Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Entering the Age of Manipulation (Er...Innocence)

So today marks Cade's fourth birthday, which I can hardly believe. I started getting teary eyed last night, when Aaron remarked as Cade was going to bed, "Good night, three year old! When you wake up tomorrow, you'll be four!"

In preparation for turning four, Cade has experienced an explosion of skills in recent weeks, including becoming quite the conversationalist, learning how to dress himself (for the most part), and really trying to serve as a positive and helpful example for his potty training brother. Unfortunately, his bargaining and manipulation skills are developing quite quickly as well. A few cases in point:

In an effort to get the boys to help around the house with small chores we have developed a new chore and consequence system. If I ask the boys to say, pick up a toy as their chore, they must do that chore by the count of three (REAL count of three, not ongoing count of three) or lose a privilege. In order to earn that privilege back, they have to do THREE chores to make up for not doing the chore in the first place. A few days ago, Cade protested taking cars up to the playroom from the living room. He lost his privilege for TV the next day (it was already nighttime) and told me he wanted to take the three chores to earn it back. So I told him the first chore was to pick up his freaking cars and take them to the playroom! He was furious that his plan hadn't worked and told me he meant he wanted three DIFFERENT chores. Sorry, buddy - no dice.

To curb goofing off and getting out of bed at bedtime, we instituted a three consequence system for bedtime as well. Not to be outsmarted, the other night Cade sent Drew as his emissary to let us know that "Cade needs something." When we got upstairs, it turned out that Cade had simply "forgotten" which cup of water next to the bed was his and which was Drew's. Unwilling to risk punishment for getting out of bed, he sent Drew the Sacrificial Lamb on a parental-finding/bedtime stalling mission.

Cade's manipulation has gotten progressively more brazen and this morning, in celebration of his birthday, he kicked it into high gear. We popped into the drugstore to pick up a few items. His usual maneuver is to follow me around asking for assorted items, to which my response is always, "Not today." or "Put it on your birthday/Christmas list". Today's coveted item: a Sponge Bob Square Pants disposable camera, which he handed to me and said, "Can I get this mommy? I really, really want it!". Watching me draw a breath and prepare to refuse him, he sweetly said, "It's on my list because today is my birthday!". Leaving me little option but to cave - after all, you only turn four once.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sassy As All Get Out

Cade, who has always had a sophisticated sense of humor, has been in rare form lately. He's finally reached the stage that most of his peers reached two years ago - that is to say, he never shuts up. For a boy who staged a speaking boycott for the first 3 1/2 years of his life, he now suddenly has something to say about EVERYTHING - usually with tongue in cheek humor. A few examples from the past few days:

On Valentine's Day, during a discussion about love and what it means:
Me: Don't you love mommy, Cade?
Cade: No.
Me: Why not?
Cade: Because I don't have a heart.

Cade and Drew acted like absolute beasts in a restaurant one night and as punishment, I told them we could not go to Chick-fil-A for lunch and play on the playground for the next week. This was on a Thursday. The next Tuesday, we had occassion to meet some friends at Chick-Fil-A (stupid mommy had long forgotten about the punishment). As we were pulling into the parking lot:
Cade: But mommy, we lost this privilege!
Me: Uh - that was last week. This is a new week. Mommy hopes you learned your lesson - do you think you can behave now!?

While chasing Cade down after bathtime to try to wrestle jammies on him:
Me: Cade, why are you so skinny?
Cade: Mommy, why are YOU so fat?

Arriving home after an entire morning at the circus where Cade scored third row seats, two free hats, a bag of cotton candy big enough to feed an entire circus, and even a few covert sips of diet coke.
Cade: So guys, what are we gonna do today?

While eating a snack after a trip to the grocery store:
Aaron: Cade - if you're going to eat those grapes, you need to wash them off first.
Cade: Are you JOKING me?

I seriously do not even want to THINK about what this kid will be like as a teenager - I'm exhausted already.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mass Apology and Brief Update

I can't believe it has been 2 months since I last posted. I am totally embarassed since I know I USED to have readers (a number of friends comment to me that they read the blog), but they have probably all died off due to lack of activity by now. At least I know I can count on the grandmas to stick around. Maybe.

No, I did not go on strike to show support for the television writers. I have really only two excuses for my lameness/lack of posting:
1) the holidays kicked my butt this year
2) i am pregnant again and sick as a dog

Since the holidays kick every mom's butt every year, I won't dwell on that excuse. But I will beg off on the fact that with each pregnancy, I have endured an epidosode of morning sickness that I liken to a two-month long hangover. This one, unfortunately, is no different.

The good news is that I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I have now gone two straight days without gagging over the smell of my husband's coffee in the morning. Or the smell of my husband himself, which is normally quite freshly showered and pleasant, but for some reason repulses me when I am pregnant. So I think I'm coming out of it and making a renewed commitment to the blog.

I'm way behind on everything, not just the blog, so for anyone left reading, I'd like to make the following apologies:
-To all of you who are reading this because I talked about it in my Christmas letter, I'm sorry I haven't bothered to post since I sent the stupid letter out.
-To all family members, I'm sorry I haven't posted the Christmas pictures online yet.
-To all out of town friends, I'm sorry I haven't returned your phone calls for two months. I got overwhelmed by the high number of messages on the machine a few days ago and deleted them all without listening to them.
-To my youngest son's godparents, I'm sorry I haven't sent you a thank you note for the Christmas presents yet. The Magtastic set was a big hit - thank you! Thank you note on the way.
-To my co-workers - yes, I still work there. I'm sorry I quit returning emails after Christmas.
-To my in-town friends that made me dinner when I was so sick I couldn't stand the sight of food - thank you - my children would have been malnourished without you. Thank you notes on the way. Maybe.
-To my cousin - I'll send the cat's paperwork as soon as I can - I'm sorry it has taken me so long.
-To my sister Megan - I promise one day I will call you back.

I think that's it for now.

As for the update on what you've missed the past few months during my posting hiatus:

  • As previously mentioned, pregnant with third (and we think, final) child. This morning sickness crap is for the birds. Beyond excited - due date August 8th - no, we are not finding out the sex this time!
  • As outlined in Christmas letter, Aaron has accepted job offer in Atlanta, so looks like we will be hanging out here for awhile longer.
  • Cade was excited about turning 4 in a few weeks until he learned he would have to quit sucking his thumb when he turned 4. Now he has decided to turn 3 again. For his birthday party this year he wants to "stay home and eat cake", which sounds great for him, but not so exciting for his party guests. We are revising the plan a little...
  • Drew put his peepee in the potty 3 times. In two months. We're still working on it.
  • Jocko has gone to live with aforementioned cousin (God bless her) - with another baby there will be no room for a cat.

It's amazing how two months of agony can be summed up in a few bullet points. Here's hoping I actually make it back to post again in the next few days...