Friday, May 5, 2017

Happy Half Birthday, Forest!

Forest just celebrated his half birthday and is only 6 short months away from turning 4. So far, 3 has been a challenging age. It's simultaneously the easiest and hardest phase he’s gone through.  Three year olds are famously volatile, hence the accurately coined phrase ‘Threenager’. He’ll be in such a good mood and then the littlest thing can send him into an inconsolable conniption fit. Then other days some major bummer could happen and he totally takes it in stride and handles it like a champ. Seriously, I never know what the day will bring or if I will be dealing with an angelic sweetheart or a mischievous terror.  Here’s a quick snapshot of Forest’s life these days: 

Favorite Book: He’s still very much into Thomas so his 5-minute Thomas stories is a book we read everyday. 
He also loves to read through activity books. He has a huge Thomas sticker and activity book and he won’t color it but wants us to read it to him and he does all the activities with his finger. 

I think he loves it so much he doesn’t want to mar it with actual crayons. He also loves the Llama Llama series. He and Llama have a lot in common (both shy momma’s boys). 

Favorite TV Show/Movie: Favorite TV show is still Thomas but he will occasionally ask for Chuggington or Curious George. Disney- Pixar Cars has been dethroned and the title of new favorite movie goes to Disney Planes. We’ll see if Crophopper still reigns supreme over McQueen after Cars 3 comes out this June. We have a very excited little boy at our house! 

Favorite Toy: Dusty Crophopper currently goes everywhere with us. 

Favorite foods: Raspberries, Mac and Cheese, chocolate milk, carrots, spaghetti, graham crackers with hazelnut butter, and turkey sandwiches. 

Language Development: He’s definitely had a big leap lately and is starting to tell very detailed stories. It’s fun to see his imagination at work and also to start getting very accurate play by play events of what goes on at preschool. 

Cutest Sayings: One new phrase he says is ‘in a lot of days’ when he’s talking about something that happened a long time ago or is coming in the future. For example: “Spring will turn to summer and then Cars 3 will come to the movie theater in a lot of days.” Or “In a lot of days ago when I was a baby I watched Harry the Bunny and then a Baby Einstein where they had different colors on the flatbeds.” 

Something not-so-cute is he’s starting to use the term ‘hate’. The other day he smiled at me and said ‘I hate you mommy!’. I said ‘That is the meanest thing you could say to me’ and he replied ‘No mommy, I hate you nicely.’. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t fully grasp what the word means…. But he’ll say ‘I hate those kind of bubbles.’ etc, and it really bothers me. As a kid we were NEVER allowed to use that word so I’m trying get him to say ‘I strongly dislike’ instead of ‘hate’. 

New Skills: He did awesome at ski school! 
He is writing his name better and better. That pesky ‘S’ is pretty frustrating but he keeps trying. 

He’s building to his bank of sight words and is a really good speller too. 

He was trying to search for 'Thomas Youtube'.
He loves to spell/read the names of his classmates and favorite characters. 
Stats: He’s about 37 lbs and 41.75 inches. I think 81% for weight and around 92% for height. 
I find it hard to believe he’s not higher than 92% for height because I seriously haven’t met anyone his age taller than him! I calculate his percentiles based on the WHO (worldwide) statistics so Jonathan and I joke that it’s those dang Germans and Ethiopians screwing up the curve.  According to the CDC which is based on American statistics he's 94.7% which seems more accurate.

Schedule: Sadly naps are no more. One day he just stopped napping cold turkey. At first he was still going down without a fight and having some quiet time in his room but now quiet time has turned into hysterically crying time so I’m not sure how long we can keep it up. He’s still in a crib but we plan to make the transition to big boy bed in June. That should be fun. He goes to bed around 7 pm and mostly sleeps til 7 AM. Although I am very sad to see naptime go, it is nice to be at a point where we aren’t a slave to his schedule anymore. However, I do see a correlation between the dropping of naps and the uptick of exorcist like tantrums all the live long day. 

Other Observations: Forest loves music and likes to boss us around as to what we listen to in the car. His first choice is always Ed Sheeran and he can sing every word of every song on the new album. He also gets very upset when we skip over ‘the song with bad words’. 

He doesn’t like loud noises and even some soft noises (bees buzzing) bother him and he’ll shriek and say ‘I don’t like that sound!’ He’s always been a light sleeper and I wonder if it’s because he’s so noise sensitive. He also has a keen sense of smell. When I get him up in the morning he’ll say ‘What is that smell? Bacon?’ (or ‘coffee’ depending on how early he wakes up). 

He continues to be super silly, super happy, super energetic and super shy. 
He loves pretending to drive and gravitates to steering wheels at playgrounds. Bonus points if the fake steering will has a grill that looks like a jeep. 

He seems to have lost interest in art and puzzles for the time being. 

He just felt like he needed more time to devote to his car/train/plane obsession. At least he’s diversifying his vehicular interests beyond just steam trains. 

My struggles: Forest is crazy shy. But he’s very atypically shy. He is so adventurous and full of joy. He can’t wait to jump in and try new things, and he’ll gladly follow a group of kiddos around but he really hasn’t figured out how to have a conversation with anyone outside of his very close family and friends. His teachers say they have to really encourage him to speak at all and he usually won’t respond verbally if someone asks him a question. He hates to be put on the spot or have the attention on him. Even if it’s me trying to get something on video, he will say ‘NO!’ and stop doing whatever cute thing I was trying to film. 

His teacher told me that her main worry with Forest is that he’s so smart and well-behaved (??) that it’s likely he won’t get the attention he needs in school because he won’t be seeking it the way some kids do. She suggested we try to set up playdates with one or two kids from class and just in the last 3 weeks we’ve been making more of an effort and it has made a huge difference. Even though he’s still quiet and shy, he isn’t totally mute. He asked the cashier for milk at McDonald’s, he talked to a friend at school, and he’s been talking to me in front of other people which is something he wasn’t doing 3 weeks ago. 

We were at a playground the other day and a 9 year old girl kindly offered to play with Forest and show him where a pretend car was. She came down the slide after a bit and said to me 'He doesn't talk much, does he? He only said two words! When I asked him where he was driving he said "The Beach."' I told her he is pretty quiet but inwardly I was like 'Two whole words? In response to a question from a total stranger? Woohoo Forest!!!!' 

I was at the point that I thought he may need to be assessed for a spectrum disorder but after seeing his progress with a just little more intention on our part, I feel hopeful that it’s a personality issue rather than a developmental one.  It's something we definitely have our eye on but I have to remind myself that being shy and introverted is perfectly normal and no less valuable than being outgoing and extroverted. 

Of course we want him to be able to easily make friends and to respond in socially expected ways and ask questions in school if he needs help, but we don't want to change the core of who he is. And having an little introvert definitely has it's perks, like a kid who will happily entertain himself for hours on end. And let's get real - he gets its from his momma and in terms of personality, the apple really hasn't fallen far from the tree. 

Another struggle is that he’s been having sooooo many tantrums lately. With Jonathan coming and going, he is testing more than the typical three year old. Add that to dropping naps and not getting enough sleep and he’s just so moody. I’m having to follow through on some tough love these days and it’s a lot of trial and error to find which discipline is most effective with him. 

Well that was just a short (hahahaha!) synopsis of life with our 3.5 year old. I'll try to blog again soon but with preschool ending and no more naptime, it's getting pretty hard to find the time!