Alex Notes, Jan - Mar 2008

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January 14, 2008

Scott says:

Alex is consistently using reasonably long sentences when he speaks now but he's still experimenting with grammar and it sometimes produces funny results. Conjugating irregular verbs is hard... he often says "goed" when he means "went". He also confuses pronouns... e.g. he says "me" when he means "I" or vice versa. He also says "her" when he means "she".

Alex used the potty twice today so that was great. He's also working on learning his alphabet. Lynn and I are putting up little letter cards with pictures of tools around his room's ceiling perimeter when he learns a new letter.

Alex is in the "big boy" class at his school now and I think this may be the reason for the renewed interest in potty training. I think he is having more fun, though; he seems to be way more interested in going to school in the morning. Before he would often say "I don't want to go to school today" but that is becoming less common. Usually he seems excited to go.

The other day Alex went over to see the boys next door with Lynn and came home wanting to do homework.

These days Alex can't get enough of his daddy... he follows me around all day when I am home from work. I don't mind -- we have fun playing in forts (submarines or kitty cat houses), playing with trucks, having the doctor bear take care of all the hurt/sick stuffed animals, or just reading books. He's interested in computers since he sees Lynn and me using them all the time so I think one of these days I'll put an old one together for him to play with.

Scuba light

We rented some little skis for him to put on... the goal is just to push him around on flat ground and get him interested in skiing. We were supposed to go this past Saturday but he was not feeling well so we stayed in. In a couple of weeks we'll go up to Whistler and I'm sure Alex will get some time on skis. He seems very excited about this because daddy skis but he also seems a little worried that he will be afraid. So we'll work hard to keep it fun and go in for hot chocolate when he falls over a couple of times.

Lynn adds:

The other day we got some s words that actually had an s sound at the beginning, but it doesn't seem to have carried over beyond the day. Alex has continued treating us like we treat him. He will ask what something is and when I answer he will say "That's right, mommy." We are of course anxious to have some potty use and I guess it's catching on: Alex keeps asking us if we need to go potty. He will say something that's not true and then say "I was just teasing."

I love watching Scott play with Alex. They built a big submarine fort in Alex's room, then pretty soon here they are rummaging through the house for camping head-lights and other things to use as scuba gear. Alex will follow Scott around whenever he is home, and Scott is great at coming up with creative play. Another thing Scott recently invented, that gets Alex in stitches, is to sing Old MacDonald but make the wrong animal noises. Alex laughs so hard we can't even sing it at bedtime anymore, even though he keeps asking for it.

January 31, 2008

We have been making great progress on potty use. We've even had to buy more "potty trucks" at the toy store. Unfortunately, Alex got a cold with a fever so we reverted to diapers (hey, even I hate getting up to go to the bathroom and sitting on that cold seat when I have a fever!). I am assuming that when he feels better and resumes regular school, he will regain his interest, but he's a little resistant to it again. I guess that's ok, since he's on an antibiotic (for ears) and that can create some, ahem, diaper issues anyway.

The other aspect of the cold is that the crankiness is teaming up with his new-found independent streak and he is being pretty rotten to me lately. I have heard the terrible twos is a misnomer, and from some friends' kids, I believe it. It's more like the terrible 2 1/2s to 3 1/2s or terrible threes. Looks we are headed there now. I am getting the brunt of it because even though I spend more time with Alex, I spend less of it actually playing with him and more of it in routine caretaking and chores.

Last night I saw the worst tantrum so far. He was still feeling the cold a bit and didn't have a nap at school. By bedtime, he was falling apart and though he kept wanting to stay up (of course) I insisted on getting on jammies. Alex was kicking, thrashing, screaming "Go away" and when I left the room he slammed the door. I came back and told him I'd come in when he calmed down, and he slammed the door after me again. Soon I heard him crying, "I want Mommy" so I went in and he calmed down, we read books and got to bed. He grabbed my face and was giving me kisses, so I guess all's well. It's hard to not let all the consistency fail during a cold, and it seems miserable to maintain any routine, but kids can be so hard to get back on track after a cold even when they are in compliant stages.

One thing I was thinking about, during this escalatingly willful period we are in (and not to complain -- it's normal, necessary, and judging from introductory bouts, really only lasts a few days at a time so far), is that I think it's partly caused by normal development and also is a result of changing parental expectations. Kids push to grow up, but parents push them too. What is charming for awhile becomes annoying when it doesn't wear off, and that changing reaction from parents must be confusing to kids. Especially when it coincides with a scary, developmental push for independence. I think that when Alex becomes annoying and troublesome to me, I push harder for him to comply. It doesn't really help the situation, but at the same time, I an unwilling to bargain, distract and entertain to get things done. I am going to have to find a better balance here, and I also need to remember this because the same situation is going to come up when Alex is a teen-ager.

One of the approaches I am trying is non-engagement. If Alex is making my life difficult, I am not going to fight with him, I am just going to go about my business. For example, this morning (as usual), Alex was resisting getting a new diaper and getting dressed. I did insist on the diaper change, but when he started goofing around making it hard for me to get his clothes on, I informed him that I would play in the submarine but only after he got dressed. I brushed my teeth, to have Alex come in and say he was ready to brush teeth. OK, that went pretty well, but then a struggle to get the pants on. Fine, I am going to get dressed and I will play with you after you get dressed. So, a little while later he comes to me carrying his shirt. I hate, hate, hate the stupid daily routine fights, and I hope this act helps! It will only work if we don't have someplace to be.

I tried this at naptime too. Alex got in bed, we read books, then he got up and started playing around. I said, it's nap time and I'm not staying in here to play with you. Call me when you are ready to get in bed and I will put your blanket on. Alex came downstairs, I carried him back up. I could hear him playing around (and, I don't really care as long as he plays by himself and gives both of us a break). He called me a couple times, but I either said it was nap time or didn't answer. Eventually it got quiet upstairs, so I went to check. I found Alex asleep at the top of the steps, so I put his blanket over him and left him there. He's been asleep for about 2 hours now, I think. Don't worry, he's not so close that he will roll over and fall down the stairs!

I'm sure there are plenty of cute and wonderful things that Alex is doing these days too, so I will be sure to post some of them soon! For example, today I took him to the "indoor playground" at the rec center. We hadn't been since last year, I guess. It was the first time he just took off playing with stuff on his own, and he seemed really happy to be there.

Taking my nap in the hall

Taking my nap in the hall
Follow the photo link to see other recent pictures.

February 25, 2008

Welcome to the terrible 2 1/2 - 3 1/2s! Some days we barely survive. Then, other days like today, Mr. Charming is back (except at bedtime).

Whistler was fun, but there was no skiing, for Alex anyway. Of course, we acknowledge that the couple times we tried, it was right about nap time (we're about 50-50 or worse on naps these days, but he still could use one!) and Alex was about catatonic in the cold. He had fun playing in the snow when we took him out earlier in the day.

Alex liked where we stayed -- there was a spiral staircase to the loft and he immediately decided it was a firehouse. Alex, Leah and Axel all had fun going up and looking over the railing, but each had at least one tumble down the stairs while we were there. Alex really liked playing with Leah. He had more trouble sharing this time than last. Sharon offered to keep Alex one morning so Scott and I could ski together, and I think Alex had fun with that (even though he gave me the big sad look as I was heading out).

We just signed up for gymnastics. We did a trial class, in which Alex wouldn't do most of the activities but then surprised me by wanting to do the zip-line at the end of the class. When we went for our first "official" class, he tried everything and I was very proud of him. Alex has been more active and (somewhat more) independent at the playground lately and will go down the slide. And he is doing a lot of climbing at home. A couple weeks ago he amazed me by climbing up on the bathroom counter. I made him show he that he could get down by himself, which he could, but now he is convinced that he needs help. Alex also likes to climb up the outside of the stairs, holding on to the banister. The other day I saw him jumping from the 2nd step of the back porch.

Updates on speech: We regularly hear the S at the start of words, but F is still H (hire trucks!). I notice that "because" comes out "cacause". Did I mention before conversations like:

I'm driving a bus.
You are?
I are.

I have recently heard Alex correcting himself: I are. I am. which I think is pretty cool. A few times I have noticed that when adults are talking, Alex will make little "I'm listening" sounds like, uh huh, yeah, .... He was making all this background noise and it took me awhile to figure out what was going on! The other day when I was talking to Scott, every other statement got a No way! from him! Finally, when Alex hears a new word or phrase, you can hear him repeating it to himself a few times, and often he will use it in a sentence soon thereafter.

Last observation: Alex has started working (simple) jigsaw puzzles, but you still have to tell him explicitly to LOOK at the pieces. Imagine staring at the ceiling and trying to put a piece in a space, all the while getting frustrated that it won't fit!

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