Little mister

Sometimes I look at Jack and can see our future, see him as a teenager.  He is so serious when he says, “Well, mom, when you said that it hurt my feelings,” or “Mom, I didn’t like that.  I’m going away from you.”  He is trying to be grown up and yet so obviously unprepared to deal with what that means.  I know how he feels.

Jack has a close friend at daycare again.  He and Sydney are often chasing each other around when I arrive to pick Jack up.  On the drive home yesterday, Jack told me, “Sydney is my best friend, mom.  She’s a nice girl.”  I’m thankful her parents have kept her in the daycare rather than moving her to preschool.  I worry about the day the two kids will be split up, though.  I wish I could give Jack the kind of childhood where he grows up with the kids down the street.  I’m not sure that kind of life exists in the city.

When we get home for the day, Jack usually runs to the front door and announces “I beat you!”  This time, he forgot to run and I got there first.  He dissolved into tears because he wanted to win.  I tried to explain that sometimes other people have to win: “you can’t win all the time but you should always try your best.”  He didn’t like that, of course.  I took him back outside to redo the “race” and halfway to the door he turned around and hit me to make sure I wouldn’t beat him to the door.  That brought on another explanation about how we don’t sabotage others just because we want to win very badly…yes, these are the conversations I have with my not-quite-4 year old child.  I’m sure I will repeat them over and over as he grows.

Lately Jack has become attached to a stuffed monster he calls Starbucks.  (How’s that for a sign of the times?)  He brings that monster to daycare every day.  Today he forgot and I was running late so I neglected to remind him prior to leaving the house.  We pulled up to G’s house and I unbuckled the carseat.  Jack started looking for Starbucks right away and my heart sank.  I saw his face when he couldn’t find his monster and when he asked me where it was, I told him the bad news.  Cue tears.  I felt like crying, too.  “I’m sorry we forgot Starbucks, honey.  I will bring him to you when I pick you up today.  I know you will miss him today.”  I considered going back home to get his toy before driving to work…  “He’ll recover,” G said.  I know she was right but still…I wish I had gone back home.

Stick and Carrot

The Feminist Breeder wrote recently about how a fish potty trained her child.  Her post really got me thinking.  I’m sure you all remember reading about the issues we’ve been having with Jack only using the potty at daycare.  Potty learning has been going on for about a year now!  And while I don’t really want to get Jack a fish in order to get him potty trained (I have a fish and two cats to take care of already!), I really couldn’t come up with any better solutions…it’s been A YEAR, after all.

Stickers, candy, games – none of it was working to entice Jack to use the potty at home.  I tried laying off completely and that didn’t make a difference either.  I bought him awesome underwear with Buzz Lightyear on them and “special” SpongeBob foam soap…no go.  But yesterday, I put a little more thought into it.  I attempted to make it more personal.  I know Jack is a lot like me, you see.  So I asked myself what I would be motivated by…what bribe will get me almost every time?  The answer is money.  Money is like magic.  Money can get things!  Money can get almost anything your heart desires!  Money is power and clearly that is what Jack wants.

I proceeded to tell Jack that I would give him money for using the potty.  I explained that he could save up the money he gets (LOTS of money for using the potty LOTS) and when he had enough, he could buy a Transformer.  He has been rather stuck on Transformers and loves robots in general, so the bribe had an immediate impact.  He started asking questions – what color Transformer?  What would the Transformer’s name be?  And that kid couldn’t get his pants down fast enough!

He’s used the potty twice, so I’m not going to go and call this success just yet…but it’s progress for sure.  Right now Jack gets to put his money in a piggy bank.  After he woke up this morning asking if it was time to get a Transformer, I decided we needed a way for him to see how much money he has.  I plan to get a clear container and pick a decent spot to mark with marker…when he fills it to the marker line, I’ll take him to buy a Transformer.

I just hope I can find somewhere that sells them…any suggestions?

Regression

Jack has suddenly regressed with the potty training.  All of these months he has been consistently peeing in the potty at daycare and nowhere else (okay, a couple times at my house, once at a friend’s, once at his grandmother’s).  As of yesterday, he is not even peeing in the potty at daycare.

I haven’t been pushing potty use at home.  I ask him every few days if he is ready to use the potty and he replies that he doesn’t want to so I drop it.  I know there have been some potty training efforts made at Jack’s dad’s place, with little success.  I’m not sure if something changed over the weekend or if this is just Jack being stubborn.

I’m not sure what to do at this point.  Go the naked kid route or lay off completely?  I’m not worried about it; I know some day he will use the potty and there is no burning need for him to do it now.  It’s just perplexing that he knows what to do and refuses to do it, even when we have been good about keeping the pressure off.

I guess this is the part where my mom gets payback

It’s happened.  I’ve been dreading this development…Jack has figured out that he can climb right out of bed and come knock on my door at night.  He has apparently decided that no more will he lay there idly in bed calling for me – he’ll just go ahead and get his mama when he needs her.  Or, more accurately, he will plop himself down outside of our bedroom door and play with his toys noisily until we open the door.  When asked why he isn’t in bed, he will reply, “I had a bad dream.”  He pays no mind to me when I point out that I know he hasn’t actually been sleeping…

Added to this new interest in leaving the island that is his bed, he has also decided he’s not very tired at night.  Sunday night he didn’t fall asleep until around 1am and he was up at 8am.  Last night it was closer to 11 even though he had a shorter nap than usual and we started the bedtime routine (brush teeth, don PJs, read books) at 8.  David and I take turns going into Jack’s room to reassure him that he’s safe, we love him and will protect him, etc.  He gets lots of hugs and kisses and we snuggle, too.  And after all that and not falling asleep until late, Jack was up this morning bright and early at 7:30 but clearly still tired!  I don’t get it!

I know this is a phase and it will pass and in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a horrible one.  I am aware that staying in bed when you can’t fall asleep isn’t a healthy sleep habit, so it’s not as if I’m going to lock him in his room.  I just worry about leaving him to his own devices while I go to bed because I clearly remember being of a similar age and disposition…my mom still has the dresser that is caked in the evidence of one of my late night “baking” experiments.  She is also fond of reminding me about the time I climbed out of my bedroom window (at 2 years old) and ended up in the neighbor’s yard down the street crying because I was lost.  These are not things I stopped to consider before having a child of my own.  Doh!

Adventure To Do List

There are so many things I want to do with Jack this year!  I’m not sure that I can even keep track but I’m going to try.  If we can’t get to them this year, it’s not a big deal, but I’m hoping to cross at least one of these off the list!

  • Discovery Kingdom – this is an amusement park in Vallejo and they have a TON of kiddie rides.  I haven’t been to an amusement park in a looooong time and I know Jack would totally dig it.  David and I are trying to arrange to go with at least one other adult so that we can ride some of the adult rides, too.
  • Nutcracker Ballet – I absolutely love the Nutcracker.  My grandmother used to take me as a kid and I just thought it was magical.  I totally want to share this experience with Jack and since the SF Ballet has special family nights, I think we can pull it off this year.
  • The Labyrinth – I’m hesitant on this one right now because it (and by it I mean David Bowie) might be a little too freaky for him.  On the other hand, he might totally dig it.  Any experience with this one out there?
  • Board Games – I am a serious board game fanatic.  Jack knows it and wants to play with the games, but so far all we’ve done is used the deck of Target cards as flashcards.  We have Chutes and Ladders, but all he wants to do with that is send his dude down the slide over and over (yet he still wins).  Suggestions?
  • Trick-or-treating – We haven’t yet done the trick-or-treating thing, mostly because I figured a party was just as fun for Jack and didn’t want to deal with a struggle over candy.  I think this may just be the year we start.  I plan to take things slow by just going to a few houses and then going to an event or something.

What’s on your Adventure To Do List?

Birthday Time

Jack is 3 today! I can hardly believe it, except that he woke up in a cantankerous mood and declared that he did NOT want to be 3. I’m pretty sure that the mere disputing of being 3 plants him squarely at that age.

I got lucky Thursday night and found a ton of space-themed items at The Party Stylists store here in San Francisco. There were space shuttle plates, planet party favors, space stickers, star candles, and even a Happy Birthday banner with an astronaut on it. Bingo! I bought some decorative icing and used my mama skills to draw a rocket on his cake, too. I hadn’t intended to have a themed party but it all worked out that way. Don’t ya just love it when that happens?

Friends and family gathered at our home in San Francisco on Saturday to celebrate. We even met some new friends (some of you may know VDog and she is featured in the video below if you have a good eye). Toddler-geared lunch was served in the form of PB&J sandwiches, carrot sticks, cucumbers, goldfish crackers, and juice boxes. Could it get any easier?

So what does a three year old like to receive for his birthday? I think the answer is everything! But here are the biggest hits for the Jackonaut (whose little gems of wisdom can now be found on Twitter, by the way, under that name):

Mobi Tyke Light (aka Glow Alien), accompanied by glow-in-the-dark stars that we stuck to his ceiling (not pictured)
tykelight

WALL-E and Eve plushies
walle
eve

Space Shuttle
I made the mistake of handing this one to him too early and he did NOT want to open anything else afterward. I tried everything I could think of, and finally told him that the other gifts had rockets in them, too. Luckily he was not disappointed by anything he saw!
spaceshuttle

Remote control “land shark”
landshark

And legos, of course. No need for a picture of those! Other great gifts were hermit crabs from Jack’s dad and a tricycle from David. Those will both take a little growing into but they were a bit hit. He got two space-themed books entitled Roaring Rockets and Space Boy. Space Boy is a bit wordy for his age (or maybe just for this lazy mama) but Roaring Rockets is perfect.

There are still a few items to come (Buzz Lightyear & Woody with a rocket and a LeapPad) and I’m sure those will be hits as well.

Here is the video of Jack’s friends and family singing the birthday song to him.

Leaving toddlerhood behind

My baby turns 3 in less than a month. Can I even call him my baby anymore? He is so far from being a baby, I know, but he is the only one I’ve got!

Jack is the same kid he has always been – bright and shiny and creative. Funny and sweet and stubborn. As he gets older he just developes these traits more and more. I never realized before he came into my life that parenthood is its own kind of love story. I loved that little guy immediately but that love deepened, evolved, and continues to surprise me with how profoundly it affects my life. My existence is intricately tied to Jack and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jack is rapidly leaving toddlerhood behind. While this is great, it is also a little sad. His carefree attitude is starting to fade a bit. He now has nightmares about the things he used to love (spiders, monsters, dragons) and has developed a fear of the dark. He is more aware of illness and aches now; although he skinned his hand a few weeks ago, he still insists on wearing a bandaid. He is now less adventurous about trying new foods, as well. He was never especially good about it but we could get around it by placing a bit of food on his lips where he had to lick it off. Now he runs off yelling if we try to do that!

The boy has a pretty good sense of order now. He stayed the night with his dad this past weekend because I knew he wouldn’t be okay with Aunt Holly and Cousin Sabrina sleeping in HIS bed. And no way would he consent to sleeping in our bedroom! His dinner must be eaten in a particular place, his “sleeping blanket” (which he also calls his sheep – aka sheet) is the only thing he will sleep with, and if he holds the rail while going up the stairs everyone else has to! He declares that I am HIS mom when I pick him up from daycare and he doesn’t like it when I hold other kids. It’s a good thing I don’t have a second right now!

Although he is possessive of me and his things, he is also much happier these days to go between his two homes. It helps a lot that we have a steadier schedule and instead of four trips back and forth a week, it is only 2. As everyone knows, toddlers like consistency and routine.

I am working on planning Jack’s third birthday party. I am thinking of doing a rocket theme seeing as that is what his main focus is these days. He still LOVES George but we did that last year. I can just see the look on his face when he sees a big rocket on his cake. So much fun!

Nearly Three

Wow, I can’t believe Jack is almost 3.  Is he even still a toddler or is he now considered a preschooler?  Holy crap, where did the time go?  I am suddenly so aware of the fact that he is growing up quickly and even though I love the stage he is in, I also miss my baby!  (This is how it starts, isn’t it??)

Here are some notes on Jack at 2.75 years:

  • His favorite foods are Babybel cheese rounds (“little red cheese”), Fuji apples (whole, not cut or peeled), almonds, “cupcakes” (usually banana muffins), and chocolate.  He loves to peel things – the wax off the cheese, the shell off an egg, the skin on an orange (although he doesn’t eat the orange).  He even throws wrappers and peels away.
  • He can count to at least 13 forward and backward, can identify many letters and all colors, and knows right from left.  Also, he has learned where Canada, the United States, and Mexico are on a globe (no joke).
  • He likes three books to be read to him before bed: Olivia and the Missing Toy, Olivia (original), and The Way Back Home (in that order).  Sometimes we will add A Color of His Own or How Does a Dinosaur Say Goodnight?
  • He is a favorite at daycare because he is super sweet, funny and quirky, and he always naps and eats and follows the rules.  For whatever reason, he doesn’t have bad days at daycare.  Also, everyone is his best friend.
  • He loves rockets, space, and astronauts.  He will watch any movie with space related things in it – Star Wars, Toy Story (Buzz is his favorite, of course), Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
  • His imagination is growing rapidly.  We had a discussion about what day it was and I cracked up when he said “no, it’s not Wednesday, it’s Mensday!”  He then went on to name many days that I have never heard of.  He also tells stories.  They usually begin with what happened at daycare and then get progressively unbelievable when he makes up new kids that were there or tells us he went to outer space.  And, of course, everything is a rocket from pens to carrots.
  • He spreads love all around.  Hugs and kisses and I miss yous and I love yous.  He asks for snuggles with me in the morning and throws his arm around “my cat Wicket, my best friend.”
  • His favorite song is No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.  Any time I try to sing anything else, he cuts me off to tell me “I don’t like that song!”
  • Physically he is much more agile than he was just a few months ago.  He is a better runner, is starting to figure out how to catch himself if he trips, and in his quest to grab things out of his reach (as in light switches) he has learned to use various pieces of furniture as stepping stools.  Oh joy.
  • He is pretty independent.  He insists on getting the things he wants out of the fridge, takes off his own shoes and puts them away, climbs into his carseat and walks up/down the stairs while holding on to the railing.  He of course gets frustrated when he can’t do something, like when someone beats him to opening or closing a door.
  • He sleeps well most nights.  More often than not, he sleeps through a whole 10 hours and still takes 2+ hour naps.  Can we breathe a sigh of relief?  ahhhhhhh.

There is so much more…I wish I could capture it all.  I am just lucky that I get to witness it all first hand most days.  :)

Contrary Kid

Jack spent most of Saturday naked.  He refused to wear even a diaper or “big boy underwear.”  No pants, either.  I am completely out of ideas and just trying to hold onto my patience (and failing).  Getting him out of the house is pretty impossible.  In order to get him to his dad’s yesterday we distracted him with a book long enough to get his diaper and pants and socks on, then the gig was up.  I grabbed him and stole away quickly to the car to wrestle him into his carseat before he could disrobe.  He cried and fought the entire time.

I don’t have a problem with him running around naked but it would be nice to be able to leave the house.  Also we had guests over and I had to explain that Jack has decided to become a nudist and is potty training.  He is grasping the toilet idea really well and has gone pee in the potty several times, but I have cleaned up several messes of both types and his bed now stinks of pee because he keeps stripping in the middle of the night.

Any and all ideas and input are welcome.  This has been an extremely challenging time and it feels like the newborn stage in so many ways.  I feel powerless!  At the same time I am proud of Jack for deciding to grow up.  It’s just that it’s happening so quickly!

New Daycare

I took Jack to his new daycare yesterday and he immediately started playing and having a great time.  I stayed for about 15 minutes just to make sure all was well and then departed.  He had a fabulous day and when I picked him up he was happy as a clam.  He told his daycare provider he would see her again tomorrow and gave her a hug!  We chatted all the way home about the fun he had and his new friends Flavia and Javier.  It was really the perfect first day.

Today was a different story.  Even though he had a good night’s sleep he woke up in a snit and wouldn’t get dressed again.  It took me an hour and a half to get him ready and in the car and he was crying and throwing a fit about wanting to stay home.  I suspected today’s drop-off would be hard (since he knows what’s going on now) but this was pretty awful.  I felt terrible for him but also upset for myself because I was beyond late for work.  Jack clung to me when we arrived at daycare so of course now I am feeling awfully guilty.

I know he is fine (I have checked up on him).  He always calms down soon after I leave and the daycare transition typically takes about 2 weeks.  Until he settles in, though, I will feel like I’m abandoning my baby every day to go to a job that I don’t even like.  Alas, if only I was independently wealthy!