Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dear Moe (28 Months)

Hello, my darling boy. I’m not sure how it’s happened, but we seem to have fallen even more deeply in love with you than ever. You are such a sweet little trooper, with your earnest speeches, loving hugs and kisses, and wonderful sense of humour. It’s impossible not to love you.

Your speech is getting better and better every day. You have so many words, and can be very clear. You’ve started using great adjectives - like “shiny” and “crunchy”. You pick up everything we say. It is both wonderful and slightly terrifying.

Some of your pronunciation is adorable. I love the way you say bean bag (“bean bang”) and dune buggy (“dune bungy”). It’s wonderful to hear your words get clearer every day, but those are two that I’ll miss when they are eventually gone. (One I won’t miss at all is how you call your Grandma “Gampa”. I did feel better when I heard you pronounce llama as “llampa”, though. It made the Grandma/Grandpa thing seem less deliberate.)

We moved ahead with potty training in earnest this month, and overall, it has gone very well. I think I initially tried to move you through it too quickly, getting you out of diapers and into underwear, but you resisted underwear after your first accident. I could tell it was stressing you out. You are still in diapers, or you spend time naked from the waist down. We prompt you to use the potty at every diaper change, and you are now starting to ask to use the potty on your own. You have great success at every turn. We’re very proud of you - it won’t be long now before we try underwear again. We’ll just need to prepare you for that transition a bit better. I know you’ll do great if we take things at your own speed.

We took you to Touch a Truck, an event we did together last year in the rain. This year, the weather was much better - although very warm - and we were lucky enough to have Daddy with us. The event was very well attended and provided some excellent lessons about waiting in line, waiting our turn, and giving the next person a turn in good time. You had a wonderful time, though. You’ve recently rediscovered Mighty Machines, and you were excited to see a real ladder fire truck. You also got to sit in the cab of a “Big Mater” (tow truck), a “Little Mater” (tow truck), a sod truck, and a “Spic and Span” cleaning truck. On our way out, someone gave us a small stuffed orange giraffe - it’s the mascot for the City of Ottawa vaccination program. You love Giraffe and he’s part of your crib menagerie. Your two current favourites are Giraffe and Sheep. Soup the Turtle also still occasionally gets a moment in the sun, and your crib wouldn’t be the same without Buster the doggy. 

We spent a wonderful Father’s Day visiting Grandpa Leo and Debi in Kemptville. We relaxed on their lovely shady porch for playtime and a snack. You explored their vegetable garden with delight, asking Daddy “what’s this?” about every plant you could find. You pressed up against the window to the kitchen to get a good look at Jenny, the 12-year-old cocker spaniel. You were sweet, polite, and I was very proud of you. Granny had us over for dinner that night, and you impressed us again. It was a wonderful Father’s Day. Daddy loved the card you gave him, but I think you loved it even more. I picked out a card with a big digger and a little digger on it. Anytime you would come across it in the house, you’d bring it to Daddy to make sure he had it with him. At one point when Daddy was heading to work, you reminded him to bring his card. He did. 

We’ve had a few health issues again this month. We’ve had some trouble with the skin on your hands. You developed something called dyshidrotic eczema: your fingers became so red and cracked, and you got these painful blisters in the creases of your hands. The doctor told us to keep you out of the water table until they are all healed up. We’re almost there now, but though the blisters are now gone, the skin on your fingers is still peeling here and there. It’s been very hard for me to deny you your water play. You haven’t complained, but I know how much you adore it. So I’ve been letting you take nice long baths with lots of play time. I’m hoping you’ll grow to love the wading pool at the park, too. Unfortunately, the splash pad will have to be off limits for a while. The problem isn’t you getting your hands wet. It’s having them go from wet to dry to wet to dry. We don’t know if that’s what caused the problem, or if it’s the result of having had a couple of allergic reactions to a cat and a dog, or if it would have happened anyway, but we don’t want it to happen again. We’ve asked for a dermatology referral for you.

The other big health thing is the reason this letter is so late. You got what we presume was a strep infection and as usual, it went straight to your ears. It culminated with a sudden fever spike and an evening trip to CHEO emergency. You were, overall, wonderful about it. We had to wait and wait, shuffled from waiting room to waiting room, hours past your bedtime. (We would NOT have survived that evening nearly as well without my iPad, free wifi and Netflix.) We eventually got home around 11:30pm, and we filled your antibiotic prescription first thing the next morning. But it was only a day or two before I came down with strep throat and found myself on the same antibiotic! We’re both on the mend and back to our normal selves, and I’m glad that’s over. We’re very lucky that you are almost 2.5 years old and this was only our very first trip to CHEO emergency.

We’ve had some lovely outings this month, as usual, because any time spent with you is wonderful. You were very honoured to be the only little person from day care invited to R’s son Alex’s birthday party. It was at Monkey Around, and Mommy and Daddy went with you. You had a great time on the climbing structure and playing with the trikes. But the highlight was when R presented you with a little bag of game tokens. We found a great game for you to spend them on (Popcorn), but I think you enjoyed putting them into the game slot even more than you enjoyed playing the game! You earned 15 precious tickets, which you spent at the counter on a small glow-in-the-dark koosh ball and one little green “army guy”. You were, rightfully, very very proud of the prizes you had worked to earn. We still have them in your room among your treasures.

You and I had a wonderful time at the Museum of Nature together. Grandma had taken you there the week before, and you were most happy to go again! We checked out the dinosaurs, but you declared to me (as you had to Grandma) that they were too big to be your friends. (I have to respect that, as I felt the same way when I was your age.) You had a great time in the Animalium where you watched all kinds of insects and amphibians and other creepy crawly friends. We went to the Bird Rescue Centre at the Bird Gallery, and you took very good care your little charge. You bathed your birdie, fed him, gave him medicine, and tucked him into bed with all his friends. We also spent a good deal of time at the NSERC boat in the Water Gallery. In the past, you’ve really liked the kitchen, but this time you were all over the captain’s control deck. We measured fish, you piloted the boat like a champ (we didn’t hit a single iceberg!) and you insisted on wearing the blue labcoat. It was the first time I’d seen you connect with a costume item. It was adorable. The resulting photos have made several heads explode with the cute. 

We still go for our usual Saturday morning walk with Uncle Mark and Aunt Janine, and Zaphod, if possible. We haven’t been able to hit the park by their house because it’s a splash pad, but they’ve come to our neighbourhood and we’ve spent some very nice time at Pushman Park (where, incidentally, Mommy used to play when she was a little girl). One day, the Magoos joined us - Trick, Treat and Mistlegoo. Mistlegoo is like a little Mommy to you - she’s constantly telling me what she thinks you want to do or say, and just wants to take care of you. Treat is always sweet to you, but prefers to play on her own. And Trick blows me away with how wonderfully he interacts with you. He’s patient and kind and you just love spending time with him. He even brought you a bag of his old matchbox cars, as well as some big plastic trucks for playing outside. The whole week following the playdate, you told people how your buddy had brought you these wonderful things.

You have a great memory and are growing more assertive every day (in a mostly good way). We were a bit concerned when your Daddy saw another boy at day care push you and take away your toy, and you didn’t react. You and I had a conversation about how if someone does something to you that you don’t like, you should feel comfortable saying, “No, don’t” to tell them you didn’t like their behaviour. (I then had to deal with having you tell me “No, don’t” anytime I wanted to dress you, change your diaper, shepherd you upstairs, wash your hair, etc. At least I know you’re listening.) I have since learned that you are doing just that at day care, and we are proud of you. 

Our ever-evolving bedtime routine is still a very special time for us all. You watch a show on TV - usually Curious George - and then you say goodnight to Granny, who has usually come by to watch it with you. We all go upstairs and you and I brush our teeth at the bathroom sink. While I go return my toothbrush to my bathroom, you have a minute to rock in your rocking chair by yourself. (Daddy is there to keep one foot on the chair because we’ve had some pretty violent rocking.) We do a final diaper change / potty time, and then it’s time to sit in the rocking chair with me for a few stories. Once those are read, the lights go off, your star turtle and music go on, and Daddy comes and gives you three kisses. Then you pick the song you want me to sing, and we sing and rock together for a few minutes before I sing you to your crib, where you snuggle with Sheep and Giraffe and say goodnight. 

We love you more than I could ever express in a letter, Moe. You make our days so bright, and you’ve made our family so beautiful. We love your humour, your dimple, your smile, your expressive eyebrows, your hugs and kisses, and your generosity of spirit. Your middle name means “generous” and it has been our hope that you would eventually live up to that name. We didn’t think you’d be doing it at 2.5 years old, but you are. Keep being such an amazing little man, and know that you are most, most loved.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ABC Photo Challenge

I'm going to give it a try. I'm going to try the Kids in the Capital photo challenge.

Here's the list: 


Xcited (OH! Cheater!)

I totally admit it. I'm going to cheat and use photos I've already taken for as many of these as possible. But if I don't have a photos for a word, I'm going to try and take one over the next few weeks.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Potty Training Chronicles

We started potty training in earnest this weekend. Here are the updates I sent Moe's caregiver to keep her in the loop. 

Morning #1 went quite well! When we were at home, he was pretty much naked from the waist down the whole time. He wore underwear for a little while, but then had an accident and didn't feel like putting them on again. I think he finds being naked helpful because all he has to do is sit on the potty. He still needs quite a bit of help pulling pants up and down.

We had 4 successes and 2 accidents. For both accidents, he knew what was going on, but we didn't get him to the potty in time. He knows now that a success means a gummy bear. Also, he's reluctant to get off the potty - this could be for two reasons. First, he tends to pee in spurts - two or three times over the course of 10 minutes or so. Second, he's still building his confidence.

I'm hoping that over the weekend his confidence will grow.

While we were out and about for a walk in the rain, he wore a pull-up. And of course, he's wearing one during naptime.

I think we'll continue with him being bottomless while around the house as much as possible during weekends and evenings, and see where this takes us. I see no reason to have him out of pull-ups at your place yet - but if you're playing around in the backyard and want to bring the potty out and have him run around without pants, that's just fine. It's whatever you're comfortable with. Baby steps, right? Let me know how you feel about that, should the opportunity present itself.

We have had 5 successes and no accidents today! Moe got a few hours of "naked time" this morning, and a bit of time this afternoon. At this point, he does not toilet himself when he is not doing "naked time", but baby steps, right? Anytime he wasn't naked, he was wearing a diaper or pull-up. I think it's too soon at this point to get into underwear at home. I'd like him to enjoy being successful when naked. However, if you would rather he wear training pants or underwear when playing in your backyard, I'm fine with that and can send some in his backpack this week. Just let me know.

If you would like to also offer a gummy bear as a reward for success, I'd be fine with that. In fact, I think gummy bears are a good idea so that the reward is consistent. (Also that way he's not asking me for something I don't have!) If by some miracle he manages to do a b.m. on the potty, feel free to give him a whack of gummy bears as a reward. I'm all for positive reinforcement in that regard.

I was super proud of him this morning - we did lots of different things (colouring, a magnet game, playing with beanbags) and he was confident playing away from the potty. Then when he needed to pee, he told me, and together we went to the potty and he had success. He occasionally said, "Pee potty, Mommy?" and then didn't make a move to go toward the potty, so I did have to hurry him along in the right direction a few times, but we didn't have any accidents. :)

Also, this afternoon, he would sit on the potty for a few minutes, declare "All done, Mommy!" and get up. As soon as I came to him, he'd sit down again and say "More pee, Mommy." This became a bit of a game, but he had success, so I'm not going to knock it. 

Well, it's starting to take its toll. I think the combination of staying so close to home over the last few days (and we couldn't play outside pantsless because it was so cold!) and the stress of the change of using the potty is the reason Moe is having a very hard time going to bed tonight. He normally goes down without any fuss at all, but we're going on an hour of rocking and crying and rocking and crying. It was the same at naptime today - rather challenging. I mean, we did get out each day (looong walk on Saturday, went out for breakfast on Sunday and went for a haircut today) but the rest of the time was pretty much spent inside, naked if possible. Normally, we go on some kind of all-morning adventure, and the weekend was lacking that. 

I think he'll be very pleased to get back to day care and have a full and exhausting day. I wish the weather had been better this weekend - we could have done our potty training outside. Because it was so cold, we spent a good deal of time inside playing, which just isn't stimulating enough for him.

We did have success today - he peed twice on the potty and didn't have any accidents, but he spent so much time
hovering over the potty that I think he's become pretty stressed about the whole thing. I have tried to make it clear than an accident, while not ideal, isn't a big deal, but he did not seem eager to be diaper-free today. Maybe I need to be less stressed about accidents. I got a bit short with him when he said he needed to pee on the potty but went to it and refused to sit down - he wanted to stand around it, etc. I should have just let him have an accident. It's a learning process for both of us. Also, he didn't have as much to drink today, despite my urgings. (Well, it was cold and wet. No surprise there, I guess.)

Either way, I think he'll really benefit from a day with you where he does all the routine things he loves to do. What are your thoughts?