"I Don't Wanna!"

Lately, there are days when I want to run from my house screaming. They’re not terribly frequent, but they exist nonetheless. I’m sure that of late, this feeling has been compounded by the fact that I am beyond exhausted from just hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 21 people at my house, despite having a 5-month old who’s still up multiple times in the night, a pending deadline at work, and a three year old who is…well, he’s a three year old. Honestly, I don’t know what happened to my sweet, adorable two-year old, who was so easygoing that we took him on a fourteen-hour plane flight and had no problems whatsoever. Not one.  And now he’s three, and he’s just…impossible. Mainly, it’s because of conversations like this, which are occurring with ever-increasing frequency:

Noah: Mommy, I’m hungry. I want a snack.
Me: No, Noah, it’s almost dinner time. If you’re hungry, I can make your dinner early.
Noah: But I don’t wanna eat dinner! I wanna snack!
Me: No snacks now, sweetie. Do you want chicken or pasta for dinner?
Noah:  I don’t wanna have chicken or pasta!
Me: What do you want, then?
Noah: I want a snack!
Me: Noah, I said no snacks. How about chicken and pasta and peas?
Noah: I don’t wanna have chicken and pasta and peas!
Me (exasperated): Noah, then tell me what you want.
Noah: I want pizza!
Me: We don’t have pizza in the house. 
Noah: But I’m hungry!
Me: Then let’s eat chicken and pasta.
Noah: I don’t wanna eat chicken and pasta! I wanna go to a restaurant and eat pizza!
Me: Noah, we just went to a restaurant yesterday. We’re not going again today.
Noah: No, we didn’t go to a restaurant yesterday!
Me: Yes, we did. Remember we went with Daddy? You ate grilled cheese.
Noah: No we didn’t go! I wanna go to a restaurant today! 

And these conversations go on…and on…and on.  I try really hard not to give in, but I’m so worn down by the end of it I honestly can’t think straight anymore. My husband says that he’s so argumentative that we should send him to law school, immediately. Yeah, right. I can just imagine the scene in the courtroom:

Judge: I sentence the defendant to a year in prison.
Noah, Attorney-at-Law: But I don’t wanna see my client go to prison!
Judge: But Mr. Disick, he broke the law. 
Noah, Attorney-at-Law: No he didn’t!
Judge: Yes, he did. We have evidence.
Noah, Attorney-at-Law: But I don’t want there to be evidence!

I know that for the most part it’s typical three-year old behavior. And we try really hard to give him choices whenever possible, to make him feel more in control of his little life. He can pick out his own outfits (and boy, has he come up with some insane combinations, but I don’t say a word – not even when he insisted on wearing a wool hat this summer when it was eighty degrees outside). I always try to give him a choice of meals.  But it still doesn’t seem to make negotiating with him any easier. And that’s where the occasional urge to run from my house screaming comes in. Someone, please tell me that this will get better when he turns four???

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Double the Pleasure, Double the....Fun?

So we're settling into Life In Florida and Life With Two Kids. (Yes, I feel that both are significant enough to warrant capital letters!) And I always knew I wanted more than one child. What I didn’t know is that having two children isn’t doubly hectic, it’s exponentially hectic. Honestly, I do not know how those of you that have three and four and even more children do it. (And don’t even get me started on that show Jon & Kate Plus 8 – how they survive is one of the greatest mysteries of all time!)

I’m very lucky in that since the time that Sam (my four month old) was born, my husband’s work schedule has allowed him to be around every morning. So we’ve got two of us that can share all the morning jobs -  feeding Sam, making Noah’s breakfast and packing his lunch, getting him dressed, brushing teeth, putting on sunscreen, administering vitamins and other medications, and all the other hectic morning things that are necessary to get out the door. Of course, most of the time we don’t get to eat breakfast ourselves, but that’s OK – such are the sacrifices one makes, right?

In any event, this week my husband had an early patient scheduled, so by 6:30 am, he was out the door and I was left with the task of getting Noah to school by 9. First I got myself dressed with Sam in the bouncy seat in my closet and Noah in his playroom, looking at a picture book. Then I got Noah dressed, made his breakfast, and sat him at the table with Backyardigans on television. (Yeah, I know, TV during mealtimes is a no-no, but otherwise he wouldn’t have stayed at the table long enough for me to deal with Sam.) Then I pumped (because my incredibly high-maintenance second born only likes to drink bottles) and settled myself down to feed him, congratulating myself on having everything totally under control. Yeah, RIGHT. First, Sam coughed, and next thing I knew, started throwing up all over the place. He’s never spit up in his life, and of course that day had to be the day. Just as he stopped heaving, Noah clutched his stomach and said, “Mommy, my tummy really, really hurts” and bent over double, moaning. So there I am, my clothes drenched with vomit and holidng a dripping baby (who somehow managed to get it totally saturated into his hair, I still haven’t figured out how), racing to get Noah out of his booster seat. He ran to the bathroom and proceeded to have the worst upset stomach I’ve ever seen. So now I’m faced with a choice: do I put the vomit-covered, crying baby down in the playpen and clean up Noah’s mess in the bathroom? Or do I leave Noah sitting on the toilet and take Sam upstairs to clean him up?

I chose the former, since Sam will never remember that I put him down screaming with puke in his hair (sorry, Honey! I love you every bit as much as your older brother!) Noah’s mess was so bad that he needed to get into the shower, so I did that as quickly as I could and re-dressed him, and then ran downstairs for Sam, who by that time was quite content to be on his tummy in the playpen, happily licking the vomit off of both his hands. UGH.

Needless to say, we were late for school, and needless to say, when my husband got home that night I hugged him and told him how much I appreciate having him around in the mornings! And it left me wondering, once again, how single moms and moms of twins and moms with more than two children do it. You’re all my heroes. Honestly.

Until next time,

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Making History

What a week. I’m so exhausted still, from staying up way too late on Election night. I refused to go to bed until I’d heard President-elect Obama’s speech, which probably wasn’t the smartest idea since I’m still getting wake-up calls from Sam every few hours in the night. Needless to say, I was a zombie the next day.

But boy, was it worth it! Whatever anyone’s politics, I think it’s safe to say that what happened on Tuesday night was nothing short of amazing. I’ve spoken to many people who voted the other way, but who were still willing to acknowledge the enormity of the moment. Even Elizabeth Hasselbeck from The View (whose politics are about as conservative as they come) said the next day that “no one lost” and that it was a “victory for our country.” Wow.

Anyway, I took Noah to vote with me. I really felt like we were going to make history with this election and I wanted him to be part of the process. Of course, he was much more interested in the “I Voted” sticker that we got at the end than in my patient explanations of why what we were doing was so important. But he was very excited the next morning when he woke up and I told him that Obama won (his exact words were, “Yay! Obama’s our new president!” which made my heart melt!)

But now I’m faced with a choice. Do I tell him exactly why this is such a big deal? Right now, I know that he’s happy because we’re happy, and he’s celebrating what little he understands of the event because his father and I are. But this election was about so much more than one candidate winning and one losing. It’s truly momentous -- the “racial barrier falls,” as the New York Times put it the next day. But right now, Noah has no concept whatsoever that there’s anything out of the ordinary about an African-American man becoming president of the United States. And I sort of would like to keep it that way. It’s hard to figure out what to do – part of me wants to explain to him that this is an amazing event for our country – and the other part of me wants him to remain as colorblind as he is and truly innocent for as long as possible. I’m thinking that explaining this to him would put ideas into his head that genuinely aren’t there.

But on the other hand, this election has so much importance. Watching grown, powerful men like Colin Powell and Jesse Jackson weep while President-elect Obama was speaking made me do the same. And although Noah will be part of the first-ever generation of children who will grow up to see this as normal, not extraordinary, somehow I feel that I want to convey to him the staggering significance of what’s happened. I just can’t decide.

Anyway, for now I’m not saying anything. But just to show you how perceptive Noah really is, the morning after Election Day, the New York Times was on the kitchen table. It had a huge picture of Obama and a smaller one of John McCain. Noah saw it and said, “Hey, there’s Obama! And there’s McCain!”  And after a pause, he said, “Mommy? McCain looks a lot like George Bush, doesn’t he?”

I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying what I really thought about that! <wink>

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Election Day Mania!

Noah_voting I’ve been through a few elections in my thirty-plus years on this earth, and I don’t remember one that seemed as all-consuming as this one. I’m actually really looking forward to it being over, as my perusal of newspapers, news shows, and on-line electoral map guessing-games is really giving me way too much stress. And clearly, it’s rubbing off on Noah (who by the way, is sitting on my lap, watching me write this and just said, “Hey, that’s my name – N-O-A-H!” He astounds me sometimes.)

So I picked him up from school late last week and before even saying hi to me, he announced “Mommy, I’m switching to McCain!” Now, I intend no disrespect to those of you who are in fact making that choice, I’m a firm believer in “to each his own” – but since that is definitely not what he has been hearing around our house, I was more than a little horrified. “Noah, who told you that?” I asked. “Miss ____,” he said, citing the name of one of his teachers.

I was slightly aghast. Were his teachers imposing their political views on him? Should I say anything? Was this as big a deal as I thought, or was I just getting too caught up in the polarizing, divisive, he-said, she-said mess that this election has become? I recognize that when your children get older and you send them off to school, you’re exposing them to many viewpoints and ideas besides your own – and that’s a good thing. But I’ve been so consumed by this election and by the hope that my candidate will triumph that hearing those words from my three-year old felt like a punch in the gut!

Anyway, aside from the fact that he’s only three and not voting for another 15 years, the whole thing turned out to be totally innocent and no big deal. Noah has an Obama sticker on his lunch box, and apparently, during lunch ripped it off and said, “I don’t want Obama anymore!” Now, as his mom, I know what he really meant – “I don’t want this sticker on my lunch box anymore,” but the teacher, taking him seriously, said, “Oh, you don’t want Obama anymore? So you’re switching to McCain?” And that was all it took – undoing months of my patient explanations to him about why we want Obama!

So election fever is clearly everywhere, and even my three-year old isn’t immune. And I also have to take a minute to mention my husband’s 89-year-old grandfather, who I adore, who stood in line for an hour and a half (that’s right, stood for an hour and a half – at  89!) to vote early here in Florida. Poppy, you’re awesome!

I’m planning to take Noah with me on Tuesday to vote. I think it will be really great for him to see the process. As long as he doesn’t force me to pull the lever for his new candidate of choice!

Until next time,

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