Tag Archives: 3 years

Kids and bribes

Curly told us recently that he wants his next birthday party to be at a farm. His next birthday, when he turns 4. FOUR. We’re happy to do a farm birthday party for him and we have a regional park close by where kids can get up close and personal with some animals, so that should work out (as long as the weather cooperates, which for the first day of May, you never know…)

Still, it is amazing how much of a kid he is these days. A kid who picks out his own clothes and gets them on all by himself, although sometimes he says “I did it!” and we have to not laugh at the fact that his pants are on backwards. A kid who turns lights on and off, hangs his coat on a door knob or holds it until we’re ready to hang it up for him, cleans up his toys and makes sure everything is in its right place, cuts up his own food, can handle most trips to the bathroom (at home) by himself, reads along with books and sings along with songs, talks incessantly from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to sleep, says “I want to give you a kiss” or “I love you” or, unfortunately, “I don’t like you” or “Don’t come in here,” who asks how our days at work went, tells us what he did at school, makes plans for the future, asks what time it is or what the weather is like, wants to take a dance class, sets up indoor picnics with his stuffed animals, etc, etc. A kid, and a really awesome one at that.

Now for the other part…Nutella and I are going on a week-long cruise in 8 days. Without him. Kind of a second honeymoon to go with our recent legal marriage. We’ve been planning the trip for 8 months. Nutella’s parents will be watching Curly at their house half the time, and a wonderful family friend and her boyfriend will be staying at our house and bringing him to school for the other half. About 2 weeks ago, we told him we were going on a “work trip.” This was very necessary not only to prepare him for our absence, but because if we dared to tell him we were going on a vacation without him, and a cruise at that (since he’s already been on 2), we would never live it down. So work trip it is, and he is perfectly fine with that news. Well, for the most part. A couple of times within these past 2 weeks it would hit him and he would start crying about the fact that we’re leaving. Which led us to promising to bring back presents for him, and that helps a lot lol. There is an episode of Danie.l Tiger that talks about parents leaving for date nights or work trips or whatever, and the main message is “Grown-ups come back.” So we’ve been stressing that to him and the fact that it’s only one week and he gets to have fun with grandma and grandpa, too. And, let’s face it, part of it is to assuage our own guilt. But we are SO looking forward to this trip, and new adventures, and freedom and all the time we can just spend together in paradise. So yes, grown-ups come back…feeling super refreshed and with armfuls of presents ๐Ÿ™‚


Warning: Lots of talk about the subject of death, some of it specifically relating to Caemon, ahead.

Ever since we explained Caemon’s death to Curly, he has been quietly ruminating on it and conversations concerning death have popped up in very unexpected ways.

Last weekend, we were watching the movie Pocahontas, and at the end when John Smith is shot and has to sail back to England, Curly began crying. I said, “I know this is sad and hard to watch, but he’s going to be ok. But I’m sad for him, too.” Curly replied through the tears, “I’m not sad about that. I’m sad because Caemon died.” My heart broke again upon hearing him say that and we held each other and cried together.

One morning when I was bringing him to school, he commented on how one of his friend’s parents drove a minivan. I told him that parents with more than one kid usually drive bigger cars. He went on saying “maybe you’ll have another boy”ย  to which I replied, “Nope…just you. You’re the only kid we want.” Then he said, “Maybe you’ll have another boy when I pass out.” It made me laugh for a second until I realized he didn’t mean pass out, he meant pass away. I asked him if that’s what he meant and he said yes. I told him he was going to live a long time and he did not need to worry about that. That he’s the only kid we’ll ever need.

He’s been trying to understand how sick someone must be, especially a child, in order to die. We’ve been stressing how rare that is and do our best to reassure him. He hasn’t so much asked what happens after you die, although we’ve told him that the body stops working and different people believe different things about heaven, etc…although it got so confusing so quickly that he moved on to another subject.

It is interesting how pre-schoolers process things. In this case, interesting and also very sad.

Magical Place

We are back from our trip to FL. On the way down, we split the 13 hour drive into a 5 hour drive and an overnight stay with Nutella’s sister the first day, and an 8 hour drive the next day. That was perfectly fine. For the 8 hour drive, Curly watched 3 movies total, had lunch when we stopped, and slept for an hour (he doesn’t really sleep in the car which can be very difficult…). But now I feel like, 8 hour drive? Pshaw, no problem! But the 13-hour straight-shot drive back home was um, not so good. Curly was ok, it was just really, really long. We did the bulk of it after it got dark out (arrived home at 3am!) so Curly did sleep for a large portion, after watching 2 movies and eating dinner. But it was too much driving to consider doing again without an overnight stop. Good to know.

The trip itself was lovely. We had a nice visit with my parents. We took many modes of transportation (bus, boat, monorail), all of which Curly loved. We spent time at the Dis.ney marketplace, boardwalk and hotels which were all done up for the holidays. We ate a nice dinner out with my folks. And they got to spend a lot of one-on-one time with Curly the day they watched him while Nutella and I were able to enjoy Ep.cot together. So it was nice vacation and a good break from the cold weather. Curly was thrilled to be able to see Cinder.ella’s castle and pictures of his favorite characters everywhere. He has no idea at this point that there are theme parks. We’re saving that for when he turns 5.

Upon our return, we spent New Years eve with good friends/fellow bloggers and were able to put Curly to sleep at their house with no fuss. After ringing in the new year an hour early, heh, we transferred Curly to the car to go back home, and even though he was awake during that time, he was simply just quiet and slightly bewildered and then slept in the next morning. It’s times like that when I especially see what an easy kid he is.

Next up is our legal wedding on Saturday, for which we picked up our license this morning. It was quick and painless, and there were many supporters there cheering for us. Curly is excited and wedding-obsessed. We let him try on the new outfit we bought for him to wear, but when we told him he had to take it off so we could wash it first, he totally lost it…big tears streaming down his face. He kept saying “I want to wear my wedding costume!” It was almost comical. We had to promise him that we’d buy him nicer, preppier clothes to wear on a more daily basis, lol. Our little fashionista.


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Ready set go

In 5 days, the Vermillion household will be driving to Florida. 13 hours. Since we all have next week off from school and work, we decided to just bite the bullet and go visit my parents, who have recently started settling in there. Airfare is insane and now that Curly is a more focused and distractable 3.5 year old, we figured he’d be ok during the long car ride with some breaks here and there. Also, thanks to Nutella’s parents, we got a Kind.le Fire for Hanukkah which we’ve loaded up with movies and apps, so that should keep him occupied. Wish us luck!

Speaking of Hanukkah, this was the first one that Curly really got excited about and interested in. He loved helping to light the candles, reading the same three books about Hanukkah over and over (and over and over), and of course, opening a present every night. We went to two Hanukkah parties and he also did a lot of Hanukkah-related activities at his daycare-preschool (not Montessori), so we really feel he got a lot out of it. Of course, now he knows Christmas is coming up, and while our family doesn’t celebrate, we’ve been telling him about those traditions and brought him to a drive-through lights display which he loved.

It’s hard to continue writing about our lives and goings-on without mentioning the horrible tragedy that took place in Newtown. Unimaginably heartbreaking. And while we thought perhaps we could shield our 3 year old from knowing about such things for a while longer, we were told there would be a moment of silence at his Montessori school and so we explained in very general terms what had happened. Curly took it mainly in stride as is typical for him right now, but it is sad to know a time is coming soon when he’ll realize how tragic this world of ours can be.

That said, happy holidays and a joyous new year to all of you reading. May you find peace and love to carry you through.

New digs

We finished Curly’s big boy bedroom and I think we’re all quite happy with how it turned out. Curly is still doing wonderfully in his bed, so much so that we removed the side rail. He fell out one night a week ago, but we have floor pillows next to his bed so he just landed softly and told us he got right back into bed. We only knew it happened because the floor pillows were disheveled the next morning. Normally he stays in bed in the morning, playing and singing to his stuffed animals until we retrieve him. Since he’s in a pull-up at night still, we haven’t tackled the issue of getting up to go to the bathroom, although we can keep his portable baby bjorn potty in his room to get him used to getting up to go by himself. Anyway…pictures!

The old baby room:

New room (Curly wanted a boat and a train in his big boy room…the train is a wall decal):

Me painting the boat mural:

Curly & Ima enjoying a book in his new bed:

One of our favorite item finds:

Results are in!

What an election night! We stayed up late and it was well worth it, especially since we were seriously considering moving out of this country had the outcome been different. Plus, we are happy to say that we live in a state that approved same-sex marriage! So Nutella and I will be tying the legal knot in January. Curly has been asking for weeks now if “Ima and Mommy are married?” because I guess he’s been interested in the word and the concept. We have always responded affirmatively, and he is happy to say “Yes, Mommy and Ima are married” to whomever now. Of course, it’ll be interesting explaining to him that while yes, we’re married, we’re having another ceremony because our state now approves of it lol. Anyway, a great excuse for a party soon ๐Ÿ™‚

Other news…we re-designed Curly’s bedroom and he’s now in a big boy bed. He’s slept in it the past two nights with no issues. He loves it SO much that he’s happy to get into it at night and hang out in it in the morning. Hope that lasts! Pictures of the transformation to come, we just have a couple more details to work out before it’s completed.

It’s been a long time since we’ve updated and we’ve been doing some fun stuff, too, like apple and pumpkin picking, and of course, Halloween. Curly wanted to be Peter Pan and had a great time dressing up at school and also trick-or-treating. He lasted a full hour and never once asked us to carry him or even help with his bucket o’ treats. He gets one a day and he’s mostly been fine with that ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ll leave you with a couple pics…

Uneventful is good

Another week and a half of school has passed, and thankfully, it’s been uneventful. Well, apart from one more incident of Curly putting pretty gemstone rocks in his mouth and getting sent to the office again (geez, kid). Pretty much every day now we remind him not to eat anything or put anything into his mouth at Montessori. When you ask him what will happen if he puts something into his mouth, he says “I have to go to the office.” He doesn’t like going to the office, so that’s been a good deterrent now that it’s happened twice.ย Other than that, things are going fine. Drop-offs are now routine…we get there early enough for a parking spot, let Curly finish his dry cereal snack in the car, walk him to his line about 5 minutes before the teachers come out, and say goodbye. I always wait until at least a couple other kids are in line with him so they can keep an eye on each other (and the kids line up in front of the office so they’re being watched). He always gets a snack immediately upon pick-up, and eats lunch when he arrives at his other pre-school for the rest of the day. So even though he doesn’t get a snack at school, he really only needs to forgo eating for 3.25 hours.

I want to address some of the questions from the last school post:

“What is the rationale for eliminating snack?”
This is the first year they have done so, which was a disappointing surprise and something the teachers seem to be against as well. The rationale that we’ve been told is lack of funding and food allergies. They only allow food when it’s a child’s birthday, and it either has to be store-bought so they can see the ingredients or some kind of fruit. Our county doesn’t have a lot of money for public schools, which is sad. Personally, I’d be happy to pay a stipend to have snack reinstalled, but this hasn’t been an option. Maybe we’ll speak to the other parents about it…the PTA…the Principal (although the Principal so far sucks…)

“How committed are you to keeping curly in this school as opposed to another one?”
As long as he isn’t unhappy, we’re committed enough to keeping him there because the other schools in our area are worse. Sad but true. His school is one of the best, despite the setbacks that we’ve faced. And honestly, I think if he were starting at 5 years old, we wouldn’t be facing the same setbacks. I think the issue is them having 3 and 4 year olds, and no facilities their size, and no snack, which they still need at that age.

“Dude, what is up with their drop off policy?!”
I know. What WE were never told is that you cannot drop off 3 year olds, and what some teachers think is that you CAN. Big disconnect somewhere. These days we seem to be fine with the drop-off method I described above, and starting next year, Curly will be taking the bus. Which is a whole ‘nother bunch of crazy.

“Curly must be loving it to have an experience like that not even phase him.”
I’m not sure if he LOVES it, though he does seem to like it, and surprisingly yes, the insanity has not seemed to phase him. After 3 weeks of drop-offs, there have still not been any tears. There was one morning where he was especially clingy, but he held it together, and most mornings he’s fine.

So that’s where things stand right now. While we still have his “old” preschool to fall back on for days Montessori is closed, it’s great. I don’t even want to think about what we’re going to do the next school year (and every one after that), sigh.

Wandering Man (or more trials and tribulations)

Here’s how last Wednesday and Thursday went. As usual, we’ve been getting to the Montessori school about 15 minutes before the kids have to be at their classrooms…plenty of time to snag a parking space and walk Curly inside the building to the line he’s supposed to stand in. Might I add that his teacher is always the last one to come get her kids so we’re stuck there waiting forever. Suddenly, as of last Wednesday, it appeared all the other parents realized it sucks not to get a spot at the school and have to walk from the next building over. So they all arrived early and there were no parking spots left (they’re doing major construction in the parking lot to create more spaces, but they were supposed to be done by now and it’s a total clusterf*ck).

So Nutella gets there and there are no spaces, and the teachers who assist with the parking mess tell her to pull up and drop him off. Now, we have been told all along that this is the ultimate goal- get your kid comfortable with being dropped off and walking into the building. We didn’t think we’d get to that point for a while, but out of necessity, it happened last Wednesday. Nutella asked Curly if he wanted to walk inside himself (it’s about 50 feet to the Montessori doors and all sidewalk). He immediately and happily said “yes! I want to walk myself!” And so it went. When Nutella told me, naturally I freaked out a bit, but tried to calm down thinking there were lots of teachers and other kids there and we had already shown him where to go several times. By midday, our neighbor who was doing last week’s lunch run pick-up said he was fine, so we thought it worked out. But still…we weren’t too comfortable with the idea.

Thursday morning we arrived a little earlier, but again there were no spots. Both of us were doing drop-off, so Nutella was going to drive around the circle a few times while I walked Curly to his line. But as soon as I got Curly out of the car, a teacher asked if she could walk him to the building. I said sure! and she took his hand and they walked away. I made sure to tell her which teacher was his as well, and felt much more comfortable with that plan.

And then 20 minutes later, we got a call. It was his teacher. She said “I’m standing here with [Curly] and the Principal…I’m not sure what’s going on, but you can’t drop off the 3 year olds. Apparently yesterday [Curly] was found wandering around [the attached school next door] and a teacher brought him to where he was supposed to be.” I was taken aback and said, “Wow, no one told us that. I think there’s been a big misunderstanding…we won’t drop him off anymore, but we’ve been getting very conflicting information.” The call was quick, but Nutella and I felt compelled to write her a note that our neighbor could give her at lunch pick-up, defending our behavior and outlining the whole situation and the messages we’ve been getting about it being a perfectly fine thing to do.

Yet again, the administration is jerking us around and the teachers are all thinking different things, and apparently half are not on the same page as the Principal. Or maybe just our teacher doesn’t want her 3 year olds dropped off…because all the teachers seem to make their own rules. This place is driving me nuts.

And finally, on Friday we got a note saying Curly ate a couple coffee beans during an activity and they sent him to the nurse. The nurse listened to his breathing because they were afraid he might choke (wtf?) and washed his mouth out with water or something. First of all, if you’re afraid classroom activities are choking hazards, don’t freaking have them in the classroom. Secondly, when you eliminate snack for the kids and then put something good-smelling in front of them, what do you expect? He was fine…just too wired to take a nap that day! Right now I am very sick of school.

How it went

In one hour, Nutella will be picking Curly up from his second school of the day, and his first week will be over. And you know what…it was completely drama-free. A little bit of a logistical hassle, but Curly took it all in stride. Hopefully this will continue!

He started his first day at the Montessori school on Wednesday morning. Nutella and I were both there to see him off, and we all had to wait around a bit until the teachers finally came out and lined their students up. We stood with Curly until the teacher brought him to the front of the line and had a 5 year old hold his hand while they all walked to the classroom. There were no tears and he seemed fine. We walked out thinking it had been too easy and braced ourselves for the afternoon pick-up, which I did myself (I took off this whole week for a much-needed mental break from work). I was there early and he came out just as fine as can be, told me a couple random bits about his day and happily ate the snack I had for him in the car. He even told me he used the potty all by himself. His second school, the one he’s been at all along, was closed that day, so I brought him home for lunch and nap.

Thursday was the first day of our “new normal”- Montessori in the morning with a midday pick-up and transfer to the second school. Nutella dropped him off in the morning with no issues, and I picked him and our neighbors’ son up in the afternoon. We’re splitting the afternoon pick-ups every other week with our neighbors to help lighten the load, since their son is at both schools with Curly…same plan as us. With a little boy holding each of my hands, I took them both to the car, buckled them into their car seats, gave them each a snack, and then headed to the second school while they chatted away with me and each other. They both told me they used the potty by themselves at school. Thrilling! They arrived at the second school just in time to wash their hands and sit down to lunch, before nap time. It’s really a perfect set-up.

Today was very much the same thing. I’m honestly shocked at how well this first week went. I’m sure there will be some sort of hiccup in the future, but it’s off to a very auspicious start, thank goodness.

First day of preschool!

More on school

I appreciate the comments on the last post. We, too, feel that they’re probably asking too much of 3 year olds. However, this Montessori is a public school, so there are rules the teachers have to follow that may not always be Montessori-like but more public-school-like. Not that it excuses anything…and especially not that it excuses full-sized toilets and urinals in bathrooms that teachers may not accompany little ones in (they wait outside). The “older” children that accompany the young ones are 5 to answer one of the comments. However, it’s possible there could be children up to 13 present in the bathroom at the same time. So that’s not entirely comfortable to think about. The other red flag is that, even though I was thinking Curly would pee standing up at the urinals (and to answer another question, he has peed standing up many times, but usually leans on something, like a tree or the toilet lid) the urinals are ALL too tall. We went with him into two bathrooms in the school and there is no way he could use any of the urinals, even the shortest ones. It’s absurd. He did use the stall toilet by himself (well, I just had to position him slightly so that he backed up onto it without falling in, sigh). He’s terrible with ripping toilet paper and will keep pulling and pulling on it, and he’s never latched a public restroom door before so we’ll have to work on that. Honestly though…I think he’s right where he should be as an early 3 year old. At his current daycare/pre-school, they have small toilets and everything is easily within reach. And if a child really needs help, a teacher will assist. That’s how it should be. They are freaking 3 years old!

So we met with his teacher and the aide, and class for the 5 year olds was in session so we got to see how everything worked. The visit was supposed to make me feel better and I’m sorry to say it did not. It was semi-chaotic, mostly because of a few children that did not want to follow the rules, but I guess it’s only the first week so they’re getting used to the environment again. The bathroom situation of course was worse than we thought. Curly can’t even reach the sinks! He’ll have to go back to his classroom to wash his hands, so what good is that for not spreading germs? And then when we were being shown out by 2 five-year-old “escorts” who were very sweet, I asked them if they liked going to school there and they said “not really.” Now, I know kids don’t like school…I get it, neither did I. But they seemed really unenthusiastic and all they liked was “recess.” I guess I would’ve felt better with even a droll “it’s okaaay” but the “not really” was sad to hear.

Curly was extremely clingy for the first 20 minutes…I could tell he was close to crying after the first 5 minutes because he thought we were going to leave him there. My heart was breaking for him. After a while, he began to get interested in the things around him, and the teacher gave him some “work” to do, like sorting, scooping, and color puzzles…and he did wonderfully and was very focused. He didn’t say or do anything when being introduced to some of the other children at first, but after a bit, he would wave at anyone who said hello. He even broke out of his shell with the teacher and chatted with her, and expressed interest in having his own turn with the “work.”

I just…I don’t know. He starts Wed Sept 5 and we’re going to give it a go, I just can’t help feeling really worried, wondering if he’s ready for all that at just 3 years old.