Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Adventures With Children

My kids are so much fun right now. They are definitely a handful but, oh man, they are so much fun. Even when they are frustrating me beyond belief, there is usually a smile hiding behind my repeated scoldings, commands, and instructions.

Jacob is strong willed and has a very intense notion of how things should be. I read a wonderful article a couple months ago about how to handle a "strong willed" child and it summed him up perfectly. Jacob isn't defiant or disobedient. He just has a very strong internal moral compass. He won't follow orders simply because he is being ordered around. He wants to do what he thinks is the right thing to do.

If I ask him to do something and he thinks that something else should happen or that things need to happen in a different order, he expresses his thoughts. It often comes across as back-talking or stubbornness, but I've come to appreciate this quality in him. He has a strong sense of right and wrong (even if it isn't quite accurate) and has a strong compulsion to follow his conscious. I'm learning to love his "defiance" as a sign of his moral intelligence and strength. I'm learning to explain things to him rather than demanding things of him. It's been helping a lot.

When he's not frustrating the crap out of us, Jacob is a fun mix of energy and creativity. I loved art as a kid and from the time Jacob was little, I encouraged him to draw and color and do art projects. But not until early this year has his interest in art really taken off. He carries around a little notebook and a colored pencil and will spend hours of free time drawing. Sometimes his art reflects a maturity above his own age. And sometimes, he draws robots peeing into a river. Boys will be boys.

Jacob and his caterpillar

These are the notes we have to leave for Grandma when we stay unattended at her house.
Jacob loves making new friends and naturally takes on the lead role. He craves being included with older kids but is more shy around them. Rather than asking to play, he will try to get their attention in less productive ways (e.g.: throwing pinecones until they notice and hoping someone will ask him to play). It breaks my heart when he doesn't get that invitation, but I stay out of it. I think a good lesson to learn as a child is that not everyone will be your friend and it's best to not hang out with those people who don't appreciate your friendship.

Camo Jacob

Jacob is a wonderful big brother and has recently become a lot more inclusive and friendly towards Ryan. He sometimes has a hard time sharing. He clearly knows what he is supposed to do but he will often, unprompted, justify his behavior to me to make it seem like Ryan got the better end of the deal.

Jacob mid-stomp

Ryan and Jacob are no longer just brothers, they've finally come to the phase where they are legitimate friends. They have a groove and know their roles. Mostly, that would be Jacob as the ringleader and Ryan as the mascot/sidekick. But Ryan loves being his role as sidekick and plays it well.

They often don't get a long but they really do enjoy being together and are (almost) always looking out for each other. Tonight, Ryan asked me for a granola bar and when I handed him one, he asked me, "have one for Jacob?" I gave him a second granola bar and he walked into the other room and handed it to Jacob proudly. It might have been the pregnancy hormones, but I seriously almost cried!

Ryan is at the PERFECT age. I absolute love everything about him right now. When I repeat a word he says, he laughs and exclaims, "don't coffee (copy) me!" He will often just bust out into giggles for no apparent reason and run around the house laughing. He is so full of joy and happiness that it is just such a pleasure to watch.

Lately, Ryan is trying to be a big kid while also trying to remain my baby. I can see that he struggles between these two roles. When he falls and gets hurt, he will run over to me and cry for literally two seconds before he is off and running to the next thing, injury completely forgotten. He hates to be left behind or left out of any of the big kid action. He is such a bruiser. He has bumps and scrapes and bruises all over his body because he doesn't understand that he is only half Jacob's size.

Dare devil.

At the end of each day, he loves to show me all his "owies" and he can tell me exactly how he got them all. "Mommy, see my owie? I fall off my scooter. Mommy, see my owie, I bonk my head on the slide." He talks so well but he still struggles with words and sentences when he is really excited. Sometimes he mixes up the order of his words and sometimes a word he is trying to say will come out totally unrecognizable. After a couple more tries he usually gets it though and he sounds like such a big kid. Where is my baby?!

Ryan is insanely athletic. He sure as heck didn't get it from me. I had no interested in any sports until I took up track and cross country in ninth grade (and even then my interest and skills were limited solely to putting one foot in front of the other). At the age of TWO, Ryan can dribble a basketball (or any bouncey ball for that matter). He can send a ball flying off a tee. He loves to play catch and shoot hoops. He can even throw a football, pointy end forward. His athletic ability at age two surpasses the athletic ability of five year old Jacob in many aspects. An athletic scholarship sure would be nice.

Ryan pouring water down Jacob's leg while Jacob hams it up.

While Jacob is overtly a trouble maker, Ryan chooses to stay in the background when he is up to no good. His most frequent phrases are "no I not!" or "bad boy Jacob!" or "look, a motorcycle!" or "I find an ant mom." This morning during our commute, I asked the kids what smelled so bad in the car and Ryan answered playfully without skipping a beat, "kitty cat pee in my carseat." He is also obsessed with monsters. If he can't find something, he tells me, "the monster take it," so matter-of-factly. Like....duh, mom.

Ryan using Jacob as a lounge chair in the grocery store.

Ryan takes his bat with him everywhere. In fact, the other day he threw a major tantrum when I refused to let him carry his bat from the carseat into the grocery store. I often find him sleeping like this:

These boys are the highlight of each day. From the time I lift my head from my pillow and see Ryan giggling at me from the spot on my floor that he reclaimed in the middle of the night, to after I tuck them in for bed and Jacob sneaks out of his room for his fifth "potty run" (which are really just excuses to give me extra goodnight hugs). These two little men own every part of me. I'm so happy that they call me mom.


  1. Now that I have a 3 year old, I can confidently say that 2 was my favorite age - Ryan is RIGHT THERE, lucky you. :)

  2. Such a sweet snapshot of life! And love Ryan's rwb t-shirt--Noah has the same one!