Friday, March 30, 2012

Raising A Two-Year Old - The Truth According to Me

Here is another one of those posts where I try to be as honest as possible.  And by being honest I meant that I will try and paint for you a true picture of what it's like to raise a two-year old, active, smart, little boy.  Because while I do try and go to take the boy outside at least once a day that is a very very small part of my day (and the part of my day where Evan is the most calm). 

I thought long and hard about how to be honest so I figured I would share with you the things that happen EVERY day.  I don't mean everyday things (like we have breakfast) I mean that the following list itemizes things that occur every single day of my life with Evan:

1. Evan pushes Chloe down and makes her cry.  This one actually happens about 5-10 times a day depending on how much time we spend inside the house that day.  This is followed by time-out for 2 minutes during which he usually screams... for at least 1 minute.  Fun.

2. Evan gets into some drawer/closer/cabinet/box that he isn't supposed to be in and plays with inappropriate items.  Like how today I came out of the shower and he had opened up his father's toiletry bag (that he somehow found in our bedroom) and he was playing with a razor (which thankfully had a razor cap on it so the blade wasn't out) and something else.  Let's see if you can guess what is in Evan's hair:

You can't tell from this picture?  Let's take a closer look:

Nope, it's isn't bird doo... it's toothpaste.  Because he found Brian's travel toothpaste and thought it was hair gel so he put it in his hair.  (What disturbs you more, that Evan did this or that I clearly didn't wash it out since I took these pictures at the park AFTER he put the toothpaste in his hair?).

Here is a list of some of the things Evan has "found" and decided to play with before I took them away:
  • screwdrivers
  • allen wrenches
  • screws
  • silicone loaf pan
  • level
  • pen
  • safety pin
  • earring
  • tongs
  • butter knife
And this list is just from this past week.

3. Meltdowns.  We will have a meltdown because Chloe took something, or because I took something away, or because he can't reach something, or because he can't find his lamb, or because the sun didn't reach the zenith at the appropriate time (not really on this one, I'm just making sure you are still listening).  Now most of the time these meltdowns occur because he is tired or hungry.  However, I can't always fix the situation.  For instance, if he is tired and melting down but it's only 10:00 in the morning (and he's tired because he didn't sleep well the night before) I can't really put him to bed.  I just have to wait until an appropriate time (or take a care ride and let him sleep for 20 minutes). 

4. Music - lots and lots of music.  Sometimes I'm lucky and we listen to CDs and dance.  I enjoy this type of music.  I even like it if he chooses to play with his many instruments (his band includes maracas, triangle, some wooden thing you hit, cymbals, piano, guitar, and other miscellaneous items).  Here he is playing with an accordion at one of our outings this week:

But music comes in many forms.  And sometimes it comes in the form of banging pots, or banging blocks, or banging anything that will make noise when banged against furniture.  This I'm not a fan of and actions like this usually lead me to #5.

5. At some point during the day I will lose it and make a completely insane threat.  It usually sounds something like, :"Evan Brian, if you don't stop you won't be able to play with/have [fill in item here] for the rest of your life."  These threats don't normally work which only makes me more crazy.  Then, at some point, I recognize the crazy and settle down.

6. "Me do."  I will hear these words at least 4,000 times a day.  "Me do diaper," "Me do cut," "Me do world peace."  And most of the things he wants to do he either a) physically can't do like change his down diaper, o b) he isn't allowed to do like cut his own food with a knife.  Then refer back to #4... there will be a meltdown.

7. Usually when I least expect it Evan will come over to me and say, "I love you mommy."  And I don't even care that this is usually said because he just did something bad I don't know about or is about to do something bad.  It works and he gets away with murder.

8. He will make me laugh.  The little man is quite funny.  Sometimes he makes me laugh on purpose (he is turning into quite a comedian) and sometimes he makes me laugh because he is so earnest about something odd.  Like when I asked him if he was okay this morning and he said no.  So I asked him what was wrong and he said "Me freakin' out" which was something Brian said yesterday.  Or when we take a walk and he tells me he has bad knees and then shows me his knees (again, Brian tells Evan that he has bad knees). 

9. Every single night, no matter what, after I put him to sleep (which is a ritual that includes getting on his pajamas, kissing Daddy good night, saying good night to the cats, putting on his turtle night light, turning on his sleep sheep, reading a book, getting in to bed under his 4 blankets, having me sing 3 songs to him, getting a kiss and hug good night, getting a "high five," and me saying "sogni d'oro" - and God help you if you miss on of those steps), I promise myself that I will be a better and more calm mom tomorrow.

Being Evan's mom is like riding a roller coasted.  He is my heart and soul and yet I think about putting him out on the stoop about 3 times a day.  I don't know how much of this is because he is 2 and how much of this is because he is Evan but I'm along for the ride.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What We Did Today

Today it was sunny out.  And when it's sunny out, unless there is some mitigating circumstance, then we're at the park.  Because, and I don't know if I've ever told you all this, I think of Evan as a jack russell terrier.  My friend Danielle has a jack russell terrier and when the dog was younger Danielle used to say that a well-behaved jack russell terrier is a tired jack russell terrier.  So, to make the connection, a well-behaved Evan is a tired Evan.  Therefore, we go to parks and Evan gets to run and run and run.  Luckily there are a lot of parks around me.

Here is where we went today:

There was another play set (attached to the slide on the right) which was for younger kids and swings as well.  It was a very cool park.  I'm assuming that by the end of this summer I'll be able to give a review of all parks within a 10 mile radius of my house.

So, once we got to the park, after Evan decided he needed to walk on his own for almost the entire mile, two things happened:

1. Chloe fell asleep (her morning nap):

2. Evan ran to the play set and climbed up this ladder without any assistance from me:

I swear the boy needs me less and less each day.  Once I potty train him all I'll be is his chef... and the boo-boo kisser (important job that). 

There were some other children at the park as well, mostly younger than Evan, so he kind of played with them and then decided that Chloe had slept long enough.  Before I could stop him, the little bugger is fast, he ran over and started screaming "Chlo Chlo wake up."  Sadly, she woke up (sadly for her since she didn't get a very long nap). 

To make up for his rude awakening of Chloe, Evan decided to do the big brother thing and pushed her in the swing.  Nothing made her happier (or me happier since all I had to do was sit by and watch, oh, and tape this video).

And look - they are both wearing coats, socks, and shoes (well, Evan is).  It's a banner day.

We then took the long trek home, lunch, naps, grocery store, and some backyard cleanup.  During which, when my back was turned, Evan decided it was time to go inside.  I saw him just as the door shut and then heard it lock.  I was on the phone with Brian when I found out that not only had he locked the door but he had locked the screen door.  And here is where we (Brian and I) actually thought we outsmarted Evan and instead bit ourselves in the behind.  Because, when we moved into the house it turned out that Evan could reach all the locks on the doors, unlock them and get out of the house.  So, since we are such smart parents we childproofed all the doorknobs in the house on the inside so Evan couldn't open any doors.  Therefore, when Evan locked me out of the house this afternoon even though he could easily unlock the door... he couldn't turn the handle to let me in.  Thankfully Brian was on his way home from work so I only had about 20 minutes to wait outside with Chloe.

When Brian got home he was convinced that Evan didn't mean to lock me out (I was not so convinced).  So he asked Evan if he meant to lock me out and Evan answered "yes" over and over again.  However, Brian was still not convinced.  Then I shared the picture of Evan that I took through he window and Brian had to admit that Evan probably did it on purpose:

Does this look like the face of an innocent boy?

So, I finally got back in the house, cooked dinner, fed everyone, pajamas on for everyone, bed for the children, Brian spent 45 minutes taking out the last of our move garbage, and now it's time for bed.

Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny... guess where I'll be...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Irresponsible Parenting

I have a rather laid back style of parenting.  Basically, if it won't kill them or maim them or hurt them in a big bad way I let them do it (and you know, as long as your actions don't interfere with someone else's ability to enjoy their activity then go at it).  And I'm sure there are times this can come across as irresponsible parenting to people who tend to parent with, well, rules and whatnot (I mean, I have rules, they are just the ones to me that make sense - like don't push your sister - rather than ones that make no sense - like you have to wear a shirt in the house).

This afternoon started off rather responsible.  It was cool today (high of 50) but sunny so I took the kids to a new park (never mind that the park was about 1.5 miles away, uphill - only one way - and I decided to walk the kids in a double stroller so it took a wee bit longer than I anticipated) and everyone was having a good time:

Chloe was sitting on the grass by the playground wearing the appropriate coat for the weather and she even had socks on (which is important since I rarely remember to put on socks and I don't put shoes on my children until they reach a place of danger for not wearing them).  Granted, she was eating grass and other lawn items but this wasn't "dangerous" per se.

Evan was playing on the age appropriate play set.  True, he had taken off his coat on our way to the park because he told me "no need coat" and I felt a 2 & 1/2 year old could make that decision for himself (and I knew if he got cold he would ask for his coat back) but he was playing quietly.

Then we all spotted the large and empty basketball courts and decided to investigate.  So far so good... I thought the basketball courts would be a good place for Chloe to be able to crawl and Evan found a small ball in my diaper bag that would be perfect for playing basketball.  So off we went.

So Chloe crawled:

And that was the last of the normalcy as within 5 minutes my irresponsible parenting became evident.  The first thing that happened was that Chloe crawled everywhere and her socks couldn't keep up.  I swear I put them back on twice but eventually I gave up.  So my 11 month old daughter was crawling around barefoot on a dirty dirty and cold basketball court... as happy as a clam:

Then my son decided that he didn't need his shoes.  He ran over to the other side of the courts, took off his shoes, and ran back to me in only his socks:

The only way I actually got him to keep his socks on was to threaten to leave the park if he took his socks off.  And I didn't push the issue because quite frankly I remember what it was like to be young and barefoot.

So, as my two children, filthy and shoeless, ran around the basketball court I watched other children walk past.  Most of these children had on their winter coats, long pants, warm socks, and shoes.  I imagine their parents / grandparents were shaking their heads at me... but I also imagine the children were wishing they could be running barefoot on the basketball court with Evan and Chloe.

PS - Don't get all excited about this blogging two days in a row thing... I don't want this to become an expectation or anything.

Monday, March 26, 2012

You May Remember Me...

So... umm... it's been some time since I've posted.  In fact, it's been so long that this is what Evan and Chloe now look like:

I've accepted their new look but Brian is in the process of staging an intervention. 

I'm just kidding - about the picture, but it has been a really long time since I've blogged.  So let's catch up:

In November Brian started looking for a new job (the great state of Georgia turned out to be not so great).  He interviewed with people in NJ, San Antonio, and MD.  Right after Christmas he took the job in MD, or as I've been told - the DC metro area.  We contacted our real estate agent to let him know we would be selling the house in which we had lived for 10 months and spent 6 months building.  Oddly enough, he had potential buyers in mind and wanted them to see the place before we put it on the market.  By mid-January we had a contract on our house (seriously, our real estate agent is a genius, if you live in the Atlanta area please use Shane Little at Avenue Realty, I can't say enough good things about him) and we were looking at placed in MD.  In February we spent a week with my family (parents, sister and her family) in Cancun - fabulous and of course difficult with 2 small children - came home, finished packing and moved to Rockville, MD - where we now live.

So, I've been a little busy.  But I do want to keep you up to date on the lives of the Castrucci children.  Some quick points and then I can hopefully get back to blogging as usual:

  • Since we left Atlanta, little girl has learned to pull herself up, cruise on furniture, and stand on her own.  We are minutes away from walking people and then chaos reigns supreme.

Chloe holding on to the gate at the top of our stairs which Brian engineered since our railing is metal.  Our rental house is a little flip flopped that the kitchen and bedrooms are on the second floor.  

  • Toddler boy is obsessed with my iPhone.  He likes to play games on it, touch the screen, and most of all take pictures and videos.  I spend a lot of time deleting close-ups of the couch.  And then I find photos like this:

    I actually have a whole set of these.  I'm going to keep them and someday publish a study of Evan of himself.
  • Evan has become quite the climber at the playground and of course he can do everything "all by himself."

    At the park that is less than half a mile from us.  Sunny days are very good days around here.
  • Chloe's new favorite place to be in the house is the bathroom - preferably while Evan is taking a bath.  Brian described Chloe's fascination as a carnival game.  She stands next to the tub, waits for a toy to float by, grabs it out and throws it behind her so she can get the next toy floating past. 

I don't have a picture of Chloe playing in the bathroom because I still struggle with the whole there-are-creeps-out-there-who-I-don't-want-looking-at-my-children-in-a-non-child-way so here is a picture of my beautiful little girl for your viewing pleasure.

  • Evan refuses to wear a shirt.  Pretty much all the time.  Thankfully I can usually distract him when we are outside but once he gets inside the thing comes off.  And if you get him singing then you might get something like this:

At my parent's house because now that they are only a little over 2 hours away I can actually visit them without the stress of air travel and children.
  • My little girl is growing up... and I'm not sure I'm okay with it.   

 Again at my parents house... our rental is not that nice (but it's actually quite pleasant and cozy in a way our house in Atlanta never was... but then I've always liked older homes... but we will save that soapbox for another day).

So hopefully life has now returned to normal-enough and I can start regularly blogging again.  Chloe has a lot of milestones coming up and Evan is always up to something so I know I won't be short of material.