Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pet Peeves

What is this? This is the worst doorknob that mankind has ever designed, patented, and produced.
Unfortunately, our house is equipped with five of these masterpieces. As you can see, it readily separates into at least two pieces. The metal rod that you can see doesn't quite fit the hole it's supposed to fit in, so even when the whole miserable assembly is in situ, it rattles around. It rattles around in the lock, and it works its way loose from the horrible glass knob as well. Basically, there could not be a more annoying doorknob. I actually prefer using a screwdriver which fits the hole and, despite being removable, doesn't have to be adjusted twice a week.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Christmas Time!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that Thanksgiving is in two days. And I'm very excited to spend the holiday with friends this year! But I have spent all day working on Christmas gift projects, and it has gotten me all "in the mood for Christmas Cheer". Well, sort of. I have finally started my shopping for the season (hooray for me!). However, I am feeling a bit like a humbug this year because I have no great gift ideas. None! For any of my family or friends. Add that to the fact that we're living on a student budget, and my inner Scrooge starts grumbling.

On the bright side, we get to spend Christmas with my family this year! I'm so excited about that that I can hardly stop myself from packing tomorrow and camping out at the airport for the next month. I know that once we get on the plane, all of the stress of shopping, the Christmas parties and concerts, and the Christmas cards will be mostly over, and it will be time to party! Family, prime rib dinner, egg nog, pie, games, and lots of people around to entertain Gunner for the entire vacation! Let the countdown begin!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Happier Family

So, it turns out that Gunner was sick for about three weeks. First with a cold (that Spiff & I had, too), and then his "lingering cough" got worse and we realized that he was really quite sick with something else. Poor little guy. He was so whiny and awful for the past month, and I thought it was just a behavioral phase. Oh well. At least he is feeling better and is back to his cheerful self, and at least we now have a frame of reference for what he is like when he feels like poo.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Voice of Experience

My other sister came to visit me last week. For a whole week. It can hardly get any better than that, and I am very grateful to her and her family for their sacrifice in making that visit happen. It was, again, so nice to have my sister around for the companionship, the familiarity and comfort. Most of all, although it was not her intention to come and give us parenting advice, I appreciated her sharing her experience with us.

Gunner is at a difficult age for me. He is so interactive, cute and fun, and I love him, BUT he is whiny. And he throws tantrums. And he whines while he throws tantrums. And then he whines because he threw a tantrum. And then he throws another tantrum because he feels like he didn't whine loudly enough. So I feel like I am fighting him all day long. Things that used to thrill him now throw him into hysterics.

For example, here is an interaction we have several times a day. (I have included his actual actions and what I think he would be saying if he could talk.)
Me: Would you like a cracker?
Gunner: Throws his head back and wails...NOOOO! I Don't want a cracker! How could you think I might have ever wanted a cracker?! My Life Is Now OVER!!!

That's right. All the drama, over a cracker. Or a drink of water. Or a toy. You name it, and he overreacts about it. There is definitely a learning curve for both of us here. He is learning how to handle all of these new emotions, opinions, and preferences. He is learning how to push my buttons. I am learning how to deal with a person w/ opinions, and how to deal with a person who won't let me comfort him.

That's where my sister comes in. She has three daughters, age 10, 7 and 2. She has dealt with her fair share of fits and temper tantrums. Her philosophy about temper tantrums is this: If you're going to cry, you're going to cry in your room, or on the floor, or wherever, but basically you're going to figure it out. Her two-year-old goes to her room to cry, and if my sister checks on her and she's not "done", she'll say, "I'm Crahying. Geet Out!"

One day during my sister's visit, Gunner threw a tantrum, and we tested her philosophy. What happened was a lot like this kid from youtube. Although not quite as extreme, Gunner did follow us around the house for about five minutes, crying when we could see him, and calming himself down after we had left the room.

I am now working with Gunner on an attitude adjustment that consists of two things:
1) I'm trying to teach him to decline an offer by simply saying, "No Thank You". Any version of this will do, but I'm trying to avoid the hysterics over being offered a cracker. This already seems to be helping.
2) I'm also trying to teach him that he doesn't get what he wants by throwing a tantrum. I will understand his need to cry about it, and I will give him the space to do so. When he has calmed himself down, then we can "talk".

I know that he is very young, and that these may sound a bit harsh, but if there's one thing I learned from my sister's visit, it's that my little son knows exactly what he's doing, even at this young age. And if he won't let me comfort him anymore, then he has to learn another how to comfort himself.

She also taught me that I take myself and my son too seriously. It's difficult for me to be goofy and have fun with him when I'm tired, but it's very important to mix the fun with the rest, and I had forgotten about that. I hope I don't forget it again.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Up To Here

We are fed up. Gunner wakes up at 5:00 a.m. What do you even do with a baby at five in the morning?!?! I am not a good mommy at 5:00 in the morning. I can do 6:00, but I cannot to 5:00. I can't even think about being a decent mommy until six. Last week, I decided to concentrate on teaching him that the day doesn't start until at least 6:00. But in order for me to get a few minutes of extra sleep, I have been nursing him in the morning. So, when he wakes up (always screaming!), I take him into bed with me, nurse him, and make him cuddle me until at least 6:00. The result is that he sometimes snoozes until around 6:30, but usually he and I just end up fighting and I end up getting up in a bad mood. And I have had it up to Here (my neck, my eyeballs, highest reach...take your pick) with starting our day this way.

I read that some babies wake up early when they expect breakfast right away, so we should delay feeding them until a "normal" breakfast time. So, we don't sit him down for cereal until 7:00. Does this mean that that I need to delay (or just cut out) that early morning nursing/cuddle, too?

Also, I hear everywhere that we need to push back his bedtime about 10 minutes each night so that he gets used to a slightly later bedtime, which might then convince him to sleep a little later in the morning. I am hesitant to do this for two reasons. 1) He seems to always wake up at generally the same time in the morning, no matter what time we put him to bed. 2) He is so tired in the evening after being awake since FIVE, that it's all we can do to keep him up until bedtime. And generally, it's a miracle if he's still alive at bedtime since he is so tired and cranky that we can hardly stand him!!!

I have talked to several moms who say that they nurse their babies around 5:00 in the morning, and then put them back to bed. It works for them, but I don't think Gunner would ever go back to bed. Especially since bedtime is between 6:30-7:00 at night, and by 5 a.m., he has already been asleep for 10 1/2 to 11 hours!

So, what do we do with him? Does anyone else have early risers? What have you done that works for your family? And how do you cope with them?