Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Turning Four, not Fourteen

Somedays I question the actual age of Kaitlyn as she baits my patience verbalizing adult-like concepts, dishing them out as if fourteen leaving me in a quandary...where did she learn how to say that? Does she really know what that means? Let me give you an example:

'Mommy, I'm having a dark day.' She offered this statement with such frankness despite the sun beating down overhead in the painted blue sky. It was her last of many loaded grumpy statements of unrest from not getting a toy she wanted during a late afternoon grocery run.

'You ruined my heart. It's broken.' This one personally just rips my heart in half, and then I wake up and realize it's just untrue! She is quite poetic, and did I mention, dramatic?

There is no questioning, I am continually challenged by my daughter's stubborn, sassy and very verbal candor. Now that she is four (May 28th was her big day) I feel like overnight an explosion of energy bursted from within her. Leading up to this big day a trend had been forming-up late at night and early to rise. We've never been a household with strict bedtime hours but reasonably maintained somewhat of a bedtime routine beginning around 7:30pm with Dylan and ending with Kaitlyn close to 8:30pm. Now her nightly routine has stretched close to the 9:30pm hour with last night being an unspeakable 10:30pm. Wide awake. Or, if analyzed, completely exhausted but eyes wide if her mind wasn't prepared for a slumber.

Ho hum. I'll never know her inner workings and am most certain this is only the beginning. She is very quick with her tongue, doesn't forget anything and often links situations, experiences and previously stated comments to current arguments, opinions and her favorite, proclamations of ideas for me to enact. Ho hum....

Dylan has this disgruntled face coupled with an arm crossed sternness when he doesn't get his way, when he is upset with his sister, when he feels unheard...or when he just seems to want some attention. It's fairly funny since you can get him to unravel the tension by expressing the need to have him cooperate, be friendly...whatever the command is for the moment. Snap your fingers and his frown turns into this forced smile that shows all his teeth, dimples and even a sparkle in the eye. It's hilarious. It's a show. That's what this little boy is becoming, a show. I find that he is a true pest, chasing after his sister, pulling her hair, poking her shoulder, tackling her...all for her reactions.

He's developed this interesting role playing game with Kaitlyn and while it's odd, it's also initially endearing. In the middle of anything....getting ready for bed, playing by the TV, watching a show, running wild through the house....he goes up to his sister and says, 'Mommy' with his arms outstretched. She then stops what she's doing, goes to hug him and the two end up toppled over with their bodies in a pretzel. Moments later giggling begins and the wrestling takes over. Who ends up on top squishing the other is a continual battle.

I've noticed Dylan take on a great deal of his sister's words and tone, offering them with his disgruntled face...but, it's just not as fitting for him as it is for her so he falters earlier than her, allowing me a bit of a reprieve since she can often be all too consuming!

Highlights of their happenings:

1. The two of them had an incredibly successful dental cleaning-Kaitlyn now knows I must brush her teeth until she is seven years old and sugar bugs have already begun a nest in one of her back molars (a brown spot had formed-uggghhh). Dylan has no enamel-a problem that occurred when in utero, so his teeth are ones to watch with great diligence. Thankfully, the two of them love brushing their teeth and are very compliant with the parental assistance!

2. Dylan is getting his own room-thankfully! It's time for this for too many reasons, but spurring it to occur sooner than later is simply due to a situation that occurred this past Mother's Day. When overly amped up at bedtime, Kaitlyn attempted and successfully woke up Dylan by some serious use of force! She managed to 'bonk' him on the head a number of times with various objects in her room-a hard back book, play kitchen pots and the best, shoved the cone portion of a play ice cream cone up his nose and in his ear. Call it a truthful recount of what actually happened, or an overly exaggerated rendition of what really happened, it doesn't matter. Dylan woke up in a panic and she was laughing. I was livid. Steve thankfully was home to help figure out the best plan of discipline as I was ready to lock her up-or myself. I wasn't sure who should have the time out. Really, I was fuming!

3. Somehow we are in this pretend world of Spiderman, Firestar, Iceman, and the Princess of the moment. These little ones label themselves with a character and then charade around with their new identity. Often this leads to dress ups, jumping onto the sofa, hanging off the counter or upside down off a can be obnoxious but surely entertaining as well!

4. I've resigned myself to knowing that positive reinforcement is the only way to go with child rearing. If I can be over the top with verbal specific praise, especially with Kaitlyn, and then follow-through with stern diligence for any threat or promise I make, I have authority with her. This sounds like an easy formula to follow but so often it gets clouded with a mis-management of time, or a distraction called Dylan, or my own motherhood fog. Our super Nanny Auntie Jessie came to visit over this birthday weekend and it was like bootcamp around here. On the sidelines I was being fed all sorts of tips, critiques, situational awareness, and in the throws of the parenting, she was stepping in, reinforcing my demands, taking on her own discipline tactics, etc. Parenting Bootcamp. Seriously. Despite our clashing styles, she has taught me so much and offered me great opportunities to see the tips actualized!

Once again I say, Ho Hum!

This month of May has been an uplifting month. It started fast and for a while was packed with trips, car rides, jeopardized routines...but ended on a high note that has me excited for summer. I will have the kids full time come July and August. My plan is to enroll them in a couple of area 1/2 day camp programs, take them to various museums, have beach days, craft projects and lots of backyard splash time! Overall, it's a summer to Just Be a Kid! I'm eager for the challenge!