Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Forest is 4.25!

Hey guys! Long time no blog. Embarrassingly long time. I could list the myriad of reasons why but ain't nobody got time for that. I have approximately 50 minutes before little guy is up for the day and no nap time with which to get things done, so let's do this. 

Forest just turned 4 and a quarter. We haven't seen much of the fabulous fours that everyone told us about, but we are on an upswing. Weirdly, our biggest challenge these days is his shyness. We just had a parent/teacher conference and once again it was 'Forest is doing well. He's happy to be here and participates well, we have no behavioral issues with him but he doesn't talk. Like AT ALL.' I'm pretty sure my parents had some pretty similar sounding conferences regarding yours truly. He comes from a long line of introverts and more-than-normal shy people, the most obvious being me. From what I hear, my PawPaw Lee was remarkably shy too and had issues with the 'no talking' thing at school. It hurts my heart to think he's facing those same anxieties. 


Luckily he goes to an incredible preschool and is thriving as much as he can and hopefully he will have the time and room to blossom there before he goes to big bad kindergarten. 



He's made giant steps forward in his friendships and his teachers reassure me that he plays with the other kids and talks just fine with them but kind of freezes up when the adults talk to him. 

Some people have mentioned 'selective mutism' to me (an anxiety disorder amongst children where they talk just fine but are basically silent in certain places/situations). It's hard to know if it's more than simple (albeit painful) shyness. My hunch is that it isn't but I think he'd maybe meet the diagnostic criteria for selective mutism at this point. He's made so much progress in the past few months without any intervention so I'm hesitant to make a big deal out of it if it's something he will conquer on his own. Especially since the more we/others draw attention to it, the more quiet he becomes. Parenting is hard, y'all.
I feel like all shyness is a form of social anxiety. He has the triple whammy of being a shy, introverted, only child. Any advice on how to help him is always appreciated! 

We've noticed the more we stress about and over-analyze everything, the more inhibited he becomes, so my biggest goal is just to praise him when he's brave in talking, to model social initiative, and to give him exposure to as many social scenarios as possible. Small playdates with classmates have helped the most. Even his teachers have remarked a change in him over the last few weeks as we've been more committed to making those happen.


Anyway, that's enough of the worrisome stuff. Let's get to the fun stuff! 

Height: Idk. I think 44.25 which would put him at around 95%. He is the midst of a growth spurt right now.
Weight: I'm guessing around 43 pounds. 90%.  He's huge, y'all. 
Favorite color: Still blue. In fact, his gymnastic teacher recently quipped: "I get two words out of Forest. 'Bye' and 'Blue'."  
Favorite toy: He's actually getting away from playing with toys as much lately. Or he'll play with several toys in a huge make-believe scenario. His favorite thing is pretending to be Wall-E, a trash-robot, and he'll make stacks of 'trash' all over the house. He just loves to play pretend recently, whether that's being Pete the Cat or a sloth. 
Pete the Cat. And I'm not this messy, Pete just likes to discard clothes all over the floor.

He also loves board games and card games. If I had to pick a true toy it would be his Lego sets, particularly star wars and he has a pizza restaurant that he loves.

Favorite Movie: Wall-E! 

Favorite TV show: Daniel Tiger and Dinotrux

Favorite Book:  My Father's Dragon. This was the first chapter book we read aloud with Forest and he's obsessed.

We read it several times a week and even have it on audiobook so he can listen to it when mommy needs a break. He recently discovered my old copy of 'A Light in The Attic' by Shel Silverstein which he hilariously refers to as my 'Bible' (because it looks like a Bible and was written by God, apparently) and the silly poems really get his giggle box going. He just loves reading, and the sillier, the better. His teachers did remark he's always first in the circle for storytime and he seems to get the silliness of books more than the other kids and just belly laughs the whole time. 

Favorite Song: Hmmmm.... I don't know. We haven't really been into music lately. He still loves Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift though I'm a tad disappointed that her newest album isn't really appropriate for little ears.  

Best Friends:  Duck Andrew, Henry, Cousin Andrew and Quinn. 


Cutest Sayings: Well there is a lot of potty talk and 'bad guy' talk lately which is not so cute. 


But he says some pretty funny things and asks some conundrum questions. Here are some examples:

(After Bible Study) Forest: Mom, can I love God and the serpent?
Me: Um...No.
F: But he's a snake and snakes are my favorite animal.
Me: But he wasn't really a snake. He had little legs.
F: Oh I thought he was a real snake, like a rattlesnake or one of my favorites.  

F: Mom can we go to China?
Me: ?????
F: Everything is made there. All my toys. Even my bed is made is China. Except my bananas. They were made in Mexico.  

New Skills: Still not what I would consider 'fluently reading' (but I'm realizing maybe my expectations are too high?) but pretty solidly reading 1st/2nd grade reading level books. 
He's basically taught himself to this point so there are definitely gaps in his knowledge. But starting from square one seems pretty remedial for him, so it's tricky! I just bought some level 2 phonics materials so I'm going to try to start there.  Its been really exciting to watch! 

I can't think of much else. Starting to add and subtract some simple sums in his head. Getting more coordinated and is much improved at gymnastics. He's seriously fast and never seems to tire so we may have an endurance athlete on our hands. The pictures he draws are starting to resemble real things, but I still feel like he's behind on this. Just not big on drawing these days.
I love that he even drew Wall-E's lunchbox. And that I could look at his drawing and know exactly what he was going for. 

 Alrighty. I better hit publish before I go another 3 months blog-less.





Monday, October 30, 2017

Four-est!

Forest turned four today! We have survived the terrible twos and the trying threes and now are welcoming the 'fabulous fours' with open arms. This past year has been remarkable in terms of development, the last 6 months especially. There were a few worrisome months in there where we fretted over his social skills, but as time goes by, we feel re-assured that it's a personality issue rather than a developmental one. His new school has been wonderful and though his teachers describe him as quiet, bashful and introverted, they also remark on how empathetic, easy-going, and thoughtful he is. They say he is observant and cautious, but once he gets engrossed in an activity, all that self-consciousness melts away. He's a stickler for rules and as always, thrives when he has clear boundaries and knows what to expect. At home and when he's comfortable, he quickly comes out of his shell and becomes the most energetic and boisterous kid in the room. Who knew a four year old could have so many layers? 

Here are just a few stats at this moment in time:

Height: 43 inches (94%)
Weight: 41 lbs (89%)
Favorite color: blue
Favorite toy: Train tracks
Favorite Movie: Cars and Planes 
Favorite TV show: Daniel Tiger and Bob the Builder
Favorite Book: I'm a Frog by Mo Willems
Favorite song: Nancy Mulligan by Ed Sheeran
Best friends: Cousin Andrew, Duck Andrew (preschool, this is his phrasing and how he distinguishes them), Nolan, Dylan and Quinn
Favorite place: The ice cream shop (chiller bee)
Activities: Gymnastics, Awanas, BSF
 Happy birthday, gorgeous angel! Watching you grow is our favorite thing.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Riviera Maya Family Vacay

It feels a little bit weird to be writing about our family vacation to Mexico in hindsight because we've literally been planning this for years. My parents are members of the Karisima resort group which gives them discounted access to resorts all over the world. Their favorite spot is the Riviera Maya area, which I can't complain about since it's less than a 2 hour flight from Houston. Honestly, we couldn't drive to 95% of Texas in the time it takes to fly to Mexico so it's a super easy trip to paradise. 



The resort we stayed at was Generations Riviera Maya which is nextdoor to El Dorado Casitas and Royale resorts. 

While the adults all had access to the three resorts, Generations was the only kid-friendly site so Forest was stuck there. Fortunately, they had a Kid's Club where we could drop him off, and he absolutely loved it which gave us a lot of freedom. Seriously, each morning we'd ask if he wanted to go to the beach or swimming or to Kid's Club and he chose Kid's Club every single time. On our final day, we asked what his favorite part of Mexico was and he said, you guessed it, Kid's Club. He's already too cool to hang out with his parents all day.

The only negative was that the resort was very loud and had more of a party atmosphere than a family-friendly vibe.  

The music was bumping from naptime til way past bedtime which made it stressful with our still napping, early-bedtime guy. Fortunately my parents had an apartment suite with a wall separating the party pool from the living room, and they graciously allowed Forest to sleep in there so that he could get his much needed rest. It worked because he took some serious 'wammer-jammer' naps (his term) and even slept in most mornings. Thanks for allowing that sleeping arrangement, Mom and Dad! It really saved the trip for us!









As it happened, the stars all aligned in our schedules to go to Mexico the week of my mom and I's birthdays so we had a big celebration, including a private bar-b-que dinner on the pier over looking the ocean. My birthday consisted of a sunrise run, a few hours on the beach with Forest before a couples massage with Jonathan and a private dinner with my family. 

It kind of set the bar high for all subsequent birthdays.... It was also Texas month at the resort (#texasforever) so we got to attend special events like a beach side bar-b-que and two wine pairing meals hosted by two Texan chefs. 


We also had an excursion to Tulum one morning, which was great, but SUPER hot and a little much for a 3 year old. 









We had such a fun trip and can't wait to go back. Our tenth anniversary is coming up next year so maybe we can convince some grandparents to watch our rugrat while we return to Mexico again! 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Florida Vibes

When Jonathan left for Angola this time around, Forest and I hit the road the same morning to head to Pensacola, FL for some time with my family.
10 hours solo driving with a 3 year old. Piece of cake (as long as he has the ipad and chocolate milk.)

 Turned out there was going to be some overlap with both my sister and my brother visiting my parents, so we figured we'd join the party too! And then when people heard we would all be there, extended family like my grandpa, two aunts and a cousin also headed to Florida so it ended up being quite the affair. 

With Jonathan's schedule, I've noticed that Forest transitions better if we travel right before or right after Jonathan leaves. Something about getting him out of a routine makes him less likely to have behavioral issues due to daddy leaving. I guess it just takes the focus off of it happening for both of us. 


Anyhoos, we had a great time in Florida and I loved getting to see Forest bond with his cousins. 




My sister's son Andrew is the closest cousin in age to Forest (4 weeks apart) and they definitely bonded.  We call them the twins. They played like best friends and fought like brothers. 







Within a few hours, Forest had shed all of his shy tendencies and jumped right in with my sister's gaggle of boys and he had such a blast. 



It was nice for me not to have to entertain him for once! Other than refereeing occasionally, I mostly just got to sit back and watch them play. It was the first time I thought: hmmmm....maybe having two kids is easier than having one in some ways. Especially two the same age!





Also, with Forest solidly knowing how to swim and with his newfound maturity (in which by some miracle he actually obeys me sometimes), this was the most relaxing trip to the beach I've had since birthing him. Usually he's basically on suicide watch as he takes every moment of my distraction to try to sprint into the ocean waves. We also saw a shark (one of 2 shark sightings during the week) from the beach which helped to curb his fearlessness of darting into the surf. 






It was a great trip and we can't wait to go back, but next time, I think we'll fly.