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Sunday, October 07, 2018

Loyal Beavers, Majestic Moose, and being Thankful for Canadian Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving my fellow Canucks!

I just wanted to say how grateful I am for my life. I love being a mom. I love being able to be home with them and see the daily, DAILY cognitive development Benji is exhibiting. He’s 23 months and he is a little parrot, repeating everything we say. I love knowing that I’m the one that knows him best, and if I’m not too distracted, I can pick-up what he’s saying even if it is a little garbled. 
‘Fog?’ 
Yep, frog is hiding right now.
‘Fok?’ 
Yep, here’s your fork.
‘Ya-Yee?’ 
Ellie is still sleeping.
‘Wa-wa?’ 
Here’s your water.
‘Pop-pop?’ 
Sure, here’s a popsicle.
‘Two?’ (He says this only for treats and he holds up one finger right on his nose.)
No, you can’t have two popsicles.

He is an angel. A sweet, giving, cuddly, curious, laid-back little baby. 

Until you tell him no. 

Then he morphs into a raging whirlwind of kicks and screams and shocking baby rage. He drops to the floor, throwing punches and kicks and thrashing about as if tiny red ants were eating him alive. It is a sight to behold. I’d like to say only immediate family has witnessed this, but sadly my friends at HEB have seen it numerous times. 

Last week we broke a record, three throw-himself on the floor tantrums in the aisles of HEB within an a fifteen minute period.

People stared. Mom’s frowned. Dad’s shuffled off uncomfortably.

An employee tracked down ‘be calm’ homeopathic remedies from the hippy aisle and shoved five boxes in my hand. ‘You can’t overdose on this,’ she told me as she sent me on my way.

So what are my instincts telling me? In Benji’s case I try to pull him to a safe place, make sure there’s nothing around he can bang into, and wait it out. 

The easy answer, when you’re tired or busy, is to just give him what he wants. 

This. Is. A Recipe. For. Disaster. 

The more they kick and fight, the more resolved you need to be not to give in. If you do, you’re telling them loud and clear, next time they want something this behavior will get it for them.

We don’t want that do we?

In Benji’s case it’s developmental. His need to control something, anything, and his inability to understand and process his negative emotions leads to a tiny fire hydrant of messy, loud emotions spraying everywhere. You wait it out, clean up the mess, and stick to your guns. 

Asking politely gets him what he wants. Tantrums get him nothing but a scratchy throat from the screaming.

Ellie is four years old. She’s past this hydrant stage and is learning about delayed gratification, about controlling her reactions and how to get calm when she’s been triggered. This is an ongoing process that has involved me using every calming and centering tool in my box, and a few I’ve only read about. 

Time-in’s and the calming corner, deep breaths, thinking about the other person, and finally taking away the toy they’re fighting over or her beloved Ipad. 

I’m having a hard time getting her to stop hitting and pushing Benji. Also, pulling his hair, squeezing and pinching and throwing things at him. Right? Fun.

I know she’s going to grow out of this phase. I know if I apply consistent, reliable consequences and I deliver these consequences with firmness and love, she is going to be okay and not turn out to be the Unibomber.

I just need to pull on my big-girl panties and get through it. Having them both at these developmental stages is tricky.

I love being a stay at home mom. I wouldn’t trade these hours, days, and exhausting nights for anything.

Having said that..I can see that Ellie would be just fine with someone else during the day - her social needs are outweighing her cognitive one-on-one needs and Benji will be there soon.

So we all know I passed my GRE and I’m applying for my masters in Education. 

Turns out I also need to be a certified teacher. I don’t know what my new career path will be, but I think my steps are leading me toward the classroom, at least in the near future.

Meantime - if you see me at HEB standing watch over a flailing and screaming toddler, just pat me on the shoulder and remind me it’s all going to be okay, because it is.

Happy Turkey day my lovely Canadians - may our loyal beavers and majestic moose stand guard over your gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffed Turkey’s and warm apple pies, eh?