Monthly Archives: May 2012

Protected: Freedom

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School. Crazy.

Many months ago, we threw Curly’s name into a lottery to try and ‘win’ a spot at our local Montessori school (which is free and considered a public school). There were 33 spots available and half of our county (which as of 2011 contained over 20,000 children under the age of 5) could vie for a spot. Two weeks ago, people received a letter in the mail if their child won the lottery. Our neighbors, who have a boy in Curly’s current daycare class, e-mailed us one afternoon to say they had received a letter in the mail notifying them that their son had gotten in, and their fingers were crossed for us. When we arrived home from work that evening, we had also received a letter: Curly got a spot.

The Montessori school is supposed to be wonderful. It goes from the age of 3 until 8th grade. While our local elementary school is very good, our local middle school is not and we were worried about what we were going to do at that point. It appears we don’t have to worry about that anymore. But there are a lot of other things to worry about…

The first year, 3 year olds go to school from 9 to 11:45am. That’s it. If you don’t have a stay-at-home parent in your family, you have to find somewhere else to bring your child the rest of the day. It’s also closed in the summer, since it’s public school. And there are lots of holidays and other days off, including field trips that 3 year olds cannot attend. Children must be fully potty-trained and self-sufficient at it as well (and all toilets are full-sized!). And the school is located 10 minutes from our house in the opposite direction of our current work and daycare, adding more time to our commutes…plus the fact that we’d have to pick him up on our lunch break. So Nutella and I freaked out about all of this for a few days until we decided that we would continue sending Curly to his current daycare from noon until 5 and during the summer. Our neighbors are most likely going to do the same thing with their son, and already checked with the Director who said it should be fine if we all continue to pay full price.  Huge sigh of relief even though things will continue to be expensive for a while longer. We just have to work it out that he gets fed lunch as soon as he arrives at the daycare, just prior to their nap time.

I took a tour of the school last week and registered Curly as a new student. It was surreal. Surreal to see rows of lockers…to be asking the principal questions…to get lost in the hallways. He is only 3, and yet here we are. I was happy with what I saw though, and we think Curly will thrive in that type of learning environment. He could really use a push into becoming more independent, even though we hear a lot more ‘No, I do it!’ these days.

We’re going to work with our neighbors on developing a schedule so we can alternate drop-off and pick-up, even though that will mean buying a couple more carseats. And then next year, when school goes until 3pm, we’ll have to find an after-care program. And a summer program. And see if Curly can survive that long a day without a nap (sigh). We’ll also have to work on teaching him how to pee standing up this summer so he can attempt to use a full-sized toilet (at least they have stools). It’s going to be a very interesting ride.

Protected: A pirate’s life for him

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THREE!

Today is Curly’s 3rd birthday! The lucky boy got a cupcake (re: cocoa banana muffin) with purple cream cheese frosting (at his request) after breakfast this morning, and opened a birthday present from his Aunt R (adorable dolphin-themed rain boot and coat set that he insisted on wearing to school even though the rain had already stopped). He was all smiles upon his arrival to school where he knew it was his big day and everyone treated it as such. His birthday party isn’t until this weekend, but he is very excited about it. We can’t believe how quickly the time has flown!

He said "I eat it with fork!"

Our next post will be all about his birthday party, so here’s the update we like to do every 6 months on his overall progress:

Food

  1. Describe what and how your child eats: Still a fantastic eater and we don’t know where he puts all the food he eats since he’s pretty skinny (except for his pot belly in the evenings!). He eats almost the same portion size we do and we rarely have to provide anything else for him apart from our main meal. We still have to pressure him to use his fork at times. The only food he adamantly refuses is salad, but he loves broccoli and peas.

Sleep

  1. Does your child have any sleep problems? He’s still a 7 to 7 sleeper, but his midday naps overall have gotten shorter (usually 1.5 to 2.5 hours).

Activity and Motor Development

  1. Describe your child’s gross and fine motor skills (how he moves around, grabs things, etc.). Typical 3 year old- loves jumping, climbing, and running. We can let him loose at the playground without worrying (much). He can throw, but still can’t really catch. His “drawings” aren’t much of anything yet, although he’s got a wonderful imagination. We take our stroller out and about a lot less these days- he’s gotten better at walking longer distances.

Social Skills and Environment

  1. What can your child do for himself? He can fully undress himself. He can put on his clothes except for his shirt. He can use the potty independently, although that’s not always a good idea! He can clean up his toys, put things away, retrieve things, carry things, “help us” with certain activities, etc. We don’t let him prepare his own food yet.
  2. How does your child react to family outings and visitors?
    I would still describe him as ‘slow to warm up’ but very recently he’s gotten a lot better with talking to “strangers” or people he doesn’t know well. It’s nice to see him getting past his shyness somewhat. He likes going to new places, but prefers “familiar” types, like playgrounds and friends’ houses.
  3. If your child is in daycare/school, how does your child handle it? He usually loves school and his friends and teachers. Although if we linger a second too long in the mornings, he gets clingy and upset when we leave.

Coping

  1. Describe how your child copes with discomfort, frustration, or other distress: “If he’s hurt himself, he’ll cry and run to one of us for comfort. Otherwise, usually he just whines, sucks his thumb, gives up, or on a more rare occasion, have a tantrum. Those are few and far between now, and within a minute or two of having a time-out, he can usually calm himself down and ‘re-set.’ He’s on the much more passive side of coping, although we have witnessed him push another child or steal a toy when particularly riled up.” (same as last time)

Language and Communication

  1. Describe your child’s language abilities: He talks and asks questions non-stop. Sometimes they’re questions he already knows the answer to, so that’s annoying. We were worried in the past about him picking up language, but no more. His pronunciation is awful sometimes though *shrugs*

Toys and Play

  1. List your child’s favorite toys and describe how he plays with them: Legos, books, stickers, his pirate ship, play sets, trains, etc. He’s very imaginative with play these days and sometimes makes “cakes” with his Legos that he’ll then feed to us and our dog.
  2. Does your child have a lovey? Nope, he prefers sucking his thumb, but we’ve mostly extinguished that habit during the day. He knows thumb sucking is just for sleep now.
  3. Does your child play with other children? Yes, often. He has a blast with other kids.

Feelings and Moods

  1. Describe your child’s range of feelings (comfort, discomfort, pleasure, joy, anger, affection, fear, hostility, depression / sadness) and how he expresses them: “Overall he is happy and has a good sense of humor. He is the definition of ‘slow to warm up’, but once he does, he’s cheerful and boisterous. He is a very sweet kid…not really a cuddler, but will definitely give hugs and kisses when asked (and sometimes out of the blue), and can be very charming. At times he can also be highly sensitive, and small things can knock him out of whack for a bit.” (same as last time)
  2. What is likely to upset your child? Taking something away from him, blocking him from going somewhere, announcing that it’s bedtime (that’s a new one), and silly things like a helium balloon not staying up anymore.
  3. What makes him feel better? “Giving him what he wants (ha!) or letting him know he will get it back later, giving him a hug or kissing a boo boo, taking him away from the situation so he can re-set.” (same)

Other

  1. Does your child have a strong preference for one parent? He still doesn’t seem to, and these days he can be quite bossy with either one of us (do this, sit here, go away…joy)
  2. Potty Training
    We’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel, although not sure when we’ll get there. Last night he jumped up from playing and asked to go potty, and then pooped after just a couple minutes. Perfection lol. We’ve been using the ‘cool’ pull-ups that get cold when they’re wet, and that seems to have helped during the day. He has dry days more frequently, and we’re going to try actual underwear in June.