Entering Toddler-dom … Again

I can’t really say I have a toddler and a baby anymore. I have a kid and a toddler now. They’re growing up faster than I can handle. Days are just flying by – every day they can do something new. They’re both learning two languages – English and Swahili and nearly every day at least one of them says something I had no idea they knew how to say. It’s crazy and mind-blowing. I can hardly deal with the fact that I have a KID now! Not a toddler anymore …he’s almost 4 and a half and starts school in just over a month! 😦 And I’m quickly realising I don’t have a baby anymore in my youngest…it’s happening – he’s entering toddler-dom.

Toddlers are very interesting little people. Personalities are forming, likes and dislikes are very apparent (they make sure you know), and they’re in discovery mode ALL. THE. TIME. They want their little (or loud) voices to be heard all the time, even if they can’t really say much yet – you should be able to understand what they want from various whines and grunts and pointing. It’s a difficult thing I would think – knowing what you want but not being able to make those crazy adults in your life understand. At this point the temper tantrums make their entrance. Small at first – a single scream of frustration but before you know it your toddler is lying on the floor screaming uncontrollably. They don’t want to be pick up but don’t you dare just leave them there on the ground! All of this because you took them off their older brother’s bicycle which they can’t ride anyways. Oh the joys. The parenting joys. It’s all part of the ride. These moments are when you need to say to yourself:

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This too shall pass – faster than you could ever imagine. I remember my now-kid throwing temper tantrums – and while he still does have the odd break down (he’s only four) for the most part he’s outgrown that phase (and entered the constant question asking phase). It goes by too fast. Period. That’s what I try to remind myself when my new toddler is having a freak out of epic proportions on my kitchen floor. Soon he’ll be running off to school with his big bro and I’ll be the one crying in my empty, quiet kitchen.

The Toddler Take-Over

Yesterday my toddler took over. It was a terrible toddler day.

I don’t generally have a terrible toddler. I wouldn’t label him that way. Generally speaking he’s quite a good little boy, especially for his age. He has normal moments of toddler break downs, or not listening or testing the limits but most of the time I have to say I’m quite pleased with the little boy he’s becoming. (Despite me).

Yesterday however was not a general-type day. It was a “who stole my precious little boy and replaced him with this crazy, screaming, temper tantrum-throwing child!?!” It is a day I would like to just forget about but I am reminded by just how exhausted I feel today.

But then this morning he woke up and was his cheerful smiley self again, just like nothing ever happened. (I was a little worse for the wear).

Toddlers are funny little creatures. I don’t fully understand them (if I did I think I’d have far fewer moments of wanting to rip the hair out of my own head). Their emotions change at the drop of a hat; they can literally be laughing one (forget minute) – SECOND – and screaming and crying the very next for no apparent or discernible reason. They are learning to speak and can actually communicate a lot of things, but still much of the time choose to cry or whine or scream to get your attention.They get tired but they fight it at all costs. They ask approximately one million questions per day. Instant gratification is all they know or understand and it’s very hard teaching them to wait and be patient for anything. If you ignore them they will keep getting louder and louder and louder – until you acknowledge them.

But for all the tiring and annoying and frustrating things about toddlers – there are some good things too…

Their laugh is infectious (sometimes even when you’re trying to discipline them)! They say wildly amusing things on a daily basis. They are entertaining – dancing, singing, playing. They are constantly discovering new things, constantly learning and growing. The “I love you Mommy’s” (especially the voluntary ones) make your heart melt every time. The hugs and kisses (even wet ones). And just the fact that you know ALL of this won’t last so you better enjoy it while they’re small.

And that is what is comes down to for me. Even when I have days like yesterday when everything feels like a lost cause with Ezra – I am always aware that it will end. Soon he will be big. He will be off to school all day, every day. Soon he won’t want to hand out hugs and kisses so quickly. So I need to embrace the moment we’re in – tantrums and all. The good with the bad, because I know all too soon it will be over and I’ll just be left with an (hopefully) amazing young man and the memories.

What are some of your Toddler stories – Funny and not so funny?

Road Trips with a two-year old

I haven’t been near my computer in over a week for two reasons. 1) My power cord died and I couldn’t find a new one here for a while (but I ended up getting one given to me for free! Score!) and 2) we took a road trip and were away for a few days. Overall the road trip was fun but it was also very tiring. We drove 8 hours there (it’s only 500 km but because of the roads, frequent 50 zones with speed bumps and police stops it takes a good 8 hours) to visit a friend. We were there for 3 nights, 2 days and then drove the 8 hour trip back to Dar es Salaam. But it wasn’t just the driving, see we of course, took along our little guy (he’s approaching two and a half). This isn’t unusual for us – we take him everywhere. He was a world-traveler at 6 weeks when we took him to Kenya from Canada to visit family. He is literally two weeks old in his passport picture. And truthfully he’s always been quite a good traveler, even as a baby. Maybe he just got used to it. And for the actual driving part he maintained his good reputation on this trip, but then something crazy happened. Somewhere between when we left and the next morning after we’d arrived, someone took my beautiful, easy-going, happy toddler and replaced him with a crying, screaming, temper-tantrum throwing, terrible TWO-YEAR old. I don’t know whether it was the traveling, lack of sleep or his cold (which is the NEVER ending cold – he’s had it for weeks now) – but he was definitely not himself.

Everything was the end of the world our first day there. He dropped his truck. Tears, screaming, throwing himself on the floor (slightly dramatic I think for a dropped toy – but I KNOW – he’s two). And he decided he didn’t want to walk anywhere ALL DAY. Now you have to understand carrying him for a little bit wouldn’t be that bad except he’s not a dainty little kid. He’s HUGE. He’s easily the size of many three-year olds. He’s heavy! You try carrying around (not piggy-bagging mind you, no no, he didn’t want that) a 33-ish lb toddler on a two-hour walk around town! Not fun. (I must admit my husband did most of the carrying, he’s stronger and also has more patience than me which was a good thing that day).

Ugh. Just thinking about that day is exhausting. But we made it through, managed to keep him up all day and he konked out early that evening and had a good 12 hour sleep. Consequently he was much happier our second day there. We also borrowed a carrier thing (I don’t know the technical term – see photo below) the next day which made our hike/walk MUCH easier. I thought we would have trouble getting him to stay in it without complaining, but he seemed to like being carried around – what a life! I wish someone would carry me around in something like that.

Trip to Iringa June 2013 106

Anyways, with the crazy grumpy-ness of day one behind us, day two was great! We went on a couple hikes in different places around Iringa and it was beautiful. A nice change of scenery from the sand, crowds and craziness of Dar. We also had a great visit with our friend who is teaching there. (So thankful she put up with Ez’s screaming for the better part of day 1 – although it’s not like she had much of a choice).

Trip to Iringa June 2013 247
Just to prove I carried him for a while!

Trip to Iringa June 2013 118
Beautiful view from the top of where we hiked to just outside Iringa Town.

All I know is this road trip has made me very apprehensive about our upcoming trip to Nairobi to visit my husband’s family. We are going to drive (flying is ridiculously expensive) and it’s not 8 hours but 14-15 to get there! All I can do is pray, drug him with gravol and hope for the best! Hopefully his cold will be gone by then at least!

So why do I do this? Why do I take my two-year old on crazy long road trips? There are several reasons really…

1. I have no money. (Flying is usually not an option, too expensive)
2. Leaving him behind, while tempting is not really an option either.
3. Just because I have a kid doesn’t mean I can now never go anywhere ever (and if it does, I just refuse to accept that!)
4. I feel like in the end it will be good for him to travel, to have different experiences, even as a little kid – to see new places, meet new people (hopefully I don’t lose my sanity in the process).
5. Traveling is just kind of built into our lives. My husband is from Kenya, I’m from Canada, we live in Tanzania. No way to escape it!

So I just needed to vent, but the traveling will continue. It’s just the way our lives are and most of the time I love it! And I suppose he’s been so good with the traveling all of his life, he’s about due for a bad trip.

Potty Training Progress at Last!

I am very excited to report that Ezra seems to be getting the whole potty training process. While I admit that I was ready to quit after he went through 6 pairs of underwear in less than 4 hours on the first day — I am glad we stuck with it. Two weeks into our full-time potty training endeavor, he seems to understand the process and is excited when he does well and “keeps dry dry” (his words).

Yesterday we hit a milestone – his first full day (completely – since he didn’t go to daycare and therefore didn’t where a pull up) with absolutely NO accidents! He kept his underwear dry all day and went successfully on the potty; he even told us a few times when he had to go! So consequently I am a very happy mommy.  Potty training is no easy task and I was fully prepared that he might not get it yet (he’s two and four months and sometimes it takes longer especially with boys I have heard). However I am thrilled that he is doing so well! Of course he still wears diapers at night and pull ups at daycare for now, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel – no more diapers! (That is until we decide to have another little munchkin and start all over again! LOL) But hopefully in between we will get a short break from changing diapers and at the very least I will not have two in diapers at the same time, which I am very grateful for. To all the moms who did more than one kid in diapers at the same time – BLESS you! You’re AMAZING!

You never know how it’s going to go before you start, so I am so grateful that for us it’s been a fairly typical not-so-horrifying experience. I am happy that Ezra has been able to learn at his age, while it might be earlier than some he’s a big boy (two and a bit but looks well over three) so the sooner the better! You can’t place a number on these things. Every child is different; some kids are ready to go before they’re even two, others can be almost four before they really commit to the potty-going. I guess as parents we have to learn to go with flow a little bit and realize that they WILL go on the potty EVENTUALLY.

Very happy that our “eventually” seems to have come now. And while I know there will still be accidents and he’s still new at it, at least the foundation has been laid and I know he’s ready and he understands. Hoping that this will be the beginning of many more “accident-free” days!

*Celebrate the small victories!*

Mommy Musings

My poor little guy had a rough day yesterday for a two-year old, for anyone really. The day started out well. He has a little cold but it hasn’t seemed to damper his spirits, he’s still been happy – and no fever so I’m happy.

We were headed out to church for a meeting, Ezra was outside seeing us off and all of a sudden he starts screaming at the top of his lungs! I recognized the cry immediately – he was hurt. So I ran over to him, he was grabbing at the back of his neck…low and behold there was a bee still attached to him, stinging him. So I swated the bee away, picked him up, put some ice on the sting and just held him for a while. Poor little guy. Not fun at all, especially if you’re two and you don’t even know what has happened! He doesn’t know it was a bee, all he knows is it hurts! He finally calmed down, and it didn’t swell bad, so at least we know he’s not allergic. Ezra has had a lot of ‘firsts’ here in Tanzania. He took his first steps here, said his first words, got chicken pox here (the week we arrived!), and now his first bee sting. Gotta take the bad with the good I guess. He survived. It was enough to stop my heart for a beat though! I hate that moment, when he starts screaming and I know he’s hurt but I don’t know what’s happened! That’s a scary moment for a mommy. He woke up last night with a nightmare, I’m not sure if he was re-living his bee sting or what, but it took us about an hour to calm him down and get him back to bed. 😦

I know I can’t protect him from everything, nor do I really think that’s good for him — in my head. In my heart I just want to hold him and never let go and protect him from every kind of hurt for the rest of his life! Being a parent is one of the most amazing and challenging things I’ve ever experienced. In the end I just pray God helps me, because I only want the best for my son, but I know that I’m flawed and things will never be perfect. He will get hurt. But as he grows I just hope I’m able to equip him well enough that he’s able to bounce back from those hurts stronger and braver.

This morning I dropped him off at Daycare for the morning…he was having a rough morning and I had to leave him crying. 😦 Hard moments for mommies. Even though I know he will calm down and end up having fun, because he always does, it’s still so hard to leave when he’s upset. I have to force myself. Because in the end he will be better for it. He will know that he can surivive without Mommy (even though I don’t want to ever admit that) and he will know that I always come back for him. He’s growing up! Not a baby anymore – such a scary and exciting thought all at the same time for me.

Ahh well. I’m enjoying the toddler phase while I can, since I know it won’t be long, if fact I think I will blink, and he will be a kid, all grown and heading off to school!

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