Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mommy monsters and other conversational oddities

So kiddo wakes up one morning and immediately -- before he can possibly get dressed, even -- starts to tell me about the big boat. "And it crashed into an iceberg, and it broke in half, and all the pieces fell into the ocean, and all the people got dead."

"Um. Do you mean the Titanic?"

"Yeah, the Titantic. And the driver -- "

"No, the person who drives the ship is called the captain -- "

"Yeah, and the captain got dead too."

My son, James Cameron.

I couldn't figure out where he'd learned about the Titanic, since it seemed not precisely age-appropriate to his class, and I don't think he's scored a Netflix account recently. My friend M., whose daughter is in his class, reported to me later that she'd stopped by the classroom for something and had noticed kiddo building a large boat out of Legos. She complimented him on it, and then he told her about the Titantic, and the iceberg, and how all the people got dead. M., slightly flabbergasted, asked the teacher if that was really the sort of thing the kids should be learning right now.

We figured out that another kid in their class had brought in a book about the Titanic, and that had been kiddo's source material. So ... good memory skills, sweetie!

I suppose it's not any worse than his explanation for why you have to look both ways before crossing the street: "If you don't, a car will run over you and you'll turn into a skeleton. Then you have to eat another little boy to turn back into a boy."

I swear we have not shown him one zombie movie.

It got even weirder a few days ago. He was throwing his usual "I don't WANT to go potty and you can't make me" fit, refusing to go upstairs, refusing to pull his pants down, and finally I snapped and really yelled at him. Because the word "saint" is nowhere in my name. And frankly, if you're going to pick something to throw a power-play tantrum over, why would you pick bathroom breaks? Is needing new pants and underwear really worth your moral high ground?

The next morning he told me all about the mommy monster. She came out of her cave and went into his classroom and came after him, and tried to drag him away, and then he kicked her in the face and tied her hands and she got dead.

"Uh huh," I said, wondering, should I take this personally?

He went on to explain that I am not the mommy monster, that the mommy monster is in fact a monster. I told him it still isn't nice to kick people in the face.

And then later that day, we were sprawled across the couch together when he looked down and suddenly said, "Mommy, is that your penis?"

Uh .... what?

I had to explain to him that women don't have penises. He didn't make the connection between women and Mommies, and asked again. I said that boys had penises but that girls did not. "But what do you have?" he persisted, and I somehow managed to avoid answering the question. Because really, I didn't think we were going to be tackling that until, oh, grade school? How about college? College okay on that one?

DH, by the way, found the whole exchange five kinds of hilarious, which means that 11 years from now when kiddette gets her first period, I will be making him explain the whole thing to her. Ha!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

No. Sleep. Till. Brooklyn!

Or at least I'm assuming that's the song running through kiddette's head these days. Not that she's ever been to Brooklyn. But she's taken a firm no-nap stance for several weeks now. Which would be fine if she didn't actually need the sleep, but since she's a weepy, hormonal little mess every single evening, clearly she does.

She drops a toy, she cries. Her slipper gets jostled loose, she cries. She drops a piece of pasta at dinner, she cries. She has to stop watching "Phineas and Ferb" so we can eat dinner, she cries. Basically it's non-stop sobbing from school pickup to bedtime. Just imagine how much more enjoyable that makes dinner conversations.

Weirdly, she still naps for us on the weekends, at least eight times out of 10. (Although she didn't on Sunday. But Grandma and Grandpa were here, so the excitement might've kept her awake.) I figure she needs total silence and isolation to nap, and she can't really get either of those at school. Instead, she tries waking her little friends up so they'll play with her. Teachers: I am deeply sorry.

This is yet another way in which she's the polar opposite of her brother, who needs to listen to his favorite CD in order to go to sleep. He's been listening to this CD every night for several years. In fact he likes the first song so much, he'll yell through the bedroom door for us to come back in and replay the song for him. If he is somehow still awake toward the end of the CD, he'll yell for us to restart it. If you're thinking this is incredibly annoying, you are correct.

I just don't get all the fuss. I would love to have naptime. Every single day. I would save so much money on chocolate and caffeine.

They're both pretty good, actually, about staying asleep once they get there. There are no midnight wanderings or unexpected parental bed visits in this household, which I know is not the case everywhere. So once they're both down for the night, we can legitimately relax. I mean, after the dishes are done and their lunches are made for the next day, and laundry, and ironing, and cleaning the bathrooms etc., we can relax. And after I take kiddo for his late-night potty run so we avoid a.m. accidents. OK, basically we don't relax. But we could, is my point.

My real fear here is that kiddette is trying to ditch the nap altogether. And that would be bad. She'd be a weepy mess every single day, and I would never get anything done on weekends. Basically a lose-lose all around.

I hope she changes her mind. Either that or she and I can swap places for a few days. I'm sure she would do wonderfully at meetings. And I could nap!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My son the Angry Bird

I can't say I begrudge him his love of "Angry Birds." Or "Where's My Water?" I grew up on video games. The big Hanukkah present for us one year was a Nintendo. I had some moments of giddy euphoria trying to beat all the levels on "Super Mario Bros." And defeating the final big bad on "Legend of Zelda" gave me a strange sense of accomplishment.

While I was commuting into the city, I used to take my Game Boy Color on the train and play "Tetris" -- with the sound off, making me that much more considerate than every jackass around me conducting a cellphone meeting at 7 a.m. "Hello! Hello! Did you get my memo? What? What? We're going into the tunnel, I'm going to lose you!"

And let's face it -- I didn't just download the iPhone games for kiddo. I especially like "Water," even though it's so much harder than it looks, because the little gator is so goshdarn cute.

So I'm not really worked up about kiddo playing the occasional game app. His spotty concentration skills seem much more concentrated when there's a screen involved, and an interactive thing like a game has to be better than watching TV.

I did not, however, expect him to start live-action role-playing.

He decided one night that he was an Angry Bird, the pillows at the other end of the couch were pigs, and he threw himself across the couch to smash them. Fortunately he did not 1. smash the couch or 2. smash his head on the hardwood floor. No word on whether he rescued the eggs.

He decided this week, while I was on the phone with my mother, that the phone cord was in fact an Angry Bird slingshot. He proceeded to back up into the cord, then launch himself through the kitchen, the living room, the foyer, the family room and back into the kitchen. Several times. No idea whether any pigs were destroyed, but the phone conversation definitely took a beating.

Really, I love that he's so imaginative. Except that sometimes I don't.

Obviously he needs more ways to blow off steam. My cousin says a small trampoline works for her son, but I'm a little concerned about floor space. She also suggests loading up a small backpack, calling it an "explorer pack" or something similar and having him tote it around for a while, and I think this is genius because it's sneaky exercise.

I have checked out a karate studio nearby, and that's still an option, but it's a slightly pricey one. Haven't tried the indoor soccer place yet. There are a couple kiddie gyms -- thanks to all the birthday parties we've been to, I think we've sampled nearly all of them -- but for some reason I feel like an activity with very structured rules would be good for him.

The real problem is, by the time I get home from work, I'm just about out of energy (let's say I'm down to one bar) and he has just as much as he did when he woke up (let's say he figured out the cheat code and now has endless lives). A more awake me would have some sort of creative way to rein him in. The actual me sits there morosely and thinks, "Just ... please ... stand ... still."

We'll figure something out. In the meantime, we've warned the Angry Bird to fly a little more carefully.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Something's fishy

So as we continue the endless wait for the hospital evaluation to tell us whether kiddo does in fact have ADHD or is just exhausting and occasionally maddening for no good reason, I've been doing some minor (very minor) research. Minor, because I'm trying not to obsess. I have a talent for that. (I just spent the past three or so days flipping back and forth over whether I should get my hair cut, or keep growing it. Current decision: Cutting it.)

Several sources suggest that fish oil helps brain function and could therefore be beneficial to ADHD (see here and here and here), although the evidence doesn't sound conclusive. To sum it up: Might help, couldn't hurt, sure why not? Our first pediatrician, who was this interesting blend of holistic and mainstream, had recommended giving fish oil anyway, on general principle, back when kiddo was a baby. Which I did for a while, except he would spit it out and then his outfit would smell like fish all day.

And there lies the problem with fish oil: It smells like fish. You can't really get around that. The brand I'd been using is "strawberry" flavored, meaning it tastes like strawberry fish. Yum yum!

I got a supplement in "chewable" form at the vitamin store, thinking maybe it would be easier to take than the liquid form. Then, to be fair, I tried it myself. It's gross. "Chewable" means it pops fishy liquid inside your mouth. I knew kiddo was not going to go for this, but it was $23 for heaven's sake so I gave it a shot anyway.

Truly I am psychic. He hated them. Wouldn't touch them. I tried forcing them down his throat once, but decided that was not a long-term solution (or an especially nice one). Then I resorted to pricking the little balls open with the kitchen shears and letting the liquid trickle down into his orange juice. Which he caught on to in about, oh, two seconds, and complained. Also, the shears stank.

I tried another vitamin store and perused the nutrition labels on the kiddie DHA supplements. There are non-fish options available, but the liquid brand I'd used before appears to have the highest DHA/EPA content, so I went with that again. Because he wouldn't spit it out this time, right?

Actually he didn't. I put it in his orange juice again, and told him I'd done so when he asked about it, but this time it didn't bother him. Different enough taste, I guess. "I like this vitamin!" he announced. Hooray.

So we'll see if anything actually happens. In the meantime, I'd been meaning to get on a fish oil supplement myself ... and we've got most of a bottle of the little chewables left ... sigh.