Saturday, December 03, 2011

the new drew

A couple of weeks ago, Andrew woke up one morning a changed child. Brigham and I are thrilled--and terrified that he will wake up with the switch flipped again and revert back to the way he was.

At the beginning of the school year, I had to institute a mantra: "If you cannot do your duty, at least go floppy." This was in reference to the fact that Andrew would refuse to awaken, and then refuse to dress himself. Reasonable enough, right? I was willing to meet him in the middle: if only he would just not resist me when I dressed him and readied him for school. Many was the morning in which I would finally cram him into his uniform only to return to the room a few minutes later and find him naked. I was not in a good place during those weeks.

He now wakes up to his own alarm at 7am (parenting tip: giving them ownership of their own schedule in the form of a really cool alarm clock is a very effective strategy.) He dresses, brushes his teeth and then comes and gets me up. We meet downstairs where he has started preparing for breakfast (I have been leaving the cereal down low in hopes and dreams that this day might arrive). He cleans up his dishes and is in the car on time. When we get home from school, he immediately does his homework, while wearing his uniform-- to stay in the spirit of things, he more or less explained. He meticulously cleans his room each night and observes that "your room doesn't really look good until you have made up your bed." I feel like I am living in a dream.

But there are still shadows of his old self, too. The other day he was counting his money in his piggybank. "YOu know where I get all my money, mom?" "From doing your chores?" I ask, knowing that we really never established any sort of payment system.

"No," he told me. "I get it from careless people who leave it lying around."

Well, even if his behavior modification has come from some recognition that sloppiness yields getting taken advantage of, I will take it. I will not complain at all.

Friday, December 02, 2011

andrew's anti-smoking campaign

At dinner the other day somehow the subject of smoking came up. We took the opportunity to remind Andrew that he is never to smoke. Andrew agreed that he would not, and provided the following three reasons to Aunt Abby as to why he would not:

"First, my mom told me not to.

Second, it makes you die.

Third, I am too young."

Just when I think that I have no real authority in the house, I at least know that on some level you appreciate my instruction.


Sometime after Andrew got home and before the pizza arrived (as per our usual Friday night), I came very very close to locking myself in my room and taking a bath with the baby (who is probably not really a baby baby at 19 months, but he couldn't be left alone dumping water from cup to cup at the sink for too much time, right?).

Andrew was upset because we were not going swimming (per our usual Friday afternoon), Will was crying because Andrew was obstructing our ability to go to the park, Porter had dumped probably a quart of water all over the counter and floor by now but I just didn't have the strength of soul to stop his little napless determined self.

But somehow I didn't yell or cry, and somehow Andrew just stopped moaning about the pool and got dressed to go to the park and we made it there with everyone more or less pulled together emotionally.

We immediately met a truly wonderful dog. He bounded over to us with his tennis ball and before we knew it the kids were using the owner's ball thrower to play fetch. Chewy ended up following the kids all over the playground and I briefly entertained unreasonable thoughts of owning a dog, so long as he could be so kid-friendly and awesome as Chewy. I also found the little sweater I bought full priced (over priced) for Porter the night before we had our family photos taken and as a result have felt the need to wear every day to get our money's worth. It had sat at that park for a few days and rainy nights while my disorganized and messy self hoped it was just overlooked in the car. But there it was, no worse for wear at all.

After getting super weird for the kids while pushing them--a row of puffy-coated (red, navy, green)--on the swings and them laughing hysterically and me wondering how my behavior was shaping or warping their senses of humor and whether I should reign myself in a bit and then discovering that the pizza man has called me twice and must have arrived before the time I had asked (which is fine, but which I must mention to show that I was not irresponsible for once) we left. And we left happy.

Will did end up throwing up (for the second time today) the few bites he choked down and all that milk (8 ounces!), Porter did resume his spot at the sink on his learning tower/watering station and my headache did resume and rage, but somehow we really did all stay in good moods, even if I had to miss out on Fantastic Mr. Fox while putting Porter to bed and cleaning up 4 plots of vomit that stopped right at the bathroom door. At least there is something to be said for Will's previously professional-level vomiting downgrading to typical kid never reaching the toilet throw-up. There are some things in life you don't want a 4 year old to be very good at.

I can't help but think that I wish I had a nice, faithful retriever at my feet as I type. Maybe my husband just needs to get home.