Friday, November 28, 2008

What The Biscuit is Thankful For?

With the Biscuit's Starenka recovering from her recent head injury, I had the honor of hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year. It was a great way to get the holiday season kicked off. The tree was up and lit, the house was clean (sort of), and the air was thick with the smells of rosemary, thyme, and cherry pie.

As we all started digging in to all of the wonderful food, I thought I'd find out what the Biscuit was thankful for this year. (I knew that he had been learning about being thankful at school over the past week so the idea wasn't too grand for a 2 1/2-year old I thought). So I asked him, "Biscuit, what are you thankful for this year?" The Biscuit looked at me confused (perhaps they hadn't exactly gotten through to him on what thankful means at school after all). I asked again.

This time the Biscuit answered: "Mirrors Mommy!" I looked back at the Biscuit, shock and awe beginning to set in. "You're thankful for mirrors, Biscuit?" "Yeah, Maminka." he said.

Uh, oh. Had I really raised a 2 1/2-year old who was completely vain? Surely not. So I thought about it for a moment and then remembered that the Biscuit loves for me or his daddy to hold him up in the mirror. It makes him smile so big, he often asks us to take him to the mirror.

He's not being vain, he just likes to "see" that moment in time. I guess toddlers don't quite grasp the concept of photographs that can be used to capture the moment. For the Biscuit, his trips to the mirror are times for him to get to see how happy he is.

I think maybe we all could learn from the Biscuit. I know I have happy days and not so happy days, and I am grateful to have both. In those happy moments, it would be nice to step outside and look in on me and see the love and delight... to look in the mirror for a moment. As young as they are, sometimes they are the brightest of us all. Thanks Biscuit.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

When Reason Doesn't Work, Try Candy?

Raising (and taming) a toddler can be hard work, especially when they really really want to be independent.

When it's 30 minutes after the time you were supposed to leave in the morning (to make it to work on time) or 30 minutes past bedtime, I find that sometimes I give in (against my better judgment) to my very smart and crafty toddler's demands at the cost of many months of effort to develop tried and true ways of doing things.

This morning it was about 50 below outside. Well, it wasn't that cold, but it was one of the coldest days so far this year. Over the past few weeks, the Biscuit has been wearing a zip-up hoodie to school as his jacket in lieu of a proper jacket (in spite of my prodding). And not just any zip-up hoodie, but one that bears his favorite (current) cartoon character: Lightning McQueen. When it came time to get out the door this morning I knew I had to figure out a way to get the Biscuit to wear a proper jacket that would actually keep him warm on the playground so I did what any self-respecting toddler-protecting mommy would do... I took his hoodie off its hook and moved it to a secret location in the laundry room (hidden from view).

When the Biscuit went a-lookin' for Lightning McQueen and asked me where it was, I replied, "Hmmmm. We must have moved him." Now, yes, I feel terrible about it, but I would have felt worse if the Biscuit came home tonight with an even worse cold than he already has from standing outside in 20 degree weather (legs wet from going pee pee on himself). The Biscuit was visibly shaken by the change in his morning routine. I needed a distraction, else he might explode into a full-blown tantrum. Deflect! Distract! I had to think of something quickly!

And there they were... glistening in the morning sunlight: a bowl full of jelly beans.

"You want a jelly bean Biscuit?" The Biscuit moved closer to the stash of gem-like candy, reached his hand in, picked out a perfect green jelly bean, and popped it into his mouth of freshly brushed teeth. He smiled as he chewed. Mission accomplished.

In the van (oh yes folks, I do drive a minivan) on the way to school, I pumped him up and let him know that he gets to be a big boy today and show ALL his friends his big boy jacket (and yes this is the same "that scared you? jacket" that I've rattled on about before). Somehow, the magical high fructose corn syrup high stunted the typical tantrum-ish responses I'd gotten over the past couple of weeks relative to the attempts to wear the big boy jacket to school. The Biscuit instead responded with: "Okay Maminka. My yelly bean is stuck" (to his teeth).

In the end, he put on the jacket without a fuss at school (and told me that he even wore it on the playground). I truly hate lying (good ol' Catholic guilt setting in) and certainly don't want to set that example for my son, and I despise the idea of bribery or deflection tactics (such as candy), but as a working mom, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get to work on time. It seems all good, but I know that tomorrow morning I will be faced with how to offset the tantrum that I will see developing before me when the Biscuit demands a jelly bean. 1 day (and tantrum) at a time I guess.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Diapers

I had such a special treat this week. On Monday, when I arrived to pick up the Biscuit from daycare, I found a stack of diapers in his cubbie with a note from his teachers that read, "Yay!The Biscuit doesn't need these anymore."

You all know how long we've been working on potty training the Biscuit. He can claim victory over the toilet (more or less) at last! The Biscuit isn't accident-free, but he certainly has more good days than bad. The last phase for his potty training at daycare was getting rid of the diaper during naptime. We had been working on this at home for a while and I finally let his teachers know that he was ready to stop using a diaper at nap time. They gave it a shot and after 2 days were convinced that the Biscuit was ready.

Now, when I say that the Biscuit is potty trained, that implies that he is level 1 potty trained. Sadly (and this was news to me as a first-time mom) toddlers potty train with #1 first. Getting trained to use the potty for #2 happens later on. So the Biscuit is still pooping in his undies EVERY DAY and Maminka still has to swish them in the toilet to get them clean after (ewww! a trick my own Maminka had to show me). I pray that he poops at daycare so I don't have to clean it up.

Well, as I said, he'd get it in Biscuit time. And so he did. Diaper Pail be GONE!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Trick or Treat, I Can't Sleep

We managed to make it through our first official trick-or-treating Halloween. The Biscuit sought treats at 3 houses (1 more than I thought we'd make it to) before we made the short trek back to the house. All in all, we walked away with a handful of candy, a runny nose (from the cool night air), 1 souped up red wagon (that served as a real-life Lightning McQueen), and the moment forever captured in video. The Biscuit ended the night with the phrase, "that was a good trick or treat" so I feel I did my job well this year.

Since Halloween was the night before the change in time, the Biscuit has spent the entirety of this week trying to catch up. So, on top of the runny nose, riding home from daycare in the dark, and eating/bathing/getting to bed later, Maminka has had little to no sleep this week.

I feel as though we've regressed back to the days of infantdom when we went through spells of crying every couple of hours (which I answered by rocking the Biscuit back to sleep). I'm not a total pushover, I don't go running to the Biscuit's room with every cry but since he is sick, I do feel compelled to answer the call when the real tears and cries start. In my head, I think that the Biscuit just knows that he's uncomfortable (from the stuffy nose and disconnectedness to time of day) and hasn't learned how to cope. The comfort of mommy's calming shoulder to sleep on seems to do the trick.

Well, it's 8:00 PM on night 5 of the latest spell of sleeping trouble... and I don't hear a whimper. Perhaps he's made it through another milestone of development (perhaps I'll be up again at 3:00 AM). In this case, time truly will tell.

Wishing you and yours a happy election week. However you voted, here's hoping you voted with your little one's futures in mind as well.