Two Point Five

It’s handy that Ferris’ half birthday falls on St. Patrick’s Day, because it makes it so easy to remember. And I want to document it all, because at this age, they change so much and so quickly, you might as well give an update every hour.

I’ve noticed so many things about him lately. I think this year, between ages 2 and 3, is one of the most exciting times to watch your child grow. They come out of the baby phase and learn to really communicate and socialize, and they become a real “kid.”

The thing that’s really striking to me, and just interesting, is that Ferris seems to be the kind of kid that can pick up an activity, pretty much any activity, and instantly be good at it. He’s not very self-conscious, so he’s willing to try just about anything. He’s not afraid to admit when he’s scared and he wants to give something up. And he’s not very clumsy, compared to some kids. (Including his big brother, who was very clumsy, awkward, shy and unwilling to try anything new without some major encouragement.)

He’s so proud of his accomplishments too. When he succeeds at a new task, like climbing a steep ladder to a slide for instance, he jumps and dances around and says, “I did it!!!!” over and over again. And he’ll make sure everyone in earshot knows he did it.

He’s making friends in preschool, real friends, and he’s turning out to be pretty loyal. He asks about his friends when they aren’t at school. And he can recall events from his day at school, and even from days before. He’s getting more articulate and starting to use whole sentences, so he will recount his day for me on the way home, and it’s crazy cute.

He shows empathy and concern really well for his age. When another child is crying, he wants to investigate, and he asks, “Aw, what’s wrong?” When he sees a crack in the street or  some damage to a car or a house, he gasps and says very dramatically, “Broken.” And he wants to fix it. The other day, my husband was home sick from work and had a depressing (but good) documentary on. Ferris had no idea what the subject matter of the movie was, nor could he fully understand what was being said, but he got enough of a vibe from people’s expressions to know it was sad, and every couple of minutes he’d say, “Awwww.”

He’s not really a big fan of sweets. Of course, he likes sweet things, like any other kid, but he doesn’t like to have a lot of it in one sitting. And he usually won’t eat anything cakey or cookie-like. Even his tolerance for sweet cereal is limited. We give the boys Honey Nut Cheerios for general daily breakfast, but we have some goodies on hand like Cocoa Krispies, Apple Jacks, etc. that we allow on the weekends or the occasional after-school snack. But, he will choose the Cheerios over those almost every time. I think he’s like his mama this way.

Now that he’s big enough to defend himself, we’ve reached the era of Brother Fist Fights. It would be hilarious if not for that whole getting hurt thing. I’m breaking up no less than a dozen fights a day. Do girls fight this way? So physical and rough? Anyone got any great tips on getting it to stop? Or will they still be giving each other noogies at Thanksgiving dinner in 20 years?

Favorite things: Gogurt, milk, hummus, gum, “Blankie” and “Monkey”, Thomas, Caillou, Bob the Builder, running, jumping, going on walks outside the stroller, the beach, the park, anything and everything that Big Brother is doing, eating, saying, wearing or feeling.

Least favorite things: Holding hands to cross the street, being stuck in a stroller, someone helping him go up/down stairs or opening/closing doors or getting in/out of the car, not being allowed to fully subsist on Gogurt and milk alone, the post-school pre-brother-gets-home early-afternoon slump where he’s tired enough to nap, but refuses to actually nap.

Why oh why do they have to grow up so much and so quickly?

Here’s an action “I did it!” shot. Remember this play structure? He tackled it. Like a boss.

 

i did it

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.

When One Becomes Two, What Becomes of Me

I’m having one of those days. Where I clean up a mess only to turn around and find another one. Where it feels like the house will be messy forever. Where I put a plate of lunch in front of my son, and it sits untouched for 10 minutes when he announces, “I’m hungry!” Where I can’t read a full sentence on my favorite blog without interruptions like “I want bubble gum!”, “I NEED to watch a show!”, “Please cut the green parts off of my strawberries!!!” (I realize that makes me look a little selfish, but after a morning of reading books, playing race cars and running around the park together, I thought maybe I could catch up on a little blog reading before preschool. Alas.)

I also see the summer days ahead of us, not so far away. I’ve got Bowie signed up for summer school, but that is still only 6 of the 12 weeks that comprise the summer months, and we’re not sure if it will even work out for him this year.

And when I’m getting frustrated, and thinking “motherhood is so flipping hard sometimes!”, I get a stirring from my expanding midsection, reminding me that while I have only one child for now, pretty soon there will be two. I used to marvel at the fact that we had made a person. A real, live person. We made one. And now, we have made people. Plural.

GULP.

While Bowie will eventually move through this needy, demanding, messy preschooler phase, his little brother will be going through it too, at some point. It makes me feel a little defeated. If I can’t learn how to see past the peanut butter smeared on the window and see the humor in it, how on earth will I be able to do this small kid scene for five more years? Five more years.

When I can coax optimistic Beth out of her shell again, she’s telling me that I’m learning this mom thing day by day. That, as unfortunate of a reality as it is, Bowie is the “test child”. The one I make all my mistakes on. The one that will teach me to be a better mom to his brother. The one who is teaching me to let things slide a bit. I’m going to get better at this. We’re going to get better at this.

Somewhere inside, I will find that amazing mom strength that we all have in us. I thought maybe I used it all up with Bowie, but helping him cope with these sensory issues while also being pregnant has shown me that there are infinite reserves available of this mom power. I will get by, I will get through.

Deep breath. I can do this.

Right?

Two

Yesterday my baby boy turned two. All I can say lately is, “WOW. TWO. WOW.”

We returned yesterday evening from another whirlwind family visit in Wisconsin, and we drove past the hospital he was born in. It does not feel like two whole years have passed!

Partially, I think that is because we are still total noob parents, and Bowie reminds us every day. After all the poop blow outs, all the public tantrums, all the sugar crashes, all the day trips with no diapers, we are still making mistakes daily. But my mom says that never stops. So I feel better. I think.

Bowie, what can I say about you at age two? You are a CHATTERBOX. You walk around all day long, trying out your new words, your new phrases, and some of that gibberish you’ve always been saying. When mama lets you park your tuckus in front of the TV, you’re really enjoying Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba, Dinosaur Train, Curious George, Thomas the Tank Engine and, oddly, Super Readers.

But if you had to pick just one, I’m positive it would be Thomas. You love trains and planes and bikes and cars and basically anything else with wheels. Also, dinosaurs, balls, rocks, mud, hammers, you are ALL BOY ALL THE TIME. Which I am learning to love.

Your picky eating habits are on their way out the door. (Well, now I’ve jinxed it.) Lately you’ve been enjoying some new things, and even eat what we do for dinner occasionally. I have to get out of the habit of making two different things for meals before you figure out that you have me completely wrapped around your little finger.

Your sleeping habits leave something to be desired, as I have been chronicling here lately. But, mommy and daddy still have a few tricks up their sleeves, and things are improving. It could have a lot to do with the whole cutting of the two year molars, and the fact that I haven’t, for almost two months now, been able to find a decent disposable diaper, and you often wake up soaked in your own pee pee. Sorry about that.

This is a fun age. I would say that I wish you could stay this age, but I have said that a lot in the past, and it always turns out that the next stage is always even more fun. I’m looking forward to watching you grow up day by day.

Happy second birthday, sweet pea! Here’s to a whole bunch more!

Love,

Mommy