Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Update on Potty Training and Sleeping

Since we've done nothing productive this week, I figured I'd just write a post about how my boys are doing. Bumblebee is 5 months old now and is an angel! He's been sleeping through the night for a while now, maybe since he was 3 months old...? He is the happiest baby ever. He'll wake up in the morning after sleeping for 12 hours and he'll just lay quietly in his cradle sucking his thumb. He gives the the most wonderful smiles and his laugh fills my heart with joy. He'll stay awake a few hours, eat, then fall asleep sucking his thumb while laying on his little floor bed. Link will run through the house like a crazy person, but usually Bumblebee will sleep right through it. He sleeps about an hour, then he's awake for a while. I love to lay down beside him and talk to him, or take him around the house with me while I clean up or make lunch. He likes to sit in his little bouncy chair outside while Link plays. Mostly, he sleeps a lot. He most often falls asleep by himself, though sometimes I like to rock him just because he doesn't demand it often enough. He takes a 3-5 hour nap in the middle of the day and still sleeps at night!  (I'm so amazed because Link was the opposite as far as naps go)  He's starting to be awake a little more, and is holding his head up great.

Link on the other hand, requires quite a bit of attention. In my Turning 2 Update post, I mentioned that Link was sleeping in his bed and doing well with his potty training. Well a lot has happened in the last 4-5 months (besides Bumblebee being born). We moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Johnson City, Tennessee, out of our little bitty apartment in the city to a larger house that seems like its in the country. Link caught me with Bumblebee sleeping on my chest at night when Bumblebee was just a few weeks old and decided that he wanted to sleep with Mommy and Daddy too. So, even though Link has his own room, he is back in the bed with us.  And we've been on a potty training roller coaster! The course of that has gone something like this:
  1. One week with no underwear while at home, he almost always made it to the potty, which was out in the living room
  2. One more week with no underwear, he had a few accidents. 
  3. Started with underwear, but I had to constantly take him. At this point, he didn't care too much about going to the potty and had tons of 'accidents'
  4. Changed underwear to the kind he can pull down, but he still didn't really care. At this point, he had peed on just about everything: the bed, my rocking chair, my ottoman, his stool, the couch, I don't know how many times on the floor, his car seat, his Daddy, his Daddy's computer chair, while playing, while eating in a restaurant, while standing in front of the potty... it got to the point where we put a diaper on him while visiting other people's houses because we couldn't take him often enough!
  5. Now he runs off by himself and its working great!
There is more detail there that I'm sure isn't very interesting, but the point is, I think we're finally there.  Ever since he's gotten into his "big boy" phase, he doesn't want me to run with him to the bathroom to help him pull his underwear down, he can do it all by himself. Now he very rarely has accidents, once a week or less. All of this makes me wonder if I would have done better to wait until he was in this phase to start, then I could have changed a few more diapers, and cleaned up a lot less off the floor. I got tired of taking him to go in the middle of the night once I stopped waking up with Bumblebee, then I got tired of pee in the bed, so I put him in a cloth diaper at night. It's dry 5 out of 7 nights.

Bumblebee has outgrown his cradle and is sleeping well, so we've decided to move him out of our room. I had originally wanted him to sleep on his floor bed, but I like it in the living room and I don't want to move it. So we're going to put up the crib in Link's room, and hope that Link will want to be in there too!

Oh, and it looks like Link is getting his appetite back.  He'll actually eat something now, though I am still unsure of how to handle meals :)  

Well, that was one exciting post if you like reading about the eating, sleeping, and potty training habits of other people's kids!

of course about three hours after I posted this, Link pees three times because he's too busy to go... why do I curse myself?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week Review - Why do I stink at this?

I sometimes have serious doubts about whether I'm going to make it as a homeschooling mom.  I set very reasonable goals (in other words, LOW) and I didn't come close to meeting them.  I just wanted to do one small activity a day, and I Spy.  Instead, I didn't do any I Spy and I hardly did anything you could call an activity.   Here's my (sad) rundown for the week:

Monday - If you're happy and you know it
Tuesday - Sidewalk chalk & walking on a line
Wednesday - Rain day (watched movies all day)
Thursday - Library
Friday - Classification cards

See what I mean?

If you're looking for a blog where someone does not do Montessori, you've found it.  If you want a good example, look elsewhere!  You're probably thinking, "If you're happy and you know it, that's not an activity!" and you're right, but I wanted him to get used to doing things like that because they do it at story time at the library.  He didn't want anything to do with it, he just kinda smiled at me and looked like he thought I was loopy.  Sidewalk chalk was a super hit though, and he did enjoy walking on the like with me.

Why am I just now discovering how awesome sidewalk chalk is?  Because we have never had a place where it was okay to use it.  We love it!

Ok, on to Wednesday.  Yes, I know, there are things to do on rainy days besides watch movies, but that's what he did.  We don't have a TV, but Link can watch movies on our computers, so he did that while I tried to make classification cards.

Thursdays are our library day.  This was a particularly fun day because it was community volunteer day, so there were community workers there with their vehicles.  Link go to sit in a mail truck, an articulated dump truck, and a mail truck, he held a real fire hose and checked out all the gadgets on the fire truck, watched the garbage truck pick up the trash can and dump it, and watch a guy playing in a bucket truck. Since he is totally into trucks right now, he loved it!

And finally, on Friday, he spent about 5 minutes doing the classification cards that I made.  I cheated a little.  I took pictures of things around the house and put them on some business cards that we had and will never use, and put the pictures of the living room, kitchen and bathroom on large index cards.  It worked, but I think it was too super easy for him.

I didn't do much I Spy because I could never thing of things to show Link that began with the letters I was working on.  I am planning on making some picture cards with (hopefully) about 5 items for each letter.  Then I can just doing the cards once a day and I know I'm not missing some.  I can't just do it randomly through the day.

When I come up with a plan for next week, I'll see if I can find the time to post it :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Good Eating vs. Good Eating Habits

I would love to buy my son fresh, organic veggies, then wip up creative, nutritious meals, and have him devour three meals a day and a few snacks.  I would like for him to sit at the table while he eats, in his high chair or in a regular chair, I don't care.  Right now though, I'd just settle for him eating anything anywhere! I try to limit things like cookies and candy, in hopes that he'll eat healthier alternatives.  But I swear, nothing I'm doing is working!  I know, he's two, and two year olds don't eat much, and he'll eat when he's hungry.  Knowing these things doesn't make it any easier though.  And when it finally comes to a point where I think "I don't care what he eats, if he'll just eat something", then he ends up eating french fries from McDonald's for lunch and oatmeal cookies for dinner!

Ok, maybe I'm just venting a little (which I can do since no one reads my blog anyways) and its not that bad, but it is bad.  He eats fruit and yogurt, so at least there is something healthy in his diet.  I want for him to have good eating habits, regarding what he eats, when and where, but how do I balance that with just getting him to eat?

There are so many different schools of thought on this.  Some people have snacks available all day so that their kids eat when they want to.  So they are probably eating and playing, running around with food in their mouths and hardly ever sitting at a table.  Other people put their kids in highchairs, strap them down, and offer them food.  They make little airplane sounds to make it fun, and otherwise entice their kids to eat.  Then went they are finished, that's it, food goes away until next time.  And if you follow a Montessori approach, you let your child sit at a child sized table to eat, and if they get up from the table, the food goes away.  That way your child learns that when you get up from the table, eating time is over, so you'd better eat!  I've done it all.  None of these things seem to work with Link.

Granted, if I put the food away, and Link comes to me ten minutes later and actually offers to eat something, I have a very hard time saying no.  Heck, lately, if he does that, I jump for joy and make him whatever he wants.  Half the time he still doesn't eat it!  I think he really really doesn't like what I cook.  I have to admit I'm not creative.  I have a difficult time thinking of things to make for any meal without repeating the same thing every day.

So what do I do!?!  I figure soon enough he'll have his appetite back, then the eating thing won't be such a big deal.  Just the eating at the table without pitching a fit part...

After posting this, I started thinking "how do parents deal with this when their kids are in daycare?" Teachers can't dote on every child the way a parent can at home... kids sit at little tables and eat at meal time or they go hungry!  They eat what is served, or go hungry! Are they healthy? I don't know.  Do they sit at the table at dinner time? I don't know... but it is something to think about.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Big Boy

I have been spending a TON of time trying to prepare for starting school with Link.  The main thing that has been holding me back is that I don't have a space to dedicate to school.  I finally decided that I was letting that and the lack of a full fledged plan keep me from starting.  So on Friday I decided to just start small.  Here's what I did...

First I made a small list of activities to pull from.  I used the book Child's Play by Maja Pitamic to get some ideas, others came from Gettman and a list I bought, or I just read about them somewhere.  This was my list:

  • I Spy
  • Guess the Sound Game
  • Hard & Soft Game
  • Sort Beans
  • Walk the Line
  • Bean Bag Throwing
  • Traffic Lights
  • If You're Happy & You Know It

There are several reasons I wanted to start with this list.  "I Spy" is of course the first language activity recommended by everyone and I'm very anxious to get started with language.  The next three would give me a chance to practice presenting an activity, and get Link used to sitting with me while I show him something.  The three after that I can do inside or outside, and since I often just want to play outside, it'll get me going while fulfilling that need.  And the last one will encourage Link to sing, listen and perform certain actions.

So, shortly after breakfast we have about a three hour period that works great for doing whatever I have planned for the day.  I chose bean sorting since there was not a lot of prep work involved.  I didn't really present it the way I should, I just said "want to help mamma sort some beans?" Since he said yes (he's back into helper mode) I got one big bowl and two little bowls, and some black beans and lima beans, mixed them up and showed him how to put one in each bowl.  He did great considering I put way too many little black beans in the bowl, and they were very very small.  Then he decided he wanted a snack, so he left, ate a little, then came back.  He got almost all the way through it before he decided he was done.  So I finished up and put it all away.  Not bad for our first activity.

After his nap (and snack this time) I decided to try pouring rice.  Nope, it wasn't on the list, but whatever!  I read in the Gettman book how I should present it, then I jumped in.  This one was a little more difficult.  Link didn't want to watch me demonstrate and he certainly didn't want me to help place his hands correctly.  This is where "BIG BOY" came in!  When Link wants to do something by himself he lets me know he's a big boy and wants me to leave him alone.  I handled it well I think.... He only fussed a little, and he ended up letting me show him.  This is where I think starting small and getting him used to the whole presentation idea is important.  He did well, and only dumped the rice out once, but was very enthusiastic about picking up the rice.  Then he was all done, and I put it away.

Those were the only activities we did.  I plan on starting the I Spy one on Monday.  I made a list of all the sounds to help me and Daddy keep track of the sounds and a chart for each week showing the sounds we're working on for the day.  Here they are:

It is very hard to think of things that I have to use for the I Spy game.  I don't have a ton of little miniatures, so I think I'm going to use the I Spy Phonics Book Set and Alphatales Book Set that MyBoysTeacher uses :)  I'm going to try to do activities at least two days next week and I Spy every day.