Two

Ferris at 2

Two years ago, after a quick but intense labor, and a lightning-speed delivery, they placed you, my little Fer-Bear, in my arms for the first time.

And then I blinked and you are turning two years old. Darn that blinking!

Likes: milk, pretzels, Caillou, trucks, cars, airplanes, trains, crayons, play dough, baths, the beach, the park (especially the slide), hangin’ with the Big Kids.

Dislikes: grocery shopping, napping, showers, having your diaper changed, taking clothes off, putting clothes on, being FORCED to stop moving at the end of the day and get this thing they call “rest”.

Two is fun. Two is tripping over your own feet all day long. Two is climbing the play structure and going down the slide all by yourself. Two is learning new words every single day. Two is finding out that there are some foods you don’t like, and mommy starts calling you “picky”.

Two is preschool! Two is friends. Two is learning, growing, changing. So quickly.

Two is a little bit of independence, and a little bit of being able to communicate what you want.

I always feel like I should be so profound with these posts, but it never comes. The night of your second birthday, Daddy and I went out to see one of our favorite bands, Cloud Cult, and they had me in tears with the VERY FIRST SONG, because I was thinking of you, and couldn’t believe we were at the two year mark already. Here’s a little snapshot of that song:

The stars may fall and the rains may pour,
But I will love you evermore.
You were born to make this right.
You were born to chase the light.

I love you so much, bug.

Mama

When to Start?

Hey gang! My old sharing post that I wrote for Circle of Moms/Pop Sugar a few years back has recently been shared again, and also shared on other sites, so all of a sudden I got this big boost of traffic and new followers. Welcome one and all, I’m so glad you’re here!

What I want to talk about today is if and when you sent your little ones off to preschool. I was recently criticized for the fact that Ferris will start preschool literally the day he turns 2. According to this person, there’s no need to send a 2 year old to preschool, and he’s “just too young. You shouldn’t do that.”

We didn’t start Bowie right away at age two, but he was only 2 1/2. His birthday is in May, so when the new school year began in August, he was 2 and 2 months old. We didn’t get a spot at that time, we got one in December, when he was fully 2 1/2. Honestly, it felt like he was developmentally light years away from where Ferris is right now, and will be in September (when he gets to start). But, Ferris has one of those early fall birthdays, we have a spot waiting for him, and that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

Maybe it comes across as me just wanting to get rid of him for a few hours a day. Which, I’m not going to lie to you, is a part of it. But, this kid is really, really ready for preschool.

From what I’ve gathered from all the people I’ve talked to over the years who did not or will not send their children to preschool at all, people have two main visions of preschool.

Some people think it is school, as in where you sit at a desk and a teacher teaches and gives projects and maybe you’ll get a little playtime.

Others think it is more like a daycare. They go off to be taken care of by other people for the whole day, 6 to 8 hours, and there’s little to no emphasis on learning or development.

Our preschool isn’t like that. I don’t think there’s a whole lot of them out there. Ours is play-based, and there’s a bit of learning. That’s mostly for the older children (about to head to Kindergarten), but everyone has a dedicated music time, and stories are always read at snack time. The toys and games and activities chosen for the kids are also chosen to help them with specific types of learning and development for their age. Plus, they’re only there for 3 hours a day.

That’s why I’m ok with sending him there on his second birthday. He will love all the things there are to do there, and he will love the social aspect. But even after I explained all of this, that’s when I was told it’s just not necessary.

Of course it’s not necessary. I didn’t go to preschool. A lot of people my age didn’t go to preschool. But just because you don’t have to send your kids doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from it. And it doesn’t mean you’re slacking on your parenting. It just means you’ve chosen to send them to a place that has way more toys and games and activities than you could possibly ever have at your own house, and you’re allowing professionals to spend a few hours a day giving them some guidance.

All kids are different too. Maybe her kids (who are older now) weren’t ready when they were 2. And that’s ok! There have been kids at our preschool that just weren’t ready either. They will drop out of the program and wait a while, or maybe just decide preschool wasn’t for them and never come back. That’s just something we as parents need to evaluate. For our OWN children, not someone else’s.

What say you, readers? Did you send your child(ren) to preschool? How old were they? Did it work out? Would you choose to do it the same way again if you had it to do over again? Have you ever been criticized for sending your child “too soon”?

By the way, we go to a co-op preschool, where I have to work one day of the week. Until baby siblings are one year of age, they can tag along (in a baby carrier while you work). Here’s a picture of Ferris at school when he was about 10 months old. He’s going to LOVE it.

Farewell Kindergarten

My Dearest Kindergarten Graduate,

The day I sent you off into your classroom for your first day of Kindergarten, I stood in the hallway that smelled like old books and fresh pencils with the other Kindergarten parents. We smiled and hugged you guys and said, “It’s going to be so great! You’re going to make so many new friends!” What you don’t know is that after you were inside, and we were instructed to move along now, we all went out for coffee and cried our eyes out.

I cried for a lot of reasons. I didn’t think my precious baby was ready for the full days away from me, having been a pretty constant companion of mine for the first five years of your life. And I wasn’t sure you were up for the challenge yet of sitting in your desk, listening to your teacher, and doing school work. Keeping you at the dinner table until you’re finished eating is plenty difficult. Mostly I cried because I knew you could do it, because you were such a BIG KID all of a sudden. You were not my baby anymore. Sending you off to school was one of those moments where I feel like I’m watching you grow right before my eyes.

I went to pick you up that afternoon, and you had on a paper bracelet that announced “Kindergarten is fun!” And you were jazzed to go back the next day. You had made a bunch of new friends already, and you had done some really fun things that you proceeded to tell me about for the remainder of the day.

You’ve had a few hiccups along the way, but overall you have done so well. You soared academically, and made amazing strides socially, strides that a year ago when you were graduating preschool, I’d never have guessed you could have made. You’re not a real fan of homework, but who among us is, really.

So, we bid adieu to Kindergarten. It was a fun, exciting, challenging year full of new adventures and new horizons. Congratulations on completing the first of your 13 years of schooling. May first grade and all the grades to come be as magical and empowering and fulfilling as Kindergarten was for you.

I love you so much, and I am so proud of you!

Mama

 

In the Blink of an Eye. And the Yank of a Tooth.

Bowie lost his first tooth!

His class has a tooth chart of some sort, I don’t know a thing about it, he just comes home from school every day with a new tooth chart report of who lost a tooth and who was about to lose a tooth. A few of his classmates have lost 4 or 5 over the course of the school year, and he was beginning to fear he would leave Kindergarten and not have left his mark on the tooth chart.

So, a month or so ago when his two front bottom teeth started feeling a little “wiggly”, the kid was so jazzed, I thought his head was going to explode.

The one that fell out kept getting looser and looser and looser (not as fast as he wanted) until he was able to push it all the way horizontal with his tongue.

It was pretty obvious to us that night that it would fall out VERY soon, and we didn’t want it to fall out in bed, or him to swallow it in his sleep or something. So, we coached him along, and eventually it just popped out. He was very relieved that it didn’t hurt, and he thought it was pretty cool how much it bled.

Now he’s got a big gap, and the tooth next door is also very wiggly, so that gap could probably get bigger. And cuter.

The little dude is about to turn 6. That’s S. I. X. I was in mega denial, but this milestone kinda seals the deal: he’s a bona fide big kid now.

One.

One year, you guys! ONE YEAR! How has it been an entire YEAR already?

One minute, you’re fumbling with putting a newborn into a carseat, and the next minute you’re picking out a big, chocolatey cupcake for them to tear into.

In some ways, I CAN’T believe that an entire year has slipped by. It has gone so fast! But, then I look back at the many things our little family has been through this past year and ok, it really HAS been a year. Much to this mama’s chagrin. I’m still trying to wrap my head around Kindergarten, and then the baby has to go and turn one. Good grief.

So yeah, Ferris. One. Already. From snuggly little ball of baby love to dimply big boy toddler. So fast!

Likes: kitchen drawers, swimming class, brother, brother’s room, milk, graham crackers, baths, sitting in shopping carts, music, pooping in his sleep in the middle of the night, books, cars, trucks and kitty’s water bowl.

Dislikes: diaper changes, wipeouts, leaving brother’s room, people who eat in front of him and don’t share, sippy cups, washcloths, hats, the safety straps on shopping carts and me going to the bathroom before getting him from his crib in the morning.

He is starting to talk a lot, mostly just using his favorite phrases, “What’s this?” and “What’s that?” But he says mama and dada, and knows how to ask for a baba. He’s learning to say brother and Bowie. When you hand him a Matchbox car, he says vroom. And he has a sign that he makes, where he points with his right index finger at his open left palm. I never taught my boys to sign, so I’m not sure what it means. And it probably doesn’t mean whatever it’s supposed to mean. At first I thought it meant “more”, because he’s usually doing it in his high chair. But, I’m not so sure. Time will tell, I suppose.

He’s been “walking” for a while now. He likes to take a few steps, and then just crawl the rest of the way because it’s faster. But, but, BUT, it’s like he knew his birthday was coming or something because yesterday, after his afternoon nap, he was walking all over the house, hardly crawling at all. And this morning he was (literally) doing laps around the living room. He is READY to be on the MOVE. (Gulp.)

Dear Ferris,

I’d like to tell you that I hope the next few years of your life go much slower than this one did, but I know from experience that just isn’t possible. So instead I will just tell you to have fun now that you’re a not a baby anymore.

You’re a toddler. You’re a KID. Still snuggly and soft like a baby, but a little less so with each passing day. You’re toddling around the house like Frankenstein today, but tomorrow, you’ll take off running into the big wide world.

The past year has been an exciting one for our whole family, and you were along for the ride, no complaints, like a little trooper. Thank goodness for baby carriers and helpful family members.

Now that brother is in school all day, we get to spend lots of one-on-one time together. For one year, until you start preschool. So, I want to enjoy it as much as I can. I look back on that time with Bowie so fondly, I can’t wait to see what adventures we go on.

This time (press time, noon-ish) last year, I wasn’t even in labor yet, but little did I know I’d be cuddling you by 9 p.m. And then the real adventure began, because your arrival made me a Mom of Two. Uff-da.

Love you baby, ahem, big boy,

Mama

 

Eleven Months

Ferris is eleven months old today! I can’t believe it. Here’s a few shots of him at eleven months:

Yes, he’s full-on standing now. Not walking quite yet, but standing for LONG periods of time, with impeccable balance, and trying to take steps here and there.

We were sure that because he had crawled so much earlier than Bowie that he’d be walking by now, but he’s not. It’s not far off though, he did take one step forward unassisted a few days ago. And we keep meeting other babies his age who are full-on walking. So, I know it’s coming. I’m bracing myself. He’s already basically into EVERYTHING.

Also, it used to be, I threw one kid’s birthday party, at the beginning of each summer, and then I was done. Now, I have to throw another one at the end of every summer. I did NOT take this into account when I decided to have another child. So, let the party planning begin! (Blergh.)

Dear Ferris,

You are turning 11 months old today. The last of the “months” birthdays before you are a full year, and we just start keeping track of age in years. And you’re doing this two days before your brother starts Kindergarten. What are you guys trying to do to me?!

I’m trying to just take heart in the fact that most of the time, people assume you’re much older than one. But you’re not yet. You’re still my little guy, still an “infant”. (Though barely.) You still take bottles, you still crawl, you still eat purees most of the time. You can’t talk yet, you still take a bunch of naps all day. Still a baby.

But, you’re also so much not a baby anymore in so many ways. You’re pointing, waving, clapping and giving high-fives. You’re taking tiny little steps. You’re feeding yourself all kinds of foods that are not pureed. You laugh at farts. You grab candy off the shelves at the grocery store. You’re a little boy now.

I welcome your first birthday though. With your brother in school all day, I’ll be able to go out and do all the museums and story times and playgroups like I got to do with your brother. We’ll have a good year of mama and Ferris time. I’m really looking forward to it.

Not much else to say, hon. You’re a bit different from last month, a little different than you’ll be next month, I’m sure. But these days you’re not changing so much. You’re just who you are: Ferris. Ferris who likes peas and salmon and pinto beans and chicken and corn and turkey but won’t touch strawberries with a ten-foot pole. Ferris who likes to drink his bottles all alone, with no one around, no matter how much mama tries to cuddle with him and bond with him while he eats. Ferris who would much rather crawl back to Bowie’s room and play with all those awesome big boy toys than play with those silly baby toys.

My sweet baby. For now.

Love you,

Mama

Ten Months

Dear Ferris,

I JUST started getting used to saying that you were 9 months old, and now you’ve gone and turned 10 months old already! That last month went lickety split.

We are in the home stretch now, the first birthday is just 2 months away. TWO MONTHS. That’s only 8 weeks. EIGHT WEEKS. Then you can try all the things, my adventurous little eater. Milk! Nuts! Honey! Eggs! Berries! (Wait, you’ve been eating eggs and berries for a while now, WHOOPS.)

Socially, you are blossoming. You like to “talk” to other babies. Like, A LOT. Social butterfly already. You’re a little wary of grown ups you don’t know super well, and you hide your head in mama’s shoulder. You LOVE to snuggle with mama, and you give such great baby hugs and kisses. THE BEST.

You’re not walking yet, but you’re darn close. You’re cruising furniture like a boss, and you like to pull stunts like this:

And you can climb stuff now, so when I turn my back you’re pulling stunts like this:

You want to do everything big brother Bowie can do! And you’re not afraid to try! Just ask the half dozen bruises you have on your big noggin at any given moment. Good thing you are a second kid, and not a first kid, or they’d have to put me in a padded room.

You’re way ahead of where Bowie was at your age with the crawling and walking and climbing stuff. But on other stuff, you’re doing things a lot differently. You’re taller than Bowie was at your age, but roughly the same weight. Which has made pants shopping a bit of a challenge. ALREADY. Man, just wait until those teen years! Also, Bowie was waking up with dry diapers by 11 months old, and you’re filling up diapers made especially for overnight like you’re testing the integrity of the product (p.s. Pampers, he leaked through one last night.)

It’s funny, I feel like the last month zipped by, but I can also see how far you’ve come in just one month. Growing and changing and becoming a little man right before our very eyes.

Love you, sweetness! Here’s to another great month!

Love,

Mama

 

 

 

Brave

Today Bowie had to go to the pediatrician for his 5 year check up, which also involved getting shots and tests done so his doctor could fill out this very official looking yellow sheet of paper for the school district.

My first plan of attack when I made the appointment was to stay mum on the subject of shots until the moment of truth, so he wouldn’t get scared and nervous and all of that. But then yesterday during summer preschool circle time, it was announced that a fellow Kindergarten-bound classmate had gotten her shots that very morning, and could everyone please be extra gentle today.

Bowie asked me, “Do I have to get shots too, mom?”

Oh geez.

“Well yes, buddy, actually tomorrow.”

And then he commenced to completely freak out for the rest of the afternoon, through the night, and into this morning.

“I’m NOT getting shots!”

“I’m sorry, but you have to.”

“No I DON’T!”

“Well, then I’m sorry, you won’t be able to go to Kindergarten.”

“Ok, fine, I don’t want to go to Kindergarten anymore!”

Over and over. Lather, rinse, repeat.

This morning, after long talks about bravery and camaraderie (all his friends will also be getting shots) and hugs from mom and permission for Fox to accompany us to the doctor, he finally announced about 3 minutes before we had to walk out the door that, “Ok. I will go.”

He did great while getting his blood pressure taken, and getting measured, and getting poked and prodded. He told her he was nervous about the shots, and they talked a bit about it. Up until this point, I thought there were only 2 shots, but he also needed a TB test, which counts as a shot I suppose. So, he was a bit perturbed that there were three pokes and not two.

BUT THEN.

She’s like, “Oh, I see here he needs some lab work. He hasn’t had any done since he was a baby so I suppose we should take care of that today too.”

Hrm.

We leave her exam room, and she gives him a book as a special reward, and she tells me to sit in the waiting area and the lab technician will call us back in very soon.

So we go back out and he’s on cloud 9, thinking he’s done. But, I say no, we have to wait, hang on. We read his new book, and then they called us back in. And he asks with a very worried look, “Why are we going in here?”

I sat in the chair and put him in my lap, as she requested I do, and then I whispered, “You need one more shot.”

It was an unexpected poke in an unfamiliar room from an unfamiliar (albeit very friendly and sweet) medical professional and suddenly…he was sobbing on my shoulder. “I don’t want this shot mom, I REALLY don’t want this shot.”

Oh my good HEAVENS was my heart breaking for him. (And also secretly I was loving that he was needing me so much in that moment!) But then, she inserted the needle, he sat back, and even had a LOOK at it (something I’ve never been able to do) and he said, “Well, that didn’t hurt so bad. I guess I was really brave!”

He’s sad and sore, but he went to school today. And it’s all over now.

And my brave boy gets to go to Kindergarten.

 

Nine Months

Hey Ferris,

You’re nine months old today. Stop it. Just stop it! Stop growing up!

But seriously.

Stop.

You’re a heaping hunk of kiddo, weighing in at 22 pounds and wearing mostly 12 month clothing already. I actually bypassed most of the 9 month sized clothing I had saved from Bowie’s baby days, and took them directly to the kids’ consignment shop, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

You are currently (and very ungracefully) cutting your 7th tooth, maybe the 8th too, but you hardly ever let us in for a peek. I just have to guess by your behavior and appetite and sleeping patterns, and then a few fussy days later get a glimpse of the little grain of rice tooth poking through.

You also have a terrible, unsightly, and I’m sure painful red rash all over your face. I am pretty sure it’s from all the drool you get all over your face, but I’m starting to wonder if that’s it. I started cutting some stuff out of your diet to see if it has any effect. Time will tell. In the meantime, I’ve gotten the 50th different brand of ointment/cream/lotion to put on it that was recommended, so we’ll see if that helps too.

You aren’t walking yet. THANK GOODNESS. Exhale. I really thought you would be. BUT, you are also not far off. You are cruising around coffee tables and park benches like you’re  some kind of one year old or something. Your brother was MUCH older when he started this business. So, you know, you could slow down ANY TIME NOW.

I love how adventurous I am with your food. Yes, me. Not you, me. I was a little hesitant to introduce certain foods to your big brother, and I’m kicking myself in the butt for it. But, I also was more eager to introduce him to things (such as, JUICE, the five-letter J-demon) which I deeply regret. Thank you for drinking bottles full of water at meal time. I am 5 years ahead of schedule with cutting juice out of your diet. Mom win.

At the moment, there’s one 8-ounce bag of breast milk in the freezer. It’s our last, and I can’t decide if I’d rather save it for a rainy day, or just give it to you now. All I do know is that the other night, I thawed our second to last bag and spilled half of it on the counter trying to get it into the bottle, and then cried myself to sleep that night. Still not over the fact that your one year birthday is still 3 months away, but we are not nursing anymore. I know you’re ok, and healthy, and thriving, and still love me and all of that.

Love you too kiddo. Like, SO much.

Mama

 

Five.

Bowie crawled in bed with us at 4 a.m. on his birthday, something about bad dreams. And when he woke up, he turned to look at Brien and the first thing out of his mouth was, “Am I five now?”

He has been looking forward to being five since the day after he turned four. And the day finally came. It was a bright, sunny day, perfect for celebrating a birthday. AND for graduating from preschool. Yes, these happened on the same day. After graduation, we skipped grad parties and drove around in Brien’s VW (aka Daddy’s Race Car) through the park and past the beach. Then we took him out to his favorite neighborhood restaurant for a cheese quesadilla, spanish rice and refried beans–his ultimate meal. After that, we walked to the beach, played with one of the two sets of stomp rockets he got as gifts, and caught a gorgeous sunset. It was a whirlwind of a day for all of us, but in the end so, so joyous and amazing.

Saturday we had his birthday party at our house. It was a rock and roll themed party, so things got fairly hectic. If anyone reading this was around to witness my Mommy Meltdown, I have to apologize to you. Retrospectively, it was a really awesome birthday party, but to have to deal with messes and preschooler arguments and where the pizzas will go and when we will do the cake, all while kids are hitting drums and cymbals as hard as they can, well it can really take the wind out of your sails.

Sunday was The Big Show for his second session of Rock Band Land. He killed it. All the kids killed it. So awesome. I’m actually sad that Bowie won’t be taking it again until September, it has an amazing effect on him. We went to pick him up after rehearsal and he was as chipper as can be. And he sat (mostly) quietly in my lap for the whole show until his performance. I can’t remember the last time he willingly sat still in my lap. And because he loves music and his rock band so much, we decided his big present this year would be this:

Dearest, sweetest Bowie,

I look at you today and I am amazed. You’re so far from baby or even toddler. You’re a bona fide kid now. You’re all limbs and smiles and blonde hair.

You’re super sensitive, and the world doesn’t always understand you. On top of that, you have been through a lot in the past year, but your moxie is still shining through.

You were diagnosed with SPD, just over a year ago. Which on the one hand was so helpful for all of us to know, and we are working to get past it. But on the other hand is so difficult to know and to deal with. I never wanted you to have the sensitive childhood I had, and it breaks my heart to see you dealing with too much sound, too much light, too much touch. Life is hard enough without the extra troubles. But, I can tell you’re a lot more resilient than your mama. And now that we know what’s going on, we can tailor your world for you.

This year, you also became a big brother. Which I know was very difficult for you. To go from being the center of everyone’s world to having to share that spotlight with someone else. But you’re a champ. And that little brother is already looking up to you with some mega admiration. I hope you can and want to set great examples for him in all of your life.

This year you also started Rock Band Land! You have been having SO MUCH FUN making music with Brian and Marcus, and performing at the Big Show. We’re going to look into getting you lessons for any instrument you want–even drums! It was one of the best moments of my life to see your reaction when you first saw your new guitar. You had an amazed and bewildered look on your face, and you turned around and gave your daddy a giant hug, and then gave me a giant hug. And you said thank you over and over all day. You also ran to your room and hand selected a toy for each of us from your collection to say thanks. It was so sweet!

There’s a very, very sweet boy inside of you that I wish the world could see as much as we do. I wish I could walk by your side for the rest of your life to help explain your “bad” and “erratic” behavior to people, but I won’t be able to. But today, I remind myself, you’re only five, and I can still help out for now. We’ll keep working on it, and we’ll get there someday.

My litte rock star. So excited to turn five, so excited to start Kindergarten. Excited to grow up to be “an astronaut. Or a race car driver.”

Future’s so bright, you gotta wear shades.

Five is climbing the dunes at the beach by yourself. Five is not always having to hold hands to cross the street. Five is electric guitars and remote control cars. From where I sit, five is going to be pretty awesome.

Have a great year buddy, I love you.

Mama