Last weekend we met Ben and his awesome mom Laura at our new favorite park behind River Oaks Elementary and Laura brought snacks for the kids and for us (thereby making her awesome). She offered Zach some pudding and I realized I had never given him pudding before. I think they eat it at school since I spotted a case of it the other day, but I have not shared any of my coveted chocolate pudding with him. I eat a ton in my pregnancy state.
Laura was telling me that pudding is the perfect thing to make with a 2 year old. All that is required is to open the package, pour in milk, stir and wait 5 minutes for delicious pudding. So the other day we tried it and she was totally right! He could do everything required and loooooved “helping Mommy”. 
What he did not love? The actual pudding. And I have to say I prefer the pre-packaged myself. I feel that does not say good things for my desire for artificial taste… Zachary would just prefer cheese and/or cheez-its, naturally.
But we will make it again, perhaps trying different flavors. Pistacho or strawberry could be delicious, no? It was the first thing that he has really enjoyed making and that I enjoyed making with him. Plus none of it ended up on the floor. Usually at the end of “helping Mommy” Mommy is very stressed by the flour/sugar/cheese all over the floor that someone wants to “help” sweep up too.


Luckily it was just leaves

This time. We were sitting outside (well I was sitting, Zach was running around) and I was trying to get some pictures of him in the natural light. And this is what happened:

Clutching leaves, refusing to smile
 Smiling  now but headed for me…
And tossing all the leaves on my head. 
I am saying Noooo Zachary the entire time. I was totally disregarded.
I mean look at this face, so sweet, so innocent….until you notice that arm is cocked all the way back and he is staring you down. While he is not the best shot I still would recommend moving unless you want some dirty leaves on your person.

Nothing but Love

I would just like to submit the below email into evidence of Zachs;s grandparents unfaltering love for him. A few weekends back the Walls kept Zach to help me restore some sanity and it turned into the 2nd time that Zach got sick at their house. The first time it was a stomach virus. “It’s a mess!” Zach told his Ollie when she came to get him in the morning. Yes, yes it was.
Here is the email from Liv:
Last night, he was up at 11:30, 2 AM and 6 AM and then slept until 8:45.  He was fine all day- played at the playground, etc., never was hot- no temp.  He did pull on one ear but I cannot remember which one and it was only periodically. Today, he went down for a nap about 1 PM and was still singing and talking at 2:20. Soon after he fell asleep.
 It was great to have him!
Does any of that sound great to you? Having a toddler come stay for 2 nights then get up at 11:30, 2 and 6? What is not included is that Vince went to Wal-Mart two of those times getting humidifiers. The first one did not work, which Zach so sweetly pointed out from his crib. “It not working Grandpa Ince. Fix it.” Nothing like my baby to help state the obvious.

Here is a video of Zach not being sick but being very, very bossy.

Don’t turn your back

I was cooking or cleaning or something while Zach was eating his cereal and turned around to see him using the spoon rest as an actual spoon. It was fully submerged in his cereal and he was eating off of it. I guess it technically IS a spoon.

St. Paddy’s Playdate

Last week my friend Beth hosted our weekly play date and suggested we make it St. Patrick’s day themed. Everyone showed up with some green on, Beth made green shamrock cookies, another mom brought lollipops and I made paper favors sewed closed with Cheez-Its inside. Ummmm one of these things is not like the other….

I got out of control. Again. When I saw these on one of my fav blogs, Prudent Baby, I thought – who would make those? So time consuming, so unnecessary. That is, until I got Beth’s email and I decided I could totally do this between work and the playdate. I had to manipulate the image from PB (which I did at work), add the names of the kiddos plus make some blank ones and then printed and sewed them at home with  “help” from Zachary. I had to literally fight him for the Cheez-Its.

We loaded them into a huge leprechaun hat that my sweet Aunt Vickie sent Zach (don’t worry I sewed up the back to make it fit the 2 year olds) The kids were a little bit small for the bags, we moms had to open them for them, but they were super cute. And the toddlers running around with the hats on were especially funny. Beth popped it on her 2 month old and we found it hy-sterical. Needless to say, we most likely need to get out more.

There is SOME good

Looking back over my rants posts as of late I can see the frustration that is life with a 2 year old. I feel I should also mention the good because there is really a whole lot of good. And funny. Though I do have to say, when my sister and I were little and we would call for my dad (in a very non-annoying high pitched squeal of Daddy! Daddy!) he would more often than not reply “He ran away screaming”. I thought, oh ha ha, my Daddy is sooooo funny. Little did I know until having a toddler of my own how realistic that threat feels.

But that is not the point of this post – on to the positive! Here are some things that Zach is also doing this second that make me grab those cheeks and kiss them.

1. He runs to me when I get him from daycare. He still smiles with joy upon seeing me and runs (very mall-walker like) full speed toward me. This really is my favorite because no matter what type of day I have had or the type of evening we will have together, he is still my baby for just those few minutes.

2. He does not want Alex and I talking to each other in the car. On the way out to the Walls this past weekend I was having a conversation with my husband, and from the backseat comes the yell, “No Mommy! No talking to Daddy! Talk to me!”. Both Alex and I could not stop laughing. And he was serious. Anytime I directed any comments to Alex, Zach would yell again “No talking to Daddy! Talk to me!”. Those full sentences. Not just the word “No”, but full “No talking to Daddy!”

3. He can usually be calmed down by singing, usually. He knows the motions for Wheels on the Bus, sways to Row, Row, Row your Boat, sing/yells Jesus Loves Me and 5 Little Ducks and now sings Mary had a Little Lamb. Though it took me a while to figure out what the last one was. ‘Mary’ does not sound, coming out of Zach’s mouth, like it should…more like Aaaarrryyy. Puzzling.

4. Randomly he will say “MY Mommy”. Seriously he just says it whenever he pleases. Sometimes we are talking, sometimes we are driving, sometimes he just says it then continues on with whatever else he was talking about. And it is loud and much emphasis is placed on the “my”.

5. But he cries for his daddy when he is mad at me. “I want my Daddy (sobbing)” “Daddy hold me” I always tell him I would prefer his father be there too. Trust me, 2 adults to 1 toddler is a much better ratio.

6. He gets me stuff. I LOVE this. He will throw things away, hand me items to put into the fridge, sort his laundry, carry my cups to the sink. Love, love it. Granted, it takes about 3 times as long, but he gets so proud to help. “I need help my Mommy” is a common refrain at our house. Yesterday he picked up my empty Jello container and spoon and said “I put in the sink”. I think they both might have been thrown away, but guess which lazy preggers lady has plenty of spoons and doesn’t care? That’s right; this one.

7. He now says “I wuve you”. Melts my heart and makes me want to run away screaming just a little bit less. Just a little bit.

Don’t gross me out

Oh my baby boy, when did you get so gross? As Zach is growing in front of my eyes into a real live boy I am starting to realize I was totally right in 1st grade – boys really are gross. While this turn of events does not diminish my love for Zachary, it does diminish my desire to eat with him.

Zach now switches between eating so fast he bites his fingers (no joke) to wanting to be done eating so he scrapes his half eaten food out of his mouth. Re-pulsive. How I am supposed to be OK with either of these situations??? When I told Alex about the finger biting incident he fell over laughing and said he had done the exact same thing and apparently Grandpa Vince once drew blood trying to eat a hamburger. You can imagine my blank stare in return. That is not helpful news to me.
As for the gross spitting out the food, unacceptable. I mean seriously, how am I supposed to stomach my pancakes when half eaten eggs are falling out of a mouth next to me. My stomach is already a wee bit sensitive and this is NOT helping matters.
Then there is the issue of the mouth noise making. Zach has started blowing air out of his closed mouth which means spitting and a gross sort of fart noise. Again, unacceptable. As with the spitting out the food I just say no calmly and move on with my life. At this stage (so the books tell me) to draw attention to the bad behaviors just give him cause to do it more. You know what else causes him to do it more? His father doing the mouth noise right back at him. And laughing. Repeatedly.
Apparently I have two toddlers and they are both grossing me out right now.

I felt like a good mother

Well for a minute at least. Zach and I went to Smashburger for dinner the other night and on the wall are huge ‘Z’s. He pointed to them and said “That’s a Z! Z for Zachary!” and I felt complete as a mother.

Each time I have to color I draw a ‘Z’ and say “Z is for Zachary” and ask him to tell me what the letter is. Every single time he has stared at me and said “Color Mommy”. Deflated.

But that night, that magical night, he recognized the first letter of his name! And it is not like you come across a ‘Z’ in everyday life, but there were two painted bright red up on the wall and he knew they were for him.

Of course the evening ended in a meltdown thereby stripping me of all good maternal feelings just as quickly as they came. Oh parenting, why are you such a fickle beast?

Have you heard I have a 2 year old?

Because I do. He turned 2 and turned into a holy terror. Overnight. One bright Monday morning a few weeks back, Zachary decided the best way to get what he wanted would be to scream/cry at his top pitch wail. Awesome. This coincided with a week that Alex had to work in the evening so it was just me dealing with a screaming, crying 2 year old. And let’s not forget that I am not at my top mothering speed either, what with being tired and pregnant myself.

It lasted for 3 days. There was a bunch of screaming, crying, feet stomping and hands flailing (from me) until I got my act together. I talked about the horror that was my life with no fewer than 7 people. In 2 days. Some of these people did not have children – you should feel especially sorry for them. But his behavior just monopolized my life as it monopolized our time together after work. Anything he did not get that he wanted (which is most things) would lead a to huge meltdown.

Here are some of my favorite and non-favorite quotes from outsiders:

“So this has been going for 3 days…I don’t think this is really defined as a behavioral issue necessary of excessive talking/reading. I think he is going to snap out of it.”

“Have you tried going into the closet again?”

“You can do this. He only weighs 28 lbs. You are his mother and are better than this.” (wait – that was my pep talk to myself)

“Ohhh just wait, it only gets worse!”

Ummm the last one is especially NOT HELPFUL. Please no one else look at me, tilt you head and say in a highly patronizing tone, “Just wait! The terrible twos are only starting!”. Unacceptable. Unless you have something HELPFUL to say like “it is just a short phase, he will be out of it soon” or “have a drink on me!” – I don’t want to hear it.

Anyway, the tantrums have NOT ended. What started out as a pleasant night last night (again with Alex in CA for work and me hormonal and preggers) ended up with basically the below happening: All. Night. Long.

Might I also add that we went to eat hamburgers for dinner where he was an ANGEL. He sat in his self selected booster chair, said “thank you” to the men that brought our food (no joke, I almost fell over) and ate like a lovely little boy. But the second we walked in the door of the house, nothing became right for Zachary. He did not want to go into the bath; he did not want to get out; he wanted to kick me while I was putting on his pjs; he wanted to read in the big bed NOT the chair; and on and on and on. I can neither confirm nor deny that I yelled “Mommy said NO!” and closed his door hard-ish. Not my finest parenting moment, if in fact that did happen.
I don’t know how I have not seen that video until now as it made me simultaneously laugh out loud in my cube and feel better that my child is not the only one throwing himself on the floor in hysterics. At least those people have carpet.

The Mouth REALLY Never Stops

Here is a sort-of-quick video clip of Zach and I “coloring”. I was trying to get him to say all his words so I can record them for posterity. I know I am going to forget what that tiny voice sounds like and that makes me sad. Of course yesterday in the car this sentence came out of my mouth, “I don’t know what is wrong with your shoes Zachary, will you please just stop talking about it???”
Oh and I drew the stick figure drawings, which is the highly unfortunate side effect of coloring. He really wants ME to color and him to commentate on it. No thank you, that is how the rest of my life runs right now (“Mommy going potty”, “I help my Mommy”, “Mommy drinking milk”, “Mommy shoot”, “Hold you Mommy”)
PS Yes, he is saying that is a picture of his baby sister. We don’t know what we are having, baby-wise, but Zach is certain it is a baby sister. He looks thru my belly button and says “What is she doing?”. I think it is because his only friend with a baby anything has a baby sister and he doesn’t really understand the difference. We will find out come July if he is right!