Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bike riding boys

D is on the verge of being able to ride his bike on his own - big boy style! Over the weekend my husband helped him practice riding without training wheels and he did really well. It's tough because his legs don't quite reach the gound, even though his bike is pretty small. And it weighs a ton, which makes it a little unweildy, but he's getting the hang of it. It seems like an American rite of passage, the dad hanging on to the back of the seat, running alongside as the child pedals; letting go without them knowing and soon they're off and riding and don't even realize they're doing it. My husband took him up and down the street quite a few times and he did pretty good. He's not quite ready to ride all by himself, and the intricacies of stopping and starting without crashing have yet to be mastered. But his balance is there, he just needs some practice.

G also got a bike recently, but this is a new discovery for us - a push bike, or balance bike (I've seen them called both). It is basically a little tiny bike without pedals, low enough to the ground that the child can put their feet flat and walk or run while sitting on the seat. It is designed to teach them to balance on the bike, since they can put their feet down whenever they want. I've seen videos of kids cruising on these things. So in leiu of a bike with training wheels, G gets the push bike and when he's ready for a bigger bike, we'll just go straight to a regular one, no training wheels needed. He LOVES the thing. I think it makes him feel like a big boy, riding his own bike. Nevermind that his helmet is a bit too big and he doesn't move very fast yet. He has fun and hopefully as he gets used to it, he'll start to walk faster and get going a little so he can start to learn balance.

E, of course, is relegated to the stroller during the boys' bike riding fun. She's rather indifferent to the whole process, except to maybe wonder (if babies wonder in the absence of language skills) why her mommy makes her ride around out in the cold all the time. It is January, after all, but the weather has been good (aka, no rain), so we've been taking advantage of it and having some outside time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The hazards of room sharing

My two boys share a room. We have four bedrooms, but one is ours, one is the baby's, one is for the boys and the last one belongs to my sister-in-law for the forseeable future. The boys' room used to be just D's, but it made sense to have them bunk together once baby girl arrived. It's really big and frees up the other bedroom for my SIL, which later will hopefully go back to being an office/guestroom.

In any case, while the boys like sharing a room, it makes bedtime more, shall we say, interesting. When we first moved G in, things went so smoothly I thought we'd hit the jackpot. Most nights they both went to sleep relatively quickly and without too much talking, getting up, playing, etc. But that situation has slowly deteriorated. It started with letting them bring toys to bed - the kind of thing that begins innocently enough, but soon becomes a problem as the playing, the noise and the not-going-to-sleep escalates. Soon we were listening to them talk, sing and play for hours after bedtime - and the morning results were not good.

My husband came up with the idea of putting them to bed separately - G a bit before D, so he has time to fall asleep before D comes in. That solution often works well - G is easier to put to bed when he's by himself, and without an audience or a playmate, he quietly falls asleep after the light goes off and the door is closed. And on a good night, D can quietly get onto the top bunk and go to sleep and all is happy in our world.

Unfortunately, G tends to wake up when we put D to bed. Not every night, and the first week or so had us once again living with the delusion that this was going to work brilliantly. But some nights he does wake up, despite our efforts, and admonitions to D, to be quiet. And once he wakes up, usually it's all over.

Tonight when he woke up, he immediately sat up and asked for his breakfast. I had to explain to him that he'd only been in bed for a little bit and it was still most definitely bedtime; D was just getting into bed and they both needed to go back to sleep. He didn't like that idea much and minutes after closing the door behind me, I heard them talking. Then I heard more noise that could only be the sound of one or both of them walking around the room. I went in to find G standing on the bedrail that keeps him from falling out of bed, trying to talk to D on the top bunk. Lovely. That's not a bone-breaking fall waiting to happen or anything. I've since made another trip back to their room with stern instructions to be quiet and go to sleep. They're still talking. And it is almost 9 pm. My kids are not 9pm kind of kids. They wake up early no matter when they fall asleep, so tomorrow has the potential to be interesting. I'm sure it will involve D telling me in dramatic fashion how G kept him up "all night long" and he didn't get any sleep. But of course my suggestion to lie down during G's naptime will be met with a look of utter puzzlement and disbelief, as if to say, "Why on earth would I do that, Mom?"

I suppose these particular challenges of bedtime are to be expected when you have to little boys sharing a room.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A good reminder for me.

It is easy to get caught up in all the "what I don't haves". I don't mean to live that way, for certain, but there are times when I find myself wishing I had this or that, or more money, or more time. Wishing I didn't have to work, even though I only work part time. Wishing someone else would do my dishes or clean my bathrooms.

But you know, I have it pretty darn good.

Let's not even start comparing how I live to how people in third world countries live. I only have to look down the street in my neighborhood, across the pews in church or to friends I know around the country to remind me that I have no cause for complaint.

We have plenty. I don't have to worry about paying our bills or buying food. We aren't behind on our mortgage. My husband has a good job. I am able to stay home with our children and even though I do work to help make ends meet, it is doing something I'm good at, I'm paid fairly and can work from home, and entirely on my own schedule.

Seriously, what do I have to complain about?

The answer to that is nothing. I have a comfortable life, if not an extravagant one. And I'm thankful for that.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Milestones via paperwork

This week brought two paperwork milestones, if you want to call them that. Monday I picked up a registration from from D's preschool, but not for D... It was for my second son, G. He'll be three in May and due to start preschool in the fall. The second was for my big boy - a flyer came home from school today with information about kindergarten.

Although September isn't exactly right around the corner, my perception of time being what it is, we're going to be celebrating a 1st birthday and sending two kids off to school before I know it. I know these things are approaching, but getting paperwork for both really hit home. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was filling out the same preschool registration form for D - visiting the school, talking to the teachers, deciding if it was the right place for him. Now I'm about to register G for the fall - and that just seems crazy.

I worry a lot less about D's transition to kindy than I do G entering school for the first time. D is already excited about kindergarten, since he'll be going to the same school as our best friends' kids. Plus, this is "big boy school". He's ready. He's going to do great.

G, on the other hand, scares me. He is very high energy, and let's just be honest - very difficult. He's sweet and funny and it isn't that he's a bad kid. But he's a huge handful and it is almost impossible to imagine him functioning in a classroom environment. Obviously he has some time, and 8 months in kid time is an eternity. He has time to mature, to learn some things about taking turns, raising your hand and not pummeling into the other kids and tackling them to the ground like he does with his brother... And to potty train. Oh lordy, potty training. He has to be fully trained by September, or our $75 registration fee will have been wasted. If he hasn't trained by summer, we're going to have a lot of naked-running-around-in-the-yard time around here and hope like heck he can at least stay dry for the 2 1/2 hours he's in school.

Quite honestly, if preschool doesn't work out next school year, it will be fine. With a May birthday, he'll be young for the class and if it's a total disaster we can just pull him out and try again in a year. Depending on his readiness, we can always wait until he's 6 to start kindy, and although that would make him quite a bit older than many of his classmates, if that's what he needs, that's what we'll do - my husband's dreams of he and his brother playing on the same high school football team aside. My hope, however, is that he'll surprise us and do great in school next year. He'll probably be the kid who doesn't like to sit still and needs a lot of reminders to stay on task and not throw things and to keep his hands to himself. But the teachers are so great, and they've been doing this a long time. They've probably seen just about everything and they'll be able to either handle him, or let us know that he's not ready. Time will just have to tell on this one.

In the meantime, I'm once again faced with the reality that my kids are growing up so fast. It makes having a baby in the house again that much more enjoyable, despite my desire for a night's unbroken rest. Just think, come September I'll have two mornings a week with just one kid! Now that is a stark contrast to the way this school year began - me toting around a brand new baby, a crazy toddler and an almost 5 year old. Although I don't want to wish time away, there is a certain appeal to that thought. It's funny how when you have mutliple kids, a "break" is defined as anytime you don't have all of them with you on your own.