Thursday, February 9, 2017

Parenting Though the Stages

It's a fact of parenting that kids are going to grow.  Somehow it keeps happening faster than we expect.  Luke LOVES watching old videos of himself and we do that almost daily.  I'm constantly amazed at how those days feel so long ago (Not speaking full sentences!  Not walking!) and also like they could be last month.  Our kid is growing up pretty fast, no matter how we feel about it.

And part of that growing up is constantly having to adjust for his new skills and abilities.  While my life feels pretty constant, his is constantly changing.  Knowing when to stop the sippy cups, knowing when to potty train, knowing when to night potty train, knowing when to put him in a big boy bed, knowing when to stop naps, knowing when to change bedtime, knowing when he should start working on letters, knowing when he can start doing chores around the house.  Things seem to be constantly changing in his life and therefore in ours as well.

A friend told me, early in our parenting journey, that her Mom told her that as soon as you figure your kid out for their current stage, they are going to change.  Which is completely true.  As soon as we adjust to one reality with Luke, he's ready to move onto something else.

I think we are a little guilty of holding on to stages longer than necessary.  Part of that might be because there is no younger sibling pushing him out, we didn't need a crib for a baby so there was no harm in keeping Luke in it longer (also, contained for naps...a BIG reason he was in his crib until 2½).   I'm not always so fond of change and like my routines, which means I like Luke in routines.  The idea of getting up at 3am to take him to the bathroom...not something I look forward to, even if the reward of him staying dry at night will be worth it in the long run.

We currently are working on writing letters and giving him more responsibilities (loading the dishwasher, cleaning up his own spills, etc.).  We stopped his beloved sippy cup at the first of the year (my strong preference for him drinking mostly milk is my excuse for holding on to that one for so long).  We've also been making some changes to his big boy room.  It's been slowly evolving ever since we took him out of the crib, very slow considering that was almost 18 months ago.  We're very good at slow progress.

I shared the headboard we made for him last summer, using our old backdoor and scraps from my Grandpa's workshop (I later found out that the top piece likely came from my Grandparents' church when it was remodeled ~20 years ago.  Meaning, it was a piece of the floor in that church for my Grandparents' and parents' weddings so many years ago.  How incredibly cool is that??).  I sewed a hammock for his animals (they rarely look this arranged, mostly all thrown in). 

I made a (super rare for me) stop at a thrift store to pick up a bunch of frames for his wall.  Spray painted most of them (the white ones are new from Target) and filled them with "art".  The green one with the dinosaur?  That's a dollar store frame, new in plastic, I got for 99 cents instead of $1.  I was saving BIG money on that one.  There's a picture from our beach trip, one from New York, and the Statue of Liberty which Luke has a fascination with. 

He really likes putting different Star Wars "guys" on top of that one.  He has two Han Solos, two Luke Skywalkers, and an Anakin watching him sleep.  We also replaced all the glass with plexiglass since they are hanging over his head.  So far, the only time they have come down is when a little boy has torn them down during destructive "quiet" times.  Which, luckily, hasn't happened in months.  It looks pretty basic but that wall took months to put together between finding frames, art, replacing the glass, and getting them hung!

The most recent addition is his name which he painted on a GORGEOUS 60° day in January.  It has yet to find a place on the walls but I'm ok with it here for now too.  You may notice the white cracks on the monster bank...some destructive quiet times can be blamed for that one too.  (Now that I've written that twice...I am starting to question the whole "quiet time" concept given how destructive it repeatedly is...)  

It's fun for me to see his room evolve as he grows and I take pictures of it every year for his photobook.  I'm constantly (probably too often) adding more books and I don't even mind switching out his clothes too much as he outgrows pieces.

I look back fondly on the videos from two years ago when he was barely talking (not talking back) and just so sweet.  We're in a completely different stage now but I'm learning that this growing up thing has plenty of benefits too.  Like a kid who can actually help unpack groceries and is genuinely hilarious on a daily basis.  He tells me I look beautiful when I'm asking Matt's opinion on outfits.  He gives me hugs and tells me he wants to hold my hand.  I might miss those innocent baby days but these talkative, opinionated, hilarious times with an (almost) 4 year old are pretty great.  As tough as the changes in routine might be, it's usually worth the adjustment.  (But not giving up quiet time.  I am nowhere near ready for that one yet, destructive or not.)

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