Thursday, May 29, 2008

"No way, Jose"

They call them the terrible twos....whoever they are. As we entered this season of “2”, I thought to myself, “What a pessimistic view of such a precious stage! I mean, sure, it has its challenges, but terrible? No”. I still consider it a precious stage. However, I am beginning to understand the attachment to the word “terrible”. One of the American Heritage Dictionary definitions of this word is “Extreme in extent or degree. Intense.” Yup – that’s it. By this definition, we have the TERRIBLE twos!!!! The past couple of weeks have seen an elevation in sheer will and obstinacy. Caleb’s favorite time to act up is when I am on the phone. Here is an example. Jumping on the couch is forbidden. In fact, standing on the couch is forbidden. However, as soon as Caleb sees I am on the phone – bam. I look over and he is bouncing as high and buoyantly as possible on the couch. When I sign a firm “no” to him, giving him the evilest eye possible....he looks at me, smiles and bounces even higher. He knows that his actions will result in a time out at the very least, spanking and losing privilege at the most...but....he jumps on.

His favorite phrase, hence the title of this blog, is “No way, Jose”. He uses it in joy, in anger, and in sadness and frustration. Commonly in the middle of a tantrum, while crying and sucking in deep breaths you will here him say, over and over, “No way, Jose....No way, Jose”. It is as if he is rebelling even against himself.

I hear that all children test their boundaries in some way, shape, or form. Well, I’m pretty convinced that Caleb’s preferred method of boundary testing, is taking a running jump and leaping at the boundary, testing it again and again to make sure it is still there. The good news is, my parent’s say I was also a strong willed child. I’ve been there, done that. Jason also is a rock. The wall cannot be moved. He has encountered a formidable boundary indeed. (Woe to the parent who is not likewise strong willed!!!)

Meanwhile, boundary testing aside, Caleb is developing in leaps and bounds. It is amazing to think that just 7 months ago or so, he was only saying a few words. He is now talking in complete sentences and beginning to use logic in his thought processes and communications. For example, if you ask him if he wants a spanking or time out, he will say “nothing”. He is frequently pointing to things and saying “Mama (Papa), what’s this?”. A favorite game of his is to listen to your answer, then tell you “No!”. When then asked what it is, or what it is doing, he will create a rather humorous answer. He is beginning to get jokes and laugh heartily at silliness in books and stories, even anticipating consequences, saying “Uh oh”.

He is mimicking like crazy. Every word out of your mouth must be measured, for it will be coming out of his the next minute. But outside of instant replay, we are seeing evidence that our daily lives and decisions really do matter as he puts together the pieces of his life puzzle. For months now, Caleb has ended all of our family prayers by saying and enthusiastic "Amen". Very recently, in the past few weeks, he has begun charging into saying the prayer himself. It goes something like this: "Dear God, Watch over Papa. Keep his [him] safe. Let our lil light shine. In Jesus name, Amen." A few days back, when an ambulance went by our house, I remained quiet instead of asking Caleb if we should pray for the people. Sure enough, I hear him in the living room say "Dear God, Watch over the people. In Jesus name, Amen" I can't begin to describe the joy that brought to a mother's heart. My mom says that we used to do that when I was little. Honestly, I don't remember it. But I do know that I have always done it. I just didn't remember starting the habit. I hope it is the same for him.

Little Emet, meanwhile, grows brighter in countenance each day. Just looking at him produces a smile so happy and wide that one could burst with joy. His chubby cheeks, and pudgy legs and arms make for such a sweet picture. He is an incredibly happy baby, though going down for naps or being ignored for too long can definitely bring on some whining. I definitely understand all of what is said about second children not getting as much attention, especially when you have another toddler. Caleb is so demanding of my attention and Emet so patient that he often ends up stuck in his jumper or excer-saucer for up to an hour until he starts whining. He does seem to be endlessly entertained, however, with what his big brother is doing, and when taken out in the yard (again, usually parked in his exer-saucer), he watches us all run around doing our various tasks. He does indeed have is own unique personality though. It is easy to get him to laugh – best by putting your chin into his tummy – you get a literal belly laugh! When laid down in his bed, he starts kicking his legs, both at once in leg-lift fashion up and down, pounding on the bed. His little eyebrow twitches when he is curious about something or initiating play. Recently, he has also begun drinking water out of a cup (we hold it) and grabbing the spoon as we feed him solids. 2 oz per half hour is the rule of the day!

Well, off to shower and bed for this Mama.

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