Monday, October 25, 2010

Costume Drama

The Halloween season is upon us, with plenty of costume-wearing occasions available.  The problem?  Dashiell wants nothing to do with costumes.  First, we tried a really cool dragon costume that our neighbor gave us.  I left it out on the guest bed for D to "discover", which worked great at first!  He was so excited about it, and I showed him how he could wear it and look just like an awesome dragon.  He wanted to try it on, so he stepped into it, I started zipping up the back, and before I could finish zipping he said "take it off!  Take it off!".  I brought him to the mirror to show him how cool he looked, but no luck.  The dragon wasn't happening.

So for the next week or two I tried to give him ideas for various costumes.  I suggested Super Why (the one in the green mask above), since that's one of his favorite shows, and was met with a luke-warm reaction.  Then I suggested a Sneetch, which is one of his favorite Dr. Seuss stories.

I figured it would be pretty easy to make--yellow sweatshirt and pants, add a white collar and a green star, and presto--he's a Sneetch!  He kind of liked that idea, but still not the reaction that I wanted.  I kept it on the list of ideas anyway, just in case.  Then suddenly it was 2 weeks before Halloween and I hadn't looked for a  yellow outfit, and we had our first Halloween activity to go to in less than a week.  So instead, while we were watching It's the "Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" I asked if he wanted to be Linus for Halloween, and he actually said yes!

 Awesome!  And easy!  And not very "costume-y" so he shouldn't have any objection to wearing it.  So I ordered a red striped t-shirt online on Monday, bought him some brown shoes and red socks, washed his blue blanket and figured out how I'd make a "Welcome Great Pumpkin" sign for him to carry.  But even though the t-shirt shipped on Tuesday, it still hasn't arrived!  And
Boo at the Zoo was yesterday (Sunday).  Bummer.  Dash's Nana dug out a pumpkin costume from her attic, but D didn't want to wear that, either.  So I put him in his "college boy" outfit from the last post, and called it a costume. 

Sigh.  So Halloween has been challenging this year.  We have a party to go to on Saturday and of course there's trick-or-treating Sunday, and he'll be able to sport his Linus "costume" for those (assuming the tshirt arrives!).  We were supposed to go to a playgroup Halloween party today but Dashiell's feeling burned out by social activities and opted to stay home and watch movies instead (though I'm waiting for him to ask to go to playgroup as soon as the movie is over, AFTER playgroup is over, then freak out because he can't go--life with a two-year-old is always interesting!). 

There's always next year, right?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reverse Psychology

It works, people!  Especially on a 2-1/2 year old!  Every time Dashiell and I are downstairs and I need us to go back upstairs, I tell him "time to go upstairs", and inevitably he says "no", "I don't want to go upstairs", "no thank you", etc.  So lately after he says no, I'll say, "alright, stay down here.  But I'm going upstairs," and I'll start up the stairs without him.  99% of the time he'll then say "I want to go upstairs" (as if it was his idea to do so in the first place) and start to follow me.  Reverse psychology works, and there's your proof!  Of course some day (probably very soon, I'm sure) this will backfire on me, I know.  He'll call my bluff and stay downstairs, most likely when it's critical that he goes upstairs (bedtime, for example).  But for now I'm using this trick for all it's worth!  Take that, Mr. No!

Another trick I recently learned in dealing with all the "no":  Don't ask yes or no questions!  Simple, right?  And if you're making a request, give two choices instead of just asking him to do one thing ("would you like to put away your blocks or your trucks?" instead of "time to put away your toys!").  Thank you,, for suggesting this!  Every night I used to tell Dashiell, "Time to wash your face and brush your teeth!" and he'd always say no, "I don't want to wash my face and brush my teeth".  Always.  The past week or two I've instead asked him, "What do you want to do first, brush your teeth or wash your face?" and he actually chooses what to do instead of just saying no!  Same with the toy thing--he chooses which toys he wants to put away based on the options I give him (yes I usually put away the other toy choice, but I'll take that over full-on defiance any day!  I figure he's learning that people help each other out, right?).  And seriously, why didn't I think of this ages ago?  Of course he wants to think he has control and free will!  He's 2!  Yes he's still the master of "no", but we're both much happier avoiding at least a few of the power-struggles.

Speaking of making his own choices, check out Mr. D's outfit!  Love it!  First off, we needed to do laundry and the only long pants he had were blue fleece sweats.  Then he INSISTED on wearing his "wild shirt", which is short sleeved and it was a chilly day, so we needed to layer!  He thinks of sweatshirts as jackets will take them off anytime we're in the house, so this was our long sleeve option that would still let him see his wild shirt.  Classic college boy.  I can hear future Dashiell now, "What's for dinner, mom?  I'm starved!  Do you mind doing my laundry while I'm home?"   Those eyes look a little droopy--too much partying?  Hmm...

This is him after his nap--check out that awesome hair!

Gotta love this kid!

Friday, October 1, 2010


Since I just did a post on apples, I thought I'd share a story about another popular fruit, bananas.  This illustrates the sheer frustration of dealing with a two-year-old.   However I should preface this by saying that we know that, in general, Dashiell is a fairly easy kid--any tantrum he has usually lasts all of 2 minutes, if that--and we are lucky.  And he is lucky, because if stuff like this happened constantly, we'd have to send him away.  Far, far away (just kidding of course--the farthest we'd send him is to his grandparents' house which is only a few towns over! Ha! ).

So last night we're all sitting around watching Wheel of Fortune (aka "The Wheel") and Dashiell runs into the dining room and comes back with 2 bananas that were sitting in a bowl on the hutch.  He seems very excited about them, so I ask if he wants one and he says "Yes please!".  I peel one and hand it to him, and he takes about 3 bites.  Then he decides he wants the other banana.  We tell him that he can have the other banana if he finishes the one he has (it should be noted that in the past couple of months Dash has taken to asking for a banana then only eating one or two bites of it, leaving the rest to rot on the table--frankly, we're getting sick of wasting bananas, so there's no way we're peeling another banana that night so he can waste two of them at one time...).  This send him into a fury of tears and yelling, and he INSISTS that he NEEDS that other banana!  We stay calm and explain again that he can have it after he finishes the first.  He keeps yelling and crying.  This goes on for a few minutes while The Wheel wraps up.  Any attempt at distracting him and getting him to think of something other than the banana fails.  We decide that it's definitely time for bed and ask him to pick up his toys so we can head upstairs.  Of course that makes him madder, but he's still yelling about the banana.  We go upstairs to get ready for bed, and he's still screaming about wanting the other banana.  Rick puts him in his pj's, continuing to calmly explaining why he couldn't have the other banana when he didn't eat the first one.  Rick sends him over to me to wash his face and help brush his teeth, which also makes him mad.  But still he's yelling about the banana.  Finally, we get him to pick out some books, and he stops crying and lets us read to him like civilized people.  After 30 minutes in meltdown mode, "Color Kittens" came to the rescue!

Part of me thinks that it would have been easier to just give him the second banana (especially since he asked for it this morning and proceeded to not eat ANY of it so my concern about wasting it was for nothing!), but on principal we just couldn't do it.  He was trying to see what it would take for us to give in, so we had to hold our ground, even if it was about something as trivial as a banana.  Ugh!  There is a reason this is called the terrible 2's...



I love Fall--cooler weather, pretty leaves, and best of all, apple picking!  Yay!  We go nearly every year with our friends Shawn and Michele and their kids to a great farm in North Andover--Smolak Farms.  They have tons of trees, sell awesome apple cider donuts, plus there's a cool play area and hay rides.  Fun for everyone! 

Dashiell had a great time picking apples, and riding around on Rick's shoulders (lots of walking involved in apple picking!).  The added bonus is all the good stuff you can do with apples after picking them.  Rick makes a tasty apple pie, and this year I made apple butter in our crock pot, and it turned out great (not as thick as I'd hoped, but I didn't leave the cover off the crock pot as long as needed at the end).  Thanks to cousin Sherry for posting the recipe on her fantastic blog!  And we still have tons of apples left so we can make even more yummy things this weekend!  Apple crisp, maybe?  Or homemade apple sauce?  Or some tasty chicken and apple entree?  The possibilities are endless!  Go, apples!