Monday, February 24, 2014

Does One Week Make a Trend?

So, before I even start writing this post, let me just say that I know I am totally and completely jinxing myself by writing this and there will no doubt be a follow-up post in approximately 30 hours, or maybe 3 hours, from now with a title something like "What Was I Thinking??"  but here goes anyway...

It is probably mostly wishful thinking but it seems like things are getting a tad easier (just a tad) in the parenting department around here.  You could say that I've been waiting for this moment [for 3 years 7 months and 1 day, not that I'm keeping track or anything].

I remember when John was born, everyone told me "the first 3 weeks are the hardest."  Oh my, no they weren't.  What they really meant was "the first 3 months are the hardest."  Then they said, "after they start sleeping all night, it gets easier."  Well, not so much, considering as soon as John started sleeping through the night, tah dah, here came Joah!  Then they said "after they can talk" it gets easier. Hmm, I don't recall it being exactly that way unless hearing the word "No" repeated over and over in stereo was meant to boost my parenting self-esteem.  And then came the running and the shrieking and the "do by self" and well, I can't recall anything getting easier.

"Don't worry, Mom, in a few years, this will be a piece of cake."

Maybe it is because I really have no idea what to expect with each new stage that comes, or maybe it has something to do with having two boys so close in age (Mom's of twins are my heroes!), but after going through simultaneous baby days and toddlerhoods , it's pretty durn hard for anyone to convince me that "it's going to get easier."

"Nothing to see here, Mom...move right along."

But lately, as in the past 7 days, things do seem a bit easier.  When I say "John, you need to wash your hands",  he surprises me by washing them.  When I ask Joah to come to me, he (somewhat indirectly) comes. Granted, he is going through the "I'm a little kitty" stage now and responds with a series of "meows" and sometimes I do have to encourage him by saying  "Here, kitty kitty" and opening a can of tuna (just kidding on the tuna part) but still, he comes.   And yesterday, during Mass, Tom commented that this had been John's best behavior yet and I gave Joah an A- for being quiet (but he still got a D+ for sitting still).  We didn't dwell on the fact that we still have to sit on opposite sides of the church so that the boys can't "interact" during Mass.   One small victory at a time here.

Tom and I would like to think that our learn-as-we-go method of parenting is starting to yield the desired results, but that is probably giving us way too much credit considering the many crash-and-burn results we've experienced in the past.  I am guessing this has more to do with just their age and not a whole lot to do with us, as much as we wish it did!  If these past 3 years have taught me anything, it's that I know a whole lot less about parenting than I thought I did (before I had kids, of course).  If I were to write a parenting book, I would title it "100 Things I Don't Know About Raising Kids."   So, I'm mostly hoping that just leading by example captures 99.9% of the necessary elements that kids need in order to become productive members of society.  Or at least keeps them out of jail.

One millisecond before the boys play the old "divide-and-conquer" trick.  

Joah turned 3 a week ago and marked the day by having not one, not two, but three major tantrums that involved lots of running down the hallway and slamming of doors.   After his third timeout, Tom looked him in the eye and said "Okay Joah, today is the last day you get to act like a two-year old;  after today, you can't act that way again."   Was Joah listening?  So far, so good.   Does this mean having two 3-year-olds will be easier than having two two-year-olds?   I'm not counting on it, but I do hear that it gets easier.

Yep, piece of cake.

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