The Two-Year-Old

For all of you who read my blog who have (or have had, or will have) a two-year-old...because I know there's quite a few of you...

Cash is 2 and a half, and seems to be growing up quite a lot these days. Yet still acting like the two-year-old that he is. There is something magical about the age of two. They can make my insides disappear. Like, I lose my stomach when I see some of the gross things he does (and change some of the gross things he poops), he destroys pretty much my entire nervous system (I haven't lost my mind, he's taken it and now it's under my bed collecting dust), but most of all, he captures my heart. He drives me crazy and requires every single ounce of patience I can muster up, but then, in a flash, showcases the cuteness only a two-year-old can and I can literally giggle with delight no matter what is going on around me.

Whether it's dressing up, jumping off the couch, or yelling from the back seat when he sees a truck outside, the two-year-old's wheels are always turning. They are like a wrecking ball much of the time, but beneath all the wreckage is simply a human being discovering the world around them. What would happen if I dumped this entire box of pasta on the floor? What kind of sound would it make? What could I do with the empty box? Okay, on to something else. I think I'll answer the phone and talk. Why can't this person understand me? Maybe if I say it really loud and say it 20 times they'll understand. Why can't I eat cookies? No one ever lets me eat cookies! What's the big deal about eating a cookie?!!

Two-year-olds seem to have very little understanding of volume. Like, they can't control how loud or soft something comes out for more than like 10 seconds. They've already forgotten they're supposed to be whispering and it's become a full blown yell within the next 10. They also have trouble with gentleness in the same way. Like, you can trust them to be careful with something for about 10 seconds but before you know it they'll be seeing what will happen when they eat it, drop kick it, or crush it with their sticky little hands.

At two they begin to resist holding your hand, sitting in anything with straps, and think they are big and strong enough to do just about anything. And if you get in their way, well... you know a variety of things can happen, none of which are pleasant and all of which you try to avoid at all costs.

Yet the two-year-old changes into your friend, not just someone you have to take care of. He wants to please. He begins to give back, to make jokes, to help out, and contribute to the relationship in ways a baby never can. All of a sudden your baby has become a person and you begin to see what they will be like as an adult. Things are looking up. You are rewarded for your hard work and training. They've given back a piece or two of your sanity. Then, without warning or reason they scream at you and tell you NO! and resist your affection. You realize they're still "just two" and you can't expect that much of them yet.

So may we enjoy our two-year-olds, and while we're living with one, allow ourselves to act like one ourselves every once in a while, just to make it through the day. Tonight I kicked a stool across the room out of frustration about something and no one really even seemed to care. We're used to occasional temper tantrums around here. Nobody's perfect. Bring on the tantrums, potty training, and cookies. We have two-year-olds! Hear us roar!

Snowballs and Snowflakes

Cash has begun talking a lot more lately and many of our conversations these days happen while I'm changing his diaper. We are uninterrupted then, and he knows he has my full attention. I guess I've proved there is much to be said about poop. He likes to tell me what to say. Like, "Gross!" or "Peee Uuuu! Stinky!" A while back he started telling me what his poop was. "It's grapes, Mom." That was the first one. I don't know if I said something once about him eating a lot of grapes or something but his poop doesn't look like grapes. I wish. Then it became "It's a snowball, Mom." I have no idea where this came from. Then, while changing him one morning after he ate oatmeal it was, "It's an oatmeal snowball, Mom." The most recent was, "It's candy, Mom." And I said, "No, it's NOT candy. That would be gross." So he responded with, "It's gross candy, Mom." Yes, the grossest kind.

It's going to be one of my first objectives in 2009 to potty train him. I would like to tell you I'm optimistic. I'm not. At all. Not even a little. I'm praying for a potty training miracle. Like, I could just post a sign in our house saying, "ALL OATMEAL SNOWBALLS MUST GO INTO THE TOILET" and that would be it. I mean, Libby's caught on. Last week she said, "I have three poops, Mom. They're like snowflakes!" and then proceeded to make up a song about snowflakes into the potty. I just shook my head. What do you say to that? Nice song about poop sweetie? Well, whatever works to place the winter wonderland inside the toilet bowl. Because I hope to be hit with my last oatmeal snowball of the season very soon.


A Disney Miracle

What do you do when two of your kids are snotty, coughing, and feeling cranky? Take them to the doctor? Give them medicine? NO! You go to Disney World, of course!

With much gratitude to my sister Susan and my parents, we were able to go to Disney World (Magic Kingdom) last Friday with free tickets they earned last year at Disney's Candlelight Ceremony. The tickets expired at the end of 2008 so we had only this month left to go. When we looked at our busy December calendar up against my parents, there was really only one day when we could all go. So when Penelope and Cash both got sick early in the week, I was a little worried it wasn't going to happen. Thursday morning I decided that they were just feeling too bad and we shouldn't try to go. But Jimmy said as long as no one had a fever or was throwing up, we were going. He said, "If you're going to be sick, you might as well be sick at Disney World!" We didn't have the fever or vomit, although we did have coughing, runny noses, and earlier in the week low grade fever and runny poops. (And my Dad also had a bad cold.) But hey, it's Mickey Mouse! Who cares if you feel like crap? It ain't called the Magic Kingdom for nothin'!

And you know what? The kids really were feeling better and I didn't change one dirty diaper all day. And I think I only wiped Penelope's nose once or twice. The lines were incredibly short and the weather was perfect. Sometimes Mickey Mouse shines down on you, Tinkerbell sprinkles you with dust, and Cinderella's fairy godmother waves her wand all at the same time. It was a Disney Miracle. The kids loved it all and behaved really well. I got to ride in the front of Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain, which was a special treat because I hadn't ridden a roller coaster in over 5 years. I am grateful to God for watching over us and keeping everyone safe.

So now I'm trying to get everything back in order here around the house. After four days of sick kids and then four days of travel/unpack/laundry everything is in total mayhem. I feel like NOTHING is in the right place and that I could actually give Jackson a lesson on archeology by digging through the layers of food and dirt underneath my dining room table. Even though I have showered, I haven't washed my hair in like five days. There has just been too much going on. And when it's the end of the day, sleep always beats out anything I need to accomplish. Even hygiene. Maybe I still have a little pixie dust left in my hair from Friday. Maybe I could have a Disney miracle right here in my own house and wave my own mommy wand and have everything clean and in place. Not likely, but if you just believe...