After mentioning Drew’s swimming experience I thought it would be good to mention Brandon. Bran LOVES swimming. This boy tends to be shy in new surroundings and often takes months to warm up at things like music class, Sunday School, or Pre-School. But at swimming he has found his joy. He tends to be a little quiet at the start of class but as soon as they get in the water he has the biggest smile ever. Today he spent most of the class trying to float on his stomach while the rest of the class was doing something else. The class started out with life vests on so he would hold onto the wall and then push himself off and float. When the vests came off, he kept trying to do it and just kept laughing and smiling. He regularly goes under and pops back up, he won’t however go under to pick something up off the bottom. Apparently it’s okay to accidently go under, or put your head just under the surface, but he’s not ready to go under far enough to pick something up yet, at least not on purpose. He’s happy to participate in the activities and doesn’t mind the teacher or her assistant helping or directing him to do something. Swimming is definitely a place where Brandon feels happy and secure and it’s really fun to watch the real Brandon come out during his lessons, or any swimming activity. I think one of the reasons why swimming class works for Brandon is that there is a lot of time when he can play alone when the teacher is helping each of the kids and that resonates well with his introversion.
Drew likes to be the center of attention and often volunteers to go first. Well…he got a surprise today and a lesson is listening. At swimming lessons today the teacher told them they were going to do something (I couldn’t hear what she said to them), and asked who wanted to go first. Drew excitedly said “me, me, I want to go first!” Drew is doing well with his lessons, but still doesn’t like to put his head or face in the water. So what a shock to him when the teacher put her arms around him and dunked him! He came up sputtering and coughing and generally unhappy. He quickly recovered and went about playing in the water, but still wasn’t too happy. I think he’ll pay better attention next time before he volunteers to go first! At least at swimming lessons.
It turned out to be really good though, he’s slowly learning that it’s okay to get his face wet and nothing bad happens when he goes under.
We took advantage of Mike being home this past weekend, in between his trips to Las Vegas and Chicago. We started the morning off with a visit to the Art Walk on Whyte Ave. There was lots of good stuff there and had I not been pulled away by the little hand in mine, I would have liked to look at at some more closely. But the boys did a great job and we got to talk a little bit about visual art. Some things they told us just were ‘not art’, but trying to explain subjectivity in art to a 3-year old, is, well, futile. If they don’t like it it doesn’t matter if anyone else does. So along we went. Afterwards I asked Brandon if he liked the pictures that were painted better, or the ones taken with a camera. My son came through for me with a resounding, “the camera ones!” Which makes me think that I have not yet jaded them with all the pictures I’ve taken of them.
After our long walk back to the car, the boys slept while we ran some errands. We made it back home with just enough time for me to run to the corner and get some groceries before hitting the LRT and heading downtown to see Wall-e. Anna met us at our place (and her new neighborhood beginning in August!) and we walked to the LRT, took it to City Centre Mall and the Cinema for the boys’ first trip to a real movie theater. I was worried because we were running a little behind, but the theatre wasn’t even half full. So that worked out well for us. We have been practicing for the past few months with movie nights every week or so. We pop some popcorn, curl up on the couch, turn down the lights, and play a movie off of the computer. Not exactly the big screen, but the boys have been working on being quiet when the movie is on and not getting up and down. So this was our big test. Would they make it the whole way through? Would we have to leave early? We found an empty row of seats about halfway down, I sat on the end in case someone needed to get out fast. While Anna, the boys and I were getting our popcorn I found seats that the kids could sit on to make them higher. I remember seeing these a long time ago, but forgot all about them. They seemed to work well for the boys and kept them from squishing up in the seat. They had a hard time sitting during the previews and kept asking “where’s Wall-e?” But once it started they did a great job with minimal talking and fidgeting. The middle of the movie was a bit slow and the robot theme was not something they have much experience with ( I know, I know, we’re working on it ), so about halfway through Bran ended up on Mike’s lap and Drew was having trouble sitting still, alternating between wiggling and laying on my arm. But it picked up again and they were back to watching.
After the movie we walked a block or so to the Spaghetti Factory, where Joel met up with us and we had a great dinner. The boys were telling us all about Wall-e and Eve. Eve was Drew’s favorite and Bran liked Wall-e best. We had trouble keeping them still for dinner and were reminded once again why we don’t go out as a family by ourselves and how glad we are that our friends are willing to take on some responsibility in keeping the boys entertained. Thanks Anna and Joel!
All in all our first trip to the big screen was positive and I think we’ll try again in the fall.
Now we’re off for a weekend of camping in Jasper, which we haven’t done since the boys were a year old. I’m nervous and excited at the same time. They’re way more mobile and they like to run…
As with all things that evolve, getting back to a good naptime has been a slow and arduous process. About a year ago, the afternoon bedtime became a fight. A fight so bad that I was often left in tears or at least visibly shaken. I knew they needed a nap and I needed some time to myself. If I left them in their room alone, they would fight, throw toys, jump on the beds, pretty much anything possible to prevent even the smallest chance of a nap. So I spent hours in the room with them, singing, patting, holding them down at some points, and even yelling and spanking. Finally I decided it wasn’t worth it to any of us, they weren’t getting the sleep they needed and I certainly wasn’t getting the break I needed. So I decided to call on the computer for help, or rather the DVD player in the computer. I try to limit the boys’ video watching, but I also think that videos aren’t all that bad. In fact I’ve seen videos inspire imagination and creativity in the boys…but I digress. I gave in, and put them each down on opposite ends of the futon in the spare room, put our old computer up on the dresser and popped in a video. It varied from minutes to one episode of Backyardigans until the boys were fast asleep. Bran didn’t always sleep, but he always stayed on the couch until video was over, which gave me a good hour to myself. In May I moved the boys to a quiet time routine. They each go to a separate room, either the spare room which has a futon in it, or their room, and we swap every other day who goes where. There’s no video and no loud playing. They can play with their toys quietly or read. They can also listen to music or books on tape. They also usually still get a soother during this time, but that will be changing soon. There was some argument at first about not watching a video and who got which room, but after they realized that the next day they would get the room they wanted it was much better. Now they willingly go to quiet time (usually ), play for a little bit and/or read some books. About 98% of the time they’re each asleep within 15-20 minutes. I give them 1-hour of quiet time so if they don’t fall asleep then they come out after 1-hour. And usually there is no argument about how long they are in there. If they do fall asleep, it’s usually for about an hour or hour and a half, which means I get a good 1 1/2 – 2 hours of quiet time, sometimes more depending on when they fall asleep! It’s also been great for them to get some time alone and to take a break from being together. I’m also glad they are getting the nap they need.
Now if I only bedtime was going this well!
The boys had their 3-year check up on Monday. The Dr. gave them a thumbs up. Here are the details of the visit.
Drew: 29.3lbs, 36 1/4 ” (25% height and weight)
Bran: 32.5 lbs, 37 1/2″ (50% height and weight)
Bran’s head circumference is now the same as Drew’s so now there’s no more concern about the small head.
Doctor Baxter was very pleased with their language development from where they were a year ago.
Drew will see an Occupational Therapist in the Fall to assess his sensitivity issues. He’s very sensitive to temperature, sun, materials, etc. Then when we know what’s causing him the most trouble we can work on exposing him to those things slowly until he develops a tolerance for them.
Both boys will also have their hearing checked in the fall. We have some concern that Bran might not be hearing well. But it could also just be that he’s a super distracted little boy. A characteristic that happens to run in the family. He tends to have trouble paying attention or hearing when there are distractions around and we have to stop him, get his attention and then talk to him. They should have a hearing test anyway before they go to Kindergarten so now is as good a time as any and we’ll get them both checked.
The boys did great during their check up, allowing the doctor to listen to their hearts, looking in their ears, etc. The part they hated the most was standing on the scale. Go figure. The bus had to get weighed first, then Bran would go.
She didn’t have anything enlightening to say about bedtime. It seems we’re doing the right things, we just have to keep plugging along. So plugging along we’ll do.
The boys turned 3-years old May 22, 2008. The time has gone by so fast. It’s amazing to me how much the boys have learned over the past 3 years. It’s been hard work, but so much fun to watch them turn into these adorable little boys. Here’s an overview of what they’re up to now.
ANDREW a.k.a. Drew: 28lbs, 3 Feet
A common theme that runs through Drew’s life, is that he is very intense. He is either bubbly happy or throwing a fit because he’s not getting his way or something is bothering him. He’s a little bit shy, especially at first, but once he warms up he’ll talk your ear off. He likes to talk and has lots to say. Sometimes he’ll tell you the craziest stories that he’s made up. At his birthday party he happily sang a round of songs to everyone present. He’s also our cuddler. He’s often happiest sitting in someone’s lap. He comes into our bed from time to time and just snuggles right in. But…if his socks get bunched up or his hands get dirty he gets quite anxious, and it must be fixed immediately. He’s also very silly and will twirl around the room or come and tickle you. He loves music and playing the recorder or his drums. He especially loves Dan’s violin and Joel’s guitars. He’ll often ask me to put on music in whatever room he’s currently in. Drew loves interpretive dance, at least that’s what it looks like to us, and will often dance when the music comes on. Going to Kindermusik class is the best part of his week. He’s also very good at batting the ball and regularly is hitting the ball at the fence. He got a ball glove, and a new bat and balls for his birthday. He’s our early riser. It doesn’t seem to matter what time he goes to bed, he’s almost always up between 7 and 7:15 am. At one point we had to impose a rule that we weren’t getting out of bed until 7, so he had to stay in his room at least until 7:00. But more recently it’s been after 7:00 before he gets up. Whew! Which means that he’s usually ready for bed at 8, and goes to sleep pretty well. He’ll also take about a 1-hour nap. His favorite thing to watch is the Backyardigans and I think he can recite the lines for every episode. Except for Super Spy because he is afraid of the ‘tickle table’ and won’t watch that episode. But he and Bran love to recreate the tickle table scene with their animals. He also tends to get scared at night. And it’s always that he’s afraid of the wall. Not sure what the deal is about the wall, but it’s scary sometimes. He can also be very ornery. Often when he knows he’s not allowed to do something he’ll look at you sideways and very slowly do it waiting to see how you will respond. He’ll regularly get out of his timeout and I’ll find him playing in another room. He’s good at pushing your buttons and seems to get enjoyment from that. He absolutely doesn’t like to help clean up and will do whatever he can to get out of it including standing and watching as Bran cleans up for him. Ironically, he likes order and put everything in lines. Trucks and cars get lined up all over the house. He enjoys preschool and goes Wednesdays and Fridays for 2.5 hours. He also really likes going to the class at my mom’s group on Thursdays and spending the morning with Miss Karen, Ruby and the other kids, and going to Sunday School. His favorite foods are broccoli and rice and sugar snap peas dipped in humus. He won’t eat a potato to save his life unless it’s a French fry and not the baked ones I make at home. His favorite music used to be music by Aaron Copeland, now he’s branching out, but mostly likes music with a prominent violin. His favorite games are Go Away Monster, Carcassonne, and Memory. But he only has enough patience for about one round of games. He likes books, but doesn’t have a favorite. Both of them have most of the lines memorized from some Robert Munsch books, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (which is a letter book), and any book with diggers in it. Andrew really likes food. Sometimes it seems like his whole life revolves around food; when each meal and snack will be. He’s pretty good about eating healthy foods like fruits and veggies and cheese, but also loves his crackers, the favorite cracker being multigrain rice crackers.
BRANDON a.k.a. Bran: 31 3/4 lbs, 3 Feet, 1.25 Inches
Bran is my ball of energy, sometimes I just don’t know what to do with him, he’s bouncing off the walls! He is also quite shy and usually needs more time to warm up than Drew. He surprised us this week by actually saying ‘goodnight’ and ‘thanks for coming to my party’ to a room full of people at the house. He even gets the head down shy expression whenever he’s asked a question or put on the spot in public. But after he warms up his smiling face is back and he’s right in the middle of things. He goes to Kindermusic, pre-school, a class at my mom’s group, and Sunday School. In the fall we will swap Kindermusik with swimming lessons again. The first month or so of pre-school he had a really hard time and was often upset with my leaving. Now we have a saying, ‘mommy always comes back’ and that seems to have helped both of them when they are anxious when I’m away (or Mike too-daddy comes back too! ) We try and get to Kindermusik early so he has time to warm up a bit with the teacher, the room and a couple of other kids with the same issue. But then he’s able to engage a lot better and not be so shy around the others. He loves cars and trains and diggers and could spend all day digging in the dirt or sandbox. He got a big dump truck and digger for his birthday and has found a spot in the backyard, not the sandbox unfortunately, where he loves to dig and dig and dig. He also loves to help out and will sometimes do Drew’s jobs for him. Helps me vacuum and sweep, he likes to help make his bed and clean up toys. He also helps make cooked spinach (which he loves) and clean the counter and cupboards. Every time I’m doing something at the counter or stove he’s pulling a chair over to watch or help. Bran can be very emotionally sensitive and his feelings are easily hurt. But he tends to get over it pretty quickly, after a cuddle or taking time out to read a story together, or just having a brief break. Brandon also likes music and turns everything in the house into a guitar, hockey sticks are the favorite, but he also often uses a block of cheese when he’s in the grocery cart. He also sings a mean Blues with his hockey stick guitar while sitting on a box. He loves being outside and never wants to come in. The sandbox/dirt pile and swinging keep him busy most days and he has learned to pull himself up onto the swing. Michael is teaching the boys to swing by themselves so everyday we practice. Bran gets a little more frustrated than Drew at this. Drew is quick to pull himself up on the swing and practice. He just wants to swing high and ‘scratch the sky’ (a phrase from one of their books). Bran is very interested in playing board games and doesn’t seem to get bored with them. His favorites are also Carcassonne, Orchard, and Go Away Monster, (he also likes playing memory with a deck of cards). Drew is happy to play one game then he’s done. Bran seems to have more patience. Bran really likes to figure out how things work and build things. The other day at the grocery store I found him laying on the ground looking at the wheels of the cart. He had figured out that one of the wheels didn’t entirely touch the ground and it really bothered him. He kept spinning it, telling me that it wasn’t touching the ground. Every aisle or so I’d find him back on the ground spinning the wheel and telling me about it not touching the ground. Bran has a very vivid imagination. He uses his fists and thumbs as people and is often making up adventures with his cars, animals and trains. He’s our late to bed, late to rise boy and is usually grumpy when he wakes up. That’s half Mike, half me there. He’ll go a couple of days without a nap, which makes bedtime so much easier, and then crash in the morning or afternoon of about the 3rd day of no naps. Bran could care less about food. He eats when he’s hungry, but sometimes playing outweighs hunger and he won’t want to stop to come to the table. His favorite foods are yogurt, apples, bread & butter, cucumbers and rice crackers.
TOGETHER a.k.a Brandrew
Both boys are learning to use the potty. They rarely say when they have to go, but aren’t fighting quite so much about going. Although they do hate to take out time from playing. We have several potties so they don’t have to go very far to stop and make a pee. One outside, one in the main bath, one downstairs and one in their room (upstairs)! We’ve also gone from stickers, to small toys, to chocolate, to money, back to chocolate, to stickers. Every few weeks they get tired of the reward and won’t go any more. Although I think we’ve passed that hurdle and they’re kind of getting on a schedule so usually when we tell them it’s time to go, they actually have to go. The hardest part is training me to get them moving to the potty, especially when they don’t want to go and I’m tired from doing it all day. They are still using their soothers at nap and bedtime and I’m hoping to work on that soon. Bran is so attached though so I think it’s going to be difficult, it’s pretty much the one thing that helps him sleep, though most of the time he just chews on it. Drew often substitutes fingers during the day when he’s in need of comfort. Good or bad? Oh well. Both of them have favorite teddies, but they are not so attached that they need them every night, nor do they pay much attention to them during the day.
They both love climbing although Drew is a little bit better. He seems to have stronger arm muscles (he also better at pulling himself up on the swing, even though he’s shorter). Jumping is a another favorite they do together. Here are two recent jumping games. One stands on the chair ready to jump. The leans over the chair and puts their head on the chair. The first one jumps over the one with their head on the chair, then they swap. The other game is to keep putting things on the floor in front of the couch further and further back from the couch. Each time they jump off the couch and see if they can clear the ‘obstacles’.
You can read about the crazy things the boys say using the “What’s That You Say” tab at the top of this page.
You can also see pictures of them here, http://www.bowlingpages.net/gallery/v/Home-Sweet-Home/
That’s our boys in a really big nutshell! We’re looking forward to this year and all that being “3″ brings with it!
The boys, as many boys their age do, LOVE diggers and construction vehicles of every kind. This summer our neighborhood will become a little boy’s heaven when the city descends upon us to re-do our sidewalks and all the street lighting. Today, the boys and I took a walk to the mailbox a few streets away. This happened to be where EPCOR has just started to work on replacing street lights and putting the wiring underground. We passed several Bobcats, a backhoe, 2 dump trucks, and a flatbed truck. About 1/2 a block from the mailbox we came across 2 EPCOR guys walking our way. They asked if we had some time and if we wanted to watch the Bobcat at work. Well what mother in her right mind would pass that up? At least not this mother. So even though they weren’t quite ready to start work on the spot where we were, the guy in charge (who apparently remembered what it was like to LOVE diggers so much) had the Bobcat brought there instead. The boys got to watch it scrape off the top layer of soil and then take the dirt off to the dump truck. Afterwards they were allowed to play with their diggers in the dirt. At the same time the guy in charge was explaining to me how they get the new electrical wires underground and telling me all the great things the city has planned for our neighborhood. The best thing is that this is going to be happening for most of the summer on different streets around the neighborhood. Pretty soon they will get to our street and all we’ll have to do is watch out the window, if the boys will find that satisfying enough after watching them work up close. It should be a fun summer around here!
Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to this and to blogging in general. I seem to do better writing in spurts. Usually when I get some free time when I don’t feel too tired to think. As I’m sure you’ve been waiting on pins and needles. Right…anyway.
Holly and Theresa are awarded Toy Story groupies of the year. Yep, you were right, “to infinity and beyond.” Although I must say I’m slightly depressed that it took us so long to figure it out when they were right in front of us and you both got it text only. I’ll satisfy myself by pretending that had you heard it in Drew/Bran dialect it might have been more difficult! Yeah, whatever… Kudos to you both!
I’ll see if I can come up with another one soon.
The other day the boys were jumping off of a chair, throwing their arms wide and yelling, “Offity On!”
Can you guess what they were saying?
Friday the boys and I were on campus in the building where Mike works. We were stopped by a woman I didn’t know, asking if the boys were “the Bowling Twins”. I said they were and she told me that she had been joking with some faculty just that day about how interesting it was that their children were all so cute when, well… you know, they weren’t. I agreed saying “yeah it’s funny how cute they turn out when their parents aren’t.” After the woman walked away Brandon turned to me and very seriously asked me, “I’m not cute?” I assured him that he was in fact cute to which he replied, “You’re not cute mommy.”
I have to admit that he did a great job of following the gist of the conversation!