Jan 30 2014

Tolors.

Published by under Parenting,The Boy,The Man

I bought The Boy this set of DVDs from zulily called “Preschool Prep“. Apparently there’s a whole big series, but the ones we got were:

  • Meet the Colors
  • Meet the Shapes
  • Meet the Letters
  • Meet the Numbers
  • Meet the Sight Words (vol. 1, 2, and 3 on three DVDs)

We started with “Meet the Colors” because he already can recognize most letters and 0-9 numerals, is strong on perhaps four shapes, but has never offered a comment on any color, ever. Sometimes, if I said “Where’s the blue?” he would point to a blue thing, but that was hit and miss, and he NEVER named a color. Well, let’s just say it’s a hit. Upon first viewing, he wasn’t real sure about the whole thing. The Man’s opinion was that he was freaked out. I wasn’t so sure. He seemed pretty interested.

We’ve only been showing this video for about four days, and he identifies colors now. He demands this video multiple times a day by running to me and saying “Tolors? TOLORS?!” The Man was a little worried about the obsession, but I showed him some article that said young children crave repetition because that’s how they master skills.

I tried to switch him out to “Meet the Shapes” today, and while he interacted with it slightly, he was upset that it wasn’t “tolors”. So, for now, I’m going to let him obsess over getting his colors down pat and we’ll move on when he’s bored of it. Before this, his TV obsession was an episode of Bubble Guppies that dealt with fairy tales. That one was referred to as “Witch? Witch? WITCH!”

As you have no doubt surmised, I am not one of the parents who dislikes television. The Boy has watched some television all his life, and to be honest, TV does a better job teaching him than I do. I tried many things to communicate the concept of color to him, with no success. He also didn’t do great with his letters until he got into “Super Why”. Counting was the one thing that I think he picked up from us.

I know there are a lot of studies and a lot of research that shows that television can lead to attention problems and weight problems. I’m not saying that I know better than the experts. But this is what is working for him. We are a very plugged in household, and that isn’t going to change. I don’t want my son to sit in the house all day, staring at a television or computer, but realistically, screen time is going to be an important part of his life and it will form a core of his learning in the years to come. That’s the way things are moving, and there is really no stopping it.

I do want him to have some hands-on skills as well, and I have plans for having him help in the garden, and with homesteading activities I have planned for the future. I’m hoping to get my first hive set up this spring, and next year perhaps we’ll add chickens. A garden will also be part of our future.

I really am looking forward to spring.

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Jan 14 2014

Just real quick.

Published by under Beauty,Parenting,The Boy

I don’t really have the time or energy to write a big post, but I wanted to get something down.

The behavior issues are still prevalent. Time Out stopped being any kind of effective, and actually ended up being something that would cause even more distress. The biggest issues we have are throwing things and hitting people. For the throwing, I have instituted the “penalty box”. When something is thrown, it goes in the penalty box for the rest of the day. The two exceptions are balls (because they are appropriate throwing objects) and his lovey (because if I took that away for the day we might as well just blow ourselves up and save the bother). So far, this seems to be working…ok? Yes, he’s still throwing. However, the emotion I attached to him throwing things is gone. Before, when he threw something, I would begin to get upset and angry because I knew that was just the beginning of a long, horrible struggle: he’d throw, then we’d do the time out thing, and that would cause crying/screaming/fighting/hitting, and what was supposed to be a 1 minute time out would inevitably turn into a 5 – 10 minute tantrum. Now that I know I no longer have to deal with that, I am able to just say “Oh, you threw Object A. We’re going to put Object A in the box and you can have it back tomorrow.” Done. Does it help cut down on throwing? I don’t know. It’s only been about three or four days. Today has been a really, really bad day. He woke up very early, took his nap very early (like 1.5 hours early), woke up from that early, and all day long has been screaming and acting out. The penalty box is pretty full. Usually there are only a few things in it.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that I’ve been having issues with my nose piercing (did I mention I got my nose pierced? I can’t remember). I kind of slacked off doing the recommended sea salt solution soaks (say that 10 times fast) while we were in Tennessee. As a result, the dreaded Horrible Bump developed. I immediately went back to doing morning and night soaks, but the bump was stubbornly staying put. So…I did some looking online and found basically an intensive regimen that is supposed to get rid of said bump (assuming it’s not keloid scarring). It pretty much sounded like things I was told not to do, but I know my body and sometimes it needs to have things turned up to 11 in order to respond. I don’t know that I’d recommend anyone with sensitive skin or whose body usually responds to normal strength treatments use these methods, but they are working for me. I’m going to try to find the exact URL I read but in the meantime, here’s what I’ve been doing:

1. Regular sea salt soak morning and night (1/4 tsp sea salt in 8 oz of water)

2. During day, leave uncovered. Several times a day, apply tea tree oil using Q-tip. This also cleans off the crusties that form during the day.

3. At night, after sea salt soak, apply several grains of salt directly to bump and cover with small round bandaid. Leave on all night.

The bump is already a lot smaller, but it is raw looking. It’s pretty much dissolving from the outside in, though, so what do I expect? Once it’s gone, I’ll just do the regular sea salt soaks and maybe put tea tree oil on at night, before bed.

OK, I gotta get back to the monster man.

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Jan 03 2014

Gonna have a bad time.

Published by under Parenting,The Boy,The Fam,The Man,Travel

We tried to go to Tennessee to visit Dr. Mom and Moll the day after Christmas. Well, no. That makes it sound like we didn’t make it. We made it to Tennessee just fine. We chose to do the drive in one go, so we didn’t get there until about 12:30 AM, Central time (we are in Eastern). The Boy was so excited. He was amped up, running around, freaking out, just being happy. I knew it was because he’d woken up after sleeping for five hours, and that it was, shall we say, false enthusiasm. Of course, he didn’t want to go back to sleep and he didn’t sleep very well after being interrupted like that, but we expected it. The unexpected horror show started bright and early the next morning.

Since this was a Christmas trip, all of us were there. That means me, The Man, The Boy, Lucky, Galleta, and of course Dr. Mom and Moll. All of the dogs, seven in total, were also there. And I think the combination of lots of people and lots of dogs snapped The Boy and broke him. He did NOT want to leave our bedroom. If we took him out into the main part of the house, he was freaking out. We tried to take him outdoors, once, since it was 50 degrees. He freaked out. If we were in our bedroom, he would happily play with dust or his cars, and he would be happy. If we went out of the room, he freaked out.

Also, he would not sleep on his own. He has always been a great sleeper. If you lay him down, he will usually just be quiet and go to sleep quickly. Not so much in Tennessee. He would not sleep in his travel crib. If you put him in there when he was awake, he would scream hysterically. For every nap and every night, we had to lay him in bed with one of us and snuggle with him until he fell deeply asleep. Then we could transfer him to the crib.

We only lasted two days.

There was no way either of us was going to spend better than a week cooped up in a bedroom and taking two hours out of every day in order to cuddle a toddler to sleep. It was ridiculous. On the third morning, we packed up and drove home. The drive home was also fairly miserable. The Boy was fussy…and when we tried to stop for dinner, he had a full on meltdown in Steak N’ Shake. Like, he cried for 15 minutes and The Man finally said “To hell with this” and took him to the car. I tried in vain to tell our server to just box up our order, wolfed down 1/2 of a sandwich, and we left.

Now we’re home and working to repair The Boy. The unwillingness to sleep has come home with us, but we aren’t putting up with it here. He goes into his crib and we check on him at five minute intervals (which is how we sleep trained him to begin with). He’s finally to he point where, although he still protests being laid down, he only cries for a minute before calming down.

His behavior is also somewhat deplorable. I don’t know how much of this is leftover freak-out from our trip, and how much of it is just him being almost two and probably starting to test his boundaries and being normally defiant. It’s draining, most days.

However, he continues to be my super smart genius baby. He knows the names of many shapes, numbers, colors, and letters. He will often count very fast under his breath, so sometimes he’ll be running around going “eight, noine, teen, leven, telve, tirteen”. It sounds very funny. He’ll pick up one of his shapes and say “Dimond!” and it is, in fact, a diamond. Colors are more hit and miss. If I ask him to point to the pink one, sometimes he will, sometimes no.

The meltdowns are a trial. I know that this is just how toddlers are. They don’t really have the capacity to process strong emotions properly, so fits and meltdowns are just a matter of life. But it really seems like someone flipped his switch into demon mode sometimes.

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Dec 23 2013

Comprehension

Published by under Parenting,The Boy,The Man

There were two incidents today that really drove home to me that The Boy understands a lot more than he can articulate…and also a lot more than he generally lets on. Which means I may have been too easy on him in certain ways, thinking that he doesn’t understand.

The first:

The Man went outside to snowblow, and The Boy wanted to watch from a window. However, the dining room window he chose happened to have an electric candle in it, and he was monkeying around with the candle. I told him he couldn’t be at the window anymore, and led him away. A few minutes later, he was laying forlornly on his trampoline in the living room. I said to him, “Boy, if you want to look out that window there, you can. Get up, go behind the tree (the Christmas tree) and look out the window.” And he immediately stood up, went to the proper window, moved the curtain, and looked out.

The second:

We were in his bedroom, getting ready for bed. I changed his diapers, said his prayers, and The Man said, “OK, time for bed.” Well, The Boy was not ready for bed. He made quite a screech. So I said “OK. I’m setting a timer. When this alarm goes off, you’re going to bed. Go ahead and play. But when the alarm goes, it’s bed time.” I set the timer for five minutes, and we played. When the timer went off, he jumped up, grabbed his lovey, and went right to his crib to be lifted into bed.

MIND. BLOWN.

He’s just over 22 months. There are some kids who are speaking better than he is, but I’m not worried about that. He knows so much. It astonishes me. He knows a lot of the alphabet. He knows numbers, mostly 1-10 but occasionally he’ll count as high as 15. He knows his colors and many shapes. He can’t say all of them, but if I say “Where’s the square?” he can point to it. Or if I ask him which is the yellow one, he’ll point to it.

Sometimes, he’ll save something up and break out with it at random times, and it’s funny. Today, we were sitting on the couch in the living room, and he said “Spooky!” Now, I know he got that from the Halloween episode of Bubble Guppies, but we haven’t watched that one in a week or more. So, he’s been saving “Spooky” until the time felt right.

I have to make sure I’m telling him more things, especially with transitions. I think he’d be happier if he knew what was coming next, and what we are going to be doing. I have to remember than just because he doesn’t say a lot doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot going on inside.

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Dec 11 2013

Googaro Box – December 2013

Published by under Products/Shopping,The Boy

Here it is, our first and last Googaro box! Once I opened it and looked at what we’d gotten, I decided that children’s subscription boxes are not for us. I will probably, when The Boy is older, subscribe to one of the monthly boxes that provide craft projects, or maybe Little Passports, but he’s too young for that stuff right now. I should also mention that the Googaro subscription is $10 more per month than Citrus Lane, which make this box even more of a let down. I paid more for this, folks. Yes, I did.

Anyway, let’s commence with the disappointment, shall we?

Dec2013Googaro

 

Thanks for the well wishes, Googaro, now someone get Santa out of that bag before he suffocates!!!! One thing I do like about Googaro is that on the info card they send, they do put the suggested retail price of the item. It’s nice to have an idea of how much was spent where. Of course, I look this stuff up on Amazon, but I’m sure most people don’t bother. And now, it’s time for a breakdown:

Sophie La Girafe Janod Toy (I’m not sure why it’s called by its French name. In the US, you’ll find this as “Sophie the Giraffe Looping Bead Toy”)
Amazon price: $19.99 (Googaro suggested retail price: $19.99)
Dear sir or madame: Please note that this toy is recommended for ages 12 months+, and that the child on the front looks pretty much like a 12 month old. When I signed up for this service, I was asked to input my child’s age, and I did so, accurately. He is, in fact, nearly two years old. I assume that you believe the + on the 12 months+ means that children of any age over 12 months would enjoy this toy, but that is not the case. My son looked at it, pushed the beads around for a minute, and said “Done. No.” That’s because this is a boring toy for someone who is nearly two years old and neurotypical.

Bearington Plush (aka Suffocatin’ Santa up there)
Couldn’t find on Amazon (Googaro suggested retail price: $7.00)
A stuffed toy. Like I don’t have enough of these that he never, ever looks at. At least it’s a Santa so that I can use it as a home decor object. And I will do that, because it’s pretty cute. However, my child will not enjoy it.

Paul Frank Only in Dreams book
Amazon price: $6.29 (Googaro suggested retail price: $7.00)
Books are always good. I find Paul Frank’s Julius character (the monkey who is the star of this book) to be somewhat creepy and off-putting, but he seems to be everywhere these days, so I’m guessing that’s not a common thing. I won’t hold it against anyone. So, a nice book. OK.

Oogaa Silicone Placemat
Amazon price: $8.99 (Googaro suggested retail price: $8.99)
I see eating accoutrements as the epitome of the “We don’t know what to do for the 18 month to 2 year old set” syndrome. It’s like a bunch of people were sitting around in a brainstorming session, trying to figure out what to do with these kids, and someone said “Screw it, they have to eat, right? Give them a plate or something.”

Smith’s Minted Rose Lip Balm
Amazon price: $7.00 (Googaro suggested retail price: $7.00)
More lip balm? Not to mention, another stupid mom gift? Is there an epidemic of moms out there with dry lips and who just can’t stand not getting a token present for themselves? I hate mom gifts. I sincerely expect the craft boxes that I may order in the future to have a mom gift of a hot glue gun that shoots lip balm or something, because apparently these box people all picture us scrabbling madly in our child’s monthly gift box going “What, there’s nothing for me? There has to be something for me! I’m the mom!”

So, the overall retail value of the box, leaving out the derpy mom gift, is $42.98. I spent $35 on this box. I will use one item (the book) for my son, one item (the Santa) for my home, and that’s it. I’m drowning in lip balms, so I doubt this rose-mint concoction will ever get play, plus it’s in a stupid tin, which means I have to get my finger gunky to put it on. That makes my actual use value is $14. Not great. I would be willing to give this another month, but at $35/month, I’m not willing to hang in there when the first box was so terrible. I will be taking that $35 and heading out into the wilds of actual brick-and-mortar stores next month to see what I can find on my own. If I remember, I might even blog about it.

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