We are a married couple who adopted our little Russky, Nikita {aka Nicky, Nicky noodle, little man, Nikoli, the Nickster, crazy dude, goofball, puppy love, etc...you get the picture!} from St Petersburg, Russia four years ago. Join us as we stumble through the joys and perils of parenthood, while our son teaches us a few things along the road...


The Empty Nesters

Last Friday morning Nicky left for a fun-filled week with his Granny and Poppa in El Paso.  From the sounds of it, he's been having a blast!  He got to go to work with his Poppa...

...and they've been to the zoo and a dairy farm.  All that on top of swimming in their pool every day has made for one happy little Russky!  We talk to him each night and he wants to know every detail of what we're doing.  It's so cute!  He'll ask "whatcha doin momma?"  "where are you?"  "you watchin tv?"  "where daddy?"  Then he'll tell us all about the fun stuff he's doing and he gets so excited he'll squeal more than talk.

We've had a few of the "i come home morrow?" questions...and "morrow" was like Wednesday, so we were a little worried we might be making a long drive to EP, but he was pretty easily distracted by the promise of more fun stuff to do the next day.

Kris and I have enjoyed the time to ourselves...not that we don't miss the little guy, don't get me wrong!  But, it's been nice to come home from work and do NOTHING.  No rushing to the preschool to endure endless chatter until 8pm.  No scurrying around to fix dinner all the while entertaining the chatty Russky.  No getting up early in order to get him to school on time.  It's been pure laziness!  We did get to enjoy a "romantic getaway" at the hotel Nylo...thanks to the wonderful planning of my awesome husband!

We've also been to a movie and enjoyed dinner at one of our favorite haunts without having to scarf it down while keeping an eye on a preschooler who constantly drops food/almost spills drinks/bounces in his seat...etc.  Kris has been extra excited about the fact that he doesn't have to get up from the dinner table to wipe Nicky's arse!  (somehow the morning poo ritual has now been shifted to the dinner hour...no matter the time dinner occurs!)

Kris is leaving today for EP to collect the Russky and I'm heading to San Antonio to see my family - my brother, niece and nephew are in town to boot, so it should be fun.  Kris will fly with Nicky to SA and hopefully, Nicky will be spending next week with Nana and Pop, his uncle and cousins!  Not that I don't miss him, but we still have some stuff get done around the house (since we've been lazy all this week) and a baseball game to attend and more movies to see!

We're so thankful that our parents are wanting and willing to spend time with the little dude, and we hope this is a summer tradition in the making.  It's hard not having family closer to us and we think it's important that he have the special time with his grandparents that I was afforded as a child. 

Thanks Granny and Poppa for taking such good care of our baby this past week!!!


Look at you...you have a baby...in a bar!

We have found that being parents has it's pros and cons. 
Pros:  the pure joy you feel when you see your child blossom; hugs and kisses from said child at random; and being reminded of the pure innocence of being young again. 
Cons:  there's no more going potty by yourself; your wants and needs are a thing of the past; and it's hard to find a hip place to hang out when toting around a little fella!

So, we figured who cares?  Let's throw caution to the wind and go ahead and take the little Russky with us to an otherwise adult-friendly hang-out.  A pub called the Londoner recently opened up in our neck of the woods (we had visited the Dallas location in our "sans child" phase of our marriage) and a few weekends ago we decided we should check it out.  I figure, if they have a section of kid's meals on their menu, they asked for it, right?!  We apparently weren't the only parents with that idea either - there were several other families there as well...whew!  It had been a long week at work, and a few pints were definitely in order. 

The food was pretty tasty; there was plenty of good ol' fashioned people watching for the hubby and I...

(seriously?  you're wearing practically identical shirts...shouldn't you sit on opposite sides of the table?!)

(hmm...at first glance, one would think he's merely holding the purse for his chick...however...the comfort and grace with which he threw it over his shoulder - and stood there like that for SEVERAL minutes - sends the message that he's permanently lost his man card!)

...and best of all, the place was loud enough to drown out any nonsense that Nicky tried to throw our way!  We've also come to realize that not only are our iPhones fun for us to play with, but Nicky's a big fan as well!

(he's "playing" solitaire...who needs a babysitter?!)

We all had a fun night and we learned that it's apparently ok to bring your kid to a bar (good thing they're all non-smoking now).  Look out North Texas...the Johnson's have a lot of new bar/restaurants to check out!

Hot Child in the City

Two weekends ago, we decided to head out to McKinney for the Third Monday Trade Days.  It's basically a flea market with all kinds of fun junk to peruse.  We have had pretty good luck with finding some interesting treasures (aka other people's junk) in the past, and this time was no different.  I was ecstatic when I spotted an old 6-panel door just the right shade of blue/gray, which was the exact item which brought us out there to begin with.  We have all our meters and hook-em-up stuff for the cable, etc on the wall of our backyard patio...just not the eye candy I'm going for out there...view before the door...

...view after the door...

Much better, no?

We also purchased a cool old green window from an Army base in Arkansas that is being shut down; a few old blue Mason jars; some new house numbers; and an old screen that used to cover a transom window.  I don't know why, but I have an addiction to old windows.  I think they make a funky display on the wall and bring interesting dimension to an otherwise dull space. 

Nicky was rewarded for being such a champ and walking the entire flea market with a "train" ride...Momma and Daddy rode too...kinda fun!

Anyway...it was about 100 and hell degrees outside...no exaggeration...that's what the temp on the car told us.  We were all sweating profusely by the time we got back to the vehicle to load up our riches that we barely had enough power to get everything in, much less ourselves.  Kris started the car to attempt to cool it off some while we maneuvered the the door inside - of course, this was futile seeing as though the door was way too long and had to hang out the back window, thus causing all the air conditioning to be sucked out as we drove down the road.  Somehow as we were loading everything into the car we managed to lock the keys in the car with it running.  Luckily the back window was open, but this meant that one of us would have to unload all our new finds, climb in and unlock the doors.  Of course, we turned to the shortest one in our group, the Russky, and immediately squeezed his little person inside.  The little guy must have sensed our stress because he freaked out and didn't want any part of the situation.  I'm sure passers-by were having a good laugh at the sweaty parents screaming at their kid inside the car.  "Unlock the door Nicky!  Pull the handle!  It's on the door Nicky!  No...not the back of the seat!  THE DOOR!!!"  Nicky frantically searched the inside of the car for the lock/door handle.  I know he knows where they are...and you would think most kids would think this quite the adventure.  Not ours.  Panic and terror were apparent all over his sweaty little face as he hysterically tried to rescue us.  "i don't want to!  noooo!  you do it daddy!  i scared!"  "You HAVE to!  We can't go home if you don't do it!" 

Our little hero finally pulled through and we were saved from melting on the hot pavement.  We  re-loaded all our purchases, wearily climbed in the vehicle, and set off in search of lunch.  As we sailed down the road, a woman in an SUV pulled up along side us and motioned for me to roll down my window.  Afraid of the worst (like we had a flat or something) I obliged, only to be informed that Benson, the latest addition to Nicky's menagerie, was hanging onto our back bumper for dear life!  As you can imagine after looking death in the face, Benson hasn't left Nicky's side!

After re-fueling our bellies, we decided it was WAY to hot to do anything but head over to Gina's house for a dip in the pool.  Even that didn't cool us off!  The water was so warm, I turned her outside shower on and sprayed us all off with the nice cold water.  Kris had the great idea to put ice in the pool, so see how long it would take to melt...

...turns out, ice melts pretty darn fast when put into 92 degree water!  The best idea of all came from Gina turning on the water which fills the pool (thus turning the pool into an infinity pool it got so full!) - it was nice and cool...if you stood right in front of it...

Oh well...what we lacked in being cooled off, we made up for in good company and pure laziness! 


Mesquite Ta-Maters

The husband and all the guys from the clubhouse (aka firestation) are competing in the annual Texas firefighter olympics this week.  Seeing as though he's a tall dude, he is of course playing the role of "baller", as opposed to being part of the poker team (poke 'er?  barely know 'er!).  The team usually wears random t-shirts and shorts, but this year their Chief sprung for the fancy uniforms since they're the defending champions.  And when I say fancy, I mean FANCY (see pic above...I apologize for the shoddy lighting...shoulda used the real camera instead of the iPhone that was handy).  They are bright toe-may-toe red with gray on the sides, and are made from the super-shiniest material EVER!  They kinda remind me of them slick satin sheets or a tafetta prom dress...only without the pouffy 80's sleeves.  Due to these facts, they've earned the awesome team nickname "Mesquite Maters" - doesn't matter if I'm the only one that calls them that - I find it humerous, and that's all that matters!

Anyhoo...I suppose the uni's are working for the boys, cuz they've won their first 2 out of 3 games and have a shot at another championship!  So...cheer with me folks...

L.E.T.S. G.O.  Let's go! Let's go!  L.E.T.S. G.O. LET's GO!!!  Whoo hoo!  Go Mesquite Maters!

~ update...looks like my cheering didn't help as much as I had intended.  although they didn't do too badly...they won the silver! ~


Why Do I Torture Myself?

This weekend I somehow managed to get both of my Tiffany & Co necklaces all knotted up.  Major bummer because I typically swap between the two depending on my mood.  I don't really have all that much bling, but these pieces are my go-to pendants when I don't want to have to think about how I'm going to accessorize an outfit.  I mean seriously - Tiffany pulls everything together, so I really can't go wrong with either choice.

Well, this afternoon I broke down and took Mr Starfish...
...and Ms. A to the Tiffany store to be de-knotted.  
I only hesitated because I figured they would stick me with some obscene charge for the minor infractions.  The fixer-upper dude told me it would be about 10-15 minutes, so I said "Perfect!  That will give me some time to look around!".  Upon further investigation, he said "Actually this should only take about 5 minutes", to which I replied "My husband will thank you for that...I won't have much time to do any damage!"

I should've known better than to peruse the beauties on display, but I just couldn't help myself!  Sitting still in the little waiting area is just torture when I know all the fabulousness that is just steps away.  So now I'm left aching for this little piece of magnificence...
She is only $200.  And I need her because I'm not a fan of even numbers, and having her to make pendant number 3 would round out my collection nicely.  Don't you think the hubby would go for that kind of rationization?

After trying on a few rings and bracelets, my necklaces were back to their original glory...meaning much shinier than when I originally brought them in.  I was going to ask them to clean them, but that is $15 a necklace, so I figured with the cost of having them repaired would be enough for the day.  Who knew they would go ahead and throw that service in?  Well, to my surprise, the wonderfully awesome sales lady gave them to me, helped me put them on, and then told me I was good to go!  Huh?  You mean there's no charge?!  I got the knots out and they are nice and shiny?!  I just might have to accidentally get knots in them more often!


I Got A New Drug

Somebody get this chick one of them there old lady weekly pill box thing-a-ma-jigs before she gets arthritis from opening all those pill bottles every day!

Seriously...here  is the handfull I take in the morning...

...and here is the handfull I take in the evening...

I'm sure there are people out there that take way more than that...but they're probably 30 years older than me too!  I usually take out the morning pills when I'm getting my evening pills together to take, and there have been a few times when I've slipped and taken one pill too many.  I definitely don't want to take some of the morning ones at night, or I'll be up cleaning the house like a crazy women due to all the energy that would be coursing through my veins!

As with the other migraine preventative pills (both anti-convulsants and beta blockers), the most recent one (the super-awesome make me gain weight and lose my hair heinous Depakote) has been fired.  Kicked to the curb.  Good riddance.  I couldn't deal with the side effects any longer, especially since I was still having way too many days of headaches.  So, I now introduce you to Keppra.  Yet another anti-convulsant, Keppra is so far so good.  The side effects are:  lethargy (awesome thing to have when living with a 4 year old) and reduction in serotonin, which could cause moodiness, depression and/or moments of pure rage (also great things to have when hanging out with a 4 year old).  Let me put it this way - I've always had a tad bit of the ol' road rage - but now it's kinda bumped up a notch lately.  To the point that I even freaked myself out mid-freak-out about some car cutting me off the other day.  Enter vitamin B12.  Oh...and his friends B2 and B6.  They are all "essential" to your metabolism and apparently B6 is good for the nervous system and is used in some of the herbal migraine remedies.  Why all the B?  Well, they have the effect of elevating the depleted levels of serotonin and give you more energy and are supposed to help you feel more balanced and less crazy woman.  Just what the guy at GNC doctor ordered!

It's only been a few weeks, so the jury's still out on whether or not the Keppra is keeping the migraines completely at bay.  However, I am happy to announce is that my hair is no longer falling out in massive clumps!!!  Yay me!  I have a million baby hairs in the spots where I had lost so much, but I'll take fly-aways over baldness any day.   And, I've managed to lose some poundage.  Yes, I realize that I'm not obese by any means, but still.  When you're used to being a certain weight and then you have to go out and buy a new wardrobe because all of a sudden nothing fits anymore, it's kinda disconcerting! 

Fingers crossed (as I say with each new miracle drug) that this one works...


Captain Obvious

"momma.  bwitzers eating his dinner."
"momma.  bwitzers drinking his water.  don't drink it all bwitzer.  save some for breakfast."
"momma.  bwitzers sitting by me."
"momma. bwitzers playing with a toy."
"momma.  bwitzers looking at me."
"momma.  i'm putting my bwanket on."
"momma.  bwitzers laying on da fwoor."
"momma.  i'm pettin bwitzer."
"momma.  i give bwitzer a kiss."
"momma.  i watchin tv."
"momma.  i got my tiger."
"momma.  bwitzer is walking away."

thanks.  thanks, son.  thank you for the play-by-play since apparently my eyes are broken.

ps...i'm changing my name.

Random Nicky

after much debate, we finally decided that we would spend our beach vacation over labor day in the usvi (st thomas) with uncle brent.  we found tickets for a decent price and after verifying uncle brent would actually be there, we decided to book 'em.  nicky was watching tv next to me on the couch after we had been running errands all morning (it was now 3-ish pm and i had decided that we would be foregoing the nap for the day) as i was on the laptop finalizing the details.  he was asking me a million questions and i wanted to make sure that i was paying attention to what i was doing so that i didn't accidentally book us on a flight to timbuktu, so i told him that i needed him to be quiet for a few minutes while i finished what i was doing.  it went a little something like this...

nicky: what you doing momma?
momma:  i'm buying airplane tickets to go see uncle brent at the beach in a few months, then we are gonna go to target when this show is over (giving him the head's up).
nicky:  oh!  we go beach?!  we go affer nap?
momma:  no...not after nap.  it will be kind of a long time before we go.
nicky:  ok.  morrow?
momma:  nooo..not tomorrow...a lot longer than that. 
nicky:  oh - wensday? (i think that's the only day of the week he actually knows, because everything is "wednesday" now).
momma:  actually, yes, it will be on a wednesday.  but not for a long time.
nicky:  ohhhh!  okaaay!
momma:  (after finishing the purchase and closing the computer) ok nicky, let's get ready to go.
nicky:  where we goin?  da beach?!
momma:  (muttering to herself) oy vey!!!

could someone please tell me how to explain the concept of time to a 4 year old?! 

To Slice or Not to Slice...That Is the Question

After cleaning the entire house with reckless abandon - top to bottom; not a single speck of dog hair (thanks, Blitzer for sharing with us, but could you please not?!); baseboards spick and span; cabinets scrubbed; doors wiped; every inch dusted and vacuumed; floors scoured while on hands and knees; sheets changed; bathroom rugs washed; toilets spotless - I wearily climbed the stairs to awaken the whiney mess that was my son prior to him laying down to nap. I tore back his sheets, laid down with him for a few seconds before coming to the realization that he was burning up. He immediately told me that he had a headache, and by the feel of him, realized that this must be why he spent the entire morning crying over trivial things. Duh! He was getting sick! You'd think that, being the observant person I consider myself, that I would know the signs by now. Of course, in my defense, he's been very whiney and tantrum-ey (good thing for him he's so cute...) lately, so it's kinda hard to tell the difference.

Anyways...I got him downstairs and we took his temp - 102.7. Awesome. All my hard work cleaning, which was initiated by the fact that we were having company (the Dutton's) that night, was all in vain...although, at least it's done and the house is sparkling and no longer a hair-ball pit of despair! We had to call and cancel, while Nicky cried "but i want trevor come over!" Since Kris had already prepped our dinner for the night (corn on the cob, baked potatoes and to-be-grilled chicken), we went ahead and prepared the feast (and by "we", I mean that my super-awesome hubby was a grilling machine while I soaked my weary muscles in a hot tub as Nick watched Shrek for the millionth time). Goodness, I love that man!

The next morning Kris worked at the fire station and I needed to go into the office for a few hours (yuk! I thought I was done working on the weekends when I stopped waiting tables!). I woke Nicky (shoulda been my first clue - it was after 8:30am and he was still sound asleep) and the first thing he told me was his throat hurt. Sweet. We went downstairs and I told him I was going to look at his throat when he said "ok momma. i sit on counter. you get fwashyite." (flashlight in Nicky-speak...the "l" still gives him some trouble)(can you tell he's been through this scenario a few times before?!). Just as I suspected, big white spots all over his tonsils, and he had a 101.4 fever. Greatness. So, on our way to the office (after packing up a ton of toys, movies, the portable dvd player - best gift EVER...thank you Uncle Brent! - and a cooler with snacks, lunch and lots of fluids) we stopped at the after-hours pediatrics office for what turned out to be a negative rapid Strep test, however, a positive ID as far as the Dr's inspection was concerned. So, with prescription in hand, we went to the pharmacy then to my office where Nicky lounged around watching movies and demanding cold water ("no! wiff ice in it momma!") and juice (aka - Capri Sun Waters - a compromise for us all...still tastes like juice, but less sugar).

In case you're keeping count, this is his 5th diagnosed case of the Strep in 8 months, making him a candidate for having his tonsils removed. Which brings up the question - do we really think it's necessary to do so? Two doctors have told us that yes, we could have his removed, however, it doesn't mean that he won't continue to contract throat infections, they should just be less likely and less severe if they were removed. A work colleague’s daughter is a few days older than Nick and she just had hers removed (along with her adenoids) and to hear her tell it, it was an awful experience. She was up all night in pain; wouldn't take the medicines; wouldn't eat. Do we really want to put him through all that considering there's a chance it could all be for no reason? After researching the interwebnets, I've decided we'll wait it out a bit and see how the rest of the year goes. Until we actually see a Dr that says "yank the suckers", I don't think it's worth it. What are your thoughts out there?


Does this make me too anal?

Ok, so to know me is to love my quirky obsession with organization.  I like things in their place.  When random mail and junk sits out and about it makes me feel completely out of whack.  The more it sits out, the deeper my funk will become and the less I want to do.

That said, I couldn't deal with the fact that our kitchen lacks a pantry any longer and our random food placement was starting to stress me out.  So...I devised a system which I think is genius!  Before, all the boxes of food ran into each other and stacked on top of each other and there was no way to see everything.  I have to have things lined up and facing in the same direction and putting a box of pasta in front of another is definitely NOT an option in my book.  And before you look at the picture below and note that the words on the labels are facing opposite directions, I'll clarify - because being anal and all, I have to do so.  Things on the left side of our cabinet have to have their front labels facing forward, as do things on the right side.  In order to do so, the left has to face the right and vice versa.  The freezer is set up the same way.  I think I need to seek counseling!!!

Anyway - now that I have my fun boxes all set up, things appear less messy and I don't get stressed when searching for a snack for Nicky, etc.  And - if something isn't facing the "correct" way (yes, Kris...I know you turned that cereal box the "wrong" way just to get my goat!), then I don't have to see it glaring in my face at all times!  But, I will admit, I do go back and re-arrange items inside the boxes themselves to make sure they are facing the "correct" way.

Like I said.  I'm anal.  I like things the way I like them.  My world is more sane when my boxes all face the same way and my cans are lined up perfectly.  Don't judge me - I know you're all jealous of my mad organizing skills!

Happy 4th of July!

Last night we met up with our friends the Dutton's to celebrate the 4th of July.  The day itself (July 3) was the 2 year anniversary of us meeting Nicky in St Petersburg, Russia!  The holiday has taken upon a new meaning for us - not so much a celebration of independence, as our lives changed from being able to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted - but it's now more of a celebration of us becoming a family. 

We attended our second FC Dallas soccer game, and I guess we bring them luck, because they won again!  I think Nicky is more interested in spending time with his BFF Trevor...

and his girlfriend Blair...

...than the actual game itself, but that's ok with us...as long as he's entertained!  He and Trevor were pretty hyped up and all over the place, which made for a tired little Russky that slept in until 10am today...yay for Momma!

We had great seats for viewing the Frisco fireworks, which were quite spectacular - we were a little worried that they would be cancelled due to the rain that didn't want to clear up - but the show went on.  This was the first actual fireworks show for the Nickster, and after a few minutes, he decided that he wasn't the biggest fan.  The colors were all good, but I think the loudness kinda scared him, so he scrambled up on my lap and had his back to them for the most part.  We saw some on our way home later that were further off in the distance and they didn't seem to bother him as much, so I guess with everything else, baby steps are the best measure when venturing into new territories with him!

After the game, we went and grabbed a quick bite while we waited for the traffic to clear out.  Trevor had a little accident and needed to remove his shirt, and not wanting to be left out, Nicky joined him.  And to think, 2 years ago we couldn't get him to sit without a shirt in the privacy of our own house!

Today we are going to be lazy...we did a little shopping, then grilled with our neighbors.  Nicky and Jade did a little swimming together...

Nicky's about two years older than her, but whatever Nicky did, she wanted to do!  They were so cute together...girlfriend Blair might have some competition!

Anyway...we hope you all had a nice Independence Day weekend!

Playdate with Sophie

After swimming all night at Trevor's house, Momma and Nicky had a playdate with Sophie, one of Nicky's buddies from preschool.  Nicky began going to his current preschool one year ago this month, and his first day there became an instant favorite of Sophie's.  One of the teachers even had to go so far as to ask her to stop staring at Nicky or she would make him feel uncomfortable and give him a complex.  Sophie's response: "but i loooove him!"  A year later, and these two are typically joined at the hip.  Sure there's the random day(s) that Nicky will come home from school and say "sophie say she not my friend no more" (which ya gotta wonder what he did to deserve it) - but in the end they are still besties.

We swam with Sophie, her sister Lily and her parents for a few hours and had a yummy lunch.  They played for a bit, then we made our exit.  Nicky didn't want to leave, and Sophie stood on the lawn waving good-bye with a glum look on her face.  The rest of the day (and the next morning as well) Nicky kept saying "i wanna go sophie house an swim", so I guess as far as playdates go, it was a success.

***like a dummy, I brought my camera, but didn't take a single picture of the two silly kiddos together!  I guess I'll have to take twice as many during our next playdate!

T-Ball Team Swim-Fest

To commerate the end of a long t-ball season, us parents thought it would be fun to get together for a little BBQ over at the Dutton's abode.  To be fair, the season really wasn't that long, but as the weather got warmer, it sure was harder to force ourselves to go to the games.  There's just something about a game at 3pm in 100 degree heat that really made us wonder...do we really want Nicky to be an athlete?  What he lacked in skills, he made up in cuteness and friendship making!  He also became less shy about performing in front of a crowd, so maybe his social anxiety is waning?

Anyhoo...back to the shin-dig!  We had a lot of fun.  Two other families came besides us, so it was small, but just the right size.  The boys had a lot of fun swimming and splashing about, while the parents chatted and had a few cocktails.

Here are a few pictures of the crazy boys jumping into the pool...I guess they did a lot more of that than actual swimming, but at that age, isn't that the point of being in/around a pool?  Jumping, splashing and having a rowdy time?!

All was fun and games until this guy crashed the party...

...and of all people, Momma was the one to actually pick him up!  For some reason they don't really gross me out that much - snakes and other reptiles, yes.  Frogs - not so much!  Needless to say the boys were interested in the bumpy critter, but wanted nothing to do with him.  Nicky kept knocking him into the pool while I played the role of the life guard rescue patrolwoman!

After the boys got out of their wet suits, Trevor, Nicky and Brennan paraded down the stairs as their alter-egos...

...pretty funny stuff!  All in all, everyone had a great time...and Nicky was so tuckered out it took him about 5 seconds to end up like this on the way home...

Although we don't miss hanging out in the heat for an hour each weekend while Momma has to control the banshees that the little t-ballers turn into whilst in the dugout, we do miss hanging out with our new-found friends!

Mr Independent

"no!  i do it!!!" 

This is the most famous phrase now heard in the Johnson household.  It doesn't matter what it is - or how difficult the task may be, Nicky wants to at least try to do it for himself.  It's such a departure from the little dude that wouldn't even try to do anything without having a complete melt-down that we are beside ourselves!  We waited for this moment so long, yet there are times where we are like "No let me do it - you're taking too long!"  I know the whole point of this age is to become more independent, but man, kids have no sense of expediency!  For example, I know I need to let him put on his own seatbelt when he is insistent upon doing so, but when we're running late in the morning, and he's struggling for 5 minutes to do it him self, man that 5 minutes seems like an eternity!

Of course, then there's the flip-side.  You think that he's wanting to do all this stuff by himself, so you're allowing him to do so, and you're, I don't know, let's say cooking dinner.  So, you're busy right?  Well, of course that's precisely the time that he doesn't want to do anything by himself.  He wants your attention...and he's gonna pull all the stops to get it!  Of course, there's no reasoning with them or trying to say "well - you did xxx by yourself a minute ago...do it again now."  That really gets you nowhere but more frustrated, so you might as well just give in and give him what he wants when he asks and you'll save yourself some time!

Now - the biggest challenge is knowing when to help and when not to help.  Trust me - he'll let you know, but only after you've done the opposite.  Parents can never win! 


I suppose like every other stage, we'll manage to somehow figure things out.  And, in order for him to learn to be more independent, we have to let him be more, well, independent!  I just need to learn to praise every little baby step forward he makes without getting frustrated at the milk/juice/cereal/food/etc he's made a mess of in the process!
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