Monday, November 14, 2011

NaBloPoMo 14/30: Gingerbread train; lessons in parenting

I think I mentioned a couple of days ago that I wanted to try to make a gingerbread house this year. When we were at Wal-Mart on Saturday we happened to see a display of gingerbread house kits, and one was actually a train kit. So of course, that was the one Carter picked out.


It comes with everything you need, and it was fairly easy to do. We decided to put it together this afternoon. It took several hours in all, though that's really 20 minutes here and then come back in an hour and work on it another 20 minutes after the icing has dried, that sort of thing. Here we're putting the cars together:


And when that was all dry, it was time to decorate. This turned out to be something I did while Carter watched. He got frustrated with the icing bag really quickly, so I did all of that. He put a few candies on the train, but what he really wanted to do was just eat all of the candy, and I finally had to take it all away from him so we'd have something to decorate with!

Here he's posing with our finished train. He looks like he's in pain here, but this is seriously the best of three shots in which I asked him to smile.


The gingerbread train lasted all of an hour. Carter decided we should have it for dessert. Apparently the idea of making a cookie and candy train that you just look at is incomprehensible to a 3yo child.


It was good! We actually only ate one car between the three of us, so we have some of the train left.

Today was a Carter and Mommy day, and what he really wanted to do was just play. So we played in the playroom and in the yard and in the living room -- basically I just followed him around all day and we played. Days like that are lots of fun!

We drove his tractor down to the mailbox so he could help carry the mail back in his trailer. Don't laugh -- it's actually a long walk to our mailbox and it was very full, so this worked out well!

This afternoon my mom called while we were playing in the backyard, and Carter wanted to talk to her. He's talked on the phone quite a bit before, but usually it's just for a few minutes at a time. He talked to mom for a good 15 minutes! It was so cute! He told her all about our house and our upcoming trip to Orlando and then he went inside and told her about the toys he had in there. He's used to Skyping and so he didn't seem to understand that Nana couldn't see what he was doing. I need to get a new iphone so we can actually do video calls.

This evening I needed to work to get ready for my classes tomorrow. I had a stack of tests to grade and needed to write a quiz and prepare my slides and activities for class. I had a couple of hours of work to do, and Doug and Carter started out playing in the playroom while I worked in the office across the hall. But after a while Carter really seemed disturbed that I wasn't playing, much more so than usual, and there was nothing Doug could do to keep him in the playroom. Carter's been insisting I accompany him to the bathroom every time he goes (after a few weeks of not wanting me to go with him at all) and he decided that he could only go pee if I went with him.

In retrospect, I should have just gone. But I was busy and Doug was there, after all, so I kept telling him no, I can't this time. He refused to go with Daddy or by himself, and eventually he was so upset that the only thing he wanted to do was sit in my lap. Doug did his best to entice him away to play, but every time Carter would come right back. I tried explaining that I just needed a little more time to get this done, but he just didn't hear it. He got more and more frantic, and I finally realized he was emotionally stuck. He just wanted some reassurance that I was there for him, and the more I pushed him away the more desperate he got. If I'd just gone to the toilet with him when he asked the first time, it probably would have been all right.

So, lesson learned. I set aside my work and he snuggled in the chair with me and we talked about his feelings about it all. He said that all he'd wanted was for me to take a little break with him. And that would have been SO easy. One thing I always want him to know is that he is my number one priority, but I failed at that this evening. He went to sleep in my arms an hour before his usual bedtime, still fully clothed (and never having peed). And of course, I then had even more time to work (which I needed), but that was not the way I wanted to get it. :-(

But you know, this is the work of parenting. You screw up, you learn from it, you apologize to your child, and you move on, a bit wiser.

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