This past weekend, Bean had a birthday party for one of this classmates at a petting farm. I had never been to a petting farm before. In fact, when I got the invitation, I had to Google it before I found out that petting farms are real farms that kids get to visit. Only, they are allowed to touch everything and try it all out.
It was such a fun party! The kids got to actually milk a cow, for crying out loud!
This particular cow was seven months pregnant, and I don’t know about you, but I was not patient at seven months pregnant. Especially not when it involved someone pulling on my ta-tas. Bless this cow.
(Sorry it’s blurry. As soon as the milk came out, Bean squealed and ran!)
There were also horses they got to ride, peacocks that paraded around, bunnies to pet, and even baby chicks and ducks to hold in our very hands!
And there was this enormous goat pin we got to walk in, too. I had never seen so many goats in one place! They would walk right up to you and let you pet them all you wanted. Even the babies. Though, this one momma goat got a little irked at me when I petted her baby goat a little too long. She came moseying over, headbutted me right in the thigh, and then stood between me and the baby, giving me this look like, “Back off, crazy!” I don’t blame her.
Bean had no need for me that day. He was off with 10,000 of his closest friends from school, blowing easily from this group of friends to that, enjoying being with everyone. Everyone, that is, except for me. Because the farm was so well contained and the tour so well led, parents really got a nice break. We just followed the “herd” around (see what I did there?) while the tour guide kept everyone in line. It was nice for a while, but about halfway through the morning, I thought, “This is what it is going to be like soon. The kids will be off with their friends and I’ll be left standing here, just wishing they’d come back.”
I got very sentimental as we boarded the farm train, which would take us on a tour of the property. I walked up to the train with Gracie (who stayed with me all day since she wasn’t really a “guest”), only to find Bean sitting in a row with four other boys. When I poked my head in, he said happily, “There’s no room, Mom!” and I happily responded, “Okay, Gracie and I will be a few rows back if you need us.” But inside, I cried a little. I’m always Bean’s train conductor when we ride trains. When we play trains at home, I’m Percy and he’s Thomas. When we pass trains on the street, we count the cars together. And now, my seat was being taken by four preschool boys.
Gracie and I headed to the back of the train until we found a free row where we could both sit. I was just snuggling her in next to me, fully prepared to force her to cuddle until my maternal meltdown passed, when I heard the sweetest little sound. From three rows up, I heard Bean call out, “Mom?”
I looked up, and there he was, all by himself. He was walking down the train platform, looking in each row and calling, “Mom?”
I called out to him, “I’m right here, buddy!” And he met my eyes, smiling as he climbed up in the row with us.
“Hey, Mom,” he said, as casually as if he hadn’t just melted my heart into a giant puddle of goo.
“Hey, buddy,” I said, as casually as if I didn’t care that the first born fruit of my womb actually needed me. “Whatcha doing back here?”
“I just wanted to sit with you and Gracie,” he said. “Did you see that big turkey back there? He was huge!” And the conversation moved on as quickly as it started.
We spent the train ride together, laughing at the funny things the animals did and showing Gracie everything Bean could name. And I know it meant nothing to Bean. I know he didn’t think twice about coming to sit with me. But it meant the world to me. It meant that maybe, one day, far, far away, even when Bean is off with his friends living the life that I so want him to enjoy, maybe he’ll still call my name every now and then and come sit with me. Just because I’m his mom.
I guess that’s really why we do it, isn’t it? Why we let them pull on our ta-tas, why we headbutt people to keep our children safe, and why we love them up so they can go out into the world all by themselves. Whether we are cows or goats or humans, we do it all because we are their mommas, and we know they will always return to us.
And that’s what I learned on a farm.
Categories: About Beanie, About Gracie, Boys, Conversations w/ Beanie, Conversations with Bean and Gracie, Conversations with Gracie, Family, Gracie Girl, Growing Bean, Milestones, parenting, Preschoolers, The Romper Room, Toddlerhood
Last night around 11:00, I went in to check on the kids before I went to bed. When I went into Bean’s room, though, he was no where to be found. And neither were the sheets on his bed, his pillow, his comforter, and all his stuffed animals. It was just his mattress laying there.
He has done this before. He moves his bedding to some other part of his room and camps out there. But I checked all over his room, and he wasn’t in there. I went to look in Gracie’s room because I’ve also caught him camping out on her floor before, but he wasn’t in there either. Now I started to get nervous. I noticed the bathroom light was on, and I peeked in there to see if he was set up in there for some reason, but no luck. I searched that house from top to bottom. No Bean.
Finally, I decided to check his room one more time, just to be sure he wasn’t in his closet and I just hadn’t seen him (I’ve found him in there before, too). As I passed the guest bedroom on my way down the hall, though, something caught my eye. Buzz Lightyear was hanging off the guest bed. I didn’t have the lights on because I didn’t want to wake Bean, wherever he was, but I quickly flipped the hall light on so I could see better.
There he was. Sprawled out on the guest bed, snoring. He had brought all of his bedding and stuffed animals with him, and recreated his bed on top of the guest bed. He laid his bottom sheet down, had his comforter on top of him, Mr. Bear tucked in next to him, and all his favorite stuffed animals lined up along the headboard. It was too cute to move, so I let him sleep there.
This morning, Chris and I called Bean up to the guest bedroom after breakfast. I was ready to get on to him and tell him he had to move all his stuff back to his room, but instead Chris led the conversation.
“Hey, buddy,” he said gently. “How come you moved in here last night?”
“It’s just more comfortable than my bed,” Bean said. “I like this bed better.”
“Yeah? You like being able to spread out like this on this bigger bed?” Chris said, smiling.
“Yeah, all my guys fit up here with me.”
“Well, maybe it’s time we got you a big boy bed,” Chris said. “You want a big bed like this in your room?”
“YEAH!” Bean shouted.
I knew the day would come when we would move him out of his toddler bed. In fact, I knew it would come soon. He still fits in his little race car bed, but he’s not a toddler anymore. I just hadn’t gotten around to taking the next step yet. And I never dreamed that Bean would be the one to ASK for a big bed. I really didn’t think he knew the difference!
About ten minutes later, I went into Gracie’s room to get her dressed for the day. I took down one of her shirts that had a pig with sunglasses on it.
“NO PIGGY!” Gracie shouted, stamping her foot.
Well, this was new. Gracie never said anything about her clothes!
“No piggy?” I asked. “Why?”
“NO PIGGY! WANT TUTTLE!”
“You want to wear your turtle shirt instead of the piggy shirt?” I repeated, just to clarify. This had never happened before, and I wasn’t quite sure I was ready for it to happen now. Was Gracie getting PREFERENCES??????
“YES! TUTTLE SHURT!”
So, this morning, both my kids grew up within about 10 minutes of each other. I AM NOT PREPARED FOR THIS! I THOUGHT I HAD MORE TIME! We are having a yard sale in a couple weeks, and I have been pumping myself up to sell our baby crib then. I thought I had WEEKS left to prepare for my kids to grow up????
I CAN’T HANDLE THIS!
I am not ready for big beds and tuttle shirts!
Bean has been cracking us up lately with his little comments. He will say some of the funniest things, but it’s not just what he says that is funny. It’s how his mind processed information to get to those comments.
We have been talking a lot about Sarah and her new baby. So, yesterday as we were leaving the house to meet Bean’s BFF, Elle, and her mommy for a play date at Chuck E. Cheese (germy, I know, but their tokens and prize exchange are GOLD for my kids, so judge away…), Bean says to me, “Elle has a baby.”
“Oh, you mean she has a baby doll? Like Gracie does?”
“No, her mommy is going to have a baby.”
So, then I sat there and thought about this because I am friends with Elle’s mom and I was 99.9% sure she wasn’t pregnant. But maybe she was and she hadn’t said anything yet?
“You mean, her mommy has a baby doll?” I asked for clarification.
“No, Mom!” Bean gasped, cleared frustrated with my lack of understanding about the birds and the bees. “Elle’s mommy has a baby in her belly. Like, a REAL baby. And it’s going to come out in…” (this is when he checked the watch he wears around) “…ten minutes!”
I later clarified with Danielle that she was not, in fact, expecting a baby at all, much less in ten minutes. And then we had a good laugh. Or, maybe I was the only one laughing. (Point of order: Danielle is tiny and thin and does not in the least way resemble a pregnant woman. I thought I should clarify.)
Last week, he and I were snuggling on the couch and he casually says, “Mom, you need a leg hair cut.”
The week before that, he put Gracie in time out because she “was being widiculous.” And, shocker of all shockers, SHE STAYED IN TIME OUT!
I don’t think Bean understands my job. He knows I go to school every day, but I don’t think he understands that I’m the teacher. Why do I think that, you ask? Because he asks me every day if I had fun at my centers and what books I read in circle time.
Every time Chris and I kiss or hug, Bean comes up and pushes between us, saying, “Hey, hey, hey! Break it up! Break it up!”
Three-and-a-half can be tough. Those little curious minds process, like, EVERYTHING. And that spawns a thousand and one questions. Including the dreaded, “Why?” over and over and over again. But it’s a great age, too, because you get to hear them communicate ideas they are creating using all that information they are processing. Sometimes, they process just how they should and you suddenly think you have a little genius in your family. And then sometimes they come up with these crazy funny comments that probably sound “widiculous” to anyone but their momma. But as his momma, I understand. I know where he is getting the ideas and I can follow his train of thought, though it sometimes seems to outsiders to be erratic and random. And I love that. It’s one of my favorite parts of being a momma.
Bean has always been a pretty mild dude. He gets that from his dad. He’s a laid back, go with the flow, playing-with-my-action-heroes kind of a guy. But lately, it is like someone is pouring buckets of testosterone into his system and the BOY is just BURSTING out of him! He’s running and throwing and yelling and climbing walls.
No, seriously. I caught him trying to CLIMB THE DOOR FRAME of his bedroom the other day. When I asked him what he was doing, he said he was climbing like Spiderman. And then he gave me this look like, “Duh, Mom!”
The other day, he came tearing through the kitchen, chasing Gracie with a giant plastic claw. When I told him he had to leave her alone, he said, “But, MOM! She’s my DINNER!”
And yesterday, he threw an entire basket of action heroes down the stairs at one time and yelled out, “LOOK OUT BELOW!” No apparent reason for that one. Just decided to chuck everything down the stairs.
On some days, I get really irritated. He’s just so loud and rough and… and… LOUD. But, I try to look at him as a whole, not just as his rough actions. Usually, he’s rough when he’s imagining games and playing pretend. And I think that is awesome that he’s got such an active imagination. I love that about him. He’s also fairly innocent when he’s being rough. It’s like he truly doesn’t know how loud or rambunctious he is being until you tell him he needs to pipe down a bit. Then he’s pretty quick to dial it back a couple notches.
I’ve been thinking about him as if he’s just gotten a new body and he doesn’t know yet how to control it because that’s basically what it’s like to grow like a stinkin’ weed. Every day he wakes up, that kid is bigger. I feel like I blink and he grows a foot. I remember when he was around a year old, and starting to look a little bit less baby-like. I would sometimes catch glimpses of what he was going to look like as a toddler or preschooler. Now, I sometimes catch glimpses of what he’s going to look like in elementary school. And that terrifies me. This past weekend at a birthday party for one of his friends, I found myself talking about KINDERGARTEN with a couple of the other parents. KINDERGARTEN, PEOPLE.
WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON HERE? WHAT TIME TUNNEL HAVE I GOTTEN STUCK IN?????? WHERE HAS MY BABY BOY GONE???????
Okay, minor mommy meltdown over. Let’s get back to the rambunctious thing…
We are starting to notice now that with the rambunctious actions we are starting to see a little bit of a rambunctious attitude. His tone is a little more sarcastic when he talks to us. He can be a little more demanding. He is arguing more. He is getting a bit more bossy. All of these are just part of growing up, I’m sure. But dude needs to get the tiny ‘tude under control.
And then! This morning when I was dropping him off at daycare, I happened to stand there a bit longer than I normally do (I’m a quick drop and run kinda momma – usually because I’m running late!), and I noticed a table full of boys “playing” together. And I use the word playing very loosely here. They were shoving toys across the table at each other, trying to hit someone with whatever they were shoving. They were getting in each other’s faces and arguing and snapping at each other – sort of harmless yelling, but it was the same tone that we’ve started hearing at home that we are really trying to curb.
I waited for the teacher (who, thankfully, was not his regular teacher but a fill-in during the morning rush) to say something about speaking nicely or using gentle hands, but she didn’t seem to think anything was wrong. Finally, I stopped the boys at the table and said, “Hey, guys! Let’s speak nicely to our friends, please!” And only then did the teacher come over.
Now, we have a stellar daycare. Really excellent. I love both the kids teachers and feel good about where they are. Which is exactly what I said when I spoke with the daycare manager this afternoon. I told her how happy we were at the daycare and with their teachers, but that I was concerned about some of the rambunctious behavior and harsh speaking that was going on in Bean’s classroom. While I certainly understand that little boys are learning how to be bigger boys and that there have to be allowances for the rambunctious playing, my real concern was that the teachers were not helping them learn the appropriate ways to interact with each other.
Kids yelling, screaming, and throwing things? Fine. Sure. As a teacher myself, I totally understand boys pushing the limits. But there better be a teacher there to redirect their behavior to more appropriate interactions with their friends.
It was one of the only times I have ever had to voice a concern at a daycare, but I think it was the right thing to do. RIGHT???? Or am I being ridiculous? Tell me, imaginary friends, how rambunctious is too rambunctious?????