Lizard love

A few weeks ago I captured a lizard for the boys.  They thought I was the best Mom EVER.  I managed to capture the sheer look of joy on Elliott’s face.

It makes a Moms heart smile. 


My knights in shining armor

This year for Halloween the boys chose matching knight outfits.  They have been wearing them around the house all month, and for most of that time their swords have been in time out… they made a cameo appearance for this picture! 

Spencer, when asked what his costume would be, would tell everyone he was going to be Elmo.  We don’t have an Elmo costume, and he declined the offer to try one on at Target. 

I am happy and shocked that they both decided to don the actual costumes we purchased for the occasion.  We went to a few neighborhood houses for candy, Spencer trick or treated around the block at preschool earlier that day, and Elliott’s school had a costume parade.  The highlight for the kids however, like their Daddy, was handing out candy. 

They are already counting down the days until next Halloween. 

My Kindergartner-Elliott

Elliott started kinder 3 weeks ago.  He was pretty nervous about it, and felt certain he wouldn’t like it.  We attended an orientation that left me feeling more nervous than I was before the orientation, instead of less.  It was poorly organized, the information wasn’t comforting, and the teachers seemed cold and slightly mean.

I stayed dry eyed the first day, and I think that helped Elliott remain brave and strong.  He decided after the first day, that he still didn’t like it.  The next day was the same.  I was starting to worry, as Elliott had always loved learning.  I was even considering the idea of home schooling…maybe this forced structure wasn’t for us after all.  
The third day we participated in run club.  The school hosts a running club that begins when the campus opens and goes until it is time to line up for classes.  The premise is simple–you have a card with your name on it, you run a lap, you receive a stamp on your card.  When you acquire 26 stamps, or approx. 5 miles, you get a plastic shoe charm on a string.  
On the 3rd day, he decided he loved school.  We have participated in run club every morning since.  He shows off his shoe charm to anyone who will pay attention.  Parents and siblings are encouraged to participate as well.  So, on the days I have Spencer, I walk with him.  He even has his own card!
Thankfully, I wont be homeschool this year.  

Coming around the bend

I had a post sitting in my drafts for the last 2 months.  I wrote it whilst feeling very emotional and vulnerable.  I didn’t feel, at the time, that I should post it.  However, after reading it again I decided to go ahead.  My feelings at the time were real and therefore valid.  If you are a follower–you will see a new post with an old date.

Some days are still as frustrating as I earlier described.  However, many of the days are actually becoming enjoyable.  I attribute the change to a handful of things.

The first is that Elliott seems to be growing out of his defiant stage (I should say temporarily shelving as I expect it to show up again sooner rather than later).  He is becoming more aware of the daily expectations–get dressed, brush teeth, eat breakfast (sitting down), go to preschool or some other activity, etc. 

He is also working very hard at adjusting to life as a sibling.  He clearly likes Spencer, but still has a hard time sharing time and/or toys with him.  He also can scarcely contain his enthusiasm and sheer joy that comes from pushing him over, or angrily ripping a toy from him hands.  I suspect that Elliott is asserting himself over Spencer because Spenc is low man on the totem pole (so to speak).  As such, I have been working on navigating the two of them more carefully.  I have also been working on the language I use when correcting the other, making sure to say things to both Elliott AND Spencer.  That has helped facilitate their relationship with one another, and if I handle it correctly it should make them closer over the long haul. 

In addition to the normal growth that occurs when a sibling is added–I too, have been growing and adjusting.  I have always felt proud of the fact that I was very patient and took the time to explain things to my child.  And then there were two…and all patience went out the window.  I am slowly, day by day, regaining some of that patience.

As I slowly take back more of my body (less nursing on a daily basis) and I start to get more solid chunks of sleep I find that I am more patient and less irritable.  Both of these things attribute to a more patient and nurturing parent.

Lastly, I am learning more about redirecting my anger as well as my children’s.  I am also working on easing up on them–they ares still so little!  Elliott is 3 and 1/2 years old–but that is still small.  He needs reminders and more reminders.  He still needs me to swoop him up and kiss his owie.  He still lets me hold his hand when we cross the stress. 

And, these days I relish each opportunity.  I try and remind myself daily how lucky I am to be able to spend my days with my adorable boys.  Very lucky indeed. 

First day of Pre-school recap

A few months ago, I started to feel like Elliott needed a change.  He had been attending, twice a week, the same home based daycare since he was 6 months old.  We kept him there even after I was laid off from my job.  We loved the caregiver and over the last 2 years–he has blossomed and learned all of the basics of toddlerhood. 

As his 3rd birthday approached and his energy levels took another step up, we realized that he was ready for a change.  He needed a place with more kids (and different ones), and a space that had more room to run around.  We also wanted him to be closer to home, as his previous daycare was 15 miles east of our home.  Now that I stay home, all the unnecessary driving was beginning to take its toll on me.  It also disrupted Spencer’s nap schedule as he would always fall asleep in the car on the way there and on the way home.

There is a preschool that many of the Stroller Stride Mom’s in our neighborhood send their wee-ones, so we checked it out.  Of course, we loved it and Elliott started this morning.  I think I was way more nervous than he was.  I was totally worried we were going to be late and felt the stress of having to get my kids somewhere on time.  It was a preview of what is to come when they are both in school.  Arrgghhhh.

We did a quick walk through of the school on Friday so that both my hubby and Elliott could have visibility of the toys and expectations.  And so that everyone was on the same page verbally about what the school had.  The drop off this morning went great.  He was nervous and clingy for about 10 minutes and I stayed with him during that time.  Then he started to get curious and was looking around the room himself, testing some of the toys out.  Next thing you know…I was kissing him goodbye and leaving my sweet first born son all on his own at his big urban preschool.

I was loading Spencer in the car seat and I saw Elliott running in the play yard from tricycle to bike.  He was clearly so excited about each toy that he couldn’t decide what to play on first.  When I picked him up a few hours later he was playing happily with another boy, totally engrossed in the cars and the car ramp.

He ran up to me, gave me a big smile and a huge hug.  He seemed to enjoy his day!  His teacher gave me the art he completed that day, and we said our thanks and goodbyes.  I only wish that he stayed there longer.  His previous daycare was 8-4pm! 

Lunch box-check!

I feel like this is our first big milestone.  It is bittersweet for me.  I want him to learn and grow, to become more independent and confident, and to experience other kids and various teaching styles.  But, our jobs as parents are also to coddle and nurture our children as well as ensure they aren’t growing up to quickly.  I am excited, based on this first day, that he seems to have adjusted well.  I feel like that speaks to his personality and his self confidence.  Only time will tell how it turns out.

Welcome to the preschool

Last night was the first night that Spencer slept most of the night in his crib.  We put him down at 7pm, he woke at 10:30pm for a feed, then went back to sleep until 4:30am.  Not only is the sleeping in the crib a big deal, but the amount of sleep without waking or needing a feed is a record.  Needless to say–I was a happy Mommy this morning.  Too bad Spencer doesn’t mimic the sentiment.

2 weeks ago he broke ground on his first tooth, and last week a second one popped up.  Ever since then, my sweet and smiley son has been replaced with a whiney, fussy one.

There has been a lot of practice crawling and pre-crawling activity but nothing that is clearly real crawling.  He can more around the room though by lunging and spinning on his tummy and occasionally rolling over (something he doesn’t prefer).  I have no less than 15 video’s on my phone of him almost crawling.  I am not rushing it since I know that he will be a handful when he does become mobile.  But, I want him to start crawling simply because he is so frustrated by his inability to move!

On the food front, Spencer has started to take a more active interest in eating.  He doesn’t care for fruits as much as savory baby foods.  His favorite jarred food is the organic rice and lentils.  But his top pick is any food he can eat with his own hands–puffs, cheerios, bread pieces, crackers and veggie’s.  He will tolerate banana chunks and raspberries if he is in the right mood.

Elliott celebrated his 3rd birthday!  My little boy is now officially categorized as a Pre-schooler.  Sniffle, sniffle.  We had a small party is his Grandparent’s house the last weekend in June for him.  We also celebrated by taking him to dinner on his official birth date and we celebrate while we were on our staycation with my in-laws July 4th week.

That is Elliott pointing out the fact that I did NOT light all of the candles.  In the midst of singing we had to stop, re-light the candles and start again.  I love that kid.  And of course, eating the enormous cupcake.

Elliott always enjoys spending time with his cousins, who are 6 and 8 years old.  There is a natural bond between them that seems to allow them to play together with very little fighting.  Elliott tries to keep up with the 8 year old, and is always exhausted by the end of the day.  As a result of trying to keep up he has to push himself and his physical limits, lest he be left behind!  By the end of the visit he has increased his independence and his self confidence and I have learned to let go just a wee-bit more–a win-win for everyone!

In other big news, we enrolled Elliott in preschool.  He has been going to the same home-based daycare since he was 6 months old and we now feel he is ready for a change.  It has been a huge decision for us since we LOVE the situation he is in now.  But, there were several factors that influenced our decision.  One was that it was 15 miles from our house.  Another is the space factor.  We wanted him to be able to run around and be more independent.  We also want him to start a small amount of structured learning.  He knows his ABC’s by site, he can count to 15 and knows his numbers by site to ten.  He knows colors, shapes and speaks clearly.  Unless it is the “l” sound which comes out sounding the same as a “w’ sound…  We believe in kids being kids as long as possible, but we also think that learning can be fun.  And since kids are little sponges that now is the perfect time to solidify the fun of discovering new things, ideas and concepts.  Lastly, the preschool we chose is close to our home and is very reasonably priced.

And that brings everyone up to date with the goings on of the wee ones.  As for the grown-ups in the house–the hubby is working and stressing like crazy.  We are both torn between wanting a bigger house and fixing up this one.  We have been house browsing on the weekends, and of course, everyone house I look at that is bigger than ours is ‘the perfect house’.  And then we come home, and talk about our house and fall in love with it all over again.  And so it begins.