kid, and I'm anxious to see if he ever realizes he can transfer his collection to a more convenient location. I'll keep you posted.
Jonah's getting some enviable locks. We've had some fun styling his hair this month, even busting out the blow dryer to get every strand of hair perfectly so. 
Eli's friend Hinckley got baptized, which brought to our attention that it's almost time for Eli to take the plunge. 
Jonah has long been saying "Dada!" I don't know how Jeff always manage to win the kids over but without fail he's the favorite 4 for 4. 
Lincoln needed some new winter clothes, so I bought him a few new outfits he's been wearing since November. I had forgotten I bought Carson one of the same shirts I bought Lincoln and I was going to give it to him for Christmas. Well, I forgot about it and then found it later as I was cleaning out a closet. Carson loves new clothes, but I was nervous he might not be excited about a new shirt identical to one he's seen Lincoln wearing for the past two months.

With new shirt in hand, I approached Carson, "Hey! I found a new shirt I forgot to give you."
Carson eagerly questioned, "Where is it?!?"
I cautiously unfolded it and cringed a little bit as I anticipated a scream of, "THAT'S A BABY SHIRT!!"
Carson eyed the shirt, "Is that the same one Lincoln has?"
"Yes." I held my breath.
"Is he wearing his today?"
"No. His is in the wash today." I reassured.
"Awww! I wanted to be twinners!" He complained.
Not at all the complaint I was prepared for. "Oh! Well! I think it's actually in the dryer. I'll go get it!"

Lincoln and Carson scurried around the house to find matching jeans for their twinner shirts, made sure they had twin hair, and demanded a twin picture. These boys are often at each other's throats, so this was a cherished moment of brotherly bonding.

Everything Lincoln says these days is hilarious. Sassy. But also hilarious. As we pulled up to the bank one morning, Lincoln said, "Yay! The sucker station!"
He also refers to Jonah as "The Train Robber" whenver Lincoln is playing trains. 
He also referred to a pink princess castle at a friends house as "Bowser's Castle."

One of his funnier moments of the month was when we had Stake Conference. We were trudging through the final half hour of the meeting when the Stake President got up for his remarks. Within two minutes of his talk, Lincoln expressed his wishes for the meeting's quick close with an abrupt shout of, "IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, AMEN!"

People turned and laughed, which Lincoln took note of and then realized he did something funny. Which resulted in him shouting the phrase 2-3 more times before we were able to usher him out.

As Carson saw the humor in the situation, he began recounting the whole ordeal with Eli so now Eli and Carson were both screaming the same thing over and over again. Let's just say we left early and the boys got a strongly worded lecture the whole way home.
The boys caught the spirit of the Olympics any time we had it on TV. Whenever it was on they could be caught dropping to the floor for sets of push-ups, racing around the house, or practicing their high jump.
Carson was trying to swaddle Jonah one morning, but he kept getting away, so Carson settled for the next best baby, who was happy to oblige. 
Lincoln was sick for a few days before Jonah caught the same thing. Upon discovering Jonah was sick too, Lincoln insisted Jonah join him cuddled up in the blanket and chair that Lincoln had reserved as his sickness recovery station. 
I got put in charge of decorating cookies for Carson's class party so I had a little fun perfecting my skills by making some sugar cookies for the young women.
I love to see my kids in class and put faces to all the names I've heard him talk about all year. 
Since Lincoln loved our Valentine's Day candlelit spaghetti dinner so much last year, we've decided to make it a tradition. We had spaghetti with heart-shaped zucchini and a heart-shaped breadstick, eaten to the flickering of candles, all enjoyed between frustrated moments of me and Jeff repeatedly exclaiming, "HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO TELL YOU NOT TO BLOW OUT THE CANDLES?!?!" And then I remembered why we don't do fun things. :)
Carson and Lincoln were so excited to find snow one morning. Not to play in it, but because it meant they could finally get that summer treat they've been dying to have -- snow cones. They found our popsicle holders and spent the morning proudly filling them with snow. 
These two are always up to something!
Jeff's birthday was on President's Day this year which was super exciting until he realized there were some last minute things at work he'd need to finish up, so he would have to work on the holiday. Since the kids had school off, we planned to go to his office in the morning to bring in donuts, but then there ended up being a massive snowstorm which prevented us from leaving the house.

Well, we know Carson is our foodie and once he heard the word donuts, there was no undoing that craving. All day I heard about how he wanted donuts, and when would we get the donuts, and can he get a donut with chocolate on the top? Well, I broke down and decided to just make some! So Jeff had a gourmet dessert platter of donuts, and angel food cake for his evening celebrations. 
Carson had a tooth that was dangling out of his mouth for nearly a week. One morning he noticed his tooth was gone, but he didn't know when he actually lost it or where the tooth was. We spent the whole morning on our hands and knees searching for his abandoned chomper. We kept laughing that he "lost" his lost tooth as we never did find it!
After dealing with Carson's double lost tooth all morning, I went to pick Eli up from school and he came over shouting about a lost tooth. I thought he was talking about Carson's tooth but he further explained he had lost his tooth too! So Carson and Eli both lost their tooth on the same day. And the best part is it was both of their second lost tooth! Eli has always been way behind in the dental department and Carson is way ahead, so they're on the same tooth losing schedule. 
We've been working with Jonah on how to go down stairs and he's finally getting the hang of it. I went to get him from his nap one morning and he seemed to think his new stair climbing skill would work for helping him escape his crib.
Carson finally figured out what the toy kitchen we got for Christmas is actually used for. He made a little Nutella graham cracker shop for Lincoln one morning that was as messy as it sounds. 
Carson and Lincoln set up a little play dinner that adorably kept them busy for two straight days. 
We're always up for an adventure when Madison comes to play. Not sure what adventure, but they look prepared for whatever adventure might come their way!
Jeff and I were able to escape to Italy for an evening. 
The young men and young women put on a fundraiser for the ward, so I recruited Jeff to help us in our efforts to throw the event together. It was really fun!