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About my kids

Friday, July 16, 2010
Since I'm frustrated about running or the lack thereof, and because I am nervous about tomorrow morning, and since my husband and two children have been fast asleep since 10, I have lots of energy. Not really energy to go do anything or to fold the laundry that really needs to be folded. Energy to do things like... play on the computer or think too much. I could easily watch a movie, but I can't really focus on the television, what with the thinking and all. 

So, I blog... driving everyone crazy with my erratic behavior... blog five times in a day... then don't blog at all for five days... etc. :) Sorry. I know... it annoys me, too. 

I have lots to blog about over the past couple of weeks... we have been very busy. I could list it all here, but I'm actually going to do that in my next "big" post. Sorry. I know the long ones aren't everyone's favorites (well, sometimes they are), but I can't see getting "caught up" on all of it without just doing a "Summer Activities" post, complete with lots of pictures and small notes about the actual trips. Hehehe... I know. You are all saying, "Yeah... right... small notes about the trips. That won't happen. She has to tell the backstory on EVERYTHING." :) Are you wondering why I don't just do that post now? Well, I'm being lazy, icing my foot on an elevated chair in the office, and I simply don't want to walk downstairs to get the camera from my purse to download pictures. 

Instead, I'm going to tell you about my kids, as if you don't already know a lot about them. You don't have to read if I get too long-winded. I know sometimes I don't want to read what I've written. lol. But, sometimes, I feel like I need to tell about things that my kids will want to read about when they are older... you know, how they acted and what they "did" that made me so crazy. So completely crazy... about them. 

I'll start with Bailey... she's the oldest and would totally think that she deserves to go first... it's an argument I hear daily. It's OK though. Jake just looks at Bailey after everything and says, "I win," and she is totally exasperated because she can't make him understand that she won. :)

Bailey is a great little girl... always interested in following the rules and doing the right thing. She does this almost to a fault, driving us crazy telling on her brother or reminding us not to break our own rules from time to time (she loves to lecture Brad when he and Paul smoke cigars or tell me to slow down when I'm driving too fast and yelling at people in front of me). She is going to be the teacher's pet, I'm sure. She just has that personality. If you have seen the movie School of Rock, just imagine the little girl who is the band manager and you'll get a pretty solid idea of why I think Bailey is going to be the pet. :) She loves to play school, often calling me teacher and raising her hand throughout the day. I love it that she's so interested in learning, even if her unending questions sometimes baffle me and leave me wishing that I had all the answers so that I wouldn't have to say, "I don't know... ask your dad," so much. It's a pride thing, people. I don't want to be less smart than daddy, in anyone's eyes. :) She loves to play rough... she can wrestle with the boys on any given day, but is just as likely to be caught kissing one as punching one. She is a girly girl, in every sense. She has this way about her... she is just naturally prissy. She pushes her hair away from her face very flippantly, as if she is a princess. And, she definitely is convinced that she is a real princess, I am a queen, Daddy is the King, and Jake is the prince. I believe that she had a sincere argument with some of the kids in her preschool about this... she came home to tell me all about how one little girl told her that she wasn't a "real" princess and that I really needed to go in to school and explain to them that she was indeed a real princess. Yes, you can imagine my difficulty in managing that conversation. Obviously, I was not convincing when I explained how she is our princess. She still thinks she's a real princess. She even asked when we were going to move into the castle on Versailles Road. :) She is so excited about starting dance classes this fall. I have caught her on multiple occasions dancing in front of her mirror in her room, practicing ballet. It's really adorable.  

Bailey acts ten years older than she should be. We forget that she's only five pretty regularly. She is too intelligent for her own good sometimes, which backfires more on her than it does on us. She ends up in trouble for things that most five-year olds wouldn't get into trouble for, simply because we know she understands right from wrong so well. It's not fair to her. I can see that Jake already gets by with things that Bailey did not get by with at the age of three. I hate that. I hate it because that was me and it sucked. The boys always got by with more than I did. Not cool, but a reality that I must admit is simply inevitable. I can't change it, despite my attempts to become more aware of it. It's just simply there.

She's been harder on us this summer than usual. She is going through a phase where she whines when she doesn't get her way. She whines when she does get her way. She just whines a lot. And if there's one thing in this world that I always swore I would never let my kid do, it was whine. So... you can imagine how tough of a summer it's been in that sense. Vacation was interesting. Bailey whined to go to the beach. Then, when we got there, she'd be satisfied for a few minutes, then she'd whine to go to the pool. She'd whine that she was hot, then whine that she was cold. Everything was hard for Bailey... she just had a rough time realizing that the world does not revolve around her and her alone. It's a tough lesson to learn. There was a time when I actually dragged her off the beach. She kicked and screamed and tried to run. Her little body was greasy with sunscreen, so it probably looked like I was tearing her arms off as she kept slipping away from me. It was horribly embarrassing, and it made me about as furious as I've ever been at a child. Thankfully, Brad intervened and took her and Jake to the room for some rest time. After an hour or so, things seemed to be better. I'm hoping that Brad had a conversation with her on how to act. :) Whatever he did, worked. She was better. And, so we had to come up with some solutions for this behavior. Bailey has never been threatened by time out. She makes everyone miserable when she's in it and it simply doesn't work. What does work is taking things away. And, we finally figured out a few ways to really get her attention. First was the computer. Second was the TV in her room. Third, I promised to buy her a watch ($6 at Target) if she could go a week and a half without losing any toys. And so far, so good. It's a little combo of negative and positive reinforcement. She doesn't like it, but it's working. She even told my parents that when they aren't around, Brad and I aren't nice to her. lol. Yes, this was all during the week that Bailey had lost her computer privileges and the TV for a week. It hurt my feelings that she said it like that, but you know what? It works. She's actually listening better. And, she got the watch. She had it for about 3 hours before I had to take it away because she and her brother wouldn't stop fighting (Jake got one too), but she did get it. And, she'll get it back tomorrow morning. She still whines... don't get me wrong. We went to the Bluegrass Fair on Thursday. She whined when we left that she didn't get to ride some ride (we were there for at least 4 hours and she rode nearly everything there that she was able to ride). I just made the comment that you'd think she'd be happier after spending so much time at the fair. She quickly responded with, "Thank you for bringing us, mommy." It's really not the way that I want to teach her to appreciate things, but I hope that those little reminders of the fun that she's had will help her remember the next time that we go that we don't HAVE to do all these fun things. It's something we've had to have lots of conversations about this summer... I just hope it's sticking. 

While it's really bittersweet for me, Bailey is super-excited about school starting in August. When we found out she got into the school we were hoping for, she went through the house yelling, "I'm going to the school I wanted!" It was pretty cute and it made me really happy to see that she's not going to be the kid clinging to my leg and crying on that first day. I will probably be the one crying when I get home... knowing that her little life will pass by so quickly now. I never thought this first 5 years would go by this fast... but I've loved every little phase, good and bad, along the way. 

Which brings me to Jake. My little man who is so easy that if I had him first, I would have had like ten kids. :) He is the sweetest, funniest little boy I think I've ever been around. Mommy's little boy is the perfect description. Oh, don't get me wrong, he has his moments. But, he gives the best hugs and is the most cuddly little boy I've ever been around. He could easily sit in my lap for an hour every morning, just content to be snuggling and eating a pop tart breakfast. The complete opposite of his sister in many ways, he is calm and quiet. Not demanding or high maintenance. He follows some rules, ignores others, which can be completely terrifying for a mother. Unlike his sister, who I know would never run out into a parking lot at the ball field, I have to watch Jake's every move. He thinks it's hilarious to sneak away from me and watch me panic as I look for him. I've caught him hiding under the bleachers or behind the dugout wall too many times to count. He's always standing there watching me search for him, with a huge grin on his face. It's horrible that I want to scare him by having someone else grab him up one day, just so he can see how easy it would be when he's pulling that crap. Yes... terrifying. But, he's also a cautious kid... the one who doesn't like water in his face and doesn't like to be the first to try anything. He wants to sit back and see how everything is done before he decides he's going to join in. Yet, if you get him on a roller coaster or anything that goes super fast (sans water), he's going to outlast you. Trust me... he could have ridden the Tilt-A-Whirl for hours... I was about to die after just a few minutes. :) No haunted houses for him though... and definitely no pirates. :) 

Jake is sneaky and smart. He tricks us into things all that time. He even tricks Bailey. She's part of his laziness problem. When he avoids helping to clean up his toys, I tell him that if he doesn't pick them all up by the end of a cartoon, they are going in the garage. Instead of letting him lose his toys, Bailey cleans them up for him. She can't stand the thought of toys in the garage. He reminds me of Brad. If he hears me talking about cleaning up anything, he'll sneak down the stairs and get on the couch. Just like his dad. :) He is also stubborn. If he doesn't want to do something, he's not going to. He won't sell out. Ever. You can force him to do things by use of physical force, but he will not willingly do something he doesn't want to do. Once he's made up his mind, you will not change it. Period. While we have a serious tug of war because of that, I am also very happy about this. I just have to teach him to make the right choices and then, hopefully, he'll stick with them no matter what. :) How nice would that be?! 

Jake's stubbornness is sometimes his downfall. He refuses to learn sometimes... just because he doesn't feel like it. If I ask Jake his address or his colors or shapes or basically anything and he's not interested in doing it, he's just not going to do it. It makes us nervous about his school days. His speech is getting better, but it's not where we hoped it would be by now. Yet, we don't know if we have realistic expectations or not. It all just seems to depend on what standards we compare him to. What I hate the most about his speech is that it's beginning to affect his confidence. I can see it. It's heart-breaking. He shies away from people if they don't immediately understand what he's saying. He even lowers his head when people talk to him and refuses to answer their questions sometimes, especially if they don't seem to understand his initial conversation. Sometimes, it's not his fault... it's just that the person hasn't heard him or something. But that doesn't matter... he still gets nervous about it. So... we're working on some ways to improve that for him... not for us. I want him to be confident and not insecure being himself. I can't stand to see him avoid talking to people because he's worried they won't understand him. Monday will be a big day for us. We have an appointment with a speech therapist that morning to see what their thoughts are. If he's in a normal range of speech, then we're just going to work with him on speaking more clearly and speaking louder, and being more confident. If he has a delay, then we'll figure out the best route and go from there. In any case, I hope that he can move past that insecurity and grow up feeling stronger. 

One of my favorite things about having a boy is watching him grow up admiring his dad. Jake has always been crazy about being like Brad, but never as much as he is right now. He wants his mommy at bed time and wants me to treat him like a baby on most days. But, when it comes to dad, he wants to be big. He wants to play basketball like dad. He wants to drive a truck... well, he thinks dad's truck is HIS truck. They have already argued about it. I don't know if Brad knew how much it meant to Jake that he took Jake to Walmart with him a few weeks ago to get a tire fixed and to look around at tools and toys. I didn't know what a big deal it was in Jake's mind. But, today, we walked past the auto center at Walmart and Jake said, "Stop Mommy. Daddy bwought me here. We wooked at tools and Buzz and Woody. Wet's go wook at tools." :) And, since we have to have a hitch for our truck, daddy now has an appointment with Jake to come back to the auto area of Walmart with his little man and look at tools. :)