So, we're back to preschool and I'm enjoying the the routine - or maybe I should say I'm enjoying figuring out the routine. The reality of orchestrating everything is still messy.
New beginnings always give me hope about how things will be better when....
One of the things I've been hoping for is to see a lot less of this:
That's Noah (the big one) imitating Mattias (the little one). The partial de-evolution of the four-year-old this summer was one of the drawbacks to all that shared brotherly boredom.
My Mentor-in-Motherhood, and sometimes anonymous commenter, who has four kids of her own, once told me that it takes kids about 6 weeks to adjust to changes in routine. Last year, it did seem that Noah had about a 6 week honeymoon with preschool before he had a 4 week crash and burn period. So this year, I'm trying to withhold judgement on how it's going. He seems very excited now, but he's still imitating his brother.
In other words, maybe he'll forget how to act like an 18 month old and be less excited about preschool - in about 6 weeks. I'm not sure that's really a better scenario.
In the meantime, we find ourselves saying things to Noah like,
"Please use your words."
"Be a good listener."
"Don't step on your brother!" (as Mattias positions himself laying across the bottom step of the stairway.)
And regarding that stepping-on-your-brother thing, doesn't common sense kick in at some point? Do I need to say, "Don't step on your brother" twenty, forty, a hundred times before Noah knows it? Or how about, common sense would mean I don't have to say, "Don't step on your brother" in the first place, right? I have the distinct feeling that we are running out of appropriate consequences for relatively minor infractions.
I blame myself, really. When Noah was Mattias' age I was all into positive messages, and I thought that the word "no" was too abstract for him. Instead of saying, "Don't step on your brother" I would have said, "Step around your brother." What was I thinking?!? Now, life with Noah is... well, like he can't hear negative statements.
Mattias, however, hears "no" a lot. He's figured out it's a key word for getting Noah to laugh. Like this:
"No, Mattias! No laying on the step. Up, Mattias. Stand up."
Mattias, laughing. He stands up and lays down again. He waits. Noah steps on him. Mattias laughs. Noah laughs.
"Noah, no! Don't step on your brother!"
Noah imitates Mattias by laying down across the second step. Mattias stands up and begins crawling over Noah.
"Ack! Ow! Ow!" Noah cries as Mattias crawls over him. (Unfortunately, Noah doesn't imitate Mattias' good sportsmanship at being stepped upon.) Noah attempts to stand up, which causes Mattias to tumble backward down two steps.