We’ve had a string of incidents this week that demonstrates how we are in for some trouble. Specifically, our two youngest boys are giving us a run for our money.
Merritt is adorable, and usually very pleasant. However, he has developed a need to have music playing at nearly all times. Strangely, this tends to happen only when I am around, as he almost never makes the demand of Kira. As soon as I get home from work or wherever, he will come running to me, then demand to be held. That is all well and good for a few minutes, and I sincerely appreciate that he misses me. The problem is that he does not seem satisfied with just a few minutes of attention. He demands that I hold him for 5, 10, 20 minutes at a time. If I need two hands to unload the dishwasher or blow my nose, he screams and cries like I just took away everything that is precious to him.
Then, to make matters worse, he is not fine that I just hold him. After about 30 seconds of being held, he starts pointing at the computer, making a little beat, and singing “We Will Rock You” by Queen. That means that he wants to listen to music. That’s fine, because I generally relax with music on, but he never seems satisfied with whatever song is playing. He has maybe three songs that he really likes, and we can never tell which one he wants, or whether he’ll let us stray from his favorites. What ends up happening is that I hold him, scrolling through every track I own, while he screams at the computer. I’m trying to be flattered that we share the same taste in music, but wishing that he would up his game in the vocabulary area. This whole scenario has been especially trying this week, because Thursday morning I woke up with some back pain, and it hasn’t been going away very well. I have some stretches that ease it pretty well, but holding a screaming and kicking toddler is not helping.
Still, our worst offender is easily Hakan. He has got to be the most stubborn entity that has ever existed in reality or imagination. His potty training went very well, for a while. In the last couple of weeks, he has almost given up on it entirely. We call them “accidents,” but I ask you, is it an accident to willfully ignore bodily cues until it’s too late, and then to hide while allowing the body to do what it needs? After several encouraging talks, incentives, reasoning, pleading, and begging, we are out of ideas. We almost forced him into a diaper yesterday, which he vehemently opposed. He wants all of the status, pride, and comfort of underwear, without having earned the right to wear it. We are not sure what else to do except put the rest of the planet on hold and get just as stubborn as he.
Hakan did the same thing this morning when I was trying to get him dressed for church. He decided that he wanted his pajamas on. I offered him incentives to get dressed, tried making it a game, left him alone with the warning that we would need to get him dressed in a few minutes, and everything else I could think of. When the deadline came, he fought me as if his life depended on keeping those clothes off.
If we could just find a way to harness that willpower – to steer it toward something productive and helpful – perhaps we will keep him out of prison for a few years.
On the bright side, Hakan and Merritt can be a lot of fun. Hakan had a great time at a birthday party and the park yesterday. Merritt has been really cute lately when he plays a school game. He will put on Hakan’s backpack (with Kira’s help), and then wave goodbye to us as he pretends to go to school through the garage. He even took out his pacifier once and handed it to Kira before “leaving,” because we all know you can’t bring your binky to school.
Carver is looking forward to Christmas, but he may be even more excited for this week when he starts going to full-day kindergarten. As I’ve mentioned before, he loves school, so the chance to be there even longer really gets his tail wagging. We started him off with half day, because he would get wiped out in the afternoons, but he seems like he’s ready to take the plunge. We’ll see if it’s all he hopes for.
Avey is counting the days until we leave for Colorado. She seems excited to do something out of the ordinary routine of going to school and then hiding in her room while the boys tear the house apart. We don’t know that it will be that different in Colorado, where she’ll be around several cousins, but at least she’ll have more places to hide, and more projects with which she can occupy herself. Probably more than anything, though, she is looking forward to seeing the new Star Wars movie, as we’ve arranged to see it over the break.
I am done with the semester now, but still have several projects to do before we leave. Kira and I will be busy getting ready for the trip while simultaneously managing the kids, who never cease to surprise us.
Safe travels to all of you (if you’re traveling), and happy holidays!