Tag Archives: 3 years

School Daze

We found out a few months ago that Curly was chosen by lottery for the Montessori school near us. We were happy, a little anxious, and went to work coming up with a carpool plan with our nearby neighbor friends whose son was also beginning there in the Fall. And then we waited. We were told that we’d receive a letter regarding when Curly’s first day would be. But first we got a letter stating that a new principal was starting. We continued to wait for the second letter, still not having received it in mid-August (our county’s schools began classes Aug 20, and even knowing that Curly would not be starting until a little later, we were getting worried…). Finally, we got the letter…only telling us which teacher he was assigned to and not giving us a start date, but telling us his teacher would call us with that. Clearly, things were very disorganized.

Last night at 9pm(!), we got the teacher’s call. And that was just to arrange for a time when we could come to the school with Curly to meet his teacher 1-on-1 and get him acquainted with her and the classroom. We’re doing that Friday at 10am. Today, Nutella and I had an 11:30 meeting to meet all the teachers and other 3 and 4-year-olds’ parents, and have a general information session. Still no start date for us, although our neighbor-friends’ son is starting Tuesday Sept 4, so maybe us, too? Unfortunately our boys are in different classes so they won’t have each other to fall back on. We’ve been telling Curly about all the new friends he’ll make, and got him the backpack he wanted, and he seems pretty excited about his new school (always easier in theory than practice!).

The teachers explained today that the kids must be 100%  independent. For instance, the teachers will tell them if their shoes are on the wrong feet, but only if they happen to notice, and they won’t help them fix it. An “older child” will accompany Curly to the bathroom when he needs to go, but he must take care of all business by himself when he’s in there. Oh, and there’s only one stall in the boys’ room, the rest is urinals, joy. If he has an accident, he must be able to change his clothes by himself (as far as #2 accidents are concerned, I can only see us being called at work to pick him up because he’s going to be a gross mess…suuuuuuuuuuuucks). There is no snack break (school is in session 9 to 11:30), so he can munch on something in the car on the way there, and on the way to his current daycare/pre-school when we pick him up midday. He will not be able to suck his thumb without being told to immediately go wash his hands (good! it will help him kick the habit). And all the kids will have a “probationary period” of 6 weeks, during which if they have problems that do not improve, they will be told not to return until January.

There was more, but basically it’s a huge change and things are about to get very, very interesting when he starts. Which might be in 2 weeks. We think.

[Post script: There were a couple gems that the teachers said this morning, including “It’s Summer time, which means shorts, and if your kid has an accident it will go straight down the legs to the shoes…and I don’t want a kid with pee-pee shoes walking around the classroom” as well as “Check your kid’s pockets and backpack…if you see an adorable little koala toy..awww…BRING IT BACK! It goes with the world map!”]

Protected: Road trippin’

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Protected: What’s in a name?

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Protected: Curly reads a book (fixed the link)

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The Chart

Pictured above are Curly’s calendars which are part “potty chart” and part calendar of events. For the latter, we wanted him to be able to visually identify when certain things were happening, like our trip to the beach, the babysitter coming over, people’s birthdays (that’s grandpa’s face on July 15), and school events (today they’re having “Olympics” at school, hence the torch and rings). It’s nice that we can count the days together and he doesn’t ask when we’re doing something every day until it actually happens (ok, it lessens that behavior at any rate!).

For potty-training, we use a sticker/reward system. Every full sticker (star/Elmo/number) means Curly had a dry day. Every half sticker means he had one accident, most often during his nap, but that’s getting better. Every blank day means two accidents. He needs 6 full sticker days to get a present (this allows him one ‘accident’ day without getting him terribly upset). His first present was an electronic Leap.frog laptop to get him going. Every one since has been a Crocs jibbetz (Thomas or Sesame Street…I bought a bunch cheap on e.bay and he sticks them on a little purse or bracelet). We started putting him in underwear full time during the day at the end of May, so basically this is how he’s been doing since that happened. We are now averaging 5-6 dry days each week which is lovely. We’re not concerned with dry nights and would rather he sleep his usual 11-12 hours than worry about him staying dry. He does have a dry night every once in a while, but normally his night-time pull-up is a bit wet.

Other tips that have worked for us with potty-training, since a number of people in blogland are dealing with it…

  • When starting out, we would put Curly on his little potty first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. We’d keep him there for a few minutes, regardless of if he did anything or not. Doing anything resulted in an enormous amount of praise and a sticker.
  • We own at least 3 or 4 potty books. We’ve read them to him very often. They sometimes still make the rounds. Big Boys Use the Potty has been a favorite. We also have two videos.
  • Pooping in the potty means he gets 2 mini M&M’s. We started out with 2 chocolate chips, which was fine, but then acquired a tube of mini M&M’s and realized he LOVED the fact that they are different colors. So now he gets to pick his two colors of M&M’s, another big motivator.
  • Buying cute, colorful underwear and letting him pick out which ones he wants to wear is helpful. We especially love the 7-pack from Carter’s, as well as Gymboree.
  • We have one bathroom at home and it’s upstairs, so his baby b.jorn potty is downstairs full-time. He uses the upstairs toilet with a baby b.jorn potty topper every morning and night. Out and about we love the Potette Plus. More recently we’ve found that if the toilet is in someone’s home with a full ‘ringer’, he can simply sit closer to the front and not need a potty topper at all. Next step is more pottying in the upstairs toilet, which is much easier clean-up!
  • 95% of the time he pees sitting down. On occasion, he has gone standing up outside, usually while leaning onto a tree. He has gone standing up on a stool at home, leaning against the toilet lid, but needs help since his angle isn’t always good. He leans because…well…how does a 3 year old even go about holding his little penis (especially with a pot belly)? lol
  • Wiping…ah. We need to work on that with him. He does it after #1, but not yet for #2. When we do it, my preferred method is to have him touch his toes/”stand like a crab”, although if we’re out and the floor is dirty, he can lean against a wall, it’s just a little harder to do it that way. We use flushable Kandoo wipes.

It took a full year from Curly sitting on the potty regularly to him being day time potty trained. It helped that his daycare takes them on a 2-hour schedule and he sees some of his friends using the potty. Peer pressure can be a good thing! Good luck to everyone embarking on this journey!

Protected: Getting away from it all

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Check-in

It’s getting harder to write on a regular basis. We’re all doing well and the day-to-day is pretty routine. It’ll change somewhat once Curly starts his new school in the Fall, but for the most part, everything’s been good. We are just a few days away from our annual week-long (and much-needed) beach vacation. We’ll be sharing a house with Nutella’s parents, and it’s just a couple minutes walk from the sand. We’ll also have some friends visiting for a few days, and are going to have one of the most awesome blogland meet-ups ever 🙂

This morning we had a progress meeting with Curly’s main daycare teacher. He’s doing well – on par in most areas including gross motor, social, language, art and music… a little behind in the area of numbers, letters and fine motor skills. Not surprising to us. We may find he has some future challenges in these areas, but that makes us feel even more relieved that he will be in a Montessori environment and not a traditional school setting where he may end up falling through the cracks. We’ll see what happens. He is basically day-time potty trained now, even to the point of asking when he needs to go, not just being kept on a schedule. Who knew that having him say “I need to poop” would feel just as amazing as “I love you”?

So that’s what’s going on with us. Pictures to come when we’re back from vacation.

We’ve got Pride!

This was the first year we’ve taken Curly to both the parade and the festival.  His favorite part? When the illegally parked white BMW was towed from the parade route right in front of us.

Ready for the parade!

Shhh….

I know we shouldn’t be doing this, but we are. Yes, yes…in the past whenever we talked about Curly sleeping through the night, the next night he would be up twice. And then when we’d say what a wonderful eater he was, he would suddenly get very picky. But this news, despite the fact that we might be jinxing things, must be shared, so here goes.

Curly seems to be…well, it rhymes with “gotty-chained.”  And it means that he is now wearing the cutest REAL underwear. Not pull-ups, and not training pants, but actual, adorable underwear that looks like this:

And this:

(I am seriously jealous of my son’s ridiculously cute underwear)

Here’s how this week went so far. On Monday, we put him in underwear and sent him to school, fearing the worst. When we picked him up, he was in the SAME underwear which was clean and dry and his teachers raved about how he peed in the potty all day. Things to note are that he did not need to poop until the evening, which he did at home in the potty, and he didn’t take a nap that day. When we picked him up on Tuesday, we received the tell-tale bag of clothes. His underwear was full of poop which I had to hose off in the yard. It made us very weary of the rest of the week. But Wednesday he was clean and dry again (no nap though), and he had ASKED to use the potty at school to poop. Same thing again on Thursday (plus an hour long nap!). He has begun consistently holding his pee and/or asking to pee or poop in the potty. It feels like a freaking miracle to be honest. Just this morning, he was in the middle of eating his breakfast and said “Mommy, I need to go poop” and I rushed to put him on the potty and he DID. That signing time potty video, where they sing “Stop what you’re doing and GO (potty)” has really sunk in, and he’s started saying that with conviction.

I cannot convey the emotion I feel when I say We. Are. Overjoyed.

Of course there will be accidents, and we’re not ready to do naps at home without pull-ups yet until a couple trial runs, since he normally sleeps 2-3 hours , but we are so proud of him and delightfully shocked that he is at this point.

And seriously, his little butt looks so damn cute in underwear.

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.