Thursday, August 10, 2017

Three and Three Quarters!

Forest is now 3.75 years old, which means instead of 3.5 I have to start saying he’s ‘almost 4’. I’m getting a little panicky at the thought that he’s leaving behind the last days of toddlerhood and moving firmly into preschooler territory. Though the last 3 months have brought so much physical, cognitive, and social development, the big boy in him is hard to deny. 
Sniff, sniff. Let’s get on with the summary! 

Favorite Book: He’s loving Dr. Suess right now, particularly Green Eggs and Ham. He also loves the Elephant and Piggie books and Biscuit too. The boy just plain loves books and would read for over an hour straight if we had the time. Makes my heart happy. 
Favorite TV show/movie: If there is anything he loves more than reading, it is watching TV. He could seriously write a dissertation on the difference between Disney and Dreamworks movies and the subtle similarities between PBS kids television and Nickelodeon.  And if you ever think Forest is shy, just strike up a conversation on the Cars franchise and he will school you. The other day he went to a new dentist and got to watch Land Before Time, Secret Life of Pets and Moana. The next morning he asked to go back to the dentist…because he wanted to see what movies were on today. 
I swear they could have given him a root canal without anesthesia and he wouldn’t have noticed as long as he had Netflix to stream. 

It’s hard to say what his *favorite* is but most recently he’s been into Finding Dory and Cars 3 and for shows he loves Thomas, Chuggington and Daniel Tiger. 

Favorite Toy: This doesn’t change much- his trains, his blocks, and his stuffed animals. 
Right now he loves his stuffed Hank (from Finding Dory). 
Favorite foods: His favorite meals are chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and steamed veggies. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree on that one. He also likes Taco soup and any sort of chili. His favorite fruit is grapes and his favorite veggie is carrots. He loves anything cold so we do a lot of frozen fruit and green smoothies too. He’s a pretty decent eater if he can sit down long enough to finish a meal. 

Language development: This has been a huge quarter in terms of development. We’ve mostly seen growth in his conversational skills and his vocabulary has also seen a big bump. Some of the words he slips into general conversation are pretty stinkin cute (‘disaster’, ‘obstruction’, ‘disobedient’). He also has an obsession with rhyming worms so he tries to find rhymes all the time. He has started speaking in accents too so will speak in a British accent for Thomas, a red-neck accent for Mater, and a ‘gruff voice’ for Hank. 

Cutest Sayings: Forest seriously says about 100 things a day that make me crack up laughing. He’s SO funny and already has a dry and witty sense of humor. The other morning I asked if I could have a morning smooch and he said ‘Not until I brush my teeth.’ 

Lately we've really been working on talking about how we feel. One suppppperrrrrrr cute thing he says is ‘That’s making me ____________ (fill in emotion).’ Like if he has a new toy he’ll say ‘That’s making me so happy!’ Or if I tell him no about something,  ‘Mommy you’re making me sad, and I don’t want to be sad!’ He’s just the most fun loving, joyful kid and full of adorable sayings. Love this age! 

One word he says constantly but has trouble saying is ‘regular’,  instead he says ‘regory’. For instance ‘I want regory goldfish, not the pretzel kind.’ He also says 'chance' instead of 'choice'. As in, 'I can have a turkey or peanut butter sandwich. Those are my chances.'

New Skills: Y’all! Forest can swim!!! It’s incredible. He still isn’t very good at the freestyle stroke but mostly does breast stroke and it works just fine. He is a swimming, diving fool and his new favorite game is getting his dive toys from the bottom of the pool. 

He’s also really coming along with the reading stuff. He’s reading his beginner reader Bob books and several ‘My first reader’ books. 
He’s certainly not reading fluently but I’m amazed at how many words he points out to me on a daily basis. 

I also feel like he’s made so much progress socially. He’s still a little behind most of his peers but within normal developmental range which has set our minds at ease. His default personality is still very shy but he’s been having conversations with his friends and even volunteering information to some adults he feels comfortable with. For him, that is huge! 

Stats: About 38 lbs (79%) and 42.25 inches (92%). I’ve been shocked at how much his growth has slowed this year! He’s put on about 6 lbs but only grown about 2 inches. Normally it’s opposite! Funnily, his percentile for height has stayed about the same, but his percentile for weight has dropped a few points, so putting on the pounds while pausing on the inches must be pretty normal at age 3. I'm just shocked that he can still wear many of the clothes he wore last summer. In Summer clothes he’s mostly wearing 4T, but once it’s pants season (does that ever happen in Houston?) he will need 5T pants for sure. His legs are sooooooo long. 

Schedule: Forest still naps about twice a week, but we never know when he needs one so we still put him down for an hour of quiet time everyday at around 1:30. If he naps his bedtime is 7:30, if not it’s 7. He generally sleeps until 6:45-7:20ish in the morning. So he’s sleeping between 11.5-13 hours per day which I think is pretty normal at this age. He eats 4 meals a day at 7:30, 12, 3 and 5:30. We try to do at least 30 minutes of a 'school activity' everyday. This is mostly just art, puzzles, BOB book readings, tracing exercises and simple math games. As he gets older, his schedule becomes MUCH more flexible so this is just kind of an average approximation. 

Other Observations: Forest does pretty well socially in very small groups. He still gets a bit overstimulated around a bunch of kids and will either withdraw and play by himself or else go totally bananas and be bouncing off the walls with hyperactivity. 

While he is super good with some gross motor sports like swimming, running, and biking, he’s a bit clumsy and uncoordinated at other things like gymnastics. He absolutely loves his soccer and gymnastics classes though, and as long as he’s smiling and having a blast, that’s all we are really concerned about at this age! 

I think swimming will definitely be his sport. He’s such a natural and definitely has the right build for it. 

He’s starting to regain his interest in art and puzzles. 

For a while there his interest in playing only with trains was pretty intense! Now he seems to be fairly well rounded in the things that keep his attention. 

My struggles: His constant seeking out of social interaction is brand new and has taken some adjustment on my part. He used to be phenomenal at entertaining himself for literally HOURS and now I’m lucky if he will play by himself for 10 minutes before he wants me to play with him. It’s definitely an answered prayer that he’s showing more social interest but at the same time I do miss his independent streak. Hopefully it will all balance out a little down the road. 

I also really struggle with taking Forest to big events, like Titus’ funeral and my cousin Katherine’s wedding. It just so happened that Jonathan was in Angola for both of those occasions and a huge gathering of strangers trying to make conversation with Forest is just not at all in his comfort zone and he tends to get a little wild. 

Unfortunately because he’s also very shy, he won’t go with just anyone so I end up having to tend to him more than I think a normal 3 year old should require. 
It’s very hard when I feel like I‘m trying to be present in the moment but I have a very needy little one who is on his absolute worst behavior in these situations. 

That being said, I think he just went through a really difficult phase and we are coming out the other side of it now, and his recent developmental leaps have been incredible! They say when they are having developmental growth spurts it can lead to some pretty challenging behavior so hopefully his tolerance for behaving at big events will improve soon. Only 3 more months of the Trying Threes and then we will hit the Fantastic Fours.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Big Boy Bed!

I’ve always been pretty open to any wisdom parents of older kids have to share with me. One recurring theme I heard was ‘put off the big boy bed as long as you can.’ The more I asked around and looked into it, the more it was confirmed that to push them as close to 3 as possible before taking them out of the crib was preferable. 

Forest didn’t seem to have any complaints and never tried to climb out so we just let it ride. To be fair, he was in a sleep sack until past his 3rd birthday so that was something that deterred him from climbing out. So that’s some of my advice to parents of younger kids: they make sleep sacks through size 36 months. Do it!!! 

When Forest had his 3 year well check, I asked about night time potty training. The doctor basically scoffed and said plenty of just-turned-3 year olds still wear diapers to sleep. When I asked if we should take him out of the crib to start training she kind of laughed and said ‘If he’s still in a crib, that’s the most important thing! Don’t take him out just for 

But after he turned 3.5 we did start to worry that he didn’t even have the opportunity to get up and go if he needed to. Plus he was nearing 40 lbs and it was getting seriously hard to lift him in and out of a crib. Plus he literally did not fit in a pack n play anymore so we needed another arrangement for traveling. 
So about 6 weeks ago we converted his crib to a toddler bed, gave his room a big boy makeover and tackled the transition. And……That’s about all I have to blog about it because he’s done awesome. Knock on wood, he hasn’t left his room yet. 

He slept on a pull out bed in Colorado for 7 nights and then again in Milwaukee for 4 nights and we didn’t have any issues.

And even though he still isn’t getting out of bed to potty in the night, he did wake up with a dry pull up twice recently so we’re hopeful that successful nighttime potty training is on the horizon. (Although he also has nights where he manages to somehow soak through a nightitme diaper.) 

He also FINALLY gave up his paci for good right after switching to the big boy bed and that’s been another thing that was easier than I thought it would be. I guess there is some wisdom to the whole ‘wait til they’re ready’ argument. 
Forest's special gift from the Paci fairy (aka Nana).

I have to ammend this post. It was all scheduled to be published when I had my first middle of the night visitor. Jonathan happened to be in Angola so it scared the poop out of me when I heard someone trying to get into my locked bedroom at 3:30 AM. Turns out Forest couldn't find his lambie (pictured above) and needed my assistance unearthing him from his blankets. Then the next night, I hardly made it downstairs after bedtime before I heard the pitter patter of feet coming down. He was practically asleep when I left the room so I skipped the last 30 seconds of our usual bedtime routine and he was not having it! 

At that point I had a talk with him about how he only gets up to use the bathroom and if he has an issue he can call for me through the monitor in his room. We will see how that goes. Most of my friends said that once they figure out they can get up and leave their room, it becomes a never ending story. I'm hoping that since he was older when we made this transition, he can better understand the boundaries of staying in his room for naptime and bedtime (though he also confessed that yesterday at naptime he did leave his room just to check on his toys 'real quick'.)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Milwaukee. Who knew?

My cousin Katherine (the Olympian) was getting married on July 1 in Milwaukee so my parents and I (and Forest) flew up for the festivities. I was a little travel weary and not excited about 4 nights in a hotel room with Forest but it ended up being a pretty great trip. 

I mean, anytime you get an opportunity to escape the heat of Houston in the midst of summer, you go for it! 

Apparently Wisconsin has some of the best summer weather in the country so that was an added bonus to a little family reunion time! 

Other things Wisconsin is known for? Pretzels, cheese and beer. 

And Peter Krauss from this season of the Bachelorette.
Related image
This pic is for you, Madison;)

So yea, I’d say Wisconsin is a hidden gem. 

Of course the main purpose of our trip was to partake in the wedding festivities. Katherine and Mark are a super fun and easy going couple and all of their wedding events reflected this. Our first night in town we went over to their house for a yummy cookout. 
The next night they had their rehearsal dinner at a place called ‘World of Beer’. 

Need I say more? I was party embarrassed and partly proud that Forest walked right up to the taps, grabbed a mug and poured himself a beer within 5 seconds of arriving. I’m not sure when he’s ever seen that done so I’m guessing it’s just an instinctual Irish thing. Of course I confiscated it immediately and got him a water, but we all shared an awkward laugh over it. 

The wedding wasn’t until the next afternoon so with a morning to kill, my mom and I took Forest to see Cars 3 while my dad spent some time with family. 

He had a blue lollipop for the movie:)

Forest loved Cars 3 (of course!) but was bummed that Francesco Bernoulli (From Cars 2) wasn’t in it. What is it with my child and liking the most obscure Disney characters? I thought the movie was super cute too and was glad to infuse some new blood into our current Cars, Cars 2 viewing rotation at the house. 

The wedding that afternoon was beautiful and their vows were some of the wisest and most poignant I’ve ever heard. 

And they served Mexican food at their wedding. I mean….are they the coolest or what? Unfortunately we had to cut out early because it was well past Forest’s bedtime and even Nana and Pops were losing patience with his wild-man overtired antics. 

We still had the next morning to spend with family over breakfast. 
Once everyone started dispersing we decided to check out the Harley Davidson Museum after Forest's nap. (To his disappointment we did this over going to swim in the hotel pool.)
We didn’t have much time and certainly could have spent a lot more time perusing, but we had fun while it lasted. 

A gift shop full of motorcycles and he manages to find the one mack truck.
That night we had one last big family dinner with the crew that was still in town. The next day our flight wasn’t until 4 so we used our free morning to explore the nearby Milwaukee County Zoo. The weather was PERFECT for a day outside so we enjoyed exploring the grounds, eating icees and more pretzels, seeing some beautiful animals, and of course riding the Safari Train. 

Y’all, this kid’s train obsession has been going strong for over 2 years. It’s hard to imagine it ever ending. It was slightly annoying because we’d be like ‘Forest, look at that Tiger!’ and he’d be like ‘Cool. Can we go ride the train now?’ But it was all worth it to see his sweet face lit up with joy when we finally rode the train. 

In traditional zoo fashion, he got to pick a stuffie (well he was with Nana so he got to pick 2 stuffies and a train) and he chose a snuggly penguin whom he named ‘chocolate vanilla cookies and cream’ but mostly he just goes by ‘penguin’. 

I’m just excited that he seems to be re-entering a stuffed animal phase…especially since I just gave 95% of his stuffed animals away because he NEVER played with them anymore. 

Anyhoos, our flight home was uneventful until we got to the car and my mom realized she didn’t have her phone…We spent the whole car ride home panicking and filling out forms for United lost and found only to realize she was sitting on it the whole time. Yay! Alls well that ends well! 

We had a fun time with them in Houston and getting to know their newest family member, Jackie Blue. Jackie is a Boykin Spaniel who is gorgeous, smart, athletic and busy busy. 

She reminds me SO much of our BaileyBop as a puppy and Forest and I have puppy fever pretty bad. Every single puppy he sees, he says ‘That dog is so cute! I want a dog like that!’. Like mother, like son I guess. We are holding off for now but we are slowly starting to feel ready to open our hearts to another dog after losing Samson. He really was a ‘once in a lifetime’ dog though so replacing him will be a tall task. It makes our hearts glad to get to love on other people’s pups for the time being! My brother and his girlfriend brought their 4 month old French bulldog to Milwaukee so we got additional puppy time and Katherine and Mark have a Cavachon (1/2 cavalier, ½ bichon) who was totally awesome! And yes, I just spent a whole paragraph of my Milwaukee blog talking about other people’s dogs. The struggle is real, y’all. 

But back to the point: Wisconsin was great and Milwaukee was adorable and I seriously had no idea. You should totally go there.