Thursday, February 28

the ultimate threat

hiba is in a stage where she loves to make threats. especially to matthias. especially when they are playing. and he usually gives in, because he is in a stage where he loves his big sister and will do almost anything to stay on her good side. 

the other night, hiba and matthias were taking a bath together, playing nicely. i was putting dishes away in the kitchen and i overheard this conversation:

matthias: *splash, splash, splash*
hiba: stop it, matthias! stop splashing me!!!
matthias: *splash, splash, splash*
hiba: MATTHIAS! i said STOP!
matthias: but it's fun!
hiba: no, it's not! if you don't stop right now, i...i...i won't be your sister anymore! i'll be your....COUSIN!!
matthias: *splash, splash, splash*
hiba: THAT'S IT! i'm not your sister! i'm your cousin! you aren't my brother!
matthias: NOOOOOOOOOO!! *wailing* NOOOOOO! be my sister! be my sister!
hiba: (calm and matter-of-factly) nope. i'm your cousin now. you should have stopped splashing.

well, you can't say she didn't warn him.

Wednesday, February 27

mr. matthias

i am confused as to why anyone coined the phrase "terrible twos". the twos weren't so bad, at least not for our kids. i mean sure, we had the whole separation anxiety, developing personality, getting into anything and everything phases, but all in all - not too bad.

(also, i tend to forget horrible chunks of life. sort of like child-raising p.t.s.d. so maybe it was bad and i don't remember. if that's the case, please don't remind me.)

now, with hiba, we obviously had some different issues going on. two was when we started to notice behaviors that were either increasing when they should have been decreasing or decreasing when they should have been increasing. and that all went on in the twos and threes, so it was hard to separate what was communication issues and what was the so-called terrible twos. but that was all different. i'm talking about the terrible twos that you hear about - tantrums, fussing, not sleeping, whining, always saying no, hitting, yadda, yadda, yadda.

the thing is, when your kids don't do those things at age two, you get to age three and think you are in the clear. you think, wow, i am pretty awesome. i sure know how to handle my kids and their development. my kids are so great. look at me and how great i am getting through that "terrible two" stage with flying color.


enter this guy:

don't let that innocent face fool you...
yeah. he will just blow that whole theory out of the water. this guy is tough these days. "opinionated" and "strong willed" don't really quite capture it. "independent" and "self-reliant" is putting it nicely. "pain in the butt" and "tiring" are not really the words that i would like to choose to describe him.

every. little. thing. is a fight. matthias, go put your shoes on. NOOOOOOOO!!!!! matthias, get your coat, please. *SCREAM!!!* matthias, eat this candy. I WANTED TO DO IT BY MYSELF!!!!!!! and holy cow, it is exhausting.

i have to keep reminding myself that one day this will pay off. one day, he will be a strong leader, sticking to his guns no matter what the cost. one day, he will fight for what he believes and stand up to anyone who says otherwise. one day, all of this "personality development" will be a positive thing.

but until "one day" comes, he will continue to try to wear me down with his fussing and whining and kicking and screaming and yelling and nay-saying.

well guess what, folks. joke's on him. because what he doesn't realize is that my parents had those "one day" thoughts about me as well. and too bad for matthias, that one day is here. and i'll outlast him. i'll keep on putting him in time out, keep on disciplining him, keep on refusing to listen to him scream, keep on making him apologize for his behavior, keep on making him use a big boy voice, keep on doing my darndest to channel his independence and strength into positive outlets without losing my mind. and i'll win. i have to. so that one day, by the grace of God, he'll win, too.

Tuesday, February 26

pizza to the rescue!

we had pizza for dinner last night. after picking up the kids from pre-school, which ended with me literally carrying matthias out to the car over my shoulder, kicking and screaming, in the pouring rain, i decided that we needed something fun. so instead of leftovers and pjb, which would have been much easier, i opted for make-your-own-pizza night.

and, in a rare turn of events, it was just as fun in real life as it was in my head. as i drove the kids home from school in the rain, knowing they had not been outside to play, knowing that they both left school more upset than happy, and knowing that i had just lost my temper, i knew we needed something positive. so i decided, then and there, that dinner would be fun and relaxed.

when i told them they got to each make their own pizzas, their faces lit up. frustration melted away. i then proceeded to bribe them with the reward of making their own dinner if they cleaned up their rooms nicely and cooperatively (if only that worked with jason.....). i have never seen them clean so quickly.

after i finished making the dough, i gave them the choices of toppings: pesto, spaghetti sauce, cheese, black olives, chicken, bacon, and bell peppers. they both wholeheartedly rejected the peppers and were super excited when they realized that their toppings didn't have to match.

"i get this whole pizza, just for me?!?"
matthias chose spaghetti sauce, cheese, chicken, and bacon. and by "chose" i mean ate the majority of what i had available and then dumped the rest in a pile and called it a pizza.

mmmmm, meat!
hiba decided to branch out wildly and try adding bacon to her usual black olive and cheese pizza. she kept asking me, "will it taste good?". i told her to try the bacon and see if she likes it. "well, yeah, i like it, but will it be good on the pizza?". she's a little leery of trying new things, even if said new thing has the potential to be delicious. and, in true hiba fashion, she did not mix the ingredients up. just in case she didn't like it.

the pizzas went in the oven, came out cooked, and we actually had a nice dinner. matthias mostly picked the cheese and meat off of his pizza, but he did eat one whole piece in order to get the bribe positive reinforcement of candy promised to him. hiba ate her olive half. she didn't even touch the bacon side. and i didn't really expect her to.

life has been a little crazy lately. this year has gotten off to a rough start and it's taken a while to get anywhere close to normal. and now that we are "back to normal", normal is filled with lots of activities, life pulling us different directions, tough decisions, lots of whining, too much yelling, not enough rest. not what "back to normal" looks like in my head.

so, yes, we had pizza for dinner last night. no, that's not super exciting or interesting. but. it was an evening filled with kind words, smiles, excitement, patience, and grace. which is greatly needed in this normal life of mine now days.