I win.

I WIN. Mitchell’s asleep.

The thought of Mitchell’s nap time gives me a panic attack. Seriously. It’s such a fight, and I’m rarely successful at getting him to fall asleep. So, like the awesome parent I am, I decided to bribe him. That’s right. When all else fails, I bribe.

Today, a box of 50 stamps arrived. He loves stamps. Therefore, I love stamps. For their usefulness. I showed him the stamps and told him he got one if he fell asleep at nap time. He repeated it a few times, trying to figure out a loop hole. Finally, he ran upstairs and in twenty minutes this was the scene:

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Twenty minutes may not sound like a big deal, but this is a child who usually takes at least 45 minutes to fall asleep, even at night when he doesn’t fight it at all and just lays there patiently waiting for sleep.

Sure, the twins have been here all week and he’s only napped once. But I’d still say this puts to rest any notion of him just naturally not taking naps. He obviously can fall asleep, he just chooses not to. And the only way to get him to choose to sleep is to find just the right bribe.

Now, I sat there feeling awesome for about two seconds before I realized that this was clearly not the best approach to getting good behavior out of him. And then I thought back to all the parenting wins throughout his life. It turns out I use a lot of bribery.

Weaning: bribed with chocolate. Yep. When he threw an all-out fit for the boob, I calmed him down with a Reese’s, thus instilling a lifetime habit of stress-eating.

Shopping: bribe with food. At Target he gets popcorn. At the grocery store he gets the samples or, if the managers saw us coming and removed them all, a bag of fruit loops.

Potty training: bribed with M&Ms and Hot Wheels. Technically, still bribing. At this point I’m wondering if I’ll be following him around at high school going, “Good pee, Mitchell! Good job! Let’s go get you an M&M!” The process of peeing is so linked to M&Ms in his mind that every time one of the visiting twins went pee while they were here, Mitchell would stand outside the door going, “VERY nice pee! Good job! So nice! You want M&M now? Ok. I get you M&M because you peed in potty.”

I could keep going, but frankly, I’m losing respect for myself. So, maybe not technically a win. But close. In 20 years when he’s still living at home and demanding a car to go to college I might regret setting these precedents.

By themagnificentms

Worth it.

Rosie is currently teething, or in the middle of a growth spurt, or just plain grumpy. Mitchell has hit the Terrifying Threes full force. Justin has been gone on business trips way more than is good for my sanity. I can’t lie, there have been moments this summer when I wonder if I’m doing this right.

Mitchell can make my heart melt with just a look. He can smile at me just right, or do something especially cute with his toys, or, the holy grail of adorable moments, tell me he loves me, and I think to myself, “He’s perfect. I’m a success. This is all I need in life.”

But then there are moments when he screams for 30 minutes because HE wanted to be the one to turn the light off in the kitchen and it doesn’t matter if I told him he could turn it on and off again, it’s just not the same and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to turn this around but just wait for the tantrum to run its course. And the more he screams, the more I have to clench my fists and close my eyes and do that deep breathing and remind myself that this too shall pass. But I can’t help but think to myself, “Am I doing this right? Should he lose it like this? Why can’t I make him stop?”

There are also frequent episodes of nap time strikes. I’d say 90% of Mitchell’s behavior issues stem from exhaustion, because he just loves going on nap time strikes. We have a routine, and the routine will work gloriously for weeks, and then he’ll decide that routine is crap and he is not going to sleep. If he isn’t jumping out of bed every two minutes despite any threat or bribe I throw his way (and there have been some doozies, lemme tell ya), He’s jiggling a foot or taking a finger or slapping himself in the face and screaming for the boo boo pack. When he decides he isn’t napping, he isn’t napping. And then the rest of the day I’m left with this fine specimen of a toddler that can’t be taken on public:

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Those are the times when I most question myself. The child is exhausted. Why won’t he sleep? What am I doing wrong?

Rosie has even jumped on the anti-sleep bandwagon. The past few nights, she’s been up every single hour insisting that she’s STARVING. Who knows, maybe she is? I’m so exhausted that I’m certainly not going to try to argue with her. Her nap (yes, singular) is about 45 minutes usually. YOU ARE SIX MONTHS OLD, CHILD. SLEEP. And so I question myself. Am I doing this right? Am I destroying her future ability to sleep? Will my children be emotionally scarred or fail to become productive members of society because of my inability to get them to sleep?

But then I go into Mitchell’s room to remove four of the six blankets he’s insisted on sleeping with that night…

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…and as I’m leaving, he half wakes up, sees me, and whispers, “I love you too.” Oh. It’s worth it. It’s worth all the sleepless nights, it’s worth all the anxiety, the psychological warfare, the tears, the tantrums. Because in the end, both of my children’s default state is loving and giving. They both crave hugs like most kids crave sugar. Yes, they want to be touching me almost constantly (including at inappropriate times, I am potty shy after all), but that’s a good thing. Mitchell’s hit the stage where he gives presents, and he loves giving me things. “Here, Mommy. A balloon for you. Don’t pop it!”

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Yes, their behavior is a direct result of my parenting, but I need to remember that both their good behavior and their bad behavior is my fault (yeah yeah, and Justin’s). So I’ll just grit my teeth through the tantrums, through the midnight feedings, and through the tears, because I know that in an hour or so, I’m going to get a giant hug and a kiss and hear those magic words – “I love you too.”

It’s worth it.

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By themagnificentms

Two sides of Rosie

First, Little Miss Adorable. https://goo.gl/photos/asnFkamiBzYuJw57A

Next, Little Miss Temper. https://goo.gl/photos/KJdQPAL7owLjAjzc9

Ok, I personally find her temper a little adorable as well. She’d been playing with that egg (and getting upset when she lost it) for a good five minutes by that point. She loses her temper in her walker, too, if she sees a toy on the floor and can’t quite get to it. Another temper thing: lately she’s been rolling onto her belly in her sleep and getting MAD when she wakes up. MAD. She can roll both ways, but she won’t roll back to her back, she just sits there screaming until I pick her up. So picky!

By themagnificentms

Family Picture Day!

Today was Family Picture Day! Otherwise known as Day of Untold Horrors.

I’ve spent the last several days picking out/buying/making the perfect little outfits for the kids. This morning I was ready to go an hour early, just sitting around waiting for the perfect moment to load the kids up, mostly naked, into the car. Because Lord knows I’m not putting those adorable little outfits on them until zero hour. Seriously, Rosie was carried into the photography studio wearing nothing but bloomers. Which were on backward. Because Daddy put them on her.

Anywho, part of the reason I was ready to go so early was because Mitchell and I had been up since 5. Rosie joined us at about 6:30; turns out she can’t sleep through a full-on tantrum happening right beside her bassinet (I won’t say who was throwing the tantrum, but let’s just say I’m not a morning person). So, even though I booked the appointment for 12:30, a full hour before Mitchell’s usual nap time, today his nap time probably should have occurred at 11. He was fighting to stay awake at that point. It wasn’t good.

We got to the photography studio, and it was huge and filled with more toys than our house. Which is to say, a lot. You should’ve seen Mitchell’s eyes light up. And the backdrops! He thought they were just the coolest curtains begging to be swatted. And of course, when you’re trying to take pictures of a kid, you don’t want them to start a tantrum, because there goes any chance of a cute picture, even if they calm down again. So there was a lot of bribing happening today. Even so, after about ten minutes, Mitchell was done. DONE. There was way too much to see and explore. He took some ADORABLE pictures by himself, but pretty much refused to come back for the pictures with Rosie. When he did, he would take about one picture sitting up and then just start doing the worm across the floor. Not cute.

Oh, and it turns out Rosie is terrified of the photographer. She took a few pictures after I pointed out to him that she was afraid of him, but she still wouldn’t smile for him.

So, you know. Fail. But hey, at least I got a few cute pictures out of the deal!

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They’re all adorable. All of them. But I have to say, my absolute favorite picture of the day is this one:

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I laugh every single time I look at it. It pretty much sums up every sibling portrait session ever. One is fussy, the other is bored. I love it.

Oh, and it’s the only picture in which you can see both their shirts that I put HOURS into making. Because apparently you can’t buy a plain white t-shirt in 3T in Dayton. Seriously. I won’t tell you how many stores I searched to find one.

By themagnificentms

I’m calling it: she’s sitting up!

I’ve been wary to say Rosie’s officially sitting because it’s only been for a few seconds at a time, but I think we can officially say she’s sitting now. She’s moved up to sitting for a minute or longer at a time, and she uses her arms to brace herself so she doesn’t just fall right over when she leans to get something. She’s thrilled with herself!

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Whether we like it or not, Rosalynn is mobile. Both Mitchell and I are in the “not” category, but for different reasons. Mitchell’s discovered the “mine” thing. And when Rosie rolls off her play mat to grab his Hot Wheels, he goes, “Oh, no no no!” and rolls her back to her play mat. Of course, he does the same thing when she rolls off her mat to get one of her toys. I had the best conversation this morning:

Mitchell: “Oh, no no no! That’s mine!”
Me: “No it’s not, it’s Rosie’s. It’s a baby toy, why do you think it’s yours?”
Mitchell: “Because I want it.”
Me: “Solid reasoning, son. Good to know our immediate gratification materialistic culture won’t die with your generation.”
Mitchell: *pause* “It’s mine?”
Me: “No. But A for effort.”

It’s fun around here. I have a lot of conversations that I never thought I’d have. Like yesterday, when I had to convince Mitchell that, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t pump milk for Rosie. Or when I had to convince him that he didn’t really want Rosie’s baby food, which is homemade and diluted with breast milk. I tried telling him that sixteen years from now, when we’re revisiting this moment, he’ll thank me for saying no. Somehow he didn’t believe me. But I stood firm. Just joking, I bribed him away from the baby food with pizza rolls. Which he said he hated, until he tried them, then he wouldn’t let me eat mine because he wanted them ALL. “Mine.”

By themagnificentms

6 month picture, as promised.

But first, a proper lead-up…

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And now….

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Look at that growth!

Here’s something new: she’s got a new smile! You can gauge her excitement at something by how far out her tongue is now.

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She got a new little seat to help her sit up, and, as you can tell by her tongue, she likes it. She really likes it once she discovered that she can use it as a lounge chair, too. Seriously, within five minutes she just hiked her leg up there and lounged.

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Then, she decided that wasn’t quite loungy enough. So, more relaxed!

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Have I mentioned that she’s a goofball lately? Because she is. Look at that goofy grin!

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Oh yeah, and arm rolls! Why hello there, Michelin Man!

By themagnificentms

All he needs is a coffee

It was about the same temperature outside as inside the other morning, so Justin decided to leave the sliding door open. Mitchell approved the heck out of this decision. He pulled his chair over there and watched the dogs play outside.

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And then, “Kingsley! Inside!”

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I swear, all he needed was a cup of coffee.

By themagnificentms

Six. Months.

Rosalynn Elizabeth is six months old. Seriously. Six months.

I’m not quite sure how this happened. Six months ago, I couldn’t believe I was going to bring home a second baby. How could I possibly love another baby as much as I love Mitchell? How could I give them both as much attention as they need? I remember crying as I rocked Mitchell to sleep for his final nap time as an only child.

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I can’t believe I was ever worried about having enough love to go around. Both of my babies definitely know they’re loved. They may even err toward the other extreme…spoiled. I just lost track of time going back through pictures and being surprised at how beautiful they both are. Seriously, this is one gorgeous newborn.

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Even just a few months ago, I was worried that Rosie wasn’t happy with her lot in life. I was terrified that, already, she’d decided that we wouldn’t have that awesome mother-daughter relationship.

Thankfully, she changed her mind again. I’m Mother of the Year in her eyes. Which is good, because she’s definitely Daughter of the Year in my eyes.

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She’s adorable, arm rolls and all.

She still isn’t sitting up for more than a few seconds at a time, but who knows how long she’d be able to sit up if she was just content sitting. Instead, she’s either trying to stand up or she’s trying to twist around to make sure I’m still there. She LOVES standing. That’s her default stance.

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She’s VOCAL. And yes, it’s a capitalized level of vocal. Sometimes I hear her from the other room and think she’s fussing, but no, she’s content, just hollering or squealing. Why? Well, why not? What’s she supposed to do, just sit there? Psh.

She loves her brother. A lot. She’s discovered that she can chase him in the walker. He’s less than thrilled about this development. She also chases the dogs. Poor dogs. Today she even grabbed Kingsley’s fur and turned him into a sled dog. It was so funny. To me. Not to Kingsley.

Rosalynn’s name continues to be butchered around here. She’s Rosie, Rosa, Little Bit, Wee (from Mitchell), and, most often from me lately, Roe. That’s right, mama’s too busy to devote more than one syllable to you, you poor second child.

She finds funny voices hilarious. Like, laughs-so-hard-she-can’t-catch-her-breath hilarious. I imagine she’s probably laughing so hard she’s peeing her pants. I can set her in the walker and get at least halfway through making dinner just by narrating my movements in various Sesame Street character voices. Now that I think about it, I think I’ve finally figured out why I always go to bed with a sore throat.

The second try with sweet potatoes went really well. Now she’s decided that breastmilk is just for nighttime and she needs solids throughout the day. Oh yeah, nighttime is party time for her. She wakes up about every two hours. I’m running on caffeine and sugar at this point.

We had a doctor’s appointment today, and they’re no longer worried about her growth. At all. While her weight is just at 50th percentile, she’s jumped to 67th percentile in height. That’s completely opposite of what I figured it’d be. Seriously, how many rolls must bigger babies have?!

Unfortunately, after she fell asleep, her legs stiffened up and now she’s decided she can’t be moved or bothered. It’s rather pathetic. I wish I was an anti-vaccination person.

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So, until she starts to feel better, this is her 6 month picture.

I just can’t believe how awesome this baby is. She’s gorgeous. She’s hilarious. She’s cute. She’s giggly. I can’t imagine our lives without her. I can’t wait to see what the next six months bring.

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By themagnificentms

An Odd Predicament

I find myself in a bit of an odd predicament: I can’t find a way to discipline Mitchell.

He gets into these moods where he runs and hits whoever’s in his path – Rosie, Laika, or Kingsley. He laughs and runs off like he’s trying to get them to play. Obviously, this can’t continue, so I’ve scoured the internet for options. Since he isn’t doing it out of anger, that takes away the majority of advice, as it’s all about teaching kids to better handle their anger. I’ve explained that hitting hurts, that he’s hurting his sister and/or puppies, and he does feel bad. He runs to get them a boo boo pack, give hugs and kisses, etc. He just can’t control himself beforehand. So we’re back to time-out for hitting. Zero tolerance. Which brings me to my odd predicament.

I can’t make it a punishment.

So we started with time-out on the couch. Then he started having fun with it. He’d start bouncing his hand or leg against the couch and giggling. So we moved to his bed. Same thing. So, finally, we designated a bar stool as the time out stool. It’s high enough that he can’t get off, there’s no rung for him to brace his leg against or kick, there are absolutely no toys within reach, it’s perfect. Let the punishment commence.

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HE MANAGED TO MAKE IT FUN. I walked away so he wouldn’t be getting attention for his time-out, and I came back around the corner to find him making faces in the mirror behind him. Ok, I can fix that. I took the mirror away.

HE STARTED THROWING AN IMAGINARY BASEBALL IN THE AIR AND CATCHING IT. Seriously. Giggling the whole time. I just don’t know how to deal with that.

I mean, I think it’s great that he can figure out how to have fun no matter what his surroundings. But seriously, how do I do a time-out that’s not fun if he can have fun no matter where he is?! On the other hand, I really enjoy his default attitude (especially now that I’ve seen the other side of the spectrum).

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By themagnificentms

Babyproofing, the second time.

Ok, so how exactly does one babyproof the second time around?

Rosie is OBSESSED with Hot Wheels. Yeah. You know, Mitchell’s favorite toy? The one with those four wheels that pop off at the mere sight of a baby mouth? Last night, Rosie rolled/scooted far enough to get to the pile of cars, which Mitchell had conveniently dumped right next to her play mat. She thought it was the best thing ever.

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Mitchell has approximately 5976 Hot Wheels. They’re everywhere. And just in case you think I could hide some of them and only have a certain amount left out, no. That’s not how it works. Mitchell knows each and every Hot Wheels he owns, and he usually knows exactly where it is. Certain ones go in our room, certain ones go in the living room, certain ones in his room, etc. He even has certain cars for the bathroom. And if one goes missing or is moved, he knows. Trust me, it was a thing with the 4-year-olds here.

It’s not just the toys that are leaving me with a panic attack. How do I block the stairs from Rosie but still let Mitchell get up and down them? Oi. Maybe she won’t be a baby who needs everything super babyproofed. I’ve heard those babies exist. I’m still suspicious that they’re like unicorns and leprechauns, but hey. I can dream.

By themagnificentms