I love this picture. E did not want to go on the Jurassic adventure w her brother once they were able to go in. They had to wait their turn. When it came time, she declined. And of course, in typical E fashion, she went silent and grumpy. I am not a bit pained to say I am so very grateful that R's ex was so completely obtuse and uncommunicative at all times throughout their entire relationship. It has more than helped him when dealing w E--and w me too on those days when I retreat as well. Although at least in my case, he knows he'll get whatever it is I am brooding over out of me when I am ready, if he is patient and consistent, and he always is. With E, though, it takes more work. And thank goodness he had such a difficult row to hoe for so long w his ex, otherwise he might not be having so much success w E these days. Not that he wouldn't be trying to work w her, but it takes a great deal of patience to get anything out of E. She is more like me though, lately. She goes silent and grumpy, and eventually she will talk. If you keep asking the right questions. In my case, w her, I have reached the point where I ignore her fits til hours later, or the next day, and then ask about things. Sometimes I get answers, sometimes I don't. With R though , he gets answers, because he won't leave her alone until she talks. He is absolutely determined E not end up/turn out like his ex. Thank goodness.
I want to talk about N here now though. He had such a HUGE day on Saturday. We are used to hearing about him melting down when over tired or over hungry. Not playing by the rules. Demanding to have his own way. Pitching fits. Throwing himself down on the ground and screaming til he gets his way. Not participating with the group.
One thing I do know about my son is he is a very very keen manipulator. I have watched him for weeks, months, use behaviors that are obviously routine for him, as there is no emotional content in the behaviors, but that do not work for him with me/us.
I forget what it is that set him off, probably we went somewhere to eat and that wasn't the place he wanted to go or something like that since we were in the car. N kicked the back of the seat. He is a very easy read, this boy is, and there was no maliciousness or anger in him. He was performing an action that had gotten him results in the past. It is becoming all too obvious when these things happen. Neither R nor I fell for it. On top of which, neither of us would tolerate the kicking of the seat. There was no yelling. On anyone's part. But N looked at us and you can see the intellect in those eyes. He simply got out of the car and went along w us. We had no other problems from him.
You can talk to this boy. He does listen. He does understand. He is fine with having secure unyielding boundaries.
I had asked T about taking N to 6 flags here soon, for FrightFest, as that is the only time I like 6 flags, and now E has been requesting we go lately. We all love Halloween here in this family. T warned me how unruly N is in a crowd, how he doesn't like to follow the group, how he likes to go into restricted areas, how he might throw a fit, might want to leave before everyone else, more than likely would not go on rides. Now, to defend T, really here, although he was treating me like a babysitter (because he doesn't know the difference, again in the poor man's defense, he honestly does not have a clear grasp on such things) he was just trying to warn me of what may or may not happen. He was honestly trying to be helpful.
We don't have those problems with N when he's w us.
We have had instances where he hasn't been ready to leave a place (like the fun farm at eckerts, or a few weeks ago, whole foods for some reason) and he will pitch a fit about leaving which result in a struggle to get him into the car....but otherwise we rarely have issues when we are out and about. N is an ornery little cuss, yes, but so is E. We usually run through more issues w E than w N. Believe it or not. I give N alot of leeway and legroom to work his thing, depending on his disposition, yes, but overall, he follows the ground rules and isn't too obnoxious. Even though I give in way too much some days to buying him stuff, he's a doll to go shopping w, for the most part. I have always loved taking him shopping, especially in grocery stores. He has a good sense of things that people don't really expect 1 out of him and 2 out of a child so young.
We took N out apple picking.
1. He'd had a full morning before we left, what with the pumpkin massacre and all.
Plus, we fed them before taking them out (not that the adults didn't need food too, but still.) N did not want food--he wanted to go straight out and pick apples.
2. I didn't expect to be out nearly so long as we were just picking apples, but N was entertained the entire time. After he figured out you could eat apples in the field and then toss the finished apple away on the ground when you were done, he was good to go, so long as I wiped off and shined up the apple for him before he ate it.
E had an incredible blast. She still thinks it is so amazing that R lifted her up so she could pick the apples high up in the trees.
3. N did great both on the tractor ride there and the tractor ride back. He was a little anxious to get on the first one, because he was raring to go. Much like every single other kid in line. Only N wasn't running around, wasn't screaming or crying, wasn't being a complete butt like some of the other children there. On the ride back, all he was worried about was being able to get on the tractor. He was afraid it would leave without us. Telling him there were other tractors coming and going seemed to help and he was ok standing in line then.
4. He really enjoyed himself picking apples. He said the whole time we needed to do it again. That he wants to go again. He even traded apples w his sister at one point.
5. He did great standing in line to pay for the apples. ($84 dollars worth of apples, even with the 2 free pounds w the coupon we had). He was anxious to go to the play area as we were taking the apples back to the car before we did anything else, but he went to the car and then we went to look around inside the place before we went to the kids area, and he was fine with that too.
6. He knew he wanted to go on the Jurassic adventure from the get go. It's an inflatable playground where kids climb and bounce and do whatever inside. He didn't try to scale the side of the wall to go down the big slide in there, but he watched some kids do it and I think if he'd had more time he might have tried. Before we let him do that, we walked around the entire area, seeing what there was to see. We fed the goats, which N thought was ok as long as I was doing the feeding and he was doing the watching. The wallaby was not very interesting. He flat out refused to ride a pony, but was more open to E or me riding the camel. Makes me wonder what happened w him on a horse that bothers him so much. Last time I had him on a pony ride, he was nervous, but not overly so. No more than any other kid.
He stood in line to get tickets to go on the dinosaur 'ride'. He stood in line, more or less patiently until it was his turn to go inside the dinosaur 'ride'. He gave the man his tickets all by himself. The kid could not wait to hand them over and get inside. He went in all by himself, the first one inside. He made sure he knew where I was and then he was ALL OVER that place. He had a blast. I was so proud of him. I did not see the shy retiring fit-throwing child who would want to do his own thing that T kept warning me about. I saw an active engaged little snot head who watched the other kids and did what they did, even though he waited his turn on a couple things, and made sure he was out of the way of a couple of the older boys, which I don't blame him.
7. He came right out once the turn was over. R had swooped E up during N's time inside the dinosaur 'ride' and was trying to get her to talk/engage. N and I walked around. He wanted to ride the airplane ride, but you have to be less than 50 lbs to ride it...and we know N is 60 lbs--but I think he's closer to 65 now. He was very disappointed he couldn't ride the planes, but he was ok w it once I explained he was too big/too heavy. We walked over to the inflatable jumping thing, where you get inside and jump up and down. Well, we'd only bought 4 tickets, because the dinosaur thing was 2 tickets per child, whereas the jumping thing was 1 ticket per child. I wasn't going to let N use all the tickets without at least trying to get E to try something. I told N only Sister had tickets left and he'd have to ask her. So he went over and asked her if he could have a ticket so he could do the jumping thing. She decided she wanted to do that too.
8. Both kids stood in line together. N was the first one in. He gave the guy his ticket and popped right in. E was right behind. There was only one other child there, a little girl about two, maybe three. Her mom called out for her to do something by calling her name and my E stopped dead in her tracks and stared at me in complete confusion. The little girl's name was Evie. Evie short for Evelyn. My Ev thought that was cool. And everyone went back to jumping again. N never even stopped. I was proud of him there too. He tried very hard to avoid the little girl, even though the little girl tried even harder to avoid him. Apparently there's a Bubba in her life and he's kinda rough and tumble w her. Can't blame a girl for being careful. Again, when the barker cried time, N popped right out and was ready for the next thing.
9. We walked around after the jumping thing. N wanted to do the inflatable slide (I think because he didn't do the slide in the dinosaur thing), but we were out of tickets and were not getting anymore. So we walked around. Mini golf was free though and R and E played the whole field, I believe. Whereas N played several holes. Then we'd walk around. He'd play several holes. Then we'd walk around. But he really enjoyed himself. When we played golf, he followed right behind R and E. He did the holes they did, because that's how it was done. He had SO MUCH fun.
10. He was not ready to go when it was time to leave. He did not at any point fling himself to the ground. He did cry all the way back to the car and gave us trouble getting into the car, but R and I both managed to get him in and seat-belted without too much ado. Once in the car, it wasn't that bad. Hesettled down pretty quick. Impressively so.
11. Where did we go then? Oh, I believe we went to R's house then, since we had to let his dogs out. N spent the whole trip trying to make sure we were not taking him back to T's house, but that we really were coming back to my house and that N was staying w me. He was fine at R's house, nibby as all get out. N and I played pool for a bit. I'd forgotten how much I love to play pool. R took the time to show both kids how to shoot. E likes pool too.
12. Then we went to target, since N had a giftcard from Granddad for his birthday to spend. Sheesh. We so should not have gone. It was an expensive trip. Usually around Halloween I make multiple trips to target. We buy a couple bags of pumpkin spice hershey kisses. I usually let E pick out one Halloween movie at a time each visit. Nope. Since I don't have a car, we did a whole bunch of shopping all at once. N got his birthday stuff, which includes a footie pair of dinosaur jammies, a buzz lightyear set of jammies, a plethora of movies from Shaun the sheep to Alvin and the Chipmunks meet the Wolfman. He did not want toys. He did get a lollipop. He'd been looking for a pumpkin shaped lollipop all day. We never did find it either. He was tired in target, but not fit-throwing or anything.
Ev got scooby doo jammies--which I currently cannot get her out of now that they are washed. Plus black footie jammies w skulls all over them. Yeah, she is happy now, buddy. She got socks to wear w her witch costume for Halloween. I got socks to wear with my Alice costume, if I am allowed to leave the house in it. It is a bit shorter than I had anticipated, but it is workable. With the right stuff under it. I bought 2 t-shirts for me too--because I love halloween and will wear them year round--as will E as well. N would too if he were allowed to at T's house. We got a whole bunch of pumpkin spice kisses, most of which I have hidden by this point. I think we ended up with about ten movies. Not as bad as it sounds since most of them were $5 a piece. Plus, they had alot of science and history dvds on sale for like $3-5 each, so I picked up several of those as well for E. She loves stuff like that.
12. N fell asleep on the way back to my house. We stopped at the grocery store. R and E went in to get a couple things so we could make dinner. N woke up about the time they made it back.
13. We had no problems w him at home. He ate his dinner, after informing me that taco meat requires chips with which to eat it (T had neglected to tell me that when he told me how much N loves taco meat), but it worked out when I broke up a taco shell into pieces so N could eat it that way.
14. He was happy. Exhausted but happy. One major incident and one slight incident (before the apple picking--he was so determined not to eat but to go straight to apple picking he did not want to leave the car when we got to arbys to pick up food--it was faster to go in and order than it was to wait in the drive-thru line)
All in all, I keep seeing N being more calm and more together when R is around. R does not waffle at all. He is willing to give space, but once he says this is how it is, he doesn't waver from that. N has a great deal of appreciation for that. As does E.
Note on E here. Yesterday we stopped for dinner at applebee's between looking at houses. Usually there is an argument about which of them I sit next to, R or E. Usually E demands to sit next to me, whereas I prefer to sit next to R. Usually sitting next to R means I actually have room to, ya know, breathe and eat in peace. Usually. Yesterday is the very first time she ever sat down on her side all by herself without a question and then proceeded to pick on both R and me. That is really quite a step there. It does show how much more secure w things she is now that there is no doubt that R is here to stay.
We went to see the house on three acres again yesterday. I do believe, barring financing issues, this is the house we are getting. It is definitely the house we all three want. Hands down.
Wish us luck.