Saturday, May 17, 2008

Wren 17 month update

Wren is now 17 months old. He is a naughty sweet baby who loves to run and climb and read books. His favorite subject is "broom brooms" (excavators, diggers, front end loaders). His vocabulary in this area includes:

* digder (digger)
* druck (truck)
* yuck yuck and pointing (rubbish truck)

He is now sleeping through the night from 8pm till 6am and he wakes in a cheerful frame of mind yelling "mama" and pulling board books off the shelf into his crib.

His knees and shins are always scraped and bruised because he thumps and falls over frequently. He has learned to say "OW" and point to the painful part and I then snuggle and kiss it better.

His nightmare is squirrels. A while ago Joshua and I started feeding small walnut pieces to a hungry looking squirrel. The squirrel learned to come to the glass patio door and wait on the mat for us to notice and feed him. One day, Wren opened the patio door and the hopeful squirrel hopped up the stairs towards him. From that moment on he has become terrified of squirrels.

If he is in the yard and notices a squirrel on the fence he starts screaming in fear and stumbles towards me crying "num nums, num nums". I used to say squirrel num nums to him when I fed the critter and the num nums part has stuck. I make a big show of chasing the squirrel away but he is not easily consoled.

Wren enjoys riding in the stroller. When I take him into the basement to do laundry he runs into the garage and climbs into the stroller on his own, then waits, hopefully. I wish could walk all the time but I have to disappoint him. However, yesterday we went to the zoo and he really enjoyed seeing the crows and the siamungs. The Siamung apes were calling and now if I ask Wren what a monkey says he starts hooting and chuckling like a monkey.

Wren and Frost are arguing a lot more these days. Wren wants what Frost has and Frost wants what Wren has (odd though that sounds). Frost wants a turn riding Wren's tricycle, on Wren's push car, using Wren's animals and setting them up in zoos. Wren wants to play grownup lego, carry around small rocks, eat Frost's breakfast and generally be into whatever Frost is doing (including having a game controller).

It is hard work keeping them on friendly terms.

Frost is quick to launch into a story of self pity. How he was "just" doing this and Wren hit/took/broke/injured/hurt him in some way. Wren just shouts loudly and then screams and then cries and then hits if Frost messes with him. Frost is not always the victim. If he thinks I am not looking he is quick to take things from Wren or even maliciously hide something Wren is enjoying in order to watch Wren look for it and become upset. Frost does not think Wren is quite as cute but sometimes likes to play with him. Wren will push Frost on the push car and roll cars back and forward. Wren will throw a ball.

The best game is when Wren CHASES Frost with a heavy object. Yesterday, it was the stapler. Frost screams with laughter and runs away in real fear of being clobbered by the stapler. Wren loves the power and laughs so much he stumbles as he chases Frost with the weapon of choice.

I know I shouldn't leave it on that note. They do love each other. Wren loves to sit next to Frost in the car, is thrilled when he sees Frost in the distance (as at Camp Orkila last weekend) and Frost takes care of Wren when he is allowed in safety. Still, we have to make more effort to play with Frost alone and give Wren some supervision in his Big Boy Games.

Chosing your battles

By 8am Frost and I had already had two major arguments. At the end of one I threw the box of cereal on the floor. I am not proud of this and it surely shows that it is time to take a deep breath, reread some of my parenting books (Positive Discipline comes to mind) and meditate but ARGH! its hard. Sometimes I think the kid comes from planet TV Dinner!

Our major arguments are about screen time and sugar. Here are his wistful yearnings after our argument in which I refused to allow him to watch a SECOND TV show in the morning. He wanted to use an hour of his screen time allocation before school and I objected to this on many levels including wanting to eat with him, him not being dressed, wanting to eat standing up, fighting when his carpool comes and just "what the hell, why do you need screen-time before school??"

The Conversation:
I wish we had two TV's. We could have one of those small ones. It would be SO cool.
Me: What would be cool about that?
F: Then you could put the small TV on top of the big TV and watch TWO SHOWS AT ONCE.
Me: Uh huh?
F: And we could put it on the table so I could eat breakfast with you AND watch TV. And we could watch TV in bed!! I could put it in th closet and watch while I am playing in my room.

I bought some sweetened Whole Grain cereals yesterday, thinking that at least he would eat some breakfast with these options. Indeed he does. He ate 2 bowls after dinner a snack bowl in the afternoon and two bowls for Breakfast. At 10g of sugar per bowl he has eaten at least 50grams of sugar in cereal since 4pm yesterday.

When he reached for the 3rd breakfast bowl and started feeding it to Wren (whom I was feeding omelette) when I had just told him NOT to, I lost it. I threatened to throw out the cereal if he couldn't listen to the rules.

Then we had an argument about rules.

Frost claims I should make a rule and stick to it. If I change my mind it is "a broken promise." According to Frost one should only be allowed 3 broken promises a day.

I countered that a promise is not the same as an instruction. If I say he can watch TV and then something happens that is not a broken promise. Its a change in plans.

Nope. According to Frost I am the Queen of Broken promises (aka mixed messages).

I conceded this point and then made a very clear promise that he could not watch more than one show in the morning.

I am exhausted.