02/25/09

Permalink 11:01:00 pm, by Mary Email , 109 words
Categories: Growing Up Ivan

The Spiritual Answer

Ivan was ready with the spiritual answer tonight on the way to church.

Owen had informed me that he enjoys eating in the van. He has been given this opportunity one time and has since brought it up in order to let me know what a great time he had. I decided to see if he could verbalize why this was so great and asked him to tell me why he liked it so much. He replied that it was fun. I asked him if he could tell me why it was so fun and before he could answer Ivan yelled from the seat beside him..."JESUS MAKES IT FUN!"

02/04/09

Permalink 02:53:15 pm, by Mary Email , 739 words
Categories: Growing Up Ivan

Today

It's funny how an ordinary day can become extraordinary in the matter of hours. Not that anyone else would notice in this case but for Ivan, and me too, today has become special. First of all he had his very first dentist appointment and not only did he walk away with the knowledge of how beautiful his teeth are, he was remarked on over and over for his good patient skills. He was brave and patient and made his mommy very, very proud. He felt like a big boy I think and maybe all that inspired him in what transpired a little later.

The boys and I were eating our lunches and Ivan had stopped eating and seemed to be goofing off so I prompted him to eat. He said, "but I have to go potty." We quickly ran to the potty where he did his deed and then wanted as little assistance as possible with clean up and dressing himself. It doesn't sound that remarkable I know, but really...it's huge. First of all he told me that he had to go. Not that he hasn't done it before, but it's rare and most of his success up to now has been largely due to my prompting him to go and threatening him if he didn't. Secondly, He knew what he had to do. He didn't haphazardly plop himself on the potty or carelessly stand and stare at it waiting for something to happen. He purposefully got himself ready and maintained his focus on what he was there to do. Thirdly, he got himself dressed. Part of my concern with Ivan and how long all this was going to take has been his lack of desire to be independent. He's strong willed and independent in thought, but he wants to be babied a lot. I can't do it forever and I've been so tired of it. It isn't that I can't make him do things for himself. I know what he's capable of and I insist on him doing those things most of the time. But when a capable person forces you to force them to do things...it's very draining. I finally saw that spark of "I can" in him. That desire to move on and be a big boy.

Lord knows I've heard over and over how quickly they change, how we shouldn't push them to grow up and to savor these baby years. I've surely done enough savoring by now. I cannot savor what is flat out rebellion to growing up just because he's jealous of his baby brother, or angry that we moved into a different house. That isn't worth savoring. I'm not talking about wanting to cuddle or crying when he's hurt. I'm talking about obvious hurt and anger that stems from rage for what's going on around him and manifesting in a refusal to cooperate with the rest of the family. I feel for the poor kid. Middle child syndrome and all that, believe me, I know...I was the middle child too. Sensitive and melancholy, deeply wounded by any unfair treatment and wholeheartedly wrong in many of my conceptions of the intentions of my parents and siblings. I do not want for him some of the misery I allowed myself and I desperately want to teach him early the things I'm still grasping now. Give more than you expect back and never treat people fairly...treat them better than they deserve and don't ever, ever, ever expect to be treated at a level you deserve. Be confident in one thing only...that the God of the universe, the God who made a world from the sound of His voice...that God thinks you are INCREDIBLE. None of the rest of it matters. How I wish I could inject that into his brain right now and he could build on that foundation for the rest of his life. For now...I sing Jesus Loves Me and load him up with affection and affirmation and I do not savor his selfish, babyish moments. I battle them as if they are threatening his life. Because they are.

He put the last piece of puzzle in his 100 piece panda puzzle today. He has done so well. I'm almost convinced that he's a graduate of potty training but I think I'll pull out one last challenge for him and see what happens. He's really doing it.

01/14/09

Permalink 11:20:58 am, by Mary Email , 777 words
Categories: Growing Up Ivan

Hesitant Joy

Hesitant because I've been confident of progress more than once before, only to be disappointed.

Joy because Ivan is happy about his progress today. After my post about our breakthrough in potty training in November we hit yet another road block and the frustration seemed to mount to the point of a complete distraction for me. Why did it work so well and then seem to fall apart? Why, why, why? I decided as it came time for Christmas guests and the busy days of the Holiday season, that we should take a break from potty training entirely. We have gone several weeks in just diapers with an occasional pull-up now and then. He has not liked it, but it was a much needed break for me.

I was a little troubled though. I was confused because I felt so strongly that God had led me to put him back in diapers when he wet and it seemed that it hadn't work for very long. Didn't God know that it would only work for a little while? Maybe I hadn't heard from God at all. I think I did hear from God, and like so many things in my life, God has to lead me in steps. I probably wouldn't have made the decision I did over the holidays, had I not first experimented with putting him in diapers as a result of his accidents. I probably would have doubted and questioned God had He just told me to put him in diapers and take a break for a while at the time that He told me to use the other method. I think Ivan needed that step as well.

So, now we have gotten through the Holidays peacefully, Ivan and I accepted our shift back to diapers and have slowly gotten back to the idea of trying underwear again. He wanted to do it right away. He was very tired of diapers, but he continued to wet his pants consistently. I have continued praying about it and an idea struck me last week. I have been struggling the entire time with the right motivation. What motivates Ivan enough to actually be an incentive for him? Not much. He's a take it or leave it sort of guy when it comes to bait. He can almost always spot the hook underneath and as I explained before, he does not like to be manipulated. However, last week I took note of the joy he takes in putting puzzles together. He will sit for long periods of time at the dining room table getting all the pieces together. I realized that it isn't a gift/treat or prize that motivates him, it's a challenge.

I discussed my next move with Kris who agreed with my little scheme and then went to Wal-Mart and picked up three puzzles. I got a 24 piece with Handy Manny on it, a 100 piece with some panda bears and then a big 48 piece floor puzzle with Lightning and Mater. I pulled out a cookie sheet and taped the bottom of a corner piece of the first puzzle (Handy Manny) to one corner. I numbered each puzzle piece so that they weren't in perfect order but that each consecutive number at least matched a piece that would already be placed on the tray. I did all this on Saturday while Ivan was napping. That night I explained to him that we would be wearing underwear to church and probably forever after. And that each time he used the potty to go he would receive one piece of the puzzle. He was very excited and Sunday morning proved to be a good start. We have put all but 5 pieces of the puzzle together since then and had about 5 accidents including three wet bed incidents. This morning I was able to give him a puzzle piece instead of wash his sheets and that was exciting for both of us. He has really gotten excited about the whole thing and I expect to start on the next puzzle before the weekend. The 100 piece puzzle will be quite a challenge on several levels but I plan to give him the floor puzzle as a congratulatory prize once it is completed.

He is in the dining room now, singing to himself as he puts together the 48 piece animal puzzle for the Asia continent in the puzzle book that Grandma bought for Owen a while back. He finished Africa about 5 minutes ago. He takes a long time to get it done, but he doesn't quit until it is done...hopefully we'll see that same determination with this revived attempt at potty training.

12/23/08

Permalink 06:10:49 pm, by Mary Email , 27 words
Categories: Growing Up Ivan

I Knew I'd Forget One

Another thing I've heard Ivan say a couple times that cracks me up is "Thumb-toe". When he's referring to his big toes he calls them his "thumb-toes".

12/21/08

Permalink 07:14:06 pm, by Mary Email , 729 words
Categories: Growing Up Ivan

Ivanisms

I've been meaning to post some of the fun things that Ivan expresses and it is so hard to catch them and get them posted soon enough for my memory to keep the details. Lately I've been collecting them in a Word document in hopes of transferring it over when I've gathered a few good ones.

“I can’t see dem in my nocolurs.” while holding his fists up like he’s looking through binoculars after eating his dinner). I grabbed his hands to wash them…I washed, washing one hand at a time and his light hearted lament followed, “You bwoke my nocolurs.”

“I’m Handy Manny.” (With a straw behind his ear like Handy Manny's pencil)
“Stop cwying baby tools” (talking to his imaginary tool set)
“It’s okay baby tools”

The “How ‘Bouts” He seems to wish to manipulate us but expressing his desires as if they are a really clever idea. He says these things with his eyebrows raised and a squeak in his voice as if he's so excited by what he just thought of.
“How ‘bout I eat on the couch?”
“How ‘bout I lay down on the couch to west and watch Veggie Tales…that would be fun.”
“How ‘bout I put my stwaw in my bowl and drink my milk?” (after finishing all the cereal out of his bowl)
“How ‘bout Owen’s at work and daddy’s at school. And you and me and Aron is at Sunday school.”

Just some things I've heard him say. “I don’t need to pee pee training.”

“I can’t turn the water off, my hands are too drippelly.” (slippery)

“I wanted to go to JC Penney.” (as we’re leaving the shopping center at Providence) We just thought this was funny because we had never thought of Penney's as a place the kids were excited about.

“Get some more box of cwackers?” (When asked what daddy was getting at the grocery store.)

“Wal-mart will sleep in Aron’s room.” (Referring to Owen’s stuffed kitten toy, Sonic, who he repeatedly calls Wal-mart instead of Sonic.)

“I’m happy that you wove me.” (After leaving the train station where he was upset because the “ticket man” didn’t wave at him. I asked him if he was at least happy that he got to see the train. No…he wasn’t…but he was happy that I love him.)

“you are twying to be Noah.” (To a nursery worker wearing a Santa hat at church. All Santa’s are thought to be Noah.)
He also asked me, “Why does Noah laugh ‘Ho, ho, ho?’“

He often repeats and plays back situations to his brother by acting them out. He begins by telling Owen what he said in a tone as close as possible to it's original feeling and then changes back to his normal voice to say "and then mommy said..." and uses a completely different voice and tone to replay my response.

He is maturing so much and his vocabulary is pretty impressive. He seems to be a very sensitive little guy and really tries to understand people and situations. He gets upset easily and is more emotionally volatile than Owen was, but is also more willing to share and show concern for others. He is affectionate, but choosy about who he shares it with and has a strong sense of acceptance or rejection.

He is putting puzzles together and will sit by himself for long periods of time trying to conquer them. He has been tackling a 100 piece puzzle that is far too advanced for him several days in a row. He only gets a few pieces to match up but is not discouraged and keeps coming back for more.

In the picture above he is proudly posing (remind you of anyone else?) after completing a 24 piece puzzle that he got as an early Christmas gift from Amber and Madison. He put it together that night without help and I loved watching his concentration while he worked.

He's fun to be around and though we are still dealing with potty training, I am learning where I need to let go and when I need to hold firmly. He loves to be funny and can make his older brother laugh, which makes him feel so, so good. He's a great little Ivan.

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