Capturing Ivan

I wish I had a photo of Ivan’s concerned face. The following scenario would be so much better told if you could see his expressive eyes.

The other day he disobeyed me and had to be spanked. I don’t even remember now what it was, but it was something serious enough that I took him to his room and we had a talk before I spanked him. His face was so strained and you could see the agony in him as he nodded and acknowledged what he had done. He took his punishment screaming and crying his fear and disappointment. He is very, very sensitive and though I sometimes barely tap his little behind he will scream and cry as loud and long for that as a more severe punishment. He does not like to mess up and he does not like to be corrected…I know, I know…none of us do, but he is that personality that takes it so personally.

After a spanking I usually have to hold Ivan for at least five minutes before he’s willing to loose his grip at all. He soaks in every bit of forgiveness and comfort he can get. This particular time we sat for a while and talked some more. Me explaining over and over that spankings are because I want him to be the best Ivan he can be and him nodding and wearing that furrowed brow with tear filled concerned eyes looking at me as if he wanted to reassure me that he’s okay. He was smiling. Through the tears and humbled expression he was smiling…for me. I finally looked at him and asked…”do you understand?” He nodded. I asked…”are you okay?” He looked at me for a second and shook his head no. Oh…poor little man. I love his strength and his honesty. He has such passion and such sincerity wrapped in that little tiny body. I picked him up and carried him to Aron’s room where we sat and rocked for a while…as we sang and prayed together in the rocking chair I was reminded of a moment we shared in his infancy where his smile came through despite the pain he felt. He is indeed a strong, brave little man.

Animated Ivan

What a fun kid this Ivan is. He’s had a bit of a rough time with Owen going to school. He misses his leadership a bit but mostly wishes he could stay with Owen in that wonderful classroom with all those incredible toys. He protested most of the first week but has come to grips with his situation quickly and now seems very supportive.

This morning while the two of them were eating their oatmeal across the table from one another. Ivan suddenly bursts out with this little encouragement.

“Owen, you going to school. I love you can go to school!”

He tickled me immensely last week when we were killing time at the mall. I turned to see where he was and found him running in slow motion behind me. He had a fearful look on his face and I could tell he was very much into some dramatic and unseen scenario. Noticing my interest he explained… “I running away from monster.” Where he picked up on the slow motion thing, I don’t know.

He’s doing much better with the potty training. He’s getting better at telling me when he needs to go. He stays dry most of the time and seems to have a better attitude about it. Maybe school starting is good in this regard. He isn’t as distracted and feels the need or desire to take care of himself more.

Ivan, I Love You!!!

I have not updated on Ivan lately and maybe it’s because it seems like all I do is either take him to the bathroom or clean up after him when he doesn’t make it there. He is doing well with potty training as long as I am able to pay close attention. Isn’t that what parenting is? Paying close attention so our kids will do well? Unfortunately…there are days like yesterday, where my attention is forced elsewhere and Ivan had three minor accidents. I say minor because he only dampened his underwear and shorts…he still held it after he realized he had to pee, but only realized he had to pee after leaking a little. He is doing well over all and I’m still so tickled that he’s in underwear.

His little smiles and sensitive heart are why I wanted to post something today. When I say something loving to Ivan he tilts his head to one side and sort of gives me this look that says…”I know you love me mommy.” His little pursed lips and slightly squinted eyes all accenting a knowing smile are entirely too cute to not be touched by. When I’m close enough he’ll even put his hand on my cheeks affectionately and I know he believes that we are sharing something very special. And of course, we are.

This morning I had told the boys that they were being too rambunctious in the living room and I had to send them upstairs after their warning had not been heeded. Later, I was distracted by something and they returned to their previous location and activity while I was too preoccupied to do anything about it. Just before I could collect my wits and straighten all the broken lines, Ivan ran to my side, leaned up against me so sweetly and announced with gratitude and joy…”mommy! I having a gweat time wunning!”

Ouch

Poor Ivan is getting more teeth. My suspicion is that he is working on his 24 month molars and I only thought he was working on them a few months ago when in fact he was working on his 20 month molars. Forget the fact that he is 31 months…my kids are slow about their teeth.

The poor guy kept having a runny snotty nose and drooling. I thought maybe he was getting a cold but he acted just fine. Then there was the habit he was forming that is still driving me crazy but I trust it will pass with the completion of his teething. He’s been holding food in his mouth. He used to do this now and then and I never tied it in with teething but now I wonder if that’s what it’s been all along. Recently it has been very consistent. Almost every meal, no matter what we’re having, no matter if he likes it or dislikes it he will hold a mouthful of food in his mouth for hours if we let him. I tried ignoring it, giving him drinks, offering him something tasty if he would swallow, even spanking him, but nothing made a dent. He didn’t seem to have an answer for his behavior and would just shrug his shoulders and look worried when we asked why he did this. I could see the earnest concern on his face. He was upset by it himself but didn’t seem to have the capacity to fix the problem. I would swing from infuriated with him to compassion and mercy and back to infuriated on a regular basis.

Finally, on Monday night after the second mouth full of food debacle of the day, I decided to google “holds food in mouth”. I found that most kids do this as a form of a power struggle. I knew this wasn’t the case with Ivan. Not that he’s incapable of a power struggle, believe me he and I have had a few. However, his expressions and attitude are different in such cases and he doesn’t look at me with concern, he looks at me with defiance when it’s a power struggle. I did see one blogger that spoke of their child doing this when their five year molars were coming in. Blink! The light came on. The drooling, the snotty nose…the poor kid’s in pain. Kris was holding him when I read this so I called to Ivan in the next room.

“Ivan, does your mouth hurt?” He nodded. I explained to Kris what I had read and he asked Ivan to point to where it hurts. Sure enough little white spots were poking through the gum on each side of the top of his mouth. Argh! Poor baby!

So, we are dealing with the whole food thing a little differently now and hopefully we can encourage him to take it slow and not fill his mouth to capacity before realizing that he doesn’t want to chew. This too shall pass.

Ivan has been doing very well at potty training and has also been using more and more phrases and expanding his communication efforts. Yesterday while getting ready for bed he decided that he wanted to be naked and referred to it as a lot of little boys will. “I be neked.” Once he had removed his clothes he spread his arms wide, thrust out his pelvis, smiled real big and said. “Look, I wear my neked.”

He has not been sleeping naked, and as long as he lives in a house with me, he will not be allowed to sleep naked, just in case you were wondering. He was allowed to sleep in Owen’s pajamas though since Owen left them laying in the middle of his floor.

Today the phrase of note has been, “I change my mind.” He says this with his little Ivan accent (hard to describe or imitate) and wears a very concerned look on his face as it comes out of his mouth. Sometimes, he will even put his hands up to his mouth like he’s worried about my response to this statement. He has used it about 5 times today and though he seems to use it in context to what’s going on around him I have determined that he really doesn’t know what he’s saying. After numerous questions as to what he would rather do or have instead of what is going on at the moment, he invariably has no response or continues to say “I change my mind” while shaking his head and/or shrugging his shoulders. It’s been cute today.

He’s a big strong boy and loves his brothers very much. I am enjoying his “coming out” as it were into this new world of communication and interaction.

Determined

Ivan has been so different from Owen in so many ways. Potty training has followed this theme. He has struggled with it but his attitude is completely different than his older brother’s was at this time two years ago.

The past few days he has done very well. He’s had minimal accidents and acquired the ability to tell me when he has to go. I’ve been up and down this week with my own frustration with the process. I really haven’t gotten upset with him, just myself. So often the accidents have been when I got too busy to make him or remind him to go. We started this week with me telling him to go every time the timer went off. We stayed in the kitchen where the floor is easier to clean if needed and he really did well. Slowly I’ve given him more freedom and he’s really impressed me with his desire to get this done.

Yesterday we drove to Franklin for Chloe’s birthday party. It’s a good 45 to 50 minutes to get down there so I put Ivan in a pull-up instead of underwear. When we were about 5 minutes from Chloe’s house, Ivan told me he had to go potty. I asked him to try to hold it until we get there. This was the first time that I asked him to wait. Usually it’s more like…”you have to go…let’s go now!” So, I wondered how he would do. Owen, who was sitting beside him asked me if Ivan was in a pull-up and encouraged Ivan to just go. Before I could argue, Ivan shouts from the back…”I GO IN POTTY!”

While at the party, he had gone in the back yard (they were playing in swimsuits on the slip-n-slide) and when he came in and got dressed came to the realization too late that he had to poo poo. So an accident was had at Chloe’s house. It was a small accident and easily cleaned up. He was again determined and before I could reprimand him or explain that this wasn’t good, he pointed his finger and said, “I not poo poo again!”

So…I think we are on a good road to success with this. I’m very proud of my little underwear clad boy.