Monday, June 1, 2009

Random Thoughts

I think that part of my lack of blogging lately is a lack of light bulbs going off in my head with big ideas of what to write about. Monkey is making lots of strides in his development, but we're kind of past the "big" milestones for now, and some of the smaller stuff doesn't seem to generate the same level of excitement to justify posting. But, since I hope to have Monkey someday look back on this blog to read about his early years, I think I'll attempt to play catch-up a bit and just share some random thoughts. Here's what's been going on at the Monkey House:

1. Food, Glorious Food -- The good news is that Monkey's menu of acceptable foods seems to be expanding ever so slightly! Vegetables are STILL, and I suspect will always be, a challenge, but Monkey has discovered corn on the cob, and he eats it with gusto! So much fun to watch! And, with the arrival of spring/summer, Monkey has become a bigger fruit fan, so instead of applesauce day in and day out, he has been feasting on yummy blueberries and strawberries. I thought I had him on pineapple as well, but that lasted all of about a day. Oh, and grapes, which already has me looking forward to the day when I don't have to cut them up for him to avoid a possible choking hazard...

2. All Choked Up -- Speaking of choking, please tell me I don't have the only toddler who insists on shoveling multiple fistfuls of whatever he's eating into his mouth?? It's not so much a manners thing, although, geez, slowing down a tad would sure be nice, but I swear he swallows half of his food whole, despite a mouthful of teeth. He's gagged more than once, giving my husband and I quite a scare, but I actually think he may just be one of those kids with a relatively sensitive gag reflex, as it's been triggered by things as little as a small, possibly sharp piece of potato chip. I struggle with being the mom who cuts and breaks up her kid's food until he's ten, and trying to teach him to take bites, at the risk that he just won't do it, or will take twenty small "bites" in rapid succession, defeating the purpose. :-(

3. Chug, Chug -- And also on the subject of food, I was told by Monkey's day care teacher a couple of weeks ago that one of the changes that will take place when he moves to the two-year-old's room (in less than two months - gasp!) is that they will start drinking from open cups instead of sippies. Am I the only one that thinks this sounds a bit soon, and, um, messy? Again, I don't want Monkey to be drinking from a sippy when he goes to the prom, but man am I not looking forward to the idea of him drinking from an open cup on a regular basis yet either! I've let him sip from my cup from time to time, and although he gets the basic idea, he's a bit too eager, and inevitably ends up with water down the front of his shirt. I know that it takes practice, and toddler-hood isn't always neat, but I'm just not sure I'm ready for this one. Maybe I'll let day care take the lead on this one, and I can just benefit from their tried-and-true teaching methods?

4. Potty Time -- Speaking of new challenges, I feel like full-on potty training will be upon us soon, and I am approaching it somewhat tentatively. Don't get me wrong - I can not WAIT to be done with smelly diapers. But something about them IS awfully convenient, you know?? It's not the idea of Monkey being potty trained that I dread (although it will sort of mean he's officially a big boy - sniff!), it's the process... Having to be constantly attuned to his signals, racing to the potty for numerous false alarms, devising and consistently following some kind of reward program, etc. Monkey has handled so many of his other transitions (sleeping through the night, dropping bottles, limiting paci use, etc) so well - I hope this isn't the one that we struggle with!

5. Story Time -- I LOVE that Monkey is finally showing more interest in books. He's still hard pressed to sit still for a story, and I'm sorry to say that we still haven't been able to incorporate a "traditional" bedtime story into our nightly routine, but he seems to be going for books as often as toys these days, and not always the same three or four books, either. Character books are still one of the biggest hits (Wiggles and Elmo, specifically), but he's starting to pay more attention to some of the Dr. Suess books, and I've once again renewed my hopes that someday he will enjoy reading as much as I do, for content rather than pictures! And yes, he actually says "read a book?" now, which I love. :-)

6. Outdoor Adventures -- I can't remember if I posted earlier about our severe cabin fever over the winter months, but needless to say, the arrival of Spring (FINALLY!) has opened new doors to things to do with Monkey. Unfortunately, it has also opened the door to new battles with Monkey's independent streak, and his desire to walk freely without holding hands. As you can imagine, this presents a problem pretty much anywhere other than in our fenced-in backyard. It's been a little hit or miss -- sometimes Monkey not only willingly holds MY hand, but wants to hold Daddy's hand as well, making it difficult for us to walk in and out of stores, etc. I think Monkey secretly hopes when we do this that we'll start randomly swinging him, a trick taught to him by my mother and aunt (thanks, guys!), but I think my husband is afraid of dislocating his shoulder, so we don't often play along. Plus, let's face it, it kind of slow things down a bit when ever five seconds you have to stop and go "one, two, three -- whee!" :-) But other times, Monkey does NOT want to hold hands, and left to his own devices, would appear to be on the verge of running off into a parking lot. Clearly this is non-negotiable, so Monkey has been getting a choice - hold Mommy's hand, or let Mommy carry you. You may not like either choice, but you've gotta pick one. I yearn for the day when he will walk calmly by my side - will it ever happen? I keep contemplating the monkey backpack with the leash, but it seems like more trouble than it's worth, especially when we're just making a quick trip from car to store. But lately, the desire to be "down" doesn't end at the store door, as riding in a shopping cart is apparently no longer the thrill it once used to be (unless said cart is shaped like a car, in which case the difficulty is getting Monkey OUT of it!). Monkey threw a royal fit in Gymboree a few weeks ago when, in a moment of kindness, I let him out of his stroller to sit in the little chairs and watch cartoons at the back of the store. All was well until it was time to leave, and I think I earned a few new bruises, as well as several sympathetic and/or questioning looks, as I struggled to get Monkey back in his stroller. Our evening walks around the neighborhood are also beginning to change, as Monkey is no longer content for up to an hour in his stroller as we walk around, visiting with neighbors, getting some exercise. Monkey wants to be "out" or "down" before long, adding a new level of parental anxiety to the whole process. And don't get me started on his "car rides" - Monkey has a cool radio flyer car that he used to love being pushed around the neighborhood in. These days, however, it's about two minutes before he wants to get out, walk, push the car himself. Nothing like pushing an empty car back to your house while carrying a struggling toddler, let me tell you...

Well, I think that's the end of my train of thought for now. Hopefully I'll be able to return to more regular, less rambling posting soon!


Kristen said...

Ah add A to the list of toddlers that shovels food into her mouth like there is no tomorrow. And I don't even know why I bother making the bites so small because she just puts about 4 or 5 in her mouth anyways!

As for potty training I think we're about to start too. We bought the potty and i have a book (for her) on the way. And then I thought about our plane trip in July. Does this mean I have to bring the potty with me? Sigh, diapers do have a tinge of convenience to them.

And A LOVES to hold both of our hands. Sometimes if she's in the stroller being pushed by one of us she wants to hold the other one's hand. Awkward!

Beverly said...

So much to comment on in this blog, Kristin! About the food. Jack used to shovel it into his mouth, too, but recently has shown a huge interest in spoon and fork. He's known how to use the spoon for a while, but only used it for yogurt and milk and cheerios. However, now he also uses it for most other foods. And the other day, he ate an entire plate of spaghetti (which I did cut up for him into smaller pieces) with a fork. It was crazy! Granted, he used the fork more like a spoon (shoveling motion), and it was still messy, but he's getting there, and it was all of a sudden, too. As in, at lunch, no interest in utensils. Then at dinner, suddenly a gentleman. I think it's because Johnny and I are trying REALLY hard to do family dinners together every night, instead of falling back on our "let's feed, bathe and bed the child ASAP so we can have our own time." It was just getting sad to have Jack eating on his own in the high chair. He eats much better at the table with us. not always possible with Johnny's work schedule, but if he's not home, I'll eat at the table with Jack.

As for sippy cups -- yikes! I am not ready to be done with those. I plan to have Jack use them until he gives them up, with the upper time limit being age 3 or 4. I figure when he starts preschool (3), they use open cups there and he'll naturally learn. I'm not about to have him do it at home! If they're doing it at your daycare, more power to them. At least the mess isn't in your home! I say let them deal with it, and when Monkey is a pro at it, then he can use them at home. :) I have a friend whose son is Jack and Monkey's age, and he's used an open cup, at her insistence (God only knows WHY she insists) since he was 18 months old. Seriously, her carpet/wood floors are ALWAYS wet. Her son is great at drinking out of the cup, but the problem is, he wants to run around while holding the cup, and it's so FUN for him to dump the contents of the cup out. Gosh, I look at Jack and how he uses his sippy as a juggling pin, and I shudder to think what would happen if the lid weren't on it. Sometimes when I forget to put on the valve, that's already enough of a disaster.

Speaking of disasters, potty training has gone down the toilet. After an auspicious start earlier this year, Jack wants nothing to do with the dreaded potty. He might head to prom with a box of Huggies in hand. Just kidding. I hope. I worry, though, b/c it's not like I have more time coming up in the next year to train him. Help!

klalaw said...

Sorry about the mega-post, ladies!

Kristen - I'm glad to hear that Monkey seems to have pretty normal toddler eating habits, although I do wish he weren't so prone to gagging on what he eats... sigh. Oh, and somewhat related to the hand-holding, Monkey now doesn't like to ride in his Radio Flyer car, but wants to walk behind it and push it, and gets mad if Mommy or Daddy tries to help. Makes me wonder whether it's time to splurge for the tricycle yet...

And Beverley - I have found that Monkey's table manners improved slightly when I started making more of a point to eat WITH him, instead of being doing 20 other things while he sits at the table alone. It definitely helps, at least to a point. :-)