Ethan has undergone a major transformation in the last 7 months. Ethan was by far my easiest baby: very mellow, easy going, sweet, cuddly, independent. He is still sweet, cuddly, and independent – when he wants to be. Mellow? No. Easy going? Ha!
He has turned into a little fireball of intensity, which intensity he uses to delight, irritate, and anger the rest of the family. Here is Ethan in a nutshell:
I'm pretty tired of changing Ethan's diapers. Let's just say he likes to eat fruit. A lot of fruit.
So we tried the potty training for...a day. I had to coax him into his Thomas the Train underwear; bribe him with candy to sit, even for a second, on the Winnie the Pooh potty; and after every potty session (none were productive), we'd put his undies on, he'd run off, and promptly tinkle on the carpet. So I gave up after one day. One day! Good effort, Emily. Good effort.
So we continue to change his diaper. During the night, because he manages to fill not only his diaper but his jammies and sheets too, we change his diaper before we go to bed. The routine is this: We pull him out of bed. He never opens his eyes, but stirs a bit. We lay (lie?) him down on the changing table, where we wait while he stretches. Then, as we pull off his jammies, he props his head on one or both arms, like so:
And the best is when he then scratches his tummy and smacks his lips.
He's onto our little tricks:
So, we all have our little tricks that manipulate our kids into doing what we want them to do without having to beat them, right? One thing I do often with Ethan is to say, 'Ethan, can you do it all by yourself' or 'Show me you can do it all by yourself!' He's excited to do it “all by myself;” I get my way; it's a win-win situation. But we recently had this conversation; it was rather alarming to me:
me: Ethan, go throw the banana peel in the trash please.
E: Mommy, you's do it!!
me: No, it's Ethan's trash. You go throw it away...
E: (sweetly) Mommy, you's do it all by you-self? Show me you's do it all by you-self!
What a smart cookie.
And what parent hasn't used the (legitimate) “I'm too tired” excuse to avoid doing something? Today, we had conversation that went something like this:
me: No, Ethan, you can't climb on the counter. (he wanted a banana)
E: I too liddoh? (little)?
E: You's get it for me?
Me: not right now.
E: Ohhhhh. You's too tie-oh'd (tired)?
Well, shoot. He's onto me.
Boy, oh Boy
Is it too cliché to say that Ethan is all boy? He loves sports. Anything that involves a ball is his favorite. He spends a good portion of every day pretending to play sports. We have all sorts of balls and bats and hoops, but those often aren't required. He's happy to pretend dribbling his pretend 'backet-ball' and dunking it into the pretend hoop you've made with your arms.
Or he'll pretend that one Star Wars blankie is the baseball; the other Star Wars blankie is the baseball bat. I throw the 'ball' to him; he swings his 'bat' (complete with sound effects); and then we repeat. Sometimes he'll pause this game for a moment - just long enough for him to walk over to me, ask me for a hat, which I pretend to hand to him, and put on his pretend hat (again with a sound effect) - and then he walks back to home plate to resume the game.
Even two found scraps of paper – each the size of a string bean – are sufficient for playing baseball during Church. It keeps him entertained, so I don't interfere.
He loves tools and loves to fix things, just like his dad.
He loves 'fwoggies' (dinosaurs). So much so that that was the theme of his 2nd birthday. After an hour of searching, I stood in line on Black Friday at Walmart for another hour, just so I could get a Fisher Price Dinosaur Volcano Mountain for his birthday. He loved it, especially, I think, because it makes chomping and belching noises. Nice.
At the aquarium at the Outer Banks during Christmas break
And because he is a boy, he loves to fight and punch and kick, and everything can be turned into a sword. Thank heavens he hasn't figured out guns yet.
So, church with Ethan is...a struggle. He loves his nursery class and is always excited to show me the picture on which he drew 3 scribbles that day. But Sacrament meeting. Wow. He's not really naughty. He just can't sit still. Or quietly. Getting him to whisper is like pulling teeth. We have practice sessions at home, where we practice whispering and sitting still. At home, he gets it. At church, not so much.
The only way I can get him to whisper at church is if I say to him, "Shhhh, the baby is sleeping." To which he responds in a whisper, "Baby 'leeping?" Then he resumes his only other volume of talking, which is LOUD.
I have found that he likes for us to draw pictures of food while we sit, which he then pretends to eat. This keeps him occupied and relatively quiet for a good 10 minutes. Pretending to eat the drawn food includes blowing them off when they are too hot; taking off wrappers; and tilting his head back to get the last drop of juice, finishing with a loud "AHHHHHHHHHH."
He also enjoys sitting on my lap facing me, and pulling all my meticulously arranged hair around and onto my face in order to make a beard or mustache, or to encourage me to pretend to eat my hair.
Don't be deceived by that cute little face...
Ethan loves fruit. He especially loves to eat whole "happles" - and has eaten as many as 3 in one morning. I often find apple cores on the floor in the basement. Gross. And he loves strawberries. Last week he ate 1 lb of strawberries while I was out mowing the lawn. Grapes are also preferred. A few weeks ago, I gave the kids some grapes for snack. I caught him doing this:
He had pulled all the grapes off of the vine. Then he decided that he wanted them back on the vine. You may not be able to see it well, but here he is putting the grapes back on, one at a time, sticking the vine ends into the little holes where the grapes used to be attached. (What I didn't get a picture of was Ethan pretending the reassembled grapevine was a Bad Guy, making it walk around and scaring his sisters.)
I love the way he talks. Instead of a simple "No," he says "Nopes!" or even "Nopesies!" And more than one person has observed that it sounds like he speaks with a French accent. "Diaper" becomes "Dia-puh." "Pepper" becomes "Pep-puh."
He can be a bit dramatic. Once I told him, 'No, you may not have that.' And so he collapsed to the floor, hands over his eyes, bum in the air, legs tucked underneath him. Then, he began scooting across the floor towards me in this position, every once in a while pausing to peak through his hands to make sure I was watching. Sometimes he climbs under the table to avoid being put into Time Out.
In spite of what we say, Ethan really is a good kid. He loves Good Night Moon and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and reads them along with us. He can get dressed all by himself. He can put on his own shoes. He knows his ABC's and can count to 20. He loves music (he busts out his air guitar daily), and he loves dancing with his sisters.
He can be so sweet. If someone is hurt, he'll ask: "You's okay?" and give hugs and kisses. Sometimes in the morning he crawls into bed with me and rubs my face or softly pats my cheeks until I wake up.
For a little boy whose shirts are always filthy, he does have a clean streak in him. Over Spring Break, Melinda and I took the kids to Virginia Beach. He was way uncomfortable getting his feet all sandy; it took him a while to relax and not worry about getting his feet "all doh-dee" (dirty).