Giving me a run for my money

In true two-year-old, second-child fashion, Quinten proves to be a Handful. His personality fills a room. Literally. Either with physical movement or loudness. He talks all.the.time and runs everywhere. And don’t think he let’s anyone do something without him doing it too. We hear a lot of “Me too!” and “My dude {d0} it!”

Our first walk of the season! {March 2015}

Tonight, he threw himself on the floor in a fit of rage because Maximus let Wrigley inside. A minute later Bryan tried talking him into a bath, which is normally not a hard sell. “No Mikey Mouse!” Maximus in true four-year-old fashion doesn’t hear a word anyone says. When he asked if we were having a movie night, Quinten charged him and yelled in his face. “NO! MICKEY MOUSE!” Well then. He doesn’t fade into the background, that’s for sure. Some would even say he has great leadership qualities. Although at this point, he needs to control his anger or no one will want to work for him. 🙂

Double ear infections for everyone!

I can’t exactly pinpoint all the things we’re “working” on right now. Let’s just say we have a lot of opportunities of improvement in our house. For instance, maybe a certain four-year-old could go to sleep when told instead of coming into the living room every ten minutes. And we all wish our little two-year-old would stop crawling out of his crib. Especially when he’s there for timeout. Seems to defeat the purpose of timeout if he decides he’s done.

He’s a second dinner kind of kid.

Here’s a funny story about his crib escapes. He chucks his water over the crib wall, hauls one leg up, balances on the railing, and whips himself over the edge. {I think he only fell the first time or two and he’s been doing it for two weeks.} Then he pulls out his night-light, heads into Maximus’ room and steals a few night-lights, and then comes into our room. “Daddy I up! Get it. Get my lights. Put up. Me do!” Yah, he’s doing a really good job of showing us he can handle an open bed. My head hurts thinking of all the things he’s going to do when we take off his crib walls. Which we’ll do just as soon as we can find the toddler railing…

Popular Quinten phrases at our house:
“Watch this!”
“Uppie!”
“What? WHAT! What daddy what?” In response to saying his name. The attitude is thick in this one.
“No me like.” Usually in reference to bread crust.
“Want some.”
“Wrigs. NO!”
“Uh oh skettios”
“Hands up! Bad guy!”
“Want orange juice!” Every night before bed.

Quinten just started loving Mickey Mouse so we’re having some flashbacks to over a year’s worth of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Luckily we have a DVD so we can pop that in and give him his Mickey fix. He’s getting really into it and talking to the tv. 🙂 Thankfully his timing works perfectly for all the Mickey Mouse pjs that Maximus used to wear. Turns out this second-child is benefitting from the hand-me-downs! {There’s also a considerable amount of fighting about clothes. I never thought I’d say that about boys, but it’s real.}

Questioning the meaning of cartoons.

Quinten has some wicked faces. There’s no misunderstanding his feelings. He has a scowl that burns through the back of your head. He’s a feisty, fireball, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, snuggle boy. He loves like no other but fights with a passion that is sure to get him in trouble.

Our house is definitely loud and messy. At any given moment someone is yelling, crying, or fighting. Some would say we’re making a lot of memories in our house. 🙂

 

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Moving forward

This weekend Quinten got to join the rest of us and face the front of the car! We had reached that point in car seat occupancy where the child does everything in his power not to sit down. If you’ve had an 18 month old, you know what I’m talking about. Boy do I remember Maximus throwing absolute tantrums at that age. At least Quinten skipped those. The struggle has been hit or miss for a while but we knew we wouldn’t switch him around until winter was over. No sense in taking a chance with winter weather and safety. He consistently stands up instead of sitting down when I put him in his seat. This is the boy who I’m not strong enough to change a diaper on. {No joke. Bryan has been on dirty diaper duty for almost two years.} 

So it was time to switch his seat around. When I opened the door he said, “I a big boy! I see Maxus. I see daddy. I see mommy.” 



Unfortunately, I took a picture when they were all singing. Oh well, they all still look cute! 

His mind will really be blown when he gets to watch a movie instead of just listening to it. 

Traumatizing Our Child with Santa

Now that the craziness of Christmas is over, I have time to share our Santa experiences. The boys had many this season. Thankfully, we worked on our wish list early. Maximus and I took it very seriously, he told me what to write down and we put it up on the fridge. The awesome thing about four? His list didn’t change! And he always remembered what it was when people asked him. 🙂 {Plus, it was a reasonable list!}

We went to breakfast with Santa at our church {also Maximus’ preschool}. We walked right in and got our pictures taken with Saint Nicholas. One of Maximus’ teacher was helping and as soon as she saw Quinten, she suggested we do a family picture.

Good call, Miss D. Good call.

Good call, Miss D. Good call.

It turns out that a family picture was a very good idea. He wasn’t happy about it, but a grumpy kid is better than the alternative. Maximus didn’t get to talk to this Santa, but he was happy to get a picture taken.

Next up was the daycare Christmas party. Each kid buys for another kid and she gives them each a gift also. {We obviously give her gifts also. I mean, she’s dealing with The Naughty One. Ahem.} We talked about the Christmas party and Maximus told us what to buy for one of his friends. That’s also the cool thing about four! He told us what the kid said he wanted. 🙂 I didn’t mention that Santa would be there, even though I knew he would. The pictures we got were exactly what I expected. Maximus told Santa he wanted a combine. And, well, Quinten probably just told Santa NOOOO!

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Maximus (4 1/2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quinten (2), Maximus (4 1/2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quinten wasn’t traumatized enough to talk about it when he got home, so I guess it was just an unhappy moment. Heh. That poor man who was trying to hold on to that wiggling child. I have a hard time holding on to him when he’s throwing a fit.

Our next experience was full on planned out. We wanted to have a family Santa experience. Maximus got a little confused about what to tell Santa because he’d already asked for a combine, but he decided he’d ask this Santa for a tractor. We struggled a little deciding where we were going to go so we had to explain why some Santa’s were busy and why there were other Santa’s we could go find. He decided that there were many Santa’s helping because there were lots of places they could live. {I love four-year-old logic about homes. Our pediatrician also “lives” at his work.} We eventually made our way to Ames, a Santa that Maximus had seen before. We pulled up right as Santa was walking into Jimmy John’s to grab a drink. I held Maximus as his mouth dropped open and he just stared. He whispered, “Santa’s in Jimmy Johns. Why?” Well, we soon found out that he was going to feed the reindeer and would be back in an hour. AN HOUR! What the heck do you do with two children in a mall for an hour?! We had one final gift to get and made a cookie stop. What better thing to do during nap time?

Cookie monster

A happy cookie monster. No sharing for us.

When Santa came back, we got in line with the rest of the families. Bryan tried to talk Quinten up and they looked at Santa. I heard Quinten say, “No lap.” Heh. Guess he didn’t want to talk to Santa. I asked Quinten what he wanted from Santa, “Truck. Car. Tractor.” Spoiler alert: he asked for none of those things.

As the two-year-old handbook says, “Thou shall not make nice with the scary Santa man.”

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Maximus hopped up on his lap before I could even stow the stroller. He was talking away when I came in close. He asked for a tractor. “What kind of tractor?” “A green one. A John Deere one.” {Because the 8 that we already have aren’t enough.} Then, Bryan put Quinten on his lap and the above happened immediately. I told the girl not to worry about getting a smile. And we picked the best cry face picture! 😉 While Maximus smiled away and didn’t pay any attention to his brother.

Also in the handbook, “Thou shall always say thank you when Santa hands you a coloring book.” Yep. He screamed at the jolly man and did the slow sob when Bryan picked him up. {You know, the deep breath, skip a breath, and hiccup thing.} Santa handed each boy a coloring book and Quinten quietly said, “Thank you” between sobs. Manners unlocked.

Quinten fell asleep within five minutes in the car, but it was 3:30 so he was a little tired. We drove the slow way home and enjoyed driving through our college town and seeing what had changed. Maximus eventually crashed also and we headed home. Santa visits completed with a picture that is a pretty accurate depiction of our life right now. Maximus trying to look like the “good one” while his brother wails next to him. Ah, four and two may be the most challenging combination we’ve experienced.

My face. Bryan's thumb. Sleeping boys!

My face. Bryan’s thumb. Sleeping boys!

 

 

7 tips to surviving the holiday vacation with small children

Christmas break has begun! Two weeks of pure Christmas bliss. Er, something like that. I expect happiness and tears. Lots of both to be exact. {Maybe from small people and big people!} Here’s how we plan on surviving.

  1. Schedules. Following our normal nap time and bedtime schedules. This is a pretty important key to survival. We can’t create new routines, because it’ll be ridiculous to break that routine when it’s time to go back to work and school. They say it takes 21 days to make a routine habit. For kids it’s accelerated. It takes once. ONE TIME.
  2. Naps. This is more of a parental wish than a way to survive. Apparently four-year-olds only take naps at daycare, so we’ll see how we do with this. We both know it’s the core element of survival, but we’re going to have to be creative about convincing him to do it. And don’t suggest “quiet time.” We’ve been rocking that label for a long time and it doesn’t feel quiet or relaxing. Every two minutes he’s in the living room asking if he can get up yet and promising that he closed his eyes and slept.
  3. Patience. This is just as much for us as it is for them. Neither of them have a lot of patience for the other. When you’re two you don’t have a lot of understanding about sharing and patience. Patience for other humans or patience for toys that just.won’t.go{and stay}.together. The same is true for the four-year-old, except it’s more about having patience with us. He doesn’t understand that we can’t always do something right.this.minute.
  4. Fun. Hopefully Maximus will end a few of the days by saying “we did something fun today!” We’re a little over the phase that we aren’t ever doing anything fun. It turns out there’s a pretty high bar set for four-year-olds. And when we don’t go do something fun, hopefully we have fun around the house. It’s pretty easy to make a four-year-old and two-year-old laugh. We need to remember to do that more. There’s a lot of {little people} fighting and crying in our house so it gets pretty tense and non-fun.
  5. Plans.  We need to have a plan for each day. We may have a few lazy days here and there, but the key to making it through the next two weeks – plans and entertainment. I know we’d both like to accomplish some projects around the house so we feel like we used the “downtime” to get some things done that we wouldn’t normally have time to do. It’s just as much about setting reasonable expectations. We have two extra “helpers” who make things take twice as long.
  6. Us time. We’d both like to start the new year by having some adult time. Going to a movie or out to eat. Being parents is the most draining thing I’ve ever done and it never ends. {It’s the best and worst mixed together!} A few hours away can be so refreshing and uplifting for the spirit.
  7. Exercise and healthy eating. I’ve spent the past few months trying really hard to incorporate exercise into my daily routine. It’s pretty crucial for the next two weeks. We could easily lose our exercise routines and fall into a rhythm of not working out. Since we’ll be off our normal schedules, we may not feel as active as we are during a regular week. With the holiday treats, I want to try to stick close to our clean eating plan. I know there will be lots of sweets, but I hope there are lots of vegetables also! Maybe I’ll even decide to do a freezer day and pre-cook some meals to help future me out a little!

We are so blessed to have time off between Christmas and New Years. We were fortunate this year to have some vacation days to use up so that means extra time spent with our little guys. The days are long but weeks are short. My hope is that this plan will help us soak up every happy minute and keep the tears at bay a little longer.

How are you going to stay sane this holiday break?

Guess who turned two!

When you’re the second baby you don’t get as much blog time. Then again, if he had been born first he still wouldn’t have much blog time. He’s a handful and a half! Put them together and it’s a little wild around here. In the best way possible, obviously. 🙂

Quinten turned two yesterday. It’s very fitting with his personality lately. He talks non-stop from the minute he wakes up to the last second before he falls asleep. No, really. The other night Maximus was turning on a nightlight and Quinten was yelling at him. “Dehdeh! Nooooo!” Most of the time he speaks in three to five word sentences. He’s great at copying Maximus with stories or giving play-by-play commentary. It’s pretty awesome watching a little guy take in the world. I forgot how cool this stage is. For all the tantrums that are to come, the learning part is important to remember.

Yes, that’s what Quinten calls his brother. No, we don’t have any idea where it came from. Yes, sometimes he can say Maximus. In the best two-year-old voice.

He’s been rocking the 28-29 pound range for a long time. I didn’t see his height but he’s been getting a little taller, which makes him look a little smaller. The blonde hair on his head helps him look older, too.

Like his brother, he’s currently obsessed with all things movable. Everything with wheels gets pushed around our house. (And fought over.) He got a lot of car toys for his birthday and has actually been playing with Maximus. We had a Little Blue Truck party so they’ve been play Little Blue Truck. The best thing about the new toys? They are both entertained and can be distracted by something new if they start fighting over the same toy.

I imagine that two will be a challenging year for Quinten. And it might be even more challenging for the parents as we navigate life with an preschooler AND two-year-old. Two was hard enough with just one kid!

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No more writing tonight. I need to wrangle Quinten into pajamas before he takes his diaper off. Shouldn’t be hard since he’s dizzy from spinning circles and falling down. “Whoa mommy fall!”

A new tradition

Since the Christmas tree is up and the decorations are set, we decided to start a new tradition in the Leger house. We’ve joined the millions* and are participating in Elf on the Shelf! Maximus has never heard of it and he’s never seen one. We thought 4 1/2 was a good age to really get into it. And Quinten will literally copy whatever his brother is doing. (Although, he hasn’t actually seen the elf yet.)

Their elf wrote a letter and Santa gave them a book for “being so good.” I planned on explaining that Santa left a book to tell the children about their new little friend, but Maximus decided it was because they were so good. Whatever. The concept of the elf took a little more explaining than I thought it would. I assumed the book would be pretty easy to understand. Nope. We finally got it figured out and then had to really push the idea that there was an elf in our house. In the letter, their elf gave a clue where he was hiding, but it was lost on little ears. In the end I had to very obviously point my head in the direction of the Christmas tree and eventually Maximus saw the elf! For the next hour he whispered. Heehee! 🙂 Somewhere in the explanation, he thought he had to be really quiet for the elf.

He asked all kinds of questions… How did he get in here? Why didn’t I hear Santa? I didn’t hear Santa’s bells. How come he doesn’t have real hair? How come he’s not moving? Why isn’t he talking? I just saw him turn his head and look at me! How long does he get to stay with us? I think he landed on the deck. 

He’s still nameless. We’re really trying to let Maximus name him. The only two names that he suggested are Captain and Elfie. He changed his mind about Captain, so we’ll keep working on it. Whatever he ends up being named, he needs to remember that his hiding places have to be fairly obvious. And high enough that a 2-year-old can’t touch him. I have a feeling he’s going to be a well-behaved elf. We have some impressionable little guys in our house right now who are learning the differences between right and wrong. Something tells me they need some positive examples. 🙂

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*that’s a guess, but probably pretty accurate from all the ideas on Pinterest.

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? If so, what’s your favorite hiding place?

The gift of children

It’s quiet on Leger Lane. Only adult things are filling up the space. Parenthood marathon on the tv and laundry in the washing machine. The lights are turned down and the Christmas tree is letting off a colorful array of twinkling. I spent almost two hours picking up, switching out decorations, and putting lights on the tree tonight. {Biggest mom accomplishment this week: waiting until the boys were asleep to tackle the Christmas light situation.} The house feels put together. It makes me feel content. It gives my mind time to recharge. Gear up for another day. The days don’t always go as anyone would like. Maximus spends 10% of each day whining that we didn’t do anything fun. Even right after we do something really fun. Quinten doesn’t always get along with anyone. And sometimes I raise my voice too much in an attempt to get someone to listen or everyone to stop fighting. Days can be hard and nights can be worse. The witching hour. A clean house and clear mind can erase the worst days. Tomorrow is another day and another set of challenges. It’s also another day of happy moments. There are always lots of those. Snuggles, kisses, hugs, kind words, funny toddler talk, and mind-blowing preschooler learning.

Quinten talks non-stop now. It started about two weeks ago and only stops when he’s sleeping. He’s a little parrot, know-it-all, and play-by-play commentator. He is definitely a toddler now with only a week-and-a-half to go before his 2nd birthday. It’s funny to see what he likes and doesn’t like. He wants to talk through every step involved in going to the bathroom but refuses to try it himself. He doesn’t like confined spaces, but hides in the pantry and yells, “Daddy! I hiding!” When I tell him a snack is all gone {because he doesn’t know how to say no to food}, he’ll tell Maximus 10 minutes later. Even when Maximus wasn’t talking about a snack or food. It’s a challenge to convince him that I can change his diaper and then an even bigger deal to get him to hold still while I do it. He loves to say, “No, mommy!” and run away when he doesn’t want to do something. When he doesn’t like what we tell him, he takes his frustration out on anything close – toys, people, dogs, water bottles. Quinten loves to dance, sing, and play music.

Maximus also talks non-stop. He is a little sponge. Constantly bringing things up that he learns in preschool. When we pick him up he can’t remember what he did in school. He mostly remembers gym time and story time. Yet, he says things to me like, “Mommy! I see the moon. The newest moon that our favorite man made. Do you know who that man is? You do mommy! It’s our favorite man way up high in heaven! It’s God!!” The other day he recognized a remix of a song before I did. Bryan plays it a lot and Maximus sings along. He walks around the house making up songs and singing really high. It’s hilarious! If he wants, he can be super sweet and helpful with Quinten. He loves drawing and coloring and talking about what sounds a letter makes. He likes to know what our plans are. He does better with life when he knows what to expect. His current obsession is watching toy reviews on YouTube. Seriously?! He loves playing music with Bryan but has strict rules on when Bryan can sign. Mostly it’s just “music bands and not singing bands.”

Tomorrow is another day. A big day. Thanksgiving is full of food, family, and a screwed up routine. I’m hopeful for well-behaved children! And an easy bedtime after the chaos of the day. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!