Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tough Love

At the end of the day, I love both of my children with equal passion, fervor, and intensity. However, it's hard to remember this sometimes. I know, when all the cards are on the table, when all the stages of development, phases of childhood, tantrums, poopy diapers, wet beds, messes,  and joys are laid out before me, that it is impossible to choose one child over the other. BUT. BUT. BUT. In the passion of a child's tantrum, in the exhaustion of a long day, I occassionally need reminding.

Jacob is at a difficult age right now. WHEW boy, I thought the twos and threes were supposed to be "terrible." In Jacob's case, the fours have out-shined all previous ages in terms of difficulty. I think a lot of it is his personality. He's very intelligent and can converse like a ten year old. He seeks the independence of an adult but also wants the attention deserving of a baby. He is headstrong and has an opinion about everything. He doesn't want to follow directions or simply take orders because he wants us to listen to HIS version of how things should go. He still needs a nap but refuses to take one.
The kid moves at 100 miles per minute!

At his best, he is very sweet and very affectionate. Every morning, he follows the news stories I listen to on the radio and quizzes me about them. "Mommy, they were talking about a fire when a car exploded. Did the ambulance have to come and take the people to the hospital? Were their mommies really sad?" "I heard them talk about an asteroid in space! Is that the same asteroid that killed all the dinosaurs?" But even at his sweetest, he can still be difficult.

Ryan, on the other hand, is at the absolute best stage of babyhood. He is constantly happy and always on the go. He is so aware of everything that is going on and it's so fun to watch him respond to the world around him. He plays ball and is learning to stand. He loves making music ("noise"). Right now it's a toss up as to whether he will be a musician or a ball player.

Playing guitar with Daddy


He eats almost anything and insists on feeding himself. He is always flashing us wide, dimpled grins, even when he is tired and cranky. He sings, he dances, he giggles. His eyes light up when any of us walk into a room. He crawls over to me and give me hugs. He is content. He is happy to be with anyone and does so well when I leave him at the childcare at our gym. He is easy going, low maintenance, and fills our world with so much happiness. He gets grumpy as his bedtime nears, but even at his worst, he is pleasant and sweet.

"Who wants to change my diaper?"

More often than not, Ryan will be at his sweetest right when Jacob is at his most difficult. Those are the moments when I have to remind myself to give each of them equal attention and love. It's not easy being the oldest especially for someone who is very strongwilled. Being a strong-willed  oldest child myself, I know this all too well. So I try to cut Jacob some slack and give him an extra hug or two. I try to redirect him to a constructive game or project that we can both enjoy together. Current favorites are I-Spy books (his ability to find all the objects amazes me!) and Zingo (one of my FAVORITE kid's games ever!). But, I'm not going to sugar coat this whole parenting thing. After a long day at the office, it's very, very hard to put up with a stubborn, whinny, over-exhausted four year old. Especially when I'm feeling exactly the same way.

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