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My biggest motivation (photos included)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Before I answer yesterday's emails and go around and visit my Spark friends, I wanted to make a blog post about my wonderful Little Guy :) (I'll make a post about my wonderful Big Guy later!)

This pic is a few months old, and doesn't show his curls off nearly as well as the next one, but the pose is perfect, and it really does illustrate his personality best :)

This is from Father's Day, and it shows off his curls AND his obsession with anything that resembles a telephone. Yes, that's an ear of corn. He picked it up off my plate and kept saying "HELLO" into it. He sort of has a thing for phones. We don't get it either.

Darling Son (DS) is 20 months old and is the funniest person to ever cross my path. He tries to imitate my husband and me in pretty much everything we do, so we've vowed to be the best role models we can be. DS actually ran a race a couple of months ago -- maybe that was the motivation I needed to start the 5K training -- and was so proud of his medal that he carried it around the house for a week, before I made him hang it on his bulletin board.

Now he tears through the house saying "Run, Run!" and pretends to get down in the starting position. It cracks up everybody, and I think he's actually excited about the idea of racing. I know he wants another medal, so I'm constantly on the lookout for children's dash events. Meanwhile we "practice" sprints in the backyard, which lasts until he gets distracted by the dog demanding he throw (or at least wave around) a frisbee.

When I get home from my day job, he meets me at the door, usually to tell me something about his morning. ("Boon died" is a common example. Yes, the balloon died (fell flat.) I get to hear about this pretty much every day.) After chasing him into the kitchen, we do our "Lifting" exercise, where I deadlift my baby over my head. :) (Hey, at a squirming 30 pounds now, that's not easy!) He giggles and counts with me as I count out the reps, and I swear that's helping him learn his numbers. I hear him counting things through the day, and he usually gets the number right! I'm impressed. He actually does know some of his colors too, but if you ask him what color something is, he ALWAYS answers "red" first. lol.

DS LOVES food. But not just any food. Usually just the food I'm eating. :) I had to stop letting him eat from my plate because he would eat half of my meal! Now he gets his own plate, and fie on that baby food stuff! He wants Daddy's home cooking! (I don't blame him.) We made most of our own baby food until he got teeth, and I used the normal spices we cook with. He went crazy over cinnamon squash, but hated sage. Now he's okay with sage, but refuses sauces of any kind. Since Daddy is the king of reduction sauces, he has to make a separate plate for DS, which actually works out well because I can feed him, then enjoy a hot meal myself while I roll the occasional blueberry to DS to keep him occupied.

My son loves fruit and veggies. He likes salad too, if it's chopped fine enough. He will steal all the tomato out of my salad, and I think he's trying to learn to like yellow peppers. (He keeps asking for them, but ends up spitting them out.) He chews on baby carrots, but won't actually eat them. I end up finding them, days later, in the couch or under a chair, dried up and wilted. He loves to lick hummus off the carrots, but gets mad when I won't let him "double dip." Lol. "Beanies" (steamed green beans) are his favorite veggie, and if he doesn't get at least a handful with dinner, he won't eat what other veggie we put on his plate. He also refuses mixed vegetables. But once the corn, peas, and carrots have been separated into their respective piles, he's all over them. Yeah, he's weird like me.

"Cheddies" are his new favorite snack. That's black cherries, in case you don't speak toddler. We have two small problems with them though: they have to be pitted first, which I usually have to do, and he gets the juice all over him. After a snack, he looks like a vampire who's been feeding, with dark red stains all over his mouth. Blueberries are our "please be quiet and let me eat in peace" snack. I roll a few to him (if I give him a bowl, he tries to pour the whole thing in his mouth) on his tray and that keeps him quiet for about 30 seconds. He usually wants "down" the minute he's finished with a meal, but since we eat together, he has to learn to stay in his chair. (When I do let him down, he tends to get into trouble -- flushing the toilet repeatedly, getting all his clothes out of his hamper, or taking food out of the cabinet and "hiding" it. That's his new favorite game: hiding things. Sigh.)

In the spring we were both "strolling" for about an hour a day, me in my walking shoes and him in his stroller. I would take along a large water bottle and stop periodically to offer him water, while I said "Momma needs to hydrate." So now when he's thirsty, he'll sometimes say "hydrate" which cracks up his grandma. In July it started to get too hot for him, so now I walk when he's asleep, unless he specifically asks to go stroll, which he does on some days. I point out the colors of the flowers and try to teach him about nature. Always on the lookout for bunnies, he points out dogs, cats, squirrels, and the fleeting shadow of a bunny running under a bush. Constant vigilance is required on these walks because he has a tendency to throw things out of the stroller: a pacifier, his water bottle, a shoe...

I'm trying to do what I can to raise him healthy, happy, and harmonious with the world. He loves animals, although he's started trying to hit the dog over the head with stuffed animals, and we can't seem to discourage that enough. He will randomly come up to people and announce "huggles," whereupon he lunges at you at squeezes you in a bear hug. If you ask for "kisses" he turns his cheek to you so you can plant one on him :) (He hasn't figured out proper kisses yet, although he does sometimes do what we call "open mouth kisses" where he unhinges his jaw and comes at your face, trying to press his lips against your also-open mouth. It's weird, but it was probably my doing.)

He does get snack-type treats, and he's crazy over ice-cream, which he just calls "yummy." We don't give him too much because when he gets a head rush he freaks out. The kid also likes dark chocolate. Go figure. We give him a couple of the Sesame Street vanilla cookies as a treat for drinking milk (he hates cold milk, so we're working on gradually lower the temperature.) What's funny is that when he wants a cookie, he'll come up to me all casual-like and ask "Cookies all gone?" with his best innocent expression. I laugh and say "no cookies aren't all gone" and give him one. He's so slick. :)

His favorite things in the world are his stuffed puppies, his books, and his music. And of course his swing set. :) He just started getting to watch Elmo DVDs (I was against TV for babies, but caved when I saw how much music and educational stuff is in Elmo's show.) So now we get to relate what he sees on Elmo to real-life (sharing, walking the dog, gardening, etc.) He's crazy over books, and is now at the stage where he wants me to read the same one over and over again. (I have most of his books memorized by now, it's true.) We make bi-weekly trips to the library for new material, and this is his second year winning the Summer Reading Program contest. :) Momma so proud!

I think his favorite place to be is in my lap, or sitting next to Daddy on the couch. He loves to sit on my lap and listen to his music, watch Elmo, or read books, and sometimes he'll let me read to him from whatever book I'm reading, or whatever is on my Kindle. I adore my Kindle, but wanted to make sure my son saw me actually reading books, so for the last year I've been reading actual paper books. Sometimes I end up reading the same sections more than once because another one of DS's favorite games is to take my bookmark out and move it. I thought I was getting senile for a while, until I realized what he was doing ;)

It's funny because when we thought we were going to be childless for the rest of our lives, I think I had pretty much settled into acceptance. It made me sad because I thought I could be a good mom and a good role model, but there are some things in life you just have to adjust to. We gave up trying so hard and I guess God or the Universe or whatever decided, "Now is the time," and Wham -- PREGNANT!

Yes, I'm an older mom. (If I never hear the term "advanced maternal age" again, I'll be thrilled.) So my energy level may not be what it was 20 years ago, but age and experience makes up for some of that, and honestly I think I'm healthier and more active NOW than I have been in those previous 20 years. Being the kind of mom I always imagined I would be is hard work -- but that's my motivation. I felt a responsibility to him first, but then I realized that was actually also a responsibility to MYSELF. I have to keep myself healthy and happy, so I can be healthy and happy for him, so he in turn can be healthy and happy.

It wasn't my choice to give up soft drinks. It was DS who looked at my 44-ounce cup from the gas station and said "Coke bad." (I guess he'd heard me say "these things are so bad for you.") When he scolded me, I realized just exactly what kind of example I was setting -- and what kind I wanted to set.

It's weird to say that I learned something from my toddler, but actually I learn from him every day. I learn the importance of taking care of ME, so I can take care of him. I learn the simple joys of rocks, playing in the water, or smashing a blueberry against my tongue. I learn how to say no while saying yes to something else (VERY handy when you're watching calories or making sure your child has fun without hurting someone else.) Mostly I learn the art of being in the moment, of living in the NOW, and enjoying every second of every day -- using every second of every day to be a better, happier, more successful person, not accepting defeat, pressing on, and absolutely positively being in total and complete love with the two people who mean the most to me in the universe, and who are my biggest motivations and biggest fans: My Guys! (Little and Big).
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