i don't know who these two creatures are, how they came out of nowhere like aliens from outer space to take over my life.  true. wild. things.

my daily view

it's been a week of being told by mothers of older children to enjoy this age.  working at small town grocery store has its perks, moms happily offer a sympathetic ear and share both their own struggles and frustrations as well as encouragement and wisdom.  even without being told to cherish this age, i know very well that i must do my best to do so.  i don't remember moses at chloe's age, and i sure as hell don't remember chloe being anything other than who she is now.  i don't have time to remember the past (i can hardly remember menial tasks!), only enough energy to take in the present moments where she attacks me with a killer embrace or giggles when i give her butterfly kisses on her nose and cheeks...  it kills me to know that even those moments i take in are not guaranteed to stick.  time will erode the abundance of memories leaving a random assortment that i will retell over and over into senility.  i indulge my mornings with moses.  we lay in bed face to face grinning and professing our love for one another like crazy lovers.  I love you soooo much, Mommy.  i adore his tiny glistening teeth and his morning breath which still retains an iota of sweetness.  i love his wiry little body that is still so spoonable topped off with his mop of thick wavy hair.  sigh.  i know the moment i roll out of bed, both of us will turn into completely different people.  

June has been the month of "no" for chloe.  i know i say i don't remember much of who they used to be, but i do recall moses' "no" was a highly amusing italian-accented "no-no-no".  fast forward to present day chloe, i am equally amused with chloe's take on the big NO.  her mouth makes the most precisely detailed purse as she aloofly half-sighs "...nooooooo.." like when you are trying to say "mmmm... no thanks" to someone offering something totally unimpressive.  this girl has serious attitude.

i choked back my tears and converted her crib into a bed.  sigh.

her terrible twos have definitely begun this month.  when she does not get her way, she reacts by throwing something on the floor and walking away.  sometimes it is something she wants, but refuses to admit she wants it.  yes. really, she is already secretly 15 years old.  her degrading punishment is to pick up the item and put it away or hand it back to us.  she has tantrums.  i think it has been quite a shock to her.  since moses was our guinea pig, we have had a greater capacity of patience with her which she deviously tried to milk.  thinking she was the cute little baby girl that could do no wrong, she has begun to get little bum smacks when she squanders her opportunities to correct mistakes.  she is getting her own taste of the popular and effective 1-2-3.  it is incredible how much of a female she is in comparison to moses.  her manner of crying and screaming is undeniably female in pitch and frustration.

on the up sides, the communication continues to improve.  she understands everything.  her vocab is growing and she continues to attempt any new word that is requested.  she is just so easy to understand!   hand gestures are used frequently, whether she motions for you to follow her somewhere or showing off her clothes/accessories by patting the current piece of clothing or pair of shoes.

Peee (please)
Tee (teeth and tea)
Da (dance)
Chee (cheese)
Appa (apple)
Two syllables for thank you instead of TA/DA
Eee (ear)
BUM (bum)
Beh (strawberries)
Shooo (shoes)
Taw (socks)
Ba (buckle)
Do-do/To-to (Coco!)
DE-NU-NU-NU-NU-NU-NU-NU BAH-MA! (de-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu BATMAN!)
Ba (blanket)
Daw (dog)

Maa-ee (Matty)
Pah (Pupmkin)
Meen (Ming Ming)
Obba (Hobbes)

seems so easy to imagine him as a teenager...

Moses' separation anxiety is at an all time high.  he was having a meltdown the other night i was leaving for work and when i finally scooted out the door, he ran after me, tearing through the door and chasing me down the hallway.  he was bawling his poor little face off, his eyes wide with fear and tears streaming down his hot red cheeks.  of course it probably didn't help that i had already left him at my mom's earlier that day for 2 hours.  he had freaked out then, too.  my mom had him in a tight hold as he kicked and flailed so i could get a few errands done.

the WHY's continue to grate my patience reserves.  on and off, all day, everyday.  i have begun to ask him what he thinks in response.  sometimes it helps divert him.  if it is a valid curiosity about something new, i am happy to explain a few why's.  it is when he asks me WHY about things he already knows about or he is clearly deep in thought about something else and just asks without actually listening when i start developing a tick.  oh and my favourite: asking WHY immediately after i have just explained it.  draining.  on bad occasions, i end up snapping "WHY DO YOU THINK????!!!!!" which usually comes off sounding like "YOU'RE AN IDIOT!!!"  sigh.

the spelling and reading continue to improve.  it is amazing how he is able to read words from some of the first books we read to him when he was still just a baby. it is crazy how we have gone from reading to a half-interested squirming chubster toddler, to a toddler that enjoys the pictures, to a toddler that enjoys the familiar cadence and expressions of a story, to a toddler that slowly begins to understand the story, to a toddler that is able to tell you parts of a story, to a toddler that flips through "reading" the story to himself, and now to a stage where the pictures, the story, and letters and words are coming together.  that is a lot of stages.  i have to say, it has truly helped to point to words as we are reading.  although he may not be able to read all the words, he is able to tell which words on a page say what.  so even if he can't read "GOOD-BYE!" on the right side of the page, he knows it says Good-Bye and eventually he will be able to sound it out.

a fellow mom posted this article Spoiled Rotten from the New Yorker on her facebook which has turned on a few lights for me.  i have come to a few realizations.

Toys are not aimed for kids, they are aimed for parents.  bring a child to a childless home and they will find something to play with that will not only entertain them for a reasonable amount of time, but will actually require the use of their imagination.  give them a box. give them a paper towel roll.  give them any utensil from the kitchen.  if you have ever read the book Not A Stick, you'll understand what i am talking about.  it is great for them to have some toys, some posessions to call their own, but for the most part, kids have such an overabundance of crap that it takes the imgination out of playing.  yes they can role play and make believe, but you have to agree that there is a deeper sense of imagination when the object has no obvious role or purpose.  furthermore, with so many options, it is hard to drive home a sense of respect and gratitude for these posessions, leaving a scattering of broken toys or missing parts throughout the home.  we are guilty.  my explanation is that both kevin and i didn't have a lot of the sought after toys that other kids had, any toys we acquired were from relatives on birthdays or christmas.  i'm pretty sure moses has over 20 of the cars from the Cars movie.  and he just turned 3.  he has already stated that he does not have Chick Hicks which, he explained, means we have to go out and get one.  not good.  toys are not for kids, they are to distract kids to give parents time to get shit done around the house!  BUT WHY SHUN THE KIDS TO PLAY WHEN THEY COULD BE HELPING TO CLEAN UP THE HOUSE?

this article also points out the responsibility and capability of a 6 year old living in a Peruvian Amazon.

A member of another family, Yanira, asked if she could come along. Izquierdo (anthropologist) and the others (one family) spent five days on the river. Although Yanira had no clear role in the group, she quickly found ways to make herself useful. Twice a day, she swept the sand off the sleeping mats, and she helped stack the kapashi leaves for transport back to the village. In the evening, she fished for crustaceans, which she cleaned, boiled, and served to the others. Calm and self-possessed, Yanira “asked for nothing,” Izquierdo later recalled. The girl’s behavior made a strong impression on the anthropologist because at the time of the trip Yanira was just six years old.

they don't sit around playing with toys, watching tv, and go to parks.  granted, life in the Amazon is not life in Vancouver BC, but i strongly believe that living in Vancouver BC does not excuse children from actively participating in the home.  as the article states, the child made herself useful.  she had the natural desire to contribute and claimed her tasks.  i realize Moses is half the age, but i am positive that these things need to be implemented early on so that by the time they are 6, contributing to the household is the norm.  

i have heard or read about some Montessori schools encouraging independence by having everything kid sized so children learn to do things themselves.  since this is not a possibility, i have begun instilling a sense of helpfullness and selflessness into moses.  and why not?  children show interest in sweeping floors when they are able to walk, why not encourage this behaviour instead of reprimanding them?

moses now has the task of putting away the cutlery and helping to sweep up the floor.  i've had him help me organize the laundry and look for other small opportunities to have him participate in the housekeeping.  additionally, i am having the kids help or at least be present when making easy meals.  this is, of course, insanely painstaking and frustrating.  they often start grabbing the food or spilling the food which makes an even bigger mess!  my hope is that they will learn to appreciate the effort it takes to maintain a house and family.  to think beyond their own needs and develop a sense of community and care for their home...

so far, so good.  let's hope it keeps up.


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