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Archive of ‘Landon’ category

Five & so much more

At the end of October my son, Landon, turned five. Since I dedicated my last post (one of only 7 blog posts I’ve written this year!) to his siblings’ birthdays, it’s only appropriate that he gets a post, too.

But, it’s tough.

You see, this year has been really rough on my little family. A big part of why I’ve stepped away from blogging is due to the stress I’ve experienced from several areas of my life. I guess I’ve been so overwhelmed that my love of writing and photography has just sort of died… or at least moved to the very back burner. Sad, huh?

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Look at my beautiful, bright, blue-eyed, magnificent child, Landon Drew. Just looking at that photo fills me with so much love it hurts. It also fills me with worry and a bit of sadness. You may remember near the start of this year I wrote about overcoming struggles with him and how we had finally found our way and that four was a miracle age. Well, I spoke too soon. I really don’t want to go into details, but we have been on quite the behavioral roller coaster ride with this guy. We finally got in with a therapist near the end of summer and got some answers and we are slowly making progress. Bit by bit I am starting to better understand who my child is and what he struggles with each day.

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Landon at five years old is stubborn, oh so stubborn. But he also has a big heart and the goofiest, most entertaining personality, too. He loves doing puzzles, playing dress up, irritating his baby brother, potty humor, cooking (he seriously makes the best scrambled eggs!), sweets, and going to school. This year Landon is in a preschool class for “barely 5’s” and goes for 2 half days and 2 full days each week. This has been a great way to get him ready for next year when he will start kindergarten (!!!). Landon has no desire to participate in any organized group sports or activities yet, but loves playing baseball and football with Dad in the backyard. He’s got a pretty mean throw! Landon stands out in our family with his blue eyes, thick lashes, and shaggy golden locks (which he took scissors to the other day, resulting in a buzz cut and tears from his momma). This kid is my wildcard, but I wouldn’t have him any other way.

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When He Pats My Back

Building a close relationship with my 4-year-old son has been a journey. Don’t get me wrong, from the moment I felt those first kicks in my belly I loved him fiercely and when I held him in my arms for the very first time, I knew he would have my heart forever. However, as a parent you quickly learn that while you technically do hold all the control in the parent-child relationship, you really have no control. If your 2-year-old decides that it is his life mission to refuse to wear socks and shoes, chances are he will be going shoeless that day.

I’m going to be real honest and admit that a year ago I thought something may be wrong with my son. Either that or something was seriously wrong with me as a parent. The terrible twos were beyond terrible and three was in a completely different realm… like who came up with ‘terrible twos’? Two was NOTHING compared to how terrible age three was. There were many nights where by the time I got all three kids to bed, all I could do was drown myself in tears. And the thought of dealing with what we went through that day again tomorrow was almost enough to turn me into an alcoholic. Instead, I spent a lot of those days commiserating with my mom friends who also had difficult toddlers. And I got really familiar with the stares as I carried my barefoot 3-year-old kicking and screaming over my shoulder with no coat on in the middle of winter to pick his big sis up from school.

I hit some of my parenting lows during those rough days with Landon. I said things I never could have ever imagined myself saying when he was just a sweet new babe in my arms. I raised my voice more times than I’d ever like to admit. I thought things that no parent wants to admit thinking. And I’m telling you all of this because I think it is 100% completely normal and now that we are on the other side of the terrible/horrible/horrendous twos/threes, I can say that it will get better. If you are in the throes of it now, stay strong. Pull out all the love you can find in your heart and pour it out on your sweet, monstrous child. Under all the tantrums and the stubbornness and the seemingly utter dislike towards you is still a perfect little God-given creation.

Today Landon and I have a very special bond. We’ve worked through more things than my first born and I ever had to. I now better understand his personality and what he needs and he better understands how he should behave and how to communicate in a way that benefits all of us. Growth is a miraculous thing. The age of four has been a game changer. Whereas a year ago it was at times like a war zone during the bedtime routine, he now sweetly asks me to carry him up the stairs on his way to bed. Every night as his little legs and arms are wrapped around me with his head on my shoulder, he gently pats my back as I carry him up. Some nights I can’t hold back the tears of happiness thinking just how far we’ve come in his four short years. He loves me. He really, really, really loves me. And the love I feel in return is so heartbreaking… in the best way possible.

Threenager

It’s a beautiful morning. The sun is streaming through the windows, the birds are chirping, and the kids are laughing over something as they eat their breakfast. As I run around getting stuff ready to take Leila to school, I glance at the clock. Oh good, we are running early today! So, I slow down, relax a bit, and around our normal time to head out the door, I round the troops to get jackets and shoes on. Leila happily obliges, tying her own shoes and everything. When I approach Landon with his socks and sneakers I get, “NO! I DON’T WANT TO!” 

In an instant, I know that my seemingly happy, easy-going day is about to go downhill. I regret taking some time to slow down and relax as I know we will now be frantically running late. Every persuasive technique, bribe, and threat fails to convince Landon to put on his shoes and socks to take his sister to school. So, I load his sister and baby bro into the car and proceed to chase Landon around the house, eventually throwing him, with bare feet and coatless (it was 30 degrees out), up over my shoulder kicking and screaming. Getting him buckled in his carseat is like tying down an angry bull. There are scratches and tears and sweat and lots of frustration. The car is filled with high-pitched screams as we make the 2 minute drive to school and the whole time I’m wondering, “Why me?”

Nothing makes me long for the days of dealing with the newborn sleepless nights and diaper blowouts and unexplainable fussiness more than dealing with a 3-year-old. All this talk of the terrible twos, but I tell ya…. three is no walk in the park. Landon is seriously like a sassy teenager trapped in a 3-year-old’s body. After he was born, I thought I’d have years and years before experiencing any rage or hatred against me. Unfortunately, at least once a day he pushes me away and yells, “Go away Mom!” Are you for real kid?

I finally got around to putting together his baby photo book the other day (yes, I’m lame). While sorting through photos of Landon as a baby, I had tears streaming down my face. What happened to my sweet, little, innocent, chubby baby? Where’s my little guy who couldn’t get enough of his momma? Parenting is tough in ways I never anticipated. Watching your children grow and develop their own personalities is amazing, and fascinating, and utterly terrifying.

But, ya know what? While there are days when I want to put up a Craigslist ad to find a new home for my threenager (no joke, the other day Leila asked, “Mom can we have Landon adopted?”), there are still far more days where I can’t get enough of him. And mixed in with all of the no-I-don’t-want-tos and mom-go-aways are still a whole lot of precious moments where he’s still my baby – moments where he curls up in my lap and looks up at me with those big blue eyes and smiles… and I know I’m his world. Even if he doesn’t always show it.

THREEEEEEEEEE!

I know I keep bringing up the cruelty of time, but I seriously feel like I can’t keep up with the ticking clock! Yesterday my firstborn son turned THREE. His birthday came and went in the blink of an eye and I totally wasn’t prepared for it. Between his big sister starting school and his baby brother rocking his world and taking away any smidge of undivided attention from him, my poor Landon Drew is heading for a serious case of middle child syndrome. Luckily, I rallied at the last minute to deliver him a birthday full of special treatment – lots of sweets and lots of loving.

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I can’t believe that THREE years ago I was in the hospital meeting this little man for the first time. I’m already getting details from his and Roman’s birth mixed up in my mind because they seem like they only happened days apart. Thank God I have this blog to help me remember special things about each of my children.

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Landon Drew at age three is the funniest, quirkiest, short-fused little bugger I know. Sometimes Andy and I make eye contact while watching him and I know we’re both thinking, “Where did this kid come from?” And the funny thing is that we know he 100% came from us because we’re both pretty weird.

Things I never want to forget about Landon at just 3 years old…

  • He walks on the balls of his feet and frolics wherever he goes. He’s got a spring in his step that just makes ya smile.
  • He HAS TO do everything himself (he says, “My do it!” for “I’ll do it!”) or else he will throw an epic tantrum. And you don’t want Landon to throw a tantrum.
  • His favorite thing to do when I tell him to go play with his toys is get his big stuffed Mickey Mouse and his little stuffed Mickey Mouse and go roll around with them under the covers in Mom and Dad’s bed. Cracks me up.
  • He loves airplanes and is constantly on the lookout for them in the sky.
  • He loves when his dad and I pretend to be monsters and chase him around the house. This is his #1 request throughout each day.
  • He loves play-doh and will play with it for hours.
  • Obsessed with playing with the iPad (we now keep it up on top of the fridge).
  • Favorite foods are beef jerky and mac n cheese.
  • Favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
  • He likes to blow raspberries on my stomach – something he started doing when I was pregnant with Roman and now still will do periodically out of nowhere.
  • Loves to wear his bright blue sunglasses whenever we go anywhere in the car.
  • Landon also loves to make his baby bro smile and thinks it is just the most hilarious thing when he does.
  • He’s an early riser who climbs in bed with us at the butt crack of dawn and snuggles for a while until he can’t take it any more and starts bugging us to wake up.
  • He worships his big sister and listens to her better than his dad or I. When he gets hurt, he cries for his “Diddy” (aka “Sissy”).

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I could seriously go on and on and on about each of Landon’s little quirks, but it wouldn’t do him justice. This kid brings me so much joy and grief all at once. One minute he’ll have me rolling with laughter and the next I’ll be pulling my hair out when his good mood flips to very bad in the blink of an eye. He’s smart and athletic (yes, I already know he’s going to be a star athlete some day) and loving and gentle and rowdy and rough all rolled into one adorable blue eyed little boy.

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This kid has my heart. In three years he’s already taught me so much about love, about patience, and about my own self worth. Knowing that I helped create something as intricately beautiful and complex as him is all the proof I need that God exists.

Adventures in Potty Training: Round 2

After potty training Leila a few years ago I decided that potty training was my least favorite thing about being a parent thus far. Trying to convince a little person that they should stop doing what they’ve known and are comfortable with for the whole of their life and instead sit on a big, scary potty/toilet isn’t easy. And then once you convince them to sit on it, getting them to actually go is another issue. And then when they finally do go, getting them to do it again and again is the next problem. And so what many parents claim to be something you can do over a long weekend actually turns into a training process that takes several months. No thanks!

So basically, with Leila it was such a long drawn out process that I vowed to wait until at least 2 and a half  before even starting the process with my other kids. And when Landon turned 2.5, I was still dreading it. And with a new baby on the way and other life stresses, we decided to push it back a little bit longer.

After we got adjusted to life with a new baby in the house, and I was pretty much stuck at home anyway, I decided it was time to get going. I didn’t have a big, fancy plan for how I’d do it. I just bought a bag of M&Ms and decided to wing it. Landon was 2 years and 10 months old.

Right away I discovered that Landon wanted nothing to do with the little potty on the floor, so we went straight to the big pot. I think having a big sis that he follows everywhere and wants to mimic was the push with this. So, we started sitting him on the toilet periodically and what do ya know, the kid started peeing on it! Pee = M&M caught on really quickly and he was a pro in no time. The best part? After Leila was there to witness his first potty success and watch me give him (and her) an M&M as a reward, she was ALL about getting Landon to pee on the toilet (so they could get more sweets). Yes, my 5-year-old daughter took over potty training her brother! No joke! I got him to go initially, but she took over and kept on him about sitting on the toilet and getting him treats when he’d go. She was right there coaching him along for his first poo on the pot and everything! Ha! Leila’s tip for pooping success? Set up the iPad and his favorite show and just hang out on the toilet for extended periods of time. It worked!

An experience I dreaded with every bit of my being ended up being easy. In a couple weeks Landon will be turning 3 and he’s pretty much completely potty trained during the day (pull-ups at night). We’re still working on getting him to go in public restrooms (I don’t blame him for not wanting to), but he’ll hold it for a good couple of hours at least. So, so proud of him.

Here’s what I learned in Round 2 of potty training – some knowledge I’d like to pass on to you:

  • It’s not necessarily true when they say that boys are harder to potty train than girls.
  • If you have an older child, utilize them in the potty training process! The little one may just listen to their older sibling more than you.
  • Bribery and treats work. Find something that will motivate your kiddo.
  • If they like to sit on the big toilet, ditch the potty chair. It’s so nice to not have to clean that thing out.
  • Don’t expect potty training to happen over night, or even over a long weekend. To me it’s a gradual process that shouldn’t be rushed. If you have low expectations to begin with, it’s a much more enjoyable (ha!) process.
  • Utilize technology! I say all of your usual rules about sweets and TV watching can go out the window when it comes to making potty training a happy experience for your little one.
  • Get ideas from other resources, but don’t expect what works for one person to work for you. You really have to just follow your little one’s cues. If you want ideas on different potty training methods, check out an old post I wrote for Daily Mom: 6 Popular Potty Training Methods.

Ahhhhhhhh, I’m so happy I’m down to one kid in diapers. I can’t even fathom the day when Roman is potty trained… by that time, I will have been changing dirty diapers for about 7 years straight! WOW. 🙂

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