Archives for category: Childhood

I took a huge ginormous step this week. On Wednesday I went on a tour of a preschool for my 2 year old son. We have an appointment with another school today. Jack and I are pretty inseparable. We have been since he was conceived. He was literally attached to me the entire first year of his life via nursing. I was unsuccessful at pumping. So I was his only source of milk. I still have to do everything for him. He even insists I feed him his meals. He can feed himself, but he begs “mommy do please.” I have to change his diapers, dress him, bathe him, wash his hands, prepare his meals. He doesn’t like anyone else, even my husband, doing these things. At times, it can be exhausting. Especially since I am a stay at home mom. I have only been teaching early on Saturday mornings. Jack is usually still asleep for most of the time I am gone. photo

I am ready to branch out and work on my career a bit more. It took me two months to actually go in for the first tour. I contacted them in February. It is tough for me to let go. I know that eventually I have to. Or one day he will legally have to be in school for 8 hours a day and I will be sitting around twirling my thumbs wondering “what now?” I don’t want to be doing that. I am filled with guilt though. I feel so guilty for sending him to school. That is entirely irrational, I know. I am not dumping him somewhere just to get me time. I am sending him to a school with a curriculum and educators. For 5 or less hours 2 times a week. That is 10 hours out of 168 hours in a week. It is really not that much at all.

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The tour went really well. Jack was shy whenever we were in the office. The moment we stepped in the classroom he hopped out of my arms. He went off and started playing with toys and other children! He doesn’t even do that at our gymnastics class! We have been going there since summer. He will run off to play with things, but not with the other kids. He barely interacts with the other kids at gymnastics. He does NOT like the teachers touching him at gymnastics. He screams “mommy do” and flips out. He constantly wants me by him. On Wednesday, he didn’t even look for me for several minutes. He was on the other side of the room playing with a little girl. He didn’t want to leave when it was time for us to be on our way. It helped me to feel excited that he will have this opportunity. I still feel awfully guilty, but his excitement proved to me that he does need time with his peers in a classroom setting. We will see how today goes at this other school. They are both located near my work and our soon to be new home. I was referred to the first location through someone I know. The 2nd place is a place my husband found after doing some research.

Gymnastics and swim are so fun. They are much different from the classroom setting though. They are the extracurricular activities. We still have to make our decision on where to send him. We will have to register, get medical paperwork completed, and pick a start date. Nothing is set in stone though. It is looking like he will go to one of the locations. I am not the only one struggling with this ginormous step, my husband is too! We are both picky and a little bit of control freaks with Jack. No wonder the child is pampered and has become “accustomed to a certain lifestyle” 😉

How did you handle the first school enrollment? Did you feel guilty? Excited? Nervous? Any other emotions? How did the transition go? I am not there yet, so I am curious. I know all kids are different. 

We are a technology family. My husband started his own company when he was 19. Email marketing is his world. Software, computers, technology of any sort is a huge part of his and our lives. So it is no surprise when I say our son has been using an iPad since before he was 1 & 1/2. He is a pro on the iPad and iPhone. He can swipe, scroll, click, and play games better than some adults out there. Some people feel that children shouldn’t be around technology too much. We don’t take that position. Seeing as how our very livelihood is because of technology and the internet, we support him learning about and through it at a young age. Jack is 2, a bit over 25 months to be exact. He speaks in sentences, says please and thank you, can count to 3 and is working on learning to count to 4, he knows many of his colors, he can do puzzles on the iPad, he is great with memory and matching games, and over all he is just bright. At the store the other day in the checkout line he pointed out that the box of his new angry bird toy was blue. He said “the box is blue.” The cashier was blown away and complimented me on how well he speaks. We get that a lot. I am not trying to brag here. I am trying to set up the argument that technology is not a bad thing for young children. We don’t feel that way. For us, the proof is in the pudding. I do spend time going over the apps and games with him to help teach him about each one. I also let him play on his own. We reinforce the themes he learns. We do spend time teaching him as well. The iPad and apps just help us along the way. They are tools. They are also a good way to have some time to get something done around the house or just take a little break yourself. Because in all honesty, sometimes you just need that. It is an all around winner in our book.

I want to share a couple of our favorite apps. When it comes to Jack it has to go without saying, Angry Birds are at the top of his list. He is obsessed with Angry Birds everything. However, those are not the toddler specific apps I am thinking about. They are fun though! We play them together.

mzl.udxltyix.320x480-75 Monkey Preschool Lunchbox 

This app has been on our iPad for about a year. It is overall fantastic. It covers colors, numbers, differences, matching, memory, letters, and fine motor skills. There is a reason why it is says it is the #1 preschool app. Jack loves this app. He gets so excited when he completes each task. He always tells me “did it self!” I started saying “Yay, I am proud of you” Now he will add “Prou of you” After he exclaims he did it himself. The reward stickers are very cute. After a couple rounds of successful games they are taken to a sticker board and get to pick a reward sticker. There are all sorts of different characters, animals, shapes, and items. The puzzle can take some time to learn, but it is great because it really fine tunes those fine motor skills. Sometimes even adults have a hard time getting the puzzle exactly lined up. So when a 2 year old does it, wow! That is skill! The monkey is very cute. He cheers them on each time the are successful at a task. The colors are bright and fun. It is a winner all around. I do not have even one bad thing to say about it. It is our favorite. Jack calls it The Monkey Game.

thmb3_l_trucks Trucks 

Trucks by Duck Duck Moose is another favorite. Jack loves cars and trucks. This app offers 5 different car/truck related activities. Toddlers can get cars dirty and then wash and dry them. They can pick sharp objects to pop a tire, then send the car to the shop to repair the car. There is a dump truck game. They can even sort out trash between compost, recyclables, or trash. There are extra little treats on each screen. You can touch the monkey near the mud pit and he will throw a mudball at the screen! You can touch the shark in the image to the left and he will rock out on the guitar. The instructions are clear and concise. The colors are bright and vibrant. One thing I think is nice is in the garbage truck game the correct can opens up when you hover over it. That is a nice feature because these toddlers are just learning the differences. It would be hard to decide cold turkey which piece belongs in which can. The fact that the only the correct can opens is  setting the toddler up for success in learning the differences correctly. There are multiple Duck Duck Moose apps that we love. I suggest checking all of them out.

p029_1_07  Baby Bubble School for Toddlers

This is a great flashcard type game. If you child loves real bubbles, this provides a nice incentive for learning. They get to pop all the interactive bubbles they want! Jack loves bubbles. We use them a lot. He thinks they are the bees knees. So when we are taking a real bubble break, he has the option to play with more bubbles on  his iPad. This app has 10 categories of items. Everything from toys to upper and lowercase letters! It is an app that can stick around for a while. Jack prefers the toys, fruits, vegetables, and animals right now. As he grows letters and numbers will be available too! There are 3 game modes, learn, play, and explore. It has continuous options. It is great that toddlers can grow with this app.

I am going to stick to these 3 for now. I can always do another post down the road. We have a ton of apps on the iPad. These seem to be the three favorites of Jack. Other than ALL the Angry Birds apps as well. Even Star Wars. He has never even seen the REAL Star Wars! Ha!

We are happy with the supplemental education our iPad provides our toddler. It is so exciting to watch him learn and grasp concepts. I love seeing his excitement when he knows he got it right. We really feel technology should be embraced. Our whole world revolves around technology. If you shelter your children from it too much or entirely, you are almost setting them up for struggles down the road when they are behind their peers on their exposure to it. I am not advocating letting them do whatever they want all the time on devices, but we don’t count minutes or hours he plays with these things. We don’t have strict rules about no more iPad time. If he is naughty that might be a privilege he loses for a little bit, but that is about not acting naughty not about an egg timer on his learning. It is about balance. We do play outside. We do run around. Jack loves soccer and can already dribble a soccer ball. April has been very cold where we live. Yesterday we played soccer in our living room! He wanted to go outside so bad but it was just way too cold. We made the best of it. He goes to gymnastics and swim classes. He would be in soccer but the place I found with 2 year old soccer had low enrollment. We will sign him up for soccer and hockey when he is 3. I teach Pilates, clearly physical movement and getting outside is also important to me. I just don’t count down how much he does of that or plays on his iPad. We don’t keep track of things like that in our home. We just do what is available to us at the moment.

I did a really great thing for myself yesterday. I got back into the swing of things with Pilates. Not practicing Pilates on my own. I haven’t missed a beat with that. No, I am talking about student teaching to get all of my hours for my certification. I had been on a break of sorts. I was just dealing with so much in my personal life that something had to give. With the home buying nonsense, my grandpa passing away, having a toddler, my IBS flaring up from all the stress, and injuring my neck, I was constantly spent.

The last thing I wanted to do was stand up in front of a room of people, not feeling confident at all, and try to safely guide them through physically demanding moves. No. I was not up for that. I spent all day giving my best to my son. I couldn’t put him on the back burner. No matter how depressed I was over my grandpa, I couldn’t mope around all day not caring for my child. So, by the time my husband got home at night I was just exhausted. There was nothing left to give.

I started to feel better last week, slowly but surely. Then, the weather started to warm up. We went to the park about 3 times in a week’s time! Ah, glorious sunshine and fresh air will do anyone some good. I went back in yesterday to student teach a private session with my amazing teacher. It felt ah-maze-ing to get in there and do this. I felt so great afterward. I am ready to get back into this. I am ready to finish what I started. I am ready for life to continue on.

I needed my mourning period. I am by no means over it. I never will be. Grandpa randomly crosses my mind regularly. I will be doing the most simple thing and suddenly some memory will flood back. I also got very attached to being around Jack. I have barely let him out of my sight since this time last month, actually. Other than one sleepover at my mom’s home. I think she needed that as much as I needed to take a break from student teaching. Clinging to this life that I created just felt right and safe. Looking at his cute little toddler feet, watching the way he plays with his toys, listening to his HUGE vocabulary, and just taking in his face, were the places I wanted and needed to be. The thought of being away from him several nights a week was just not something I wanted to actually go through with. Even if some days I felt like he was driving me crazy. I just didn’t want to miss a thing.

Death is a funny thing. Dealing with it and trying to put your own life back together can be tricky. I have been to a good share of wakes and funerals. This was by no means my first. But they were always more distant relatives. Not what I consider an immediate relative. It was different this time. It has been hard. Bottom line. How long should one mourn? There is no definitive answer to that. I cringe at the thought that if I ever have another child my grandpa will not have met that baby or even know about his/her existence. I hate that. A baby is not a big priority on my list, but I have thought about that scenario. Does that mean if I actually decide to have a 2nd that I shouldn’t? No. Because life does go on. The living have to keep living. Keep loving the loved ones we have with us while remembering the ones we have lost. I just squeeze my little man a little tighter and rub his hair a little more and kiss his toes just one more time.

It was time to get back to my life that I worked really hard to achieve. I put so much time and effort into training to teach and to be derailed much longer would just be a waste. My grandpa would not have wanted me to waste my talents. That much I know.

We had a big milestone around here Friday night. My toddler, two years old, 26 months in a couple days, moved to a big boy bed! We have a few reasons for why we decided to do this now.

  1. Bedtime has been a bit dramatic lately. He just didn’t like being put in his crib. He would try to climb out. He never actually climbed all the way out but would get halfway. Throwing a fit, etc. It is stressful for all.
  2. We are moving soon (hopefully, we have a close date of May 17th, but I am not holding my breath) Anyway, if that does go through, and there is a good possibility, I didn’t want to have to wait a while before it was time to think about a bed. I figured if we waited then giving him an adjustment period would take a while. We also plan to start potty training after the move. So one or the other would have been put on the back burner. We thought one less big change AFTER a move would be best. This gives him over a month in his new bed.
  3. We found the most amazing toddler bed in the world. I am not exaggerating either. Wait until you see this thing.

I know it is not the longest list ever, but those three reasons together made for the perfect time. Friday night was rough. That was the first night in his bed. He woke up around 3:30am. I ended up bringing him in our bed. It took about 2 hours for him to settle down again. Saturday we went out of town. Also a rough  night. He slept with us overnight at my inlaws, but slept is used loosely. No one got much sleep. Last night was better. He is still in there! It is 7:43 am! Other than his initial protest of us leaving, I haven’t heard a peep. He is asleep, I can see on the camera.

I am not insane, I don’t expect every night to go like last night, but I really needed that good sleep, so I am happy about it. I thought I would be more sad about this big part of Jack’s infancy ending. I am not. I have been excited. Probably because the bed is so freaking cool. Probably because his excitement over it was too adorable. He even started calling it Bucky. Which is the name of the ship on Jake and the Neverland Pirates, a favorite show of his. Oh, did I not mention, this bed is a PIRATE SHIP!

TA DA!

SO excited!

SO excited!

bed2

bed3

We think....he loves it

We think….he loves it

See, it is hard to feel sad when your child is this excited. I am excited for him. I am excited that he is gaining more independence. He still loves to cuddle. He is still a momma’s boy. He is still my baby, even if he is growing up. That is all that matters. Last night he told me “Mommy sleep bed.” and pointed to his bed. He wanted me to sleep there with him. He still wants his mommy around! I told him that I had to go get ready for sleep in my bed. I assumed I would be in his bed later or carrying him to mine. I was fully prepared, albeit, not looking forward to it. This morning when I woke up I was shocked that it hadn’t happened.

So here is to childhood milestones big and small. This was a big one.