Haiv and I were waiting for Taj to wake up from his nap so we went outside to play:)
Our backyard just got a lot more interesting this summer. Every kid on the block is going to wish they lived at our house. We have now added the addition of a brand new swing set. The set we wanted was way over our price range (never knew those things were so expensive), so we settled for this set, which was still very expensive and it only took us two days and four trips to the manufacturer for parts to set up. Brannon spent 8 hours the first day putting it together. I went out and helped him for about three hours. Those things are WAY harder to put together than they seem. I'm sorry to say that some rude words were said. There were times when we thought we were doomed to be stuck with a halfway put together, useless swing set that we were going to have to pay Lifetime $400 dollars to set up because we couldn't do it. With a lot of elbow grease and rude words, we got it. Brannon knocked the hide off his knuckles and bumped his head countless times on the monkey bars and swing posts. I was impressed because he only gritted his teeth. He may have sworn in his head, but not out loud. Me on the other hand? Taj dropped the rubber mallet on my barefoot toes and that was after Brannon had slammed the ladder down on that same foot. I'm sorry to report that I did not handle either of those situations with much finesse. I may have said a rude word or two and angrily accused them both of trying to maim or kill me. All the sweat and pain was worth it though. Haiven loves her swing and Taj is out on that every day begging me to push him high or to go down the slip and slide slide. That thing shoots kids off it fast! Or maybe it just shot me off fast (must be that extra baby weight I'm still carrying around). The first time I went down it with Taj we flew off it and I hurt my foot and I was sure I had a stress fracture on the ball of my foot. I couldn't walk on the dang thing for the rest of the night. With experience though, I am happy to report that I have now mastered that slippery slide. We love the swing set and I'm so glad that Taj has more to do in our backyard. It's so nice to play in the shade on grass and not on the hot slides at the park in the hot sand! We will get some very good use out of this!
First I wanted to thank those of you who commented on my last post. Sometimes it's good to hear encouraging words. They seem to help you through another day, so thank you.
Reason #572 why my posts are so late: the fact that Blogger keeps flipping my pictures sideways irks me and I'm kind of a perfectionist and like everything aligned as it should be. Therefore, I feel if my pictures are sideways, my posts are the product of incompetence.
Reason #573 why my posts are so late: For some reason I have been so so tired at night (I am not pregnant and if I were it would be the biggest surprise I've had in my entire life!) when the kids have been put to bed. My dilemma is that that is the time I usually do stuff like blogging and facebooking. Tonight out of sheer will power I am doing this post. I may even get a little over zealous and do two whole posts.
Reason #574 why my posts are so late: I am so behind now that the thought of the pictures and stories I have to post is frightening, so I may have been procrastinating as well.
Well, with that said, onward and upward. Cousin Livy came to town a couple weekends ago and Taj couldn't have been more happy. I have never seen that kid eat so much, play so much with another child, or be so naughty because they fought over toys constantly. Having Livy here was so good for Taj. What Livy ate, Taj ate and vice versa. That part was nice because Taj actually ate three times a day for a couple days, which was basically a miracle for the kid who survives on Nestle Carnation Instant Breakfast powder and tortilla chips. He was also a lot more interested in the potty thing because cousin Livy is potty trained. I've been potty training him this week and so far we are doing great so long as he can walk around naked all day and pee on the patio and grass in the backyard. I hope it doesn't kill the grass, but at this point I could care less as long as we get that boy trained before school in the fall!
We spent three hours at Boondocks with cousin Livy. They absolutely loved it. I'm telling you that is the place to go if you want to wear your kids out to the bone. Taj and Livy were practically falling asleep in our arms when we left. I wish Taj got to spend more time with Liv. I'm sure as they grow up they will get to be good friends. I have never seen Taj play so well with another kid. We love you Livy! Come back to visit soon!
I'm trying to concentrate on this post and all I can focus on is the "Hound Dude" song from Fox and the Hound II blaring in the background at, let's see, 10:00 pm at night. I guess there goes the 9 pm bedtime! I guess in a perfect world my kids would be in bed at the same time EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, but if I make lemonade from lemons, at least Taj is finally sleeping in his own bed again. It all started when that sly little dog climbed in our bed after a bad dream one night, on my side. Eventually that turned into every night and I immigrated to Taj's twin bed that flopped like jello every time my big rump tossed and turned trying to get comfortable. Well after three months of that we thankfully got Taj back in his own bed!
We've been spending our days at the park every day. I can tell too judging by the dirt under Taj's finger nails and toe nails and my sweet farmer's tan and funky tan lines on my feet. It really helps Taj to go outside and run around for at least a few hours each day. Otherwise, the tantrums are mega dramatic and a lot more frequent, and he won't go to bed. Add all that up and he's mad and I'm super irritated.
We had his end of year evaluation for school and he definitely qualifies for preschool next year too. He's made a lot of progress as far as speech, but I was surprised to hear that he is only understanding questions and commands directed toward him with 11% accuracy. I think he understands a lot more than we think he does because he doesn't verbalize his thoughts like other kids, but it would definitely explain why it's so dang hard a lot of the time to get him to do things. He learns visually, so I guess we need to be more focused on showing him how we do the things that we ask him to do. He is also still behind cognitively, so we are really hoping to be able to catch him up with the other kids by the time he starts kindergarten.
He is still very difficult to deal with when it comes to clothing. He HATES new clothing and it's pretty impossible to get him to wear anything new that we get him. The hard part is that he HAS to wear the new clothes/socks/shoes because he's either grown out of them or worn them out. We can't force him because he won't stop screaming and carrying on about it for at least a couple hours. He is so overly sensitive to the way things feel on his skin. The new trick I've tried is hiding a few of his old things and pulling out a few new things and letting him choose what he wants to wear. He throws a fit at first and when he looks for his old clothes and can't find them, he will eventually choose something new to wear. This works with everything but socks and shoes.
Taj at the Rocky Mountain Raceway track. Brannon told him to put his hands over his ears because the cars were super loud. This time he obeyed:)
Today at Payless he threw an epic fit when I tried to get him to choose a pair of sandals for the summer. He's worn completely through the soles of his cowboy boots. He tried on a pair of brown boots for girls and of course that sparked the fit when I wouldn't let him have those. I bought him a pair of sandals and I'm planning on hiding the boots tomorrow. It may take us a few days and a lot of fits for him to try on the new sandals. I'm hoping by the end of the week that he'll actually want to wear the sandals. Why not just buy another pair of boots you say? Well I would, but his feet get hot and he ends up taking his shoes off outside and burning holes in all of his socks. He now just wants to wear socks outside as his shoes. Obviously, that is not going to happen and he doesn't like being barefoot outside, so I'm really hoping that the sandals work out soon! He is still pretty darn adamant about sticking to his routines too. He's only OCD about his morning and his bedtime routine, so I guess we can be thankful for that!
Taj makes up for like three kids at least I think! He might be tougher than most kids to raise and some days I feel the whole weight of that on my shoulders. Some days I lose my patience and I feel like a bad mom. Some days I just want to cry and I wish so badly that he could tell me what he wants or tell me what he did at school or what he learned in primary or why he's sad or what he wants to do today or tell people how old he is or what his name is. I get tired of the strange looks when Taj just stares at them and says nothing or when he does his quirky and strange hand gestures and makes weird noises around other kids because he gets so excited to play with other kids and hearing other moms say, "Be gentle!" and then give me hard looks because what kind of mom doesn't control her child? I am hoping and praying desperately that we can make a lot of progress before he starts kindergarten . I know how mean kids can be to kids that are different and I have already seen that happening to Taj and it breaks my heart because he can't understand why the other kids don't want to play with him at the park. It's so hard watching that. Every once in awhile there will be a kids that takes to Taj and wants to play with him and makes an effort to get him involved. I am so thankful for kids like that and for their parents. I want to teach my kids to be like that. Nobody should be shunned because they seem weird or off or whatever it is. This applies to us adults too. If you really think about it, how can we judge someone when we don't even know their story? When we don't know what they are going through or their struggles or the circumstances that brought them to their present situation. It's not fair. It's not right. It's especially not right for kids to do that to other kids. It's very hurtful and can change somebody's life forever in a bad way. Watching how other people react to Taj has really brought attention to the way that I treat others. That's one area that I've made a priority to do better in because I know that my kids are watching and I don't want them making the same mistakes I have. I want them to learn to love people for who they are and get to know their story before they make any judgments. So I guess if I want my kids to be better, then I need to focus on being better.