Swinging

Today was a great day. It wasn’t particularly different from any other day, except that maybe I was paying more attention to how good it was, amidst the minor chaos of our lives.

It’s been raining for a few days, but sunny today, so it was back on the swings for G. He can swing for hours every day now. Literally, hours. We are out at our swingset multiple times a day. All you have to do is say, “Hey, Gus, wanna go swing?” He drops everything.

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He used to hate it. Not always. He was fine and dandy on swings as a baby. But around the time he turned two, when he started showing signs of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), he began crying and clinging in fear when placed on a swing. So, no swings for years. I was sad, because I wanted to swing with him on my lap like I always had, or push him, teach him to jump off, do underdogs, and twist the chains around to spin. All that good stuff.

Eventually, sometime when he was five, he tried the swings on his stomach. He was nervous at first, then built up tolerance, enjoying it more and more, till he became a wild man, on his belly flying through the air like a super hero. It was great to see, and I was so proud of him taking it at his own pace, taking a risk, but taking care of his own needs.

That was as far as it went for over a year.  When we moved to our current house, he disliked the swingset in the back yard because it has wooden seats, and he couldn’t comfortably swing on his stomach. When I suggested we buy the vinyl seats, he refused, uninterested. So, our swingset went unused, while he still belly swung at parks.

Finally, out of the blue, just about a month ago, when the spring rains had tapered off and the sun had dried the wooden swing seats, he tried our swingset. On his butt. Seated. It was amazing. He took it slowly, again building up his courage and tolerance for the feeling of flying, of a flip-flopping belly, of risk.

Today, as I gave him the “super mega push” he requested for the millionth time, I remarked to him how proud I was to see how far he’d come, how much he had accomplished since we moved to this house. I said, “Now, you are swinging, jumping off, walking on the grass in your bare feet. You are so amazing.”

He downplayed it a bit, tried to convince me he had always walked around in his bare feet (so not true). He does that. He likes to rewrite history.

“No, baby. You did all of that just in the past month or two. You have developed.”

“Mom” he says, shaking his shaggy orange hair and letting it catch the wind as he flew back, “I did it…what is the word for what I did? For doing something great?”

“Victory? Accomplishment?” I suggested.

“Victory! I had a victory. Now I can swing and walk barefoot.” His gorgeous gap-toothed smile was so sweet.

“Haha! Yes! You had a big victory, baby.”

That’s just the kind of day it was. Just a little piece of it. It was cool.

Blogger Update

Today we are rejoining the blog! I say “we” because Gus is now joining me as a blogger himself!

Gus would like to say hello and he’s excited to be blogging.

G – Oh, and if you didn’t know I like poo and pee as well.

OK, where do we start? Well, it’s been over four years since I last wrote in this blog. Life got busy. I did inundate my Facebook friends with all of my Gus stories, but they love him, too, so it’s all good.

G – I have this video game called ALAN WAKE. It is very creepy. Mostly my dad plays the game while I watch.

Gus is now 6.5 years old. He likes doing parkour in the house, swinging on our swingset, playing Minecraft, watching YouTube (I LOVE YOUTUBE, like Gizzy Gazza), Legos, playing at parks, playing games, and going to the beach.

G- i like hot dogs i like hot dogs AAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDD PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPIZZA.

G-i lost my most annoying tooth recently now i have 3 more teeth that NEED to come out.

That’s it for now!

Method to my Momness

Not doing a great job keeping up the blog. 😦 The class I’m teaching is taking up my solo nighttime hours.

Gus is going through a great phase right now. He is making a visible transformation from toddler to kid…leaving behind so much of the baby as well. I have pangs of longing for the baby he was, but mostly I am glad we are seeing such a balanced, sweet child appear. He is fiery and fearless, but kind and considerate. Great mixture.

I notice that the more responsibility we give him, the more calm and focused he becomes. He thrives on being trusted and expected to do things for himself and help out. A 21/2 year-old who cleans up his dishes, feeds the pets, and puts away groceries will be a five-year old who enjoys some responsibility and expects to make his own contribution, I figure.

This is not to say that he doesn’t do things that make me crazy, or that he’s a perfectly behaved child. We wouldn’t want that.

What we want is for him to express himself, understand himself, and  like himself, while developing a sense of his connection to others, to the earth and to the universe. Quite a lofty list of goals, I think. Whew.

Well, we’re working on it. We help him identify his emotions, name them and let him know it is okay to express them. We also try to teach him that he must consider how acting on his feelings affects others – like not hitting when he’s angry, for example.  So he says “I can be angry” but is learning not to throw tantrums.

What else? We try to tell him honestly how we feel – angry, happy, sad – as much as we can. He likes to explore these different sides of mommy and daddy. He goes, “Mommy, do you want to be sad/happy/a nice mommy?” etc. “Nice mommy” if he knows I am not too happy with his behavior. 🙂

We focus a lot on joy and celebration in our home. We are not always joyful, but boy do we strive for it. I believe we can make every day joyful if we focus on doing so, and not on the reasons why not. Anyone who has children and does not rejoice in them every day…that is beyond my ken. It is like having your own little joy machine, a joybot. 

This week is planting and gardening week for us…pretty darn excited.

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Joy and Pain. Sunshine and Rain.

Life with Gus is to me what I imagine a safari might feel like. It is sometimes very quiet and serene, lulling me with the most peaceful feelings of contentment. It’s often heartbreakingly beautiful. Out of this calm then comes a huge burst of intensity, often surprising and sometimes scary. A toddler’s uncontrollable takemetocrazytown rollercoaster of emotions. Whew! If it wears me out this much, I can only imagine what it does to him. No wonder he still takes naps.

Gusisms for today:                                                                    

On a nighttime walk, I suggest we bring the flashlight for Gus. He uses it to look for poop on the sidewalks. When he sees something that looks promising, he shines his light, saying, “Is that poop? Nope, it’s a pinecone.”

On same walk, we were looking at the stars, JJ was carrying Gus, and Gus asked me to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” This led to all of us singing and walking and viola! One of those moments that are so perfect you will always remember. I point out the lights of the city visible ahead and Gus says, “I’m going to sing to the lights.”

Gus is playing with toys in the evening. I start a little game we often play in which we recite part of one of his favorite books back and forth to each other. It goes:

Me: Whatcha doin’? Gus: Cleanin’ up. Me: Why? Gus: ‘Cause it’s bedtime.

So I said, “Watcha doin?” Gus replied, “Pickin’ my butt and eating it.” Completely deadpan. Then he walked over to his kitchen, ignoring me, and proceeded to “cook” while I laughed hysterically for five minutes straight. I wondered for a minute if I should be worried about his penchant for gross language. For a minute. No longer. 🙂

Gus goes up to Big Mama (our tiny chihuahua), kisses her on the head, and says, ” I love her.” He does that often these days. I think he just fell in love with her recently.

This morning, we cuddled on the couch under a blanket, Big Mama on one side of me, Gus on the other. He pats the blanket: “Where’s Big Mama?” I lift it to show him her little form curled up against me. He says, ” She is such a cute little dog.”

Gus is full of sweetness. He is also full of little boy energy and sometimes aggression. He runs around the house screaming, plays soccer or football endlessly, jumps on the trampoline or couch for hours, throws himself around like a daredevil, tries to climb everything, jumps on us, runs and tackles us, climbs on us, sometimes tries to topple the dog from her perch,  throws fits when he does not want to do something (“Please, no! Please, no!” or just “No! I don’t want to ____!”), cries when we don’t let him flush the toilet no matter who used it, etc, etc, etc…

He’s awesome.

Stories

At bedtime in our house, we usually read some books and then, once the lights are out, we tell stories. Gus has a thing for this character named Tyrone, a boy-moose from the cartoon Backyardigans. So he always asks, “Do you wanna tell a story ’bout Tyrone?” This has been going on for months. Sometimes he asks for a specific storyline that I previously invented, as in, “Do you wanna tell the story ’bout Tyrone and the circus?” In our stories Tyrone has a best friend named Gus.

I used to hate making up stories – before Gus. I always thought I wasn’t good at it, that I lacked the imagination or inspiration needed to come up with something worth listening to. But somehow with Gus, it’s easy for me to just let go and let my imagination take us wherever. He is so good at not judging the quality of the plot, or the believability of the characters. Together, we can go on journeys through space, on a picnic, to a farm, or to the circus.

It is a special thing to have someone believe in you as much as a child does.

Elephant & Piggie

Our New Love

On our recent Portland trip, we spent quite a bit of time at Powell’s Bookstore. We try to always stay in the Mark Spencer Hotel when visiting PDX (home of my heart), in part because it is a block from Powell’s (and also 1 1/2 blks from Whole Foods, which is doubly great ’cause the hotel features kitchenettes).

On this trip, we discovered Elephant & Piggie. We got the book featured here and I am sure we’ll be getting more. Gus is hooked. By which I mean he has to have me or his daddy read the book three or more times in a row.
And he recites the lines afterwards. The book and Gus are waaayyy cute, so this is great fun for me. Also, Gus has a thing with books where he asks for more than what is written. As in, “Do you want to tell a story ’bout the food?” He maybe picked up this habit because I try to elaborate on the books we read, naming the items in the pictures, and proposing sort of “back stories” or having behind-the-scenes type discussions. So, for Gus, the story can change and develop over time, as we read the book, and speculate on what the characters are thinking, or doing, or, in the case of this book, where they got the food for their picnic.

A New Blog

I have a blog. I never use it. This is my new blog. I hope I use it. I began a blog a couple of years ago with the best of intentions…you know how that goes.

Now, though, I find I have a lot to say – or at least I have a lot of things on my mind – about parenting a toddler. About parenting in general. And about boys. And raising them.

I hope to get some of those thoughts down. And also to share all of (or some of) the amusing and amazing things my son does without driving my Facebook friends crazy. I am sort of obsessed with wanting to relate every cute thing he says. Like most first-time parents, I guess. Only I am an ONLY time parent. This is it for me. And I want it to last. So I think recording every moment may help. It’ll be kind of like I have someone out there who is just as interested in my son as I am – and his father is. I guess his Aunt Rachie, and maybe a couple of other people are, too.

But, in my mind, Gus deserves a wide audience, because he is just that entertaining. So this is his blog as much as mine.