Sunday, September 3, 2017

Nightly Negotiations and Hippy Hoppy

August was another busy month.  Before leaving for Utah, we had a couple fun adventures with some friends at indoor playgrounds (a must for the Vegas heat!)

First we went to a nearby playground with the Whitakers.  Unfortunately, Atticus was not so keen on all the big playground equipment and, for the most part, played with the baby toys (here he and Bowman are in the baby walkers!- Facepalm).

I'm happy to report, however, that only a few days later we went to another indoor playground full of bouncy houses and, for whatever reason, Atticus was far more daring!
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Then, before we knew it, we were back in Utah.  The visit had two purposes: to spend time with family and to pass the time while Dane was in Texas for work.

And spend time with family we did!

We spent plenty of quality time with Mimi
  
Uncle Danny
  
Bobba and Nanna
  
 
A huge highlight of the trip for me included attending the first ever Maeser Alumnae soccer game.  I was so pleased that so many of my dear girls were able to make it.  They are beautiful, accomplished women and I was a little overcome by both the pride I felt in each of them- for the people they were becoming- and gratitude- for the chance I had to know them.

Do I miss coaching and teaching?  You bet.  But I would never change a thing.

Thanks to the length of our stay, we were also able to enjoy a few bonuses.  These included the following:

Hanging out with some friends

Having Atticus really get to know his Uncle Corky,

His cousin, Ashton,

And some more members of the Belliston and Maes family.
Atticus got to play with some of his second cousins (once removed) at his Great-Aunt Paula's house.  He had such a great time!  And it was so fun seeing him play and connect more with the Widdisons, the Tullises and his Great-Uncle Rick.

After going out in his Great-Grandpa's garden (he was an excellent gardener, I might add) he couldn't wait to try out some of the corn we had picked.

Zoe and Ernie also let us join them for the first BYU game of the season!  We had a wonderful time.  A was a champ, but had a hard time letting go of the desire closest to his heart: to see Cosmo the Cougar up close.  We tried to make up for it by letting him get up close and personal with the Cougar statue.  Maybe next time he'll get to give Cosmo a high-five.  

 

I guess we'll never be sure, but I would wager that Atticus's favorite part of the trip was playing at the "beach."  We went to Willard Bay with my dad and he had a BLAST!  He was "a little bit scared" to go on the boat but had the time of his life building sand castles and getting sand... everywhere...    
 
And while we're talking about favorites, it's possible that my favorite part was singing with my dad up at his house.  For the first time in his life, little Atticus sang in a microphone and LOVED it!  He even knew the words to a couple songs so Dad and I played guitar while the little man sang (I am a Child of God and Edelweiss.)  It was such a sweet moment.

 It's never easy to go without Dane (I have so much love and respect for members of the military and other families that, for whatever reason, have fathers who have to travel often!) but having so many loved ones nearby certainly made the separation easier.

Even so, Atticus and I were positively thrilled to get his daddy back.  It was adorable to watch Atticus squeal when he saw Dane come down the escalator and run to him at the airport.  
 
Before heading home, we made sure to celebrate Dane's birthday.  Many thanks to those who were able to join us.  Just as a side note, I'm pretty sure Atticus set a new record as far as eating is concerned.  We've never seen the little man put down so much food in one day, let alone in a single meal!  It would appear that he loves Brazilian Barbecue as much or more than his father...
  
 Yep.  We're pretty happy this guy was born.  

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Here are a few more fun moments:
 
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This pillowcase was worth its weight in gold- it was the perfect ghost costume, peek-a-boo hideout, and sleep cover, all in one!
You'll have to see this video to believe it (the file is too large to include.)
This kid's memory is amazing:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B099geT421jCb2w4VUZyT0dhV0E
Notable Quotes:
"I like Hippy, Hoppy."  "Play more Hippy Hoppy." (referring to Hip Hop)
"I am all done." (We love his proper grammar)
"What's wrong, Mommy?" or "What's the matter, Mommy?" (this is said all the time while I'm driving!)
"Don't be mean, Mommy." (on the way to the Maeser alumnae game when I got lost and sounded more and more discouraged to a worried little toddler)
"I'm going to tie you up!...You go to jail!" 
(When asked, "Why?") "You did not obey!"
(When asked, "For how long?") "Thirty minutes!- I set a timer."

(When it's time to stop anything) "I want set a timer, Mommy."
We go through sleep rules every night (this has worked SO well for us!)  Atticus has them memorized and says them with me, pointing at me accusingly as he does so.  Then I ask him what treat he would like in the morning.  Sometimes it's a favorite show, but most of the time he wants candy of some kind.  One night he said, "I want a Nana treat and a show.  I want bof!" (both)  I told him he would need to choose.  He thought for a minute and then, smiling said, "I want a 'Nana treat' and Nana will show me a show."  

I couldn't hold back the laughter. 

Hopefully you get the picture. He is hilarious but he's also incredibly stubborn and intelligent.  He knows what he wants and seems to be incapable of forgetting it!  It's not as bad for the time being, but for a few weeks this month I was calling bedtime our "nightly negotiations."  In fact, for a week or so I felt like I was having to negotiate every minute of the day!  Based on the conversations we had on one particular day, my mother-in-law joked that I might want to become an arbiter or negotiator once Atticus grew up.  :)  I guess that's the parenting experience, though, right?  
I don't want to sound ungrateful.  It's exhausting and very often frustrating, but worth it.  After all, I have a Father in Heaven who is far more patient with me than I am with my son!  So here's hoping for more happy "Hippy Hoppy" moments that keep us all going through the daily grind.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

I Yuv You-oo Too

July was so much fun!
 

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Above: Shopping with some friends, Eating a taco while spending time with Daddy (his appetite has been huge this month!), swimming, Captain America time (this costume has gotten a lot of use this month), flour art, chilaxing after swimming, and showing us the marks of his first big bike crash (got up and kept riding right away, as you'll see in the video below).

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Considering the month's biggest holiday, we decided to work a little on Atticus's patriotism.  Here's his second time, ever, saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  You'll have to forgive me- we don't have a real flag quite yet.  
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It's amazing how much he can remember, having only done it a few times!

We celebrated Independence Day with some of our favorite friends.   Highlights of the evening were swimming, eating amazing brownie batter cheesecake, face painting (wish it had been my idea!) and watching a very few small fireworks.  Atticus went back and forth between running away from them to yelling at the fireworks to "Shtop!"

 We went through a similar  tough guy-scared guy routine when we experienced his first thunderstorm.  There wasn't a ton of rain (or thunder, for that matter!) but Atticus was excited and we went outside with his swords to go and hit the lightning and "funder."  This was a step in the right direction, seeing as minutes before he had been worriedly saying, "I want Daddy stop funder."

One thing we have loved this month has been his spontaneous utterances of, "I  yuv you!"  Up until July we'd always have to prompt him.  Often, he'll even skip the initial phrase and go straight to, "I yuv you-oo too!"  Melts our hearts every time!  He is just getting so sweet (most of the time).

In fact, one day we were sitting on the stairs and he wanted to play with my hair and rub my back!  I was nervous, thinking it would be a traumatic experience, but he was very gentle!  So, even with all his roaring and tough guy acts, he's a little sweetheart deep down.

Another sign of his sweetness has been his singing.  I've probably mentioned this plenty, but he is singing and humming to himself all the time!  I love how he'll splice songs together.  Just a few days ago he started singing "Edelweiss," and even sang it to his friend Bowman to help him go to sleep.  Here he is singing "Countin' Sheep" from a Disney lullabye that he likes.
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We also started (and abruptly ended!) swim lessons.  The instructor, Heidi, was great, but I'm afraid we overestimated Atticus's readiness.  Basically, he cried every second he was in the water and was saying hundreds of times a day, "I don't want to go to Heidi's house!"  In fact, every time he woke up from a nap he would barricade himself in a corner behind a pillow, trying to convince me we shouldn't go.  So, we completed the week and called it quits.  Maybe he'll be ready next year.

A very visible development this month was his haircut.  Inspired by Dane's sudden decision to shave his head (yes- if Napoleon Dynamite came to mind, you're 100% correct!), Atticus wanted to cut his hair.  There was one condition, however: "All by myself!"
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He ended up needing a little help, as it happens.  I definitely don't love either haircut, but it is a great way to stay cooler.  Thank goodness hair grows back (at least, Atticus's will! 😉)

We're still not potty training (we just don't think he's ready!) but we did have one day that A went 7 times!  I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the fresh candy I had gotten at a baby shower, ha ha.  Once the candy was gone, so was his desire to be a big boy.

Our baby boy is doing well- we'll get him checked later today, as it so happens.  I could actually see him kicking on July 23 and Atticus and Dane can now feel him kicking, too.  It's so fun to have it feel more real.  Atticus even woke up one morning and said he had seen the baby in his dream (he has the name we've chosen down!)
As per usual, our biggest obstacle this month (especially last week!) was sleep.  Atticus LOVES reading (seriously, he can read the same book again and again 10+ times if you're willing!)  and started getting out of bed to read.  We're talking for 2+hours.  While I love the idea of his loving books, his naps and mood were suffering, so we started problem-solving right away.

We think a large reason for this behavior could be his nighttime fears.  He LOVES the idea of ghosts and monsters (loves to read about them, dress up as ghosts and scare people-- see below) but then... he also worries about them.  He has crazy, vivid dreams (he screams and talks in his sleep fairly often.)  For example, when I went in to check on him after I heard him yell out I heard him sleepily mutter, "I don't like candy canes!"  He was even telling me each morning that an alligator or a crocodile was under his bed for a while there.  And at night he still tells me that he doesn't want a ghost (or a lion, dinosaur, etc.) to come and wake him up.

I'm very open to suggestions on ways to help children with vivid imaginations.  So far, we've got stuffed animals, pictures of family on his wall, and I've even started spraying "monster spray" around his room on especially scared nights, with positive results.  The most helpful tool we've recently started using is Dr. Weissbluth's "Sleep Rules" list,  so we are optimistic that the worst may be over.

There are, of course, sweet moments involving sleep.  One night I could have sworn I heard him praying over his monitor.  My heart melted!  Of course, we've told him many, many times that he can pray and Heavenly Father and Jesus will help him to be brave and will keep him safe, but it's hard to know if he gets it.  In fact, one night we were going through this again and decided to make it more of an interactive, fill-in-the-blank explanation.  After telling him that he can pray and ask to be brave and strong, we asked him, "Who can protect you from everything?" we asked.  Atticus thought for a minute and then, with a huge grin on his face, said, "Bobba!" 😂

Good answer, little man!