The Roles are Reversing

I’m not sure I thought I would (anytime soon) profess that Brogan was my easy child. But over the last couple of weeks, Brogan has begun to show maturity. He is controlling his emotions more and we can actually reason with him. There are less tantrums, there is less stress, less screaming and more enjoyable time together. I’m feeling a tiny sense of relief that the path I thought he was on 6 months ago may not be his destiny.  Now, I’m not professing that he is an angel – not at all. But relative to his 3-year-old self and relative to his 2-year-old brother, he is now much, much more manageable. He is still Brogan, so he’s 90 miles an hour most times or “relentless” as my father-in-law says. But I can deal with high-energy and high-maintenance. A while back, my sister-in-law drew the perfect analogy for him. We were talking about one of the good things about his strong personality is that he’ll definitely be a leader. And then in jest she said, “We’re not sure yet if we’re dealing with a Lincoln or a Hitler, but he’ll be a leader!” Well, thank the Lord, but the Hitler route does not appear to be where we’re heading. Let’s hope this trend continues.

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Now Beckett. The little guy has picked up some of Brogan’s habits and has been flexing his independence lately. He’s been running off, being defiant, and flat out acting like a wild animal. He’s been throwing major temper tantrums… and gave me quite a doozy this weekend with my mother-in-law while we were in Kroger. He didn’t want in the cart; he didn’t want in the little car attached to the cart. He didn’t want to be held, or walk. So he threw himself on the floor and threw an absolute fit. I tried the tactic of walking away and paying him no attention. But he just screamed louder. So I picked him up and carried his kicking and screaming butt outside where he sat in timeout until he calmed down. I was very thankful I was not solo during this outing. And while none of this is abnormal for a 2-year-old, this is my sweet Beckett we’re talking about. That mild-mannered child who took it easy on mom while she did her best to wrangle his older brother. That sweet child, I fear, is moving to the dark side. I’m hoping we learned some lessons with Brogan that have left us better equipped to handle a disobedient toddler, and perhaps this phase gets nipped pretty quickly. We can only hope.

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I’m beginning to realize that age has a lot to do with the behavior issues. I think a child’s personality can either amplify or lessen the standard age-appropriate willfulness/tantrums/talking back/disobedience/etc. But regardless, some of this stuff is inevitable. Let’s just hope Beckett only gets a case of the terrible twos… and not the terrifying threes like ole Bob had. And let’s hope that four is a year of continuing maturity for Brogan and that things can be “easy” for a little while. At least until it gets really crazy come December.

And speaking of Bob, this phase has not gone away. He continues to refer to himself by that name… he continues to write his name as that name. We’re not making a big deal about it (for fear that oppressing it will make it worse), but I still call him Brogan (to which he corrects me occasionally). I’m concerned that when he goes into Pre-K in a few weeks, it will be “Bob” that he wants to write on all his papers. Not sure what to do here… except chuckle, I suppose, because this kid sure likes to keep things interesting.

And speaking of keeping it interesting, Brogan has been wooing the ladies again. In particular, a 4-year-old girl this past weekend. The little girl had come over to Blake’s parents’ house with her grandparents and had been swimming and playing with Brogan for a couple hours. When it was time for her to leave, Brogan was a little sad and deflated, because obviously, he wasn’t ready for her to go. So as she begins to walk away, he says confidently, and I quote, “there’s only one thing left to do…” and with that the proceeded to walk over to her, give her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. Proud of himself, he walked away with a grin. The little girl said, “Yuk.” Her grandmother said, “That’s my girl.” And they left. I was sitting there with my sister-in-law when the whole thing went down, and we were pretty much dumbfounded by what we heard. Like, seriously?!? Where does he get this from!  It seemed fresh from a soap opera script, but the little guy doesn’t watch soaps. So maybe some kids are just born with all the right things to say and a natural charm. But after every episode like this, I get more and more worried about his teenage years. Oh what am I in store for…

Oh the joys, oh the joys. I say that half sarcastic and half for real. Parenting really is a joy. Especially when you can loosen up and appreciate your kids for who they really are – the good, the bad and the ugly. I think sometimes kids just need to be accepted and loved and somehow all that bad stuff that we’re worried will keep them from being productive members of society one day will just go away.  My kids aren’t perfect and I’m not the perfect parent, but I really am enjoying this ride they’ve got me on. Oh the joys!

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The Calm After the Storm

I had a couple of rough days this week.  The boys were crazy (and ornery and screaming and biting and destructive), Blake worked late every night and my baby sitter has been sick (necessitating the use of my backup plan, and then my backup, backup plan). But then there are nights like tonight where everything magically goes smooth.  They were content while I cooked dinner, they ate well, we played outside on the swing set, bath time was uneventful, they played nicely together and they were both in bed by 8:08.  I was actually able to enjoy my boys.  Unfortunately sometimes it gets so stressful that it’s hard to take in all the special little moments.  But today I did.

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I love having conversations with my three-year-old.  I like asking him questions and seeing what sort of whacky response I get.  My favorite from today was about Christmas.  He brings up his elf Max frequently, and Max leads to Santa, and so I asked what he wanted Santa to bring him. “Ummm… ummm… I want a trumpet. And a girl book.” He giggled. Hmm. “A girl book?” I asked. “What is a girl book?” “You know,” he replies, “a book with a lot of girls in it.”  My son. I probed some more but all he’d do was smile and laugh.  Santa can probably handle the trumpet, but I’m pretty sure he won’t be delivering “girl book.” Geez.

Brogan has also been dabbling in irony.  He favorite response to me telling him to do something, or when he doesn’t get his way is “that’s rude!”  Funny he should say that because yesterday, as I was pushing him on the swing, he asked me to push him really high like daddy does. I told him that I’d try, but that I wasn’t as strong as daddy. This lead to the question, “do you to go the gym?” I responded no. And his response, and I quote “oh, that’s why you got a booty!” All I can do is laugh at this one.

And this special, special child does not lack for confidence either.  As he was venturing to do something that bordered on should I or should I not let him do what he’s about to do (can’t for the life of me remember what it was), I finally agreed, but threw in the mom comment “but be careful!” And his response, “don’t worry mommy, I’m a smart boy.”  Why yes, Brogan. Yes you are.  Sometimes a little too smart for your own good.