Saturday, February 28, 2009

The 36 Hour Cookies

Although I'm a bit behind the blogging world curve on this one, this past weekend I decided we should give "the best ever chocolate chip cookies" a try. Want to read more about them? Go here.

The recipe is a little different than your standard chocolate chip, and the cookies are definitely bigger than your standard cookie (3.5 ounces each), but the big "twist" on the recipe is the 36 hours you're supposed to let the dough chill before cooking. We made a fresh partial batch at the same time that we cooked the 36 hour dough, so we can tell you that they do taste different. My mother calls it a "smoother" flavor. We all agreed they were good, but very rich!

Jake wasn't quite sure what to do with such a huge cookie.

Viva knew just what to do with it.

And Bentley? He showed his usual restraint that he has when it comes to food. He tried some of the cookie dough, but when we asked if he wanted a cookie? "No thanks, maybe later". ODD behavior, I tell you.

Friday, February 27, 2009

She's got GIRL hair!

That's right. Not just hair, Viva is now the proud owner of girl hair! In case you don't know exactly what I'm referring to, it's that point at which you look at your little girl and notice she doesn't just have some baby hair anymore - she's got enough hair to make a statement. Some little girls achieve those gorgeous locks before they're even a year old. Some of them have to wait a couple years. Viva? Somewhere in the middle between the bald and the super locks crowd. I won't complain! Now she just needs to learn patience, so we can start in on some fancy dos... I'll settle for convincing her to leave in her headbands for now though.

She doesn't seem to mind the hair in her face. Could be a good thing if she wants some vogue haircut that calls for bangs constantly falling in front of your eyes when she's older, right?!!

And, to end with, a crazy do!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

2 Cute Kids

Cuddle time with the Dad! It's too bad they're only real cuddly when they're sick. Silly babies. Don't know they know cuddles are always good?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Potty Training? Bring It on, Mom!

Viva?!! You know, it works a little better if you remove the pajamas and diaper first!

Viva & Jake are quite keen on their older brother so I have a feeling they will be toilet trained a little younger than Bentley.

That is, as long as we can get Bentley on board. He had a fit the other day when Viva tried to push her pants down and she said "potty". He told us she can't use the toilet because she's not 3 yet, and she's too little to know how to be potty trained. (Yes, he said "potty trained"). The kid is a hoot!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Bentley Headlines

What's new with Bentley!

We had his 3 year check up with the Dr. a couple weeks ago, and I'm happy to report that although he's no heavy weight he did gain 5 lbs in this past year and he's back on the bottom of the growth chart for his weight - over 27 lbs! Maybe this year he will discover a love of protein and really go crazy with his weight. We'll see.

What else is new? For the week or two prior to his 3rd birthday we did a heavy propaganda campaign all about how 3 year olds are big kids and use the toilet. What did Bentley tell me? "Well, Mommy, SOME 3 year olds use the toilet but I think some like diapers". I wonder which some group he thought he was in? Fast forward to the morning of his birthday. When his poor Great-Grandma wished him a happy birthday in the morning he hit her (I know - awful!) and then started sobbing that he wasn't 3, and he didn't want a birthday.

Pressure is tough stuff! Luckily for us he remembered that the cake and presents were good stuff, and he even said thank you for his gifts of underwear. We gave him a couple days and then gave this whole toilet training a go again. And, I can now report, I think we're almost all the way there! More thanks to Grandma than me, I think. I'm still working on developing patience - I'm afraid it's a trait I have not mastered yet.

Here he is showing off his new car, a reward of successful toilet use. A little bribe can go a long way, I think!

Also - my 3 year old has become a tad defiant lately. It inspired me to run (not just walk) out of the house and to the book store to find myself a new parenting book. My current random techniques of management were just not quite cutting it anymore. So now we're trying the 1-2-3 Magic book. I know - a whole book about how to count to 3? But I like it and the author has some good points. Unfortunately, according to the author, I can't count to 3 to make my child eat his dinner. That's a behavior I want him to "start", not a "stop" behavior - the kind counting works with. Bummer!

Lastly? The kid is turning into quite the chatterbox. The other evening he was sitting on my bed, talking to me, and I think he talked for 10 minutes straight before really pausing to let me get a word in edgewise. He is very good with his words although he needs to work on his sense of time. We're always hearing "last night" or "yesterday" to refer to events which have happened at some point in the past month. Bentley really likes to start his sentences with "I think maybe..." when he wants to persuade me to do something. He has lots of opinions and likes to give input into what we do (like every 3 year old who thinks they rule the world, I suppose!). He also has a great memory. Better than mine, I think.

And that's that for now!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Better Late...

than not at all!

We had fun this month with Valentine's Day. I imagine it just gets better every year as the kids are more able to grasp the concept, and as they get more excited about holidays!

We had a great time making sweets with our friends. My brain was on vacation so I forgot the camera for BOTH playdates. We made pretzel buttons with friends, and later the week of Valentine's Day we decorated sugar cookies with some other friends. To be honest I should say Bentley decorated cookies - Jake and Viva were more interested in just eating them as quick as they could!

Pretzel buttons (misnamed, but we couldn't find the right size round pretzels so we used square!):

Bentley also helped me out with some sugar cookies for everyone in our home. What is Valentine's Day without a sugar cookie, right?!

I like my sugar cookies very moist and soft. However, I recently purchased an awesome book called Cookie Craft and so tried their recipe. Not quite as tasty, but I can see why it would be good for the perfect decorating cookies. No baking powder or soda, so they don't rise funny. They keep the shape you cut them out with. We painted some of our cookies with colored egg whites, before cooking (they turned out a lovely red!) and we used a small heart as a stencil to shake sprinkles into and outline hearts on other cookies. We're getting fancy!

On Valentine's Day we had berry smoothies (pink!) and apple pie for dinner. Non traditional? Perhaps. Tasty? Other than the smoke pouring through the house because I overfilled the pie pan? Absolutely!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Pirate's Treasure Map!

Bentley made this at his cousin's birthday party last month. My cousin Anna is a clever girl. A craft that involves foam and then more self-adhesive foam? Mess free, it's brilliant!

I may be a little biased but I think Bentley's placement of the animals is just plain perfect. :-)

What do all these animals have to do with the pirates treasure? A fair question. I assume, although Bentley did not tell me so, that perhaps you have to speak to each of those animals in turn and they'll give you the appropriate clues to lead you to the treasure. That must be it.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

3 on 1

Size doesn't matter so much when you work in a group. 3 grandchildren versus 1 grandparent? The group almost always wins!

They say to Opa: "You're surrounded, we've got you now! We want to watch MORE whale songs and train videos online! Please?!"

They say to Grandma: "Hold me, hold me, hold me NOW! I don't care if those other kids want to be held too, make room! You aren't going anywhere!"

Friday, February 20, 2009

When Dad's Away...

the kids go crazy with play!  Not the most clever rhyme, perhaps... but it works.

Matt has been up in sunny Barrow again, this past week, for work. Do you think he will be pleased at the new play toys his little boys have taken up with while he's gone?

Jake has discovered Viva's purse, and both Jake & Viva have decided it's fun to wear my heels around the house:

Bentley AND Jake (more Jake, to be honest!) are going crazy with the tea set we picked up for Viva at the toy store today:

And Viva is wondering why her brothers can't just leave her toys alone and go play with their cars.

Wait?  They have time to monoplize her toys AND spend hours with the ones she doesn't like so much?!  Life just isn't fair sometimes, Viva!

Come back, Daddy!! You're missing out on great fun.

Block Mania(cs)

Built entirely by Bentley, with no help:

Hello.  I am Kara, and I am a bit obsessed with building blocks.  I'm not sure why, but it happened!

You may recall reading that Bentley has really gotten into building lately. He had been having fun with the Jenga set of blocks so I decided to use some of the kids Christmas gift money towards some nice quality building blocks.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I first typed building blocks into Amazon. I'm the type of person that tends to over research and analyze before committing (paralysis by analysis, anyone?!) to a decision, so it was a rough couple of days for everyone in the house while I shared all the fascinating block trivia I was discovering. I think my family members were ready to pay me $$ to be quiet about it and just decide!

I'll try to sum it up shortly. Some building blocks come in a "standard block size" (which is a specific unit measurement) or some ratio on the standard block size. This means that all the pieces in the set will stack nicely and fit together exactly.  The kids can "see" the ratios and fractions and how it all comes together.  Good for the brain, more fun for building! Some building blocks are not standard unit block sizes, more just a huge set of pieces that only kind of play together. I decided I wanted standard unit blocks. But, then, how to pick which ones?! Brio, Plan Toys, HABA... all make nice blocks, and fun sets you can "add on" to your blocks with, but all of them use a slightly different ratio of the standard block. So they won't play together nicely.

I'm sure you'll be interested to know I decided on Plan Toy blocks, because I found another brand with fun colors to make the basic block set a little more fun - and, awesomely enough, the other brand uses the exact same dimensions!  Quite a serendipitous discovery - and at the local toy store, no less!  Not online at Amazon!

My children have obliged their crazed mother, and they seem quite taken with their mountain of blocks. I am happy they are getting in some good unstructured play. They are happy they can build huge towers and then knock them over and hear a huge crash. It's a win win.

Looks fun, doesn't it?!  And you can see that boys of all ages love blocks. Even Viva started getting in on the block action today.  She isn't quite as coordinated as her brothers (yet), but that's okay.  She'll get there.

Want to know more about block sets? Email me and I'll save you hours of research.  :-)  I'm told I'm quite the building block sales gal.  The ladies at the toy place offered me a job because I sold someone else on the two sets I was buying while I was in the store!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Growing Up Fast

Jake is looking awfully mature lately:

That, combined with his cuteness, convinced the Grandparents and I that it was time to let him get behind the wheel!

I bet his 16th birthday will be all too soon for me. :-)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Could Bentley be Maturing?!!

As mentioned in yesterday's post, earlier this week I pulled out the finger paints. Genevieve, of course, was happy to participate in my newest art project. Jake was a little (a lot!) more on the reluctant side, but he did share his prints with us.

And the really weird part? Bentley volunteered to try it. And he's asked for repeat experiences since then. His idea of finger painting is rather literal. It involves simply finger tips being dipped in the paint. BUT, still, I'm quite proud of his newfound willingness to get his hands dirty in the commission of an art project!

His creation with those cute little finger tips? Gorgeous!

Sunday, Sunday; Not a Fun Day

Our church meetings start at 9AM. This is not fun when you have three toddlers in the household. You have to yank the poor little tykes out of their slumbers and stuff them in church clothes and stick them in a cold car seat and then the real fun begins: 70 minutes of refined tortured. How long will Viva hold out before she has to be taken out of sacrament meeting because she's too loud? Will Jake make it through the entire meeting? (Sometimes he does! Viva never does.) Bentley is an old pro at the game and does great. Except today...

Today Bentley threw up during sacrament. There we were in the middle of the row in the middle of the congregation and Bentley starts throwing up. I grabbed a diaper and we sat there until he was done because what else could we do? We weren't on the end of the pew so a quick exit was not possible. Eventually the entire Altman-Enzenberger Clan got up and left. Four adults and three toddlers parading out during the middle of the high councilman's talk. Kara and I brought the three little ones home and left Mark and Matt to make explanations for our circus performance and to try and clean the puke off the pew. (The pews are less than six months old!)

This is the first church meeting the children have attended this month because all three children and Kara and I have had vicious (super snotty) head colds for over two weeks. Kara asked Matt to let the nursery workers know the children are not purposefully avoiding the nursery. We wouldn't do that. They called a new nursery worker when Bentley, Viva, and Jake moved into the ward. Seriously.

It's an unusual ward. They had two nursery workers and maybe ten children in the nursery, four of whom moved on to Primary at the start of the new year. That left a walloping six children in the nursery, nine with our threesome. Nine children require three nursery workers? Just what rumors preceded the twins move into the nursery?! They are quite well behaved in nursery--when they attend. In our old ward there were only two nursery workers called for 10-14 children. Of course, I was always there with Bentley, so they had an extra set of hands.

Since I started this post Jake has thrown up, too. Maybe we will get "lucky" and all three will be sick simultaneously rather than in series. I know how to count my blessings even when the children are sick!

Bentley who tells us he's fine now. He hasn't thrown up since church this morning (four hours ago).

Jake who looks and acts sick.

Viva who we all are watching closely.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

We did hand print art earlier this week. Jake & Viva each contributed to one half of the heart. Even Bentley got into the spirit of things and made a few valentines with his hands and finger paint!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Group Photos

It's very difficult to take a good photo of all three children. Someone is usually looking away or moving out of the frame. Here is a recent attempt:

I told Mark to grab the camera when I saw all of them sitting in the cupboard together. He didn't get the perfect shot, but two out of three looking is pretty good.

Here's another shot of the threesome playing together:

Kara's mini Dell computer has them captivated. Since the goal wasn't to get them to look at the camera but rather to capture a candid moment, this shot can be labeled perfect. The trio is perfectly happy and perfectly adorable. Yes, it's a perfect shot!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The VivaJake Pair

It's hard to talk about one twin without bringing up the other one. When I wrote my Viva! Viva! post, Jake's name kept coming up. I had to go back and edit out some parenthetical comments that I made about Jake because the goal of my post was to talk about Viva.

Obviously the twins interact together a lot so telling stories about one twin will often necessitate the use of the other twin's name, however it is not necessary to always be comparing one twin to the other. Viva likes the church nursery. Jake does not. Jake has a hard time teething. Viva does not. Viva mimics words. Jake does not. Jake likes waffles. Viva does not. It sure is hard to break the habit!

It's not just parents and grandparents who compare twins one to another. Whenever someone learns that I have a twin the first question out of their mouth is "Is she like you?" They aren't simply asking if we're identical twins and look alike, they are asking if she has my personality traits. Are there two of me roaming the planet? Why people think like that, I can't say. Perhaps it's a great fear of singletons that someone else is JUST LIKE THEM!?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Viva! Viva!

I've been devoting a lot of blog space to Jake lately. Bentley, too, got his fair share of print recently because it was his birthday. Viva has been neglected. I will try to make up for that today.

Viva is quite different from her brothers. She is not very interested in their favorite toys--balls, blocks, cars, and trains. She will play with the boys' toys for a short time, but not for nearly as long as the boys will. Her attention moves on. She likes stuffed animals. She enjoys watching the boys wrestle each other, but doesn't like being tackled herself.

She likes the computer and the phone when she can get her hands on them. The boys will sit and look at photos or videos on the computer, but Viva isn't as interested in looking. She wants to touch and experience.

She throws little tantrums when she doesn't get exactly what she wants. She's not loud or obnoxious, but she makes it very clear that she's not going to settle for less than what she had in mind. The problem is we adults aren't always clear about what's in Viva's mind. What does she want?!

She's still a great wanderer. She likes to move about. She likes to explore the house. She doesn't sit in one spot for very long. She will take out a game or puzzle and spread the pieces around and then leave. She loves to go on outings. She's very excited when it's Friday morning and Grandma Karen comes to get her for some one-on-one time.

I call her the chaos creator. She likes making messes. But, to give her credit, she is better at cleaning up than her brothers. She likes to help out. If you ask her to do something, she usually will. She's very sweet.

She likes her doll and sometimes takes her for stroller rides. She has to outrace Jake when she does so because when she uses the stroller Jake then wants it. He's not interested it when it's sitting stationary in the corner, but once Viva puts the wheels in motion it becomes a desirable object. Viva fights Jake for the stroller. Lots of other toys she hands over to him or even throws at him while running in the opposite direction, but she doesn't hand over her stroller.

She likes to color with her brothers. She usually enjoys the church nursery. She doesn't enjoy puzzles yet. She likes books, but would rather read them herself than be read to.

Viva is starting to talk and will mimic words if she's in the mood. Today she called Jake by his name. It's so cool when little toddlers start talking. It's simply amazing--what a phenomenal feat it is to learn to speak English (or whatever your native tongue is). I wonder what tales she'll share with us when her vocabulary is large enough to describe her thoughts.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Jake the Despot

This post is part two of a series. Part one (which you should read first) is posted below: Jake Rules. There had better not be a third in the series. DO YOU HEAR ME JAKE?

Jake was at it again last night. Having practiced two out of the previous three nights, he was in top form while the rest of us definitely came into the contest tired and beaten down.

It started at the usual hour—between 1 and 2AM. I was woken up from my slumbers by a few pitiful shrieks from the room next to mine. I listened to see if he would roll over and go back to sleep. Nope, there he went again. I got up and went down the hall, but by the time I got to his door he was quiet again. All right! I listened at the door and heard lots of labored breathing (all three toddlers currently have head colds), but I heard no more shrieks. I happily went back to bed. Five minutes later he started up again, this time in earnest.

I headed back to his bedroom hoping to get to him before he got to his sleeping siblings. At first I thought I was successful in my goal, but when I reached to nab him from his crib, his twin popped up in hers. She took one look at me rescuing her sibling and she started wailing. She was serious about her discontent. As I stood there and pondered my options (I was tired and couldn’t think what to do), she got louder and louder. Jake at this point was quiet because he’d scored a rescue.

Then Kara made her presence known. I think she had been standing outside the door listening to the mayhem, waiting to see if Viva would lay back down. Bentley meanwhile was starting to make a few noises, so we skedaddled out of the room with the twins. I took Jake and Kara took Viva. Jake was quiet as long as I held him. I could hear Viva crying and crying and crying. She was not willing to be pacified even if she was in her parents’ bed. I heard footsteps come down the hall for a diaper and then come back and go by the door for bottle. Eventually Viva quieted.

Meanwhile Jake was being quiet, but not going to sleep. After a while I told him to be good (i.e. don't disturb his opa) and I’d go get him a bottle. He slowly downed the bottle, taking it out of his mouth every so often and shaking it. He did not fall asleep while sucking it down--bummer. I was running out of tricks to get him to sleep. I tried to put him back in his bed, but he started crying before I even got to my bedroom door. I didn’t want to risk waking Bentley, so I gave in to his blackmail and let him stay.

Eventually Jake slept and I slept. You’d think a toddler who kept you up half the night would be tired and sleep in, wouldn’t you? But no, he was up early. Or at least earlier than I wanted to be up. He woke up shrieking. I tried cuddling him and that did stop his shrieking, but he wasn’t very cuddly. He was into head butting me. He likes to arch his back and use his head as a ramming butt. It’s not very comfortable at the receiving end of the butt. One of his favorite targets is another head.

I lied in my last post when I told you that he sometimes flails his arms and inadvertently hits you. There is nothing inadvertent about it. He purposefully aims to hit someone. Sometimes he even tries to gouge out eyes. He can be very ornery some nights. And not only at night--when Jake has had a bad night he gets furious the next morning when you unzip his sleeper to change his diaper and put on his day clothes. He screams and kicks and does everything in his power to keep that sleeper on. Not the smartest move on his part since tempers are already short from lack of sleep.

My goal today (after taking a nap) is to find a dentist who specializes in toddlers. Surely they have some method for speeding along teething?!

Jake Rules

One night last week Jake had us all up. Every last member of the household--even his great-grandma whose bedroom is two floors below the rest of our bedrooms.

It was 2AM(?) and everyone was happily sleeping until Jake woke up. He shrieked a few times. I heard him. His parents heard him. We decided to see if he'd go back to sleep on his own. Big mistake.

Jake escalated his shrieking. I broke first and went in to see what the problem was. By this time not only was Jake awake and unhappy, but Viva and Bentley were also awake.

As soon as I came into the room Bentley asked me if he could come to bed with me. (Bentley has a deal with his mom. He has to go to sleep in his own bed, but if he wakes up during the night he can come to our bed.) I told him that I had to take care of Jake first, but then I'd come back for him. Bentley did not trust me. He's discovered we adults often get sidetracked and don't always come back. He wasn't letting me leave the bedroom without him.

Kara arrived in the bedroom about then. She went over to comfort Viva. I had Jake, so I headed out the door to my bedroom with him and Bentley. Kara trailed after us with Viva trying to convince Bentley that he ought to go to bed with her instead. (She was concerned about her father's reaction to gaining two new bed companions.)

Bentley lost it and started sobbing. He didn't want to deal. He just wanted to go to bed. Mark woke up. He's not at his best in the middle of the night. He barked out some statement about being quiet or leaving. Meanwhile I'm standing there with unhappy Jake and Kara has unhappy Viva. I bark back at my spouse--"Don't you think we ALL want to sleep?!" Even Jake wanted to sleep, I'm sure.

All the children calmed down with a little extra attention and then we all went to sleep.

Jake's been going through a bad patch lately. He's had a bad head cold and he's teething. Again. He is an agonizingly slow teether. He can work for weeks on cutting a single tooth. He seldom cuts two at time. He'll be a little fussy during the day and very cranky at night until finally a tooth will pop up--and maybe disappear again for another few days. It's miserable.

Viva cuts teeth with incredible ease. No one is even aware that she is cutting teeth until a perfect little pair pop out and sprout up overnight. Then another pair and another pair. She has a nice, complete (for her age!) set of teeth.

Not so Jake. He's still working on his canines. They keep him up at night. Then he keeps us up. I trade off with his parents. Sometimes they take him to bed with them in their queen-sized bed. Sometimes I take him with me in our king-sized bed. Those extra sixteen inches of bed are important when you have a toddler or two join you!

Jake's not the best bed companion. He's usually restless and he throws his hands out inadvertently hitting you in the face. Over and over. Or he wants to play. That is so not going to happen in the middle of the night. Not even I, the grandma, indulge that wish.

The next night Jake slept straight through the entire night without waking. HOORAY! The following night was another bad night. I went and got Jake from his crib when he started shrieking. He was quiet for a while (his mom brought him a bottle), but then he started his arm flailing. It was Saturday night which is the one night a week Bentley is allowed to go to sleep in our bed. So who do you think Jake hit in the face? Bentley sat straight up, rotated 90 degree and flung himself across his opa. I'm not sure he even woke up--it was an unconscious, defensive move.

Unfortunately Bentley is too tall to sleep perpendicular to us (a king-sized bed isn't that big!), so I had to move him back to his original position next to Jake. Then I moved Jake to the bottom of the bed between our feet. He couldn't roll off and he couldn't hit anyone in the face. Brilliant! I should have figured this out weeks ago. After Jake was deep asleep, I slipped him back into his bed.

Sometimes when I think Jake's asleep, I get up to take him back to his bed and his little eyes pop open. If I take too many steps towards the door he starts protesting. Loudly. He's a sharp one. It's a good thing I totally feel for him and his teething problems. I HATE TEETH PROBLEMS.

His mom's not nearly as sympathetic as I am. She thinks he should toughen up. At 19 months?! This is why children need their grandmas. Parents can be so harsh. It's a parent's job to prepare their children for the cold, cruel world. Grandparents are helpful to cushion the process--make it a little easier for child and parent. Especially at 2AM.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Table Manners

If you don't have any toddlers in your home right now you've probably forgotten just how entertaining their eating habits are. I prefer to use that term to others that are equally appropriate: lacking, messy, appalling.

First there's the coordination problem. A young toddler needs lots and lots of practice to build the skills and muscle memory to successfully take a spoon of food from their bowl to their mouth. Depending on the day, they can lose as much as 80% of their food to the table, highchair, bib, and floor. I understand now why a lot of cultures prefer sticky rice. The other day when we fed Jake and Viva buttered long grain rice it was a mess to clean up. After making the mistake once of feeding Bentley couscous, I've not ever served it up for the twins--tiny, dry, round balls?! What was I thinking? It took weeks to find all the hide-outs.

Jake is much more skilled than Viva is with using a spoon. This might be because he has had more practice because Viva often chooses to use her hands rather than a spoon. This is okay when eating large pasta noodles, but not so great when she tries to scoop up soggy corn flakes. Jake sometimes eats with two spoons.

Here is a rare shot of Bentley eating:

I say rare because the boy rarely eats. When he does he's a very neat eater. He does not like getting his hands or face dirty. Jake tends to be like that, too. Viva likes to be messy. She has no qualms about getting her hands sticky, gooey, slimy, greasy, whatever. I'm sure that's a useful trait in lots of career fields. I don't see Bentley becoming a sculptor or massage therapist or meat ball roller.

Here's a final shot of Jake demonstrating his newest eating habit:

He makes us laugh when perhaps we ought not to. Ms Manners would surely find his antics totally unacceptable. Yet, how is a toddler to make sense of our eating customs? You can eat bread and cookies with your fingers, but salad and pasta must be eaten with a fork or spoon.

Will it be harder or easier to teach them table manners when they are older and we can discuss the whys and wherefores with them? Our conversations with Bentley lead me to believe it won't get any easier.