Monday, August 26, 2013

Conversations with Batman: On Rocket

Poor Rocket. No wonder you’re such a cranky dog sometimes...

October 12, 2011
Jacob, 2 years old
Tonight Jacob carried his snack, a bowl of shredded cheese, down to the living room. A few minutes later he came back up:
Jacob: I made a mess downstairs.
Me: What did you spill?
Jacob: Cheese.
Me: Are you going to clean it up?
Jacob: No, Rocket’s going to clean it up.

October 30, 2011
Jacob, 2 years old
Trick-or-treating has changed. Apparently you don’t have to say “trick or treat” anymore, or even a simple “hi.” The new way seems to be running up to the door, grabbing candy, and leaving. It’s just as well, I guess, since it gives Rocket less time to try to escape the 2-year-old tiger terrorizing him. More than once he tried to make a break for the open door.

November 1, 2011
Jacob, 2 years old
Home with Jacob and Rocket today. Jacob is terrorizing Rocket as usual, chasing him with the motorcycle and dump truck. He prefers the dump truck though. Why? Here’s what he told Andy a couple weeks ago (as he was parking his motorcycle and getting the dump truck out): “This motorcycle makes Yaya (Rocket) go slow, but this dump truck makes Yaya go fast. Because Yaya barks at the motorcycle but runs from the dump truck.”

June 16, 2012
Jacob, 3 years old; Drew, 5 months old
Rocket: What happened, Drew? I thought we were friends.
Drew: Well that was before I got better at using my hands.
Rocket: Why does that have to change anything?
Drew: Because your fur looks so soft and I’d really like to pull it.
Rocket: (sigh) I had such high hopes for this one.

August 8, 2012
Jacob, 3 years old; Drew, 7 months old
Jacob to Rocket this morning: “I’m sorry that Drew tried to pull your fur out. But you scratched Drew and that’s why we had to put you outside. But I still love you when you do naughty things.”

August 10, 2012

Jacob, 3 years old; Drew, 7 months old
Jacob is playing chase with Rocket right now. For Jacob, it's a really fun game. Rocket, on the other hand, is running for his life.

September 20, 2012
Jacob, 3 years old; Drew, 8 months old
“I really love Rocket. Even when I drop food on the floor and he gets it too fast and I’m mad at Rocket, he knows I still love him.” – Jacob

November 1, 2012
Jacob, 2 years old; Drew, 10 months old
After months of planning, trial-and-error, and being thwarted at every turn, Drew finally succeeded in tasting Rocket's dog food. Was it everything you hoped for, little bud?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lesser known sleep advice for children

Everyone thinks that people like Dr. Marc Weissbluth, Dr. Richard Ferber, and Dr. Sears are among the experts of sleep advice for babies and children. Well, here in the Langdon household we like to make our own rules.

The other day Jacob accidentally took a nap in the car while we were out running errands. (Dr. Weissbluth would say that if your kids fall asleep in the car it means they are overtired -- so we're already in dangerous territory here). Now, Jacob stopped taking naps about a year ago, so of course that night he didn't want to go to bed.

For awhile, we played whack-o-mole with him. He would pop out of his bed. We would put him back in. Usually his appearances would come with some sort of feeble explanation. "I need a book to look at." "I need another book to look at." "My water cup is empty." "My blanket is on the floor."

Perhaps at this point, we should have given up. But, still, we persevered! All those birthday parties at Chuck E Cheese's growing up had to pay off somehow, right? So we whacked our little mole back into bed a few more times until finally he came up with this one: "Can I have breakfast early?"

Now, this was around 10 pm. Andy and I just looked at each other and laughed. And that's when we pulled out the getting-your-kid-to-sleep big guns. Oh yeah. We're talking major parenting strategy here.

"Are you hungry, Jacob?" Andy asked.

"Mm hmm. I want pancakes," he said, coming downstairs with us. "Or actually, maybe I want chicken nuggets."

"Do you want me to take you to McDonalds?" I asked. Am I a sleep nazi or what?

"Uh huh."

So we got in the car and drove to McDonalds. On the way there we played red light green light (we'll leave that explanation for another post). On the way back I told Jacob sleep stories from when he was younger.

"Do you know that when you were a newborn you hated riding in the car?" I said to him. "You would scream every time we drove anywhere. So the first time we took you to Brown Grandma's house, we left  at 2:30 in the morning just to make sure you would sleep on the way!"

"Tell me another story about when I was a baby."

"Well, one time when you were about Drew's age, you woke up late at night and didn't want to go back to sleep. Daddy and I tried for hours to get you to go back to sleep, but you just kept crying. We thought it was no fun being awake in the middle of the night at home, so we took you to iHop, which was a lot more fun."

"Tell me another story about when I didn't want to sleep."

"Well, that same year when you were about Drew's age there was another night you didn't want to sleep. I had taken you out to the sunroom to play with you until you got tired. And as we were playing, we heard a noise tapping on the window. I was nervous because I didn't know what the noise was. So we went to the window and checked and saw that it was just cicadas crashing into the window!"

"Now tell me a story about when I was two."

"When you were two, we moved you into your big boy bed, but we weren't sure if you needed bed rails or not. So we decided to let you try to sleep without the bed rails. Well, one night I heard a loud thump. I was wondering what it was, so I went to check on you and guess where you were? You were on the floor! You had fallen right out of bed and were sleeping on the floor with your blankie."

"Now tell me a story from when I was three."

"Okay, this is a story from when you were almost three. We were taking a trip to Chicago and we had brought the pack n play with us for you to sleep in. We were worried about letting you sleep in the big bed at the hotel because we thought you would fall out. When we set up the pack n play, though, you were so sad about not getting to sleep in the big bed. And you had big tears in your eyes and said, 'Maybe I just try the big bed?' So we let you and you loved it! And you didn't fall out all night."

By this time we had arrived home and Jacob and I went back in the living room where Andy was waiting. Andy got the chicken nuggets out of the bag and handed them to Jacob. Jacob took one little nibble and then just sat on the couch starting to zone out.

"Are you tired, Jacob?" I asked.

"Mm hmm."

"Just finish up your chicken nuggets then and we'll go to bed," Andy said.

"Actually, I'm not very hungry yet. Let's save them for later," Jacob said.

We laughed, put the food in the fridge, and the kiddo to bed. So there you have it. A step-by-step plan for getting your kid to sleep, courtesy of the Langdons.

What's your most unusual sleep strategy?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dear Netflix, please update your category names

You've probably seen movies classified as comedies, dramas, action flicks, etc. Well, that's not the terminology we use in our household right now. Every day, Jacob is allowed to watch 30-60 minutes of television, usually in the form of a movie or TV show on Netflix. When it's time to choose what to watch, here is how our conversation usually goes:

"What one should I watch? New, old, or the same?" Jacob asks.

"How about the same?" I suggest.

It's worth noting at this point that I have no idea what "the same" means in terms of a movie category. Is it the movie we watched last time? Is it a movie that's not too new and not too old? How many movies fall under this category? I'm really not sure.

"Aww man, the same? Why?" Jacob asks.

"I don't know. How about new?"

"But we watched new last time."

"Okay, how about old."

"You can only pick one choice."

"You didn't like the first choice," I say. "Why don't you pick if you don't like it."

With a dramatic sigh, Jacob says, "Fine. We can watch the same."

So, Netflix, maybe take some notes here and update your movie categories. I'd really like to know what "the same" means.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Bear stew and other delicacies

Reading stories before bed tonight, Jacob and I had the following conversation:

Jacob: Are brown bears the biggest animal in the world?

Me: They're the biggest animal in our country.

Jacob: I want you to take me to see a brown bear so we can attack it and then have bear stew.

Me: Well, bears are pretty dangerous. I don't know if that's a good idea.

Jacob: We'll just put out some red meat and then while the bear is attacking the meat, I'll jump on its back and stomp on it.

Me: It would still be dangerous because bears are very strong with sharp claws. And we don't want to hurt animals. It's true that we eat some animals, but only what we need. The rest of the animals we should leave alone.

Jacob: Why?

Me: Because they're creatures like us, so don't you think they should get to live on the earth?

Jacob: I do, but bears are carnivores and they attack other plant-eaters and carnivores, so that's why we should attack them.

Me: They do eat some animals, but they usually only eat as much as they need, too.

Jacob: But I've never eaten an animal.

Me: You've eaten cow.

Jacob: No I haven't!

Me: Beef is cow. And you've eaten buffalo. And chicken.

Jacob: But I've never eaten... (leaning in close and lowering his voice)... bear... (whispers) or giraffe... (whispers more softly) or elephant.

Me: Um, no you haven't. Let's keep reading.

So... who says kids are picky eaters? Should I be disturbed? Or should I pat myself on the back for raising a child with adventurous palate? I guess I shouldn't be surprised from the kid who tried lutefisk and chicken feet as a baby.
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