I’m currently reading the book All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, which is both a scientific and anecdotal account of how the experience of parenthood lands on modern parents. I’m a sucker for neurological insight and evidence-based research on why parenting is hard. And also awesome. A lot of parents blog and post about parenting successes and woes. Some are fun to read. Others feel judgmental and holier than thou. Mostly, I think, all of us are just trying to get through the day with our little people who simultaneously drive us nuts and make us infinitely happy. Here are a few reflections of mine from the past few weeks.
1. When I asked Ash what his favorite fruit or vegetable was, he said “pizza.”
2. Our kids still sleep with us. They are super cute and cuddly but it’s getting old. Working on it. Ash stayed in his own bed until 7am last night!
3. Our kitchen table is round with a split down the middle for the leaf we insert when we have guests. You can only imagine what kind of gunk is lodged in that split down the middle.
1. The kids inhale homemade chocolate chip cookies that are loaded with oats and ground pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds. And have half the sugar (coconut sugar, Aunt Tara!).
2. Ash and Austin hug and kiss on the lips before bed most nights.
3. We’ve transformed actual kick and hitting fights into ” brother wrestling time” in the basement on the extra mattress. They still get hurt, but slightly less. They both start on the mattress and the goal is the get the other one to “GO HOME!” — which means, push them off the mattress. When Ash pushes Austin off the mattress, he lifts his fist in victory and says “I get one moint (point)!”
I was explaining to Austin the other day about my dad’s colostomy surgery and ostomy pouch. Austin was extremely interested in how it all worked. He wanted to know why Grandpa Dee had to have the surgery and why he doesn’t poop out of his butt anymore (sorry, TMI). We talked about it for a while, and I apologize, Dad, but I did refer to it as a “bag” sometimes while explaining the whole thing.
Later that evening, we were discussing our extended family members. It’s confusing for Austin to think about Uncle Jon as my brother, or Grandpa Cary as Joe’s dad. So I asked him, Who is mommy’s dad?
Me: What the heck are you talking about?
Austin: With the bag??
Me: (hysterical laughter because I realized he was referring to our earlier conversation about Grandpa Dee’s ostomy pouch)
Me: Austin, it’s called a pouch, not a bag.
Austin: Oh ok, well, your dad is the one with the pouch.
One of the things you hear encouraged a lot with toddlers is for them to “use their words” when frustrated. It’s just plain easier to cry (I don’t like that!) or whine (pretty please, I want that!) or hit/push your brother (puh-leaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase play with me, Austin!!) to communicate.
Recently when Ash (who is a talking up a storm these days!) whines or cries when he’s frustrated, I’ll gently remind him: “Use your words, Ash,” or alternatively, “Honey, say words so I know what’s wrong.” Then, with big puppy dog eyes and tears rolling down his face, he’ll look at me and say, “Words.”
And then I’ll see him with a sly little smile. That little bugger.