Saturday, August 9, 2008

Has anyone missed me?

I honestly didn't intend to make my break so long but we've also had some unforeseen computer hassles. For awhile we were having real trouble with our internet connection. That was a pain in the neck, particularly because we didn't know if we were missing important emails, but all is well now. And then for a few weeks, I found I had a bit of what I can only call "blogger's block" during which I could hardly think of anything I thought worth saying. But now I'm back and will update with what we've been doing.

Blake and his naughty antics have been taking up a lot of my energy. He's our youngest, at 4 years old. Just lately he's been a real challenge. His older brother and sister, although they had their naughty moments, never used to throw such enormous tantrums and never dreamed of doing some of the things that he's been doing. For starters, my in-laws popped in one day when Blake didn't feel like seeing them. So he decided to flop on the floor and scream so loudly that none of us could hear anything that anyone was saying. I hauled him into his bedroom for some 'time out' but when I returned to our visitors, he started bashing and thumping the walls with anything he could lay his hands on. (Daddy, by the way, wasn't home for any of this. Although these hissy-fits appear totally spontaneous, Blake seems to choose his moments well.)

My mil suggested that he wasn't 'normal'. Perhaps we need to totally eliminate all possible chemicals and sweet foods from his diet, she thought. He might have some sensitivity to particular 'triggers'. I thought this sounded reasonable. However, when we thought about it, I wondered if it was really true. Many of those children I've heard of seem angry and uncontrollable at all times, or perhaps more consistently than he does. And Blake can be very docile and sweet when it suits him, with a very long concentration span. On the flip side of this long concentration span, he can keep his tantrums, crying fits and sulks going for far far longer than the other two ever used to. No, it seems to be plain bad temper. My older kids even said that he'd make a perfect case for "Super Nanny" and I think they were only half joking.

Another of his tricks has been to open the front door (because he's just worked out how to unlock it, drag over a chair and slide off the chain too), dash outside and race up the footpath as fast as he can. And he runs like an Olympic sprinter. Logan, Emma and I have really had to puff and pant chasing him down. But he grins and giggles. This one seems to be his little joke. Now that he can open all restraints on the door, I don't like it much. I've been trying to impress on him that running away could be dangerous.

I told some friends at our fortnightly Bible study that if Andrew and I had decided to call it quits with two children, we'd probably think we were quite good parents! I got quite a lot of encouraging feedback. Some of the children of others, who are now grown older, used to be very similar to Blake, they tell me. I was very relieved because these kids are now polite, well behaved members of the community.

So for now, we're just getting through this stage with him and trying to be consistent. If it's Emma's turn in the front seat, I'll just let Blake do his block in the back rather than caving in and letting him sit in the front for the sake of peace and quiet. Because that might be one of the factors that has turned him into a menace at times. In the past, I've often heard Logan tell Emma, "Let Blake have the biggest piece (or whatever) because he makes the biggest fuss if he doesn't get it." Definitely worth putting up with loud tantrums from him at this current time rather than having a complete obnoxious young man in the future. We're trying to explain each situation he objects to calmly and then not reinforce his behaviour with too much attention. But if these power struggles are what he's capable of, I feel sorry for the little girl he'll end up marrying. We'll have to persevere with lots of prayer and trust that he'll break through his 'nice person' barrier one day too.

Having said all this, he's very cute and smiley. Nobody sweeter when he's in a happy mood. I guess that's another of his weapons.

Another thing that's happened is that we've got a baby guinea pig. Emma found out that some friends of hers had a little male, Red American guinea pig (I think that's what they said he is) to give away, and she pleaded for him. So Andrew built a good sized hutch and we now have Bamboo as a new member of the family. I don't really know why she called him that but she wouldn't consider any other name. What's surprised me is that I've taken such a liking to him myself. Some readers of my blog may know of my extreme aversion to mice and rats. Yet this little rodent, who I admits looks very rat-like except for his wider nose and lack of a hairless tail, is charming!

I'll also mention that last night we watched the Olympic Games opening ceremony and it was so magnificent, I'm still thinking about it. Beijing put on a flawless show! Emma, who currently has a fascination with anything Chinese, and has watched the "Mulan" movies over and over, was spellbound. I love opening ceremonies. They're almost breathtaking enough to wait four years for. We're very interested in the Games in our family. One of Emma's little friends told her, "I don't know what all the fuss is all about" and Logan's opinion when he heard that was very gruff and sharp.

Watching the athletes parade is a very good experience for kids to understand just how many different nations our world contains. Emma badly wanted to see our own team walk in and I told her that she could, but they turned out to be almost last out. I think only China, the hosts, were behind them. She was getting very bleary-eyed and cross as it was getting closer to 1 am. It reminded me of watching our Christmas pageant when the commentators keep saying, "Santa Claus isn't far away." Last night it was, "The Aussies aren't too far now!" and we found out they were 202nd! The rest of us were having fun identifying the world leaders and athletes (especially tennis players) from the other nations.

This has been a particularly long blog post, so I must have a lot to make up for. I'll catch up with others this afternoon and I'm REALLY looking forward to that as I've missed you all. Will keep our eyes on the Games and no doubt share thoughts about them.



  1. I missed ya.
    :-) Glad your back and have all the internet problems fixed.

    We're just now watching the opening games. And I'm bleary eyed...and the US just went through. The commentators just make it dull. ;-)

    Blake sounds like E. She's going through a VERY naughty stage. I'm sure she'd take over the world if she could get out the front door.

  2. Chuckling, because having nothing to say doesn't usually stop me from posting! Sometimes just the act of writing gives me inspiration.

    You seem to be knee-deep in what my aunt calls the fearsome fours. I remember them well with Sierra. I think being the youngest adds to the intensity. I was the youngest, and I was pretty intense in my tantrums. You are doing fine with holding your ground, it's a hard stage, but it is only a stage when you handle it correctly. And think of all the exercise you're getting from chasing Blake down the road! Physical education--check!

    Peace and Laughter,

  3. Your Blake story sounds so familar. Only it was my middle son. At four he decided he no longer wanted to dress himself. Keeping in mind that he could already read and do some writing. So we compromised and I undressed him and he was to get himself dressed. After 45 minutes of SCREAMING the first day and 35 the second, his 6 year old brother finally got him dressed. The third day I told him he was going to grandma's naked if he wasn't dressed when I came back from loading the car and he was dressed.

    The second (but not only) memorable time he was 9, we were at a park in a VERY small town in ND where we were serving as pastor, and I had to take him home SCREAMING and yelling at me like an adolescent girl on his bike ALL the way through town to the parsonage on Main St. Looking back it is a little more amusing than it was at the time. LOL Stand your ground, it does get better.

    And as a rodent-phobic mom who had a pet rat, it is amazing what we will do for our kids isn't it?

    Glad you're back!

  4. Glad you're back! I can totally understand the 'Blogger's Block' as I've been suffering some of that myself. (Who'da thunk it possible? lol.)

    Blake reminds me of a day when George was around that age. He was an Amry man, through and through. One day, he decided that his legs had been blown off therefore couldn't walk. We had to go and I couldn't get him to get up. He insisted his legs were gone. This lead to him dragging himself, on his belly, across the field to the Jeep, then only using his arms to drag himself up into his seat.

    Thank goodness, his legs were back and working once we got to our destination, lol, because I don't think the managers of the stores would have appreciated a small child dragging himself down the aisles.

    Hang in there and try not to let him see it getting to you. Sometimes, just losing the audience kills the performance.

    Glad your back!


  5. Yes, we missed you! I'm glad it was only computer problems, not something more serious (I tend to worry sometimes!) Good to have you back!

    It's late here, so I'll comment again when I'm not so tired.

    God bless!

  6. It's me again (it's not so late tonight!) About Blake ... it does sound like he's learned how to get his way by acting up so badly. Which is a normal learned behavior by a lot of kids, usually the smart ones! Undoing this behavior is tough but it sounds like you are dealing with it. Anything learned can be unlearned, right? (In a perfect world, I suppose!) I hope his running-way game will lose it's appeal soon. Is he afraid of anything? Fear can be a powerful teacher. Alec is afraid of dogs - he wouldn't dare go out in the street without one of us, as there are some dogs in our neighborhood. I've never had to worry about him leaving home! On the other hand, when Carmen was 3, she appeared on the other side of our fence, in the street, one day when Todd and I each thought she was with the other. Yikes!

    I will pray that the Lord will give you the strength, wisdom and firmness to teach your son what he needs to learn. Parenting is the hardest job there is, I think.

    Take care,