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Archive for October 2012

Okay, so I’m not above concocting elaborate schemes for bribing my children to do things that I feel are necessary. For example, the Nappy Fairy visited both Tiernan and Molly when push came to shove with toilet training. That went pretty well, so I reserved the right to apply the concept in other circumstances. In teacher speak, this is called ‘Synthesizing, and I awarded myself full points for my cleverness. Until it all went wrong.

The time has come for Tiernan to stop sucking his thumb.

He has had dermatitis around his mouth and on his thumb for some weeks now, caused by saliva as he sucks his thumb in his sleep and drools everywhere. We were treating it, but a few days ago he developed an impetigo infection around his mouth. Impetigo is contagious and needs to be treated with antibiotics. He is off preschool today and I am home from work because of the impetigo. This is not something I wish to repeat. The thumb sucking has got to stop.

We had been discussing this with Tiernan since the dermatitis started anyway. He was pretty resistant to the idea. However, once the impetigo started and I made him wash his hands every time he touched his face (so he didn’t give it to us), and he started to realise that impetigo sucks, he did say that he might be able to quit sucking his thumb if we took his blankets away.

In that instant, the Blanket Fairy was born.The Blanket Fairy takes blankets from big kids and gives them to younger kids who need them more, which is exactly what the Nappy Fairy does, only she deals in nappies. Clean ones.

I asked Tiernan if he would like me to get the Blanket Fairy to visit. I explained that the Blanket Fairy would leave him a toy if she let him take his blankets. He got excited about the toy and seemed keen. He went to his room and said goodbye to his blankets, of which he has about seven, left over from his baby days. He used to call them ‘barties’. He likes to rub them on his face while he sucks his thumb.

Then I realised the Blanket Fairy (ie. Me) wouldn’t have time to go to the toy shop that night, so I told him he could have one more night with his blankets and say goodbye tomorrow. He was cool with that. He said he would miss his blankets but he was big enough now not to need them anymore, and that he didn’t want to suck his thumb anymore either. So brave.

But that was during the day.

In the evening, he changed his mind. He was tired. And sleepy. And a big baby again. He wanted his blankets and his thumb and was never, ever giving any of them up.

Two days later – today – I broached the subject again. We’re both home because of his impetigo. We had the opportunity to visit ‘Toy Giraffes’, the coolest toyshop ever (also known as ‘Toys R Us’ if you’re an adult). So I told Tiernan that I had spoken to the Blanket Fairy on the phone (he already thought that anyway – I was talking to my Mum and he asked me if it was the Blanket Fairy, so it wasn’t really that much of a lie). I said the Blanket Fairy had given me some money to buy him a new toy and that she wanted him to pick one out so that she didn’t get the wrong thing. Also, she’s really tiny and can’t carry big things.

He bought it. He was super excited about going to ‘Toy Giraffes’. He was ready to sign over his soul for a visit to ‘Toy Giraffes’, so his blankets were only a small promise, in the scheme of things.

We went in. He picked his new Spiderman Toy. We came home. We started to pack up his blankets.

He baulked. Then I baulked, too.

Each blanket we found seemed to bring up different memories for him. He smelled each one and told me it was his favourite and could he please, please keep it? After the third one, I couldn’t handle it any more and started to compromise on the Blanket Fairy’s behalf. “Okay, I’m sure the Blanket Fairy will let you keep that one…”, until we had four blankets in the bag, and five in the cupboard. Not exactly what the Blanket Fairy had in mind. I ploughed on, trying to negotiate a better return for the Blanket Fairy’s investment, but that’s when he decided that he really didn’t want Spiderman after all and the Blanket Fairy could have him back. Then he started to cry.

Sigh.

I can see now that his blankets are still very special to him. I don’t want to make him give them away. But how do we renege on our deal with the Blanket Fairy, and keep our dignity?

We don’t. We wrote her a letter and begged to keep the blankets and Spiderman. We agreed that Tiernan would not sleep with the blankets anymore, but keep them in his cupboard. We explained that just having Spiderman would be enough to remind Tiernan not to suck his thumb during the day. Also, we made a plan to cut the tags off Tiernan’s pyjamas because he also likes to hold those while he sucks his thumb (weird kid), and argued that this was a far better plan that giving away the blankets. Last of all, we promised that Tiernan would look after his blankets, until he is bigger and ready to give them to the Blanket Fairy.

Only, Tiernan made me change that bit and he ended up promising to look after his blankets, and when he is bigger he will wear them as scarves. Every day.

Oh dear.

We are still waiting on her response.

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The good stuff:

1. You just learnt to ride your bike without training wheels!! I’m so proud of you my heart could burst. You saw one of your playgroup friends riding his bike without training wheels, and the next time we got your bike out you announced that you would like yours removed. Then you hopped on and off you went. Half an hour later, you were riding as though you’d been doing it for months. Awesome.

A blurry action shot. You were going fast!

2. You are very much looking forward to ‘big school’. I am too. You are ready to go, and I think (hope) you’ll have a ball. You’re such a curious kid, and a great thinker. I’m forward to watching you learn new things and develop new skills. Of course, I’m also a little sad that you’ve grown up so quickly, and I’ll miss you loads while you’re there. But I’m so excited that you’re about to enter the next stage of your life, as a school-kid.

3. You seem to have mellowed out just a little over the last few weeks. We still get the occasional bout of Tiernan craziness, but it’s not daily anymore. In small doses, it’s more tolerable. You can be quite mature at times, and you sometimes surprise me by handling tricky situations much better than I expected.

4. You have been very interested in reading numbers for a while now, and are getting really good at reading two-digit numbers, ie ’64’ is ‘sixty-four’. You make the odd mistake, such as ‘fivety-four’ and you get stumped with the twenties. By the way, I agree; ‘tooty-three’ is a much better number than ‘twenty-three. Your favourite number is 89. In the last week or so, you have been asking me what certain words say, too. You haven’t been particularly interested in writing or reading words up until now. You love playing words games, like thinking of rhyming words, but you don’t really care about reading them yet. I haven’t wanted to push you, so the fact that you seem to be taking a bit of interest is very encouraging.

5. You have been drawing some really great pictures lately, which I love. Last week when you were at home sick from daycare, you sat and drew some pictures in your new dinosaur book that you got from Nanny. You drew a stegosaurus and were so happy with it that you told me you wanted to be an artist when you grow up.

6. You have made a new friend at preschool and you really look forward to seeing him each week. He is about your age and you both seem to enjoy each other’s company. You have also made friends with a boy at playgroup, whom you used to say you didn’t like. Apparently he called you ‘Tin man’ rather than Tiernan. I don’t know whether he was teasing or actually having trouble saying your name (it is a bit tricky). Anyway, you seem to have worked it all out now. You both have similar interests and are the big boys of playgroup, so it’s nice to see you getting a long.

7. Even though you’re my big boy, you still love your bedtime cuddle and story in your bed. You also like to have one of us lie in bed with you while you go to sleep, but you only get to have it a few times a week, depending on how busy we are and what type of day we’ve had. You’re really good at bedtime now, even when you’ve had a sleep or rest during the day. If you don’t go to sleep straight away you’re usually happy to play quietly by yourself until you’re ready. It makes life sooooo much easier!

8. You have been going to a speech pathologist for your stutter for over a year now, and I’m pleased to say that you have improved heaps and we are into the maintenance phase of the treatment at last! It has been a long slog. We now only have to do ‘smooth talking’ three times a week. It’s still a struggle to fit them in, especially when you are sick for a week like you were last week, or when there are unusual things happening and we’re extra busy. However, three is definitely more manageable than five, and I’m looking forward to dropping them down even further in a few more months. Then it will be time to work on some of your lisp. But we won’t think about that yet.

9. You can make your own sandwiches! This is awesome, because I am so sick of you complaining of hunger, like, all day every day, and now I can just say “Go and make yourself a sandwich!” and you do.

10. You just started Little Athletics recently and you seem to enjoy it. We opted for a club that operates on a Friday night rather than Saturday morning (rowing and golf get in the way). I feel a little bad about it because you are so very tired on Friday night, after three days of preschool and daycare, and you find it hard to get fully involved, even though I know you really want to. But you do look forward to going each week, and since running races are your absolute favourite thing to do, you are still enjoying it even though you’re tired. We’ll keep going for as long as you’re having fun.

P.S. Taking photos of you is always a lot of fun. You are the biggest poser I know!

The not-so-good:

1. Thumb sucking is becoming a bit of a problem, as we always knew it would. It was so cute when you were little. It still is. But you are getting some not-so-cute dermatitis around your mouth, and on your thumb. And I’m pretty sure the orthodontic bill in ten years’ time will not be cute either. You really only suck when you are tired and snuggling in front of the TV for a rest. Also at night. We’ve made one half-hearted attempt to wrap bandaids around your thumb before bedtime but you took them off. We will have to get serious soon.

2. I think I’ve said it before, but when you are bored you go out of your way to irritate your sisters. You get more of a reaction from Molly, so you tend to target her. She screams in response and it’s very satisfying for you. I remember doing the same thing to my younger sister. It was a lot of fun. I’m not enjoying it now.

3. You are usually pretty great at playing nicely with your friends, but sometimes you tend to go overboard and have a lot of trouble calming down. It isn’t always your fault – some of your friends are just as boisterous as you, or more, so that makes it even harder to keep you guys contained. All normal stuff but it can be very annoying to have to constantly stop you and your friends from mauling each other. It’s exhausting.

Gosh, I think that’s the smallest ‘not favourite’ list I’ve ever written for you. You are maturing so much and are becoming an all-round pretty awesome little guy. Most of the time! Love you lots xxx

Your soccer trophy