Friday, January 29, 2016

2.25 Years Old

Y’all it has been strangely off putting to not give Forest’s age in months lately. People ask how old he is and I say 2, but because of his height, most people assume he’s closer to 3. I feel like I have to clarify that he’s a ‘new 2’ though all of my instincts just want to blurt out 24/25/26/27 months! A friend referred to him as 2 ½ the other day and I almost lost my OCD marbles. 

So now I can at least start saying he’s '2 and a quarter'.  You won’t have to suffer through my monthly summaries anymore but about every quarter you can expect an update. Here you go....

Favorite Books: High 5 Magazine by Highlights, Diary of a Wombat, Little Blue Truck's Christmas, If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, and countless others. He's a total bookworm.  
Favorite Toys: Play doh, soccer ball, bubble machine, plastic animals, legos and his play barn.   
Who let the T-rex in the barn?????

Favorite foods: He’s definitely getting pickier and now that he’s stopped growing so fast I feel like his appetite is dropping off. He loves bacon, cheese, yogurt, carrots, pancakes, apples, grapes, any sort of bean, and spaghetti.  

Language: I feel like his language has kind of plateaued recently. He’s basically fluent and has a word for just about everything in his life, and now he is just becoming much more conversational in his communication. His favorite things to talk about are farm animals and TV.
I think his longest sentence so far was ‘I want to watch Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer movie on TV.’#priorities 

Cutest sayings: He says 'What happened?' all the time and it's the cutest
He also calls maple syrup 'mango sauce' for some reason and mixes up the words for 'celery' and 'chocolates'. I'm not sure how he got those wires crossed...

New Skills: Um. Nothing really ‘new’. I feel like he’s just getting much better and proficient at things he was just starting to grasp at 24 months. He knows all of his letters and colors and most of his numbers up to 10. He’s counting really well and very confidently. 
Socially he’s developing a lot more. If I tell him to go say hi to a new kid at the park he will march right over and say Hi and tell them to ‘Come on!’ and try to get them to play with him. He’s getting much better at catching a ball but just does not seem interested in playing sports, other than soccer. 
He got a scooter and figured it out immediately...and then promptly lost interest.   

He still isn’t pedaling his tricycle, I think because he’s gotten so fast at just motoring it with his legs. 

His daddy trying to teach him to pedal. "Outta my way daddy. Those pedals just slow me down!"
He can draw an A, O, M, W, and V and is getting much more precise with his drawings.  

His balance is pretty good and he loves baby yoga. When he says 'Namaste' I could pretty much explode from cuteness overload.
Other Observations: Forest is a social little guy but still quite shy, especially around adults. He refuses to swim to his swim instructor even though we’ve been swimming with her for the last 8 months. He just clings to me like a koala bear. He's also been having a little resurgence of separation anxiety when I drop him off at church or the gym, but usually does fine once I've left the room. 

He is still sooooo high energy but will play by himself for huge chunks of time, so it’s a balance. 
He definitely hit the terrible twos and is quite opinionated and moody. I’ve had a couple of embarrassing moments where he has pushed another kids or thrown tantrums in public.  Some days are harder than others, but recently things feel like they're getting easier. 
He is listening well and responding to instructions and I’m able to curb most of his bad behavior with reminding him of the consequences. Sometimes he just has to push the boundaries and test the limits but I’m pretty sure that’s a 2 year old’s main job.  
Stats: I’m not sure but I do know he’s finally over the 30 lb mark. I’m guessing he’s over 37 inches as well. He had a substantial growth spurt just after his 2nd birthday. He’s pretty solidly in 3T clothes in the brands that run small (GAP, Carter’s, POLO, Osh Kosh), but fitting well in 2T at places that run a little large (Gymboree, Next, etc). He’s definitely still hard to buy clothes for because he is so long and so lean. If clothes don’t have a cinchable waist or a functional drawstring, they will just fall right off of him. He's wearing 8.5/9 shoes.

Schedule: For the first time there is some predictability to Forest’s schedule. Unfortunately it is predictable that he will only take an hour nap, but usually sleeps about 11.5-12.5 hours per night. So he’s still averaging about 13 hours per 24 hour period, it’s just distributed a little differently now. He normally wakes up between 6:45/7:30 and then naps from 1-2/2:30 and goes to bed by 7 PM. 
The past 2 weeks have been his worst since he was a newborn in terms of sleep. He had Roseola followed by cutting 2 teeth followed by another head cold so he's only slept through the night twice in the past 2 weeks. It's pretty rough but I'm assuming once he's healthy and no longer in pain from teething he will go back to normal.  

He’s still getting 4 meals per day at 7:30, 11, 2:30, and 5:30 though he does sometimes snack throughout the morning/early afternoon if we are on the go and don’t have time for a sit down meal. 

Teeth: Forest bottom 2 year molars are pretty solidly in and a top molar has also broken the skin. Thay means just one more tooth left and we can put the whole drama that is teething behind us! Unfortunately this means we have to take the paci away soon...Yikes. His teething rash is out of control though!

My struggles: The terrible 2s are certainly a challenge though some days are not that bad at all. It is a bummer that Forest won’t nap longer than an hour, but I feel like I’m starting to adjust to that. The trade off is that he will seriously entertain himself for at least 2 hours a day so I’m able to get more done while he’s awake and when he naps I make sure to do my bible study/edit photos/work on my blog etc so that I feel a bit refreshed once he’s awake from his mini-nap.   
Today Forest asked to read books in bed so he stayed quietly in his crib for 30 minutes just flipping through his books.

My biggest rewards: Forest is a total momma’s boy lately. He gives the best snuggles and hugs. 
He has a great sense of humor and loves to make us laugh. He is quick with a smile and a laugh and is just so boisterous and fun. 
He continues to be independent and is very skilled at entertaining himself.

He is such a sponge these days and is talking and learning so much. I love to see him ‘read’ by pointing out all the letters in a word or reciting the lines he remembers. I was spying on him playing in his playroom and he was reading Karen Katz's 'How Does Baby Feel'. The line is: 'Baby wants milk and crackers. How does baby feel? Hungry!', but his add-lib dialogue went something like this: 'Baby feels hungry. Needs a snack. She's crying! She can't reach the crackers. Oh no!' He's just so stinking adorable I can't handle it sometimes. 

Here are his official 2.25 year pictures. We've had a breakthrough in that I can now bribe him with an episode of 'Super Why' to sit still for 20 seconds. However, the agreement that he sit still does not include that he be enthusiastic about doing so. Beggars can't be choosers, I guess. 

 After his 20 seconds of sitting still time were up, he was back to old habits.

He’s transformed so much in the past 3 months, I can’t even imagine what a big boy he will be at 2.5! Until next time!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Snow Day-Trip

We have been getting a lot of rain recently which is great news for the drought in California, but kind of a bummer for a cooped up 2 year old boy and his stir crazy momma. 
We are running out of craft ideas and getting bored with the same ole toys. A small price to pay for some much needed precipitation though and we are happy to do our part and be miserable while the state of California begins to blossom again. 
One definite perk of all the rain is that about 2 hours west of us, that rain turns into snow. Lots and lots of snow. We have a nice ski trip planned to Tahoe in a few weeks but Jonathan was antsy and couldn’t wait quite that long to see some powder. We decided 2/2.5 hours isn’t quite so far and we’d make a day trip out of it. Since we were already planning to go to Tahoe, we searched for a different destination so that we might explore a different area of the state. We chose Stanislaus National Forest near Bear Valley ski resort. 

There were a few snow parks nearby that were supposedly great for family snow play. We loaded up our new sled and snow gear and headed out early Sunday morning. We didn’t ever manage to locate the snow park we were looking for but saw several people parked near one of the entrances to Stanislaus National Forest and having a good time in the snow so we decided to just stop there. 

Forest hasn’t really been around snow in his life so we didn’t know what to expect. We assumed he’d like it since he a bit of an adventurer (which is a bit of an understatement).  Once we all got good and bundled up, we released Forest into the snow. He fell almost   instantly and scraped up a good portion of his face. 

That soured his attitude immediately and he wanted to just pack up and leave. We persisted in trying to get him excited about the snow and after about 20 minutes he finally started to cheer up, though it took sledding down a hill on mommy’s lap a few times to get a smile out of him. 

After that he was game for a bit of sledding but was still over it pretty quickly.

He did enjoy pulling his 'boat' around though, of course. 

It's like the snow equivalent of a wagon and you know he's all about wagons.
All in all it was a fun outing but, in my opinion, way too far of a drive for too little enjoyment.Especially since Forest seems incapable of taking a substantial nap in the car anymore. He fell asleep easily enough but after 20 minutes was awake and cranky and remained grumpy for the rest of the 2 hour road trip and straight on until bedtime. For someone who loves/needs sleep as much as he does, he sure does stink at it. It makes day trips where he has to nap on the go quite a conundrum.

I think our 3 night stay in Tahoe will be much more relaxing and fun since we will be staying at the Northstar Village with plenty of activities and amenities within walking distance from our condo. Plus we will be able to put Forest down for proper naps in our room so that he can last all day. Hopefully the snow keeps falling until then! It’s forecasted to rain/snow all week in Northern California so we are feeling optimistic!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Terrible Twos.

Y’all. I remember thinking when Forest was about 20 months old that the terrible twos were hitting early. But then he actually turned two and morphed into a bipolar moody maniac and I realized that his tantrums pre-2 were cute by comparison. 

I am just about at my wits end and feel like I’m actually a little bit scared of this 2 year old tyrant living in my house and I’m ashamed to say that I try to avoid setting him off and feel like sometimes I’m walking on eggshells as to not wake the beast. Now, I will say that the situation is exacerbated by the fact that he is cutting his 2 year molars and has recently had a virus involving 103+ temps so his fuse is even shorter than normal, but still…GAH! 

And I never know what it will be that sets him off. Like the other day I unzipped his sleep sack in the morning in the same way that I had done every single morning of his life and he lost his head shrieking ‘Put it back on! Put it back on!’.  When I refused to negotiate with the terrorist he persisted, screaming inconsolably for a good 10 minutes and then remained fussy and on edge all morning. Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the crib. Then the next morning I was very delicate about the whole ‘taking off the sleepsack’ situation and he was totally cool with having it removed. Confusing! 

His biggest tantrums come from not being able to have his paci and lambie all the time. 
Again, he has NEVER been able to have these items outside of bedtime and naptime but yet all of a sudden he demands them all day and when I say no he loses his marbles. I have finally ‘compromised’ by letting him have them as long as he stays in his room to play and then he’s generally good about putting them back in the crib when he’s ready to go play somewhere else. I’m hoping that this is just due to him teething and needing a little extra comfort from these items.   

In my mom group at church we recently had a speaker, Nancy Hagan,  talk about the lies we tell ourselves as mothers (You can watch it here…I really recommend it!). One of the biggest lies is that we are ruining our kids when the truth is, even though we can influence our children, we can’t CONTROL them. Amen? 

This really resonated with me and yet the very next day when Forest was melting down over the fact that I cut his apple slices wrong, I thought to myself ‘I ACTUALLY AM ruining him! He is such a whiny brat and it certainly has to be because of my terrible parenting!’ But the Nancy went on to say that even Jesus had moments where he cried out in despair, pleading with God to ‘take this cup from me.’ Not that parenting is comparable to the suffering of crucifixion, but it is a trial, and God is there for us through it. 

It’s ok for us to feel like things are more than we can handle without divine intervention. That’s sort of the point. So I feel like this particular phase is humbling for sure and I am on my knees crying out ‘Help me!!!' Help me find patience and effective discipline. Help me have the wisdom it takes to relate to a 2 year old and their need to test the rules and boundaries. Help me help him make sense of his budding and overwhelming emotions.  Help me to be the parent that this strong willed, wild one needs without breaking his spirit. Help me to keep perspective that my struggles are simple and ordinary while many friends are grappling with similar phases on top of pregnancies, newborns, or seriously ill children. 

I seriously ask myself several times a day: what would Super Nanny do? And truthfully, I think our foundation as parents is pretty strong. We are clear, consistent and predictable. We follow through swiftly with consequences. We place a high priority on adequate sleep, physical activity and nutrition. We pray with Forest and over him several times a day. My hope is that if we stay strong and consistent during this test of wills that is the ‘terrible two’ phase then we will make it to the other side as better parents with a spirited but well behaved child. 

I’ve been at my wits end before with Forest and have lived to tell the tale. And honestly I think these teeth do harbor some blame as well as El Nino which is bringing much needed rain to our area but keeping one very energetic boy cooped up this winter. 
But if you guys have any encouragement or tips for getting out of this traditionally terrible phase alive, please do tell!