Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hunting for eggs

I've been looking forward to Easter for a while now...it's not like Easter has ever been a really big deal for me. My most memorable Easter was the one where dad accidentally slammed my finger in our huge, heavy front door as we were on the way out for an egg hunt at our neighbor's house. I'm pretty sure I ended up losing that nail! But I was looking forward to Easter, well really to the egg hunt, because Braeden and I had such an amazing time doing it last year.

Last year we went to the egg hunt in Gibsonville. This year we were a little late getting out the door so we had to go to the Elon one at the Schmidt Park. Now we love the Schmidt Park. Braeden has an amazing time playing there. And that turned out to be our downfall! For his age range, they hid the eggs on the playground. There were about 45 kids and their parents who rushed onto the playground when the signal was given. Braeden wouldn't go by himself, insisting I go with him. We walked around and I encouraged him to pick up the eggs. Children were running all around us diving for eggs, even knocking into me in a frenzy to get them.

Bray was really overwhelmed and thoroughly distracted by the playground. All he wanted to do was climb on the jungle gym. I put one egg in his basket and he flipped out and threw it out onto the ground. It wasn't really safe for him to play, so I told him we needed to leave if he wasn't going to look for eggs. We started towards the parking lot. And that's when we saw him...the Easter bunny. And now Braeden, who had been melting down about not wanting to leave, suddenly couldn't get out of there fast enough!

Later that day he wanted to hunt for eggs, so I promised him we would do it at our house. I had eggs from last year (my parents were here and we hid eggs for him to find). I filled some of the eggs with jelly beans, some with a few coins, and the rest with little stretchy dinosaurs I bought in the dollar section at Target. I filled the eggs up Saturday night and planned to hide them Sunday morning while our neighbor (Braeden's favorite playmate) was at church. We wanted B to have a chance to find all his eggs by himself.

Sunday morning I had B's Easter basket sitting at his place on our table. His basket was filled with cute little things (again from Target's dollar section) like an Elmo drawstring backpack, an Elmo coloring book, a small stuffed bunny, a Matchbox, and a Cadbury cream egg (my favorite Easter treat!). He couldn't wait to eat the egg but has totally refused to wear the backpack. He sometimes needs a little time to warm up to new things so I haven't given up hope yet!

Midmorning we went outside for the egg hunt. Braeden did great! I wasn't sure how hard to make the hunt, so a couple eggs were just in the yard and some were a little more hidden (in the bushes, in the crook of our maple tree, and in the newspaper holder below our mailbox).

And yes, he wore his faux-crocs for the hunt. He puts them on to run out to the garage with Mat or out to the back deck with me to toss bread for the birds. They're a tad bit slippery, though. When he was running down our slightly-sloped front yard to pick up his first egg, he wiped out and lost a shoe!

I can't help but look forward to next Easter...Braeden will be four and Gage will be about 15 months old, old enough to look for his own eggs.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ride like the wind

Today was a beautiful day. Bright sun, blue sky, slight breeze. Perfect shorts weather. After Braeden's quiet time he got to play outside with the neighbor girl, Natasha. I went outside for a little bit to watch him and couldn't resist shooting this video of him riding on Natasha's tricycle. She was riding her Disney Princesses two-wheeler. He has his two tricycles of his own, but for some reason he really prefers hers.

I love how fast his little legs are pumping to make those tiny little circles. I also love that he barely even notices I'm filming him. My kid is a ham. A big, sweet Easter ham. But when he's riding on that bike, he is 100% focused on pedaling in circles.

Cute, right?

Friday, March 21, 2008

What a day!

Braeden's day care was closed today and Mat had classes, so I got to spend the day with my boys. And we had big plans. :)

This morning Braeden and I made granola (soooo good!) and did laundry. Back in February I found this fantastic granola recipe and haven't stopped making it (or eating it) since. No oil, just applesauce, so it's healthier. Plus oatmeal is good for breastfeeding--increases supply. Anyway, back to the granola...lately I've been enlisting Braeden as my kitchen helper. He's always loved watching cooking shows with me, so since he's gotten older and been in better control of his actions I've been giving him jobs. He helps me beat the eggs for scrambled eggs. He comes running the second he even *thinks* he hears me whisking eggs with a fork. So this morning he helped me make the granola. He held the teaspoon while I measured the cinnamon then dumped it into the bowl. Actually he added most of the ingredients to the bowls after I put the ingredients into spoons and cups. He also stirred the wet ingredients together and stirred the granola when I poured the wet into the dry cereal. He really was a big help. And I love sharing my love of cooking with him!

After lunch, Braeden went upstairs for "quiet time" which is usually anything but. Typically he reads books moving between the futon and his bedroom. He's quiet for 10-15 minutes before he starts bargaining with us to come downstairs. Today he was busy for about 45 minutes. Then I noticed it had gotten really, really quiet upstairs. I snuck up the stairs and saw him asleep on the futon.

I love that he fell asleep with his knees bent like that.

Then, as if the stars had aligned themselves, my other boy fell asleep too.

I bought this "I am huggable" outfit at the Children's Place for Braeden when he was a baby. I saved it because it was one of my favorites. The baseball socks were Braeden's too. In fact, Braeden picked them out this morning for his brother to wear.

After Braeden woke up from his nap, we went to the Children's Museum. Braeden was a nut for the first 40 minutes or so. He ran from thing to thing spending a couple minutes doing each one. He ran us around the entire place from firetruck to sandbox to trains to racecar. Even with all the running around, we still had a great time at the museum.

We came home and Braeden played outside for a little while with Natasha then we went to Monterreys for dinner. All in all, a VERY good day!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mommy, when I was a ...

I think this all started when Gage was born. And I think the first "when I was a ..." had to do with Gage's swing and a fish. How's that for a teaser?!

Picture Braeden standing next to the swing in our living room. He's looking at the back of the swing where there's a scene of fish swimming with a seahorse and a starfish. Then he looks at me.

"Mommy, when I was a fish, I used to swim and swim (using a wavy hand motion to mimic swimming)!"

That was the first time. Since then he's been any number of things...

a cat (even though he's now terrified of cats!)
a crab
a baby (okay, that one I get)
a truck

And most recently it was, "Mommy, when I was water ..." said while we were washing his hands tonight after he peed in the toilet standing up!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Proud, proud parents

I hardly know what to say...the day Mat and I have been dreaming about for so long has finally arrived. After nearly a year of cajoling, bribing, begging, and pleading, Braeden is potty trained!

In August we finally got Braeden to sit on his potty. Nothing happened but just sitting on the potty was a HUGE accomplishment at the time!

At the end of that month he peed on the potty for the first time! And then we had weeks of nothing. No potty action, nothing to report.

We tried bribing him with m&ms, spending the day naked (him, not us!), applying peer pressure...be like Tristan, pee on the potty, bribing him with pull-ups and later big-boy underpants. Nothing really worked.

But like everyone always said, one day it just happened. Suddenly he was peeing on the potty regularly. No more wet pull-ups. He would just announce he needed to go and he would go. He doesn't need our help to pee; well, sometimes he needs our help to snap his pants again. :) But, bottom line, he was doing great!

Then we had to face the next hurdle...pooping on the potty. Before children I never would have imagined blogging about poop. And truly, there's a big part of me that would like never to have to talk about it here, but it's really a huge part of parenting and an even bigger milestone for Braeden. This really felt like an insurmountable hurdle. If we thought getting him to pee on the potty was tough, well this was in a whole new league of tough.

Nothing we did seemed to get through to him. We tried to reason with him by saying he couldn't move up at daycare until he was pooping on the potty and moving up means being with Alex and Tristan. Meant nothing to him. We offered him bigger rewards like more m&ms, chocolate chips, a special present, and even a party. No dice. We resorted to watching him for cues, then yanking his pull-up when we thought he needed to go. I guess some combination of these things was ultimately successful; it's hard to say for sure because I'm sure it had something to do with his own internal sense of readiness. Probably some group dynamic at daycare made a difference too.

We started seeing real, regular success two weeks ago. Braeden would announce he needed to poop and he would go do it. He was so proud of himself and at first insisted on m&ms. Mostly now he forgets he's owed anything. It's kind of like using the potty and getting to use toilet paper is reward enough. Who would have thought?

So for a couple weeks now we've had almost 100% success with the potty. At home. Away from home has been a completely different story. Since he's been peeing, we've tried taking him to the bathroom places but it's always ended the same way. Bray gets scared of the big potty and leaves the bathroom in a slight panic. After all of our other efforts, I guess we thought this would change in time. And it has.

Saturday night we went to Sidetracks for dinner (I love their french fries!). Before our food came, B announced he needed to pee. I asked him if he wanted daddy to take him to the bathroom and he agreed. We've been here before so I didn't think much of it. Mat asked Braeden if he wanted to try peeing standing up and off they went. I expected them to come right back, so when they didn't I started getting hopeful. Cautiously optimistic in fact. And a couple minutes later Braeden ran back to the table with a huge smile on his face. He announced very proudly (and very loudly) that he had peed standing up! I'm sure everyone else eating at Sidetracks was just as excited for him as we were.

He went TWICE while we were at dinner!

And as if that weren't enough...at home he's decided he wants to use the real toilet instead of his little potty on the floor. So we finally get to use the little Elmo seat I bought to make the seat more kid-sized. We didn't have to clean the little potty at all yesterday. And that's huge! And what's even better is that Braeden is so proud of himself. Plus, this means we can plan a day trip and have one less thing to worry about! Mat has spring break in two weeks so we're going somewhere for the day, maybe Fearrington Village to see the belted cows and goats. But I'm open to other suggestions...

As a reminder of how far we've come or what we have to look forward to in a couple years or just nature's way of yanking me back to reality, Gage just pooped and I need to go change his diaper. The universe is funny like that.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

As promised...

So. I promised you cute beyond words. I'm living up to my end of the deal and all I want from you is confirmation. Post a comment and tell me you agree that no kid has ever been cuter!

Everyone know what he's singing?? The doom-doom-chu sound is my most favorite part. I can't watch it without smiling and most times I have to stop myself from laughing out loud.

Mat swears Braeden can sing more of the song. Near the end of the video you can hear me ask him to sing more of the song. He said he didn't know it, but I'm pretty sure he really does. I'll keep working on him.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Watch this space!

I hope tomorrow to capture what is, I'm certain, the cutest thing Braeden has ever done. I don't want to give it away, but I will say this has been a work in progress.

It all started a couple weeks ago when Braeden started saying, "Wee why wocky rump!" Mat and I could not figure it out. We asked him if it was a song they sang at school and he nodded. We asked him to sing more of it, but he never would.

At the end of last week, Braeden added some music to the song and that's when Mat was finally able to decipher just what song Braeden had been singing. And tonight during his bath, Braeden sang most of the song for Mat getting almost all the words right!

It kills us, it really does. You HAVE to hear it to really understand...and I have to get it on video because I'm certain I will want to watch him sing this song forever. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'll be showing the video to future girlfriends, college admissions people, and to his future children and their friends!

So, I hope I've piqued your interest with this build-up. My mission for tomorrow is to capture this cuteness on video for the world to see!

Stay tuned.