Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Leo - 26 months

Since this is my blog I can describe Leo's age in months for as long as I like, right?
There is such a wide range of 2!

I realized Leo was 26 months today by looking back at my Facebook posts from a year ago and posting a video of him at 14 months. He was so cute and chunky, barely able to climb up on a little chair in my room.  Now he's this machine scaling an obstacle course at the playground, having full meaningful conversations, and drawing faces!

I know I say it pretty much every post, but he seriously leaves me baffled at the things he's able to do. I also know that he's my kid so I'm clearly biased...

He seriously is so fun to be around.  I am growing to hate the term terrible twos more every single day because there is truly nothing terrible about him, but people LOVE to say it.
People in the grocery store will ask how old he is and when I reply 2 they immediate respond oooooh the terrible twos.  Meanwhile Leo is sitting in the cart behaving nicely, playing with whatever superhero figure he's insisted on bringing with him that day or "helping" me by holding some random food item so he can stick it up on the belt.

Do we have no so fun moments?  Yes, but honestly he is so rational.  I know it's a strange way to describe a toddler, but really he is.
The other day we were in Walmart and we (I) wanted a donut.  They had a few boxes made up with half dozen donuts... cinnamon swirl somethings and pink frosted donuts with sprinkles. Of course Leo wanted the pink frosted ones and I wanted the cinnamon. duh. When I picked up the cinnamon rolls he got upset and said no, no, not those! He started to whine and tried to get he box out of the cart and put it back on the shelf (it was actually pretty funny) and so I said Leo, if you throw a fit we won't get any donuts at all. Do you want donuts? And he said yes and picked up the box of cinnamon donuts and was perfectly content with the choice.
Stuff like this happens all the time and I'm able to talk him out of being upset before a full out tantrum ensues.

Every once in a while he is definitely not rational. He will say he wants something and I get it and then it's like noo that's not what I want!  So I take it away and he asks for it again. That's not fun... but I'm just learning to not get into those cycles.  If he asks for something and then says no then it's a no. Whatever. I read somewhere to offer kids 2 choices - red or blue, this shirt or that shirt and it really truly takes away so much stress in picking things out.  Because what color of cup his milk comes in really does matter in his little baby heart.

As for discipline the timeout is still working very well for us.  Leo goes to timeout about once every 3-4 days I'd guess.  Usually he says he's sorry or corrects whatever he's done before we get to that point, so I'm very happy about that.  The threat of a timeout I guess is what is most effective at this point. Counting to 3- not effective.  haha he'll just count along with you...

Something that I have noticed that has a huge impact on his behavior is definitely screen time. We pretty much adhered to the no screen time before age of 2, which is recommended by the AAP (or was until they updated it along with the "times" and allowed small amounts or whatever) and didn't let Leo have any screen time at home.  There are exceptions - I know he watched TV at church in the nursery, I gave him free range on the ipad when we flew, if we're in a store or restaurant and I get desperate for a few moments of silence I will give him my phone to watch videos of himself lol (I don't have any kid apps or games purposefully), and we facetime with family maybe once every two weeks or so.  It wasn't a difficult thing for us because A. we don't have a tv and B. Leo has always been a pretty content baby/toddler and it wasn't difficult to get him interested in something other than tv so I never felt that need for the break that tv gives.
Around Christmas we started watching a few Christmas shows with him.  We'd make it really special and cuddle on the couch and watch Frosty or Rudolph and he LOVED it.  It was so fun. We decided we'd make a Friday night tradition of pizza and a movie and have done that most Fridays that Lee is home since.
Now Leo is old enough to understand that we can just flip on the computer or ipad at any time and he can watch whatever he wants.  Well probably 2 weeks ago I went through an entire week of waking up sick every morning.  Like morning sickness I guess but at 32 weeks pregnant and having never had morning sickness ever before this.  So I was waking up in the middle of the night feeling sick and having it continue through the morning.  Leo wakes up at around 7-7:30 am and very quickly we got in to the habit of me bringing him to bed with me and handing him the ipad while I got an extra hour of sleep and then another hour to just lay there and do nothing.  Then when it came time to turn off the ipad he wasn't having it and would fight me... and then ask for it again and again throughout the day.  I noticed he was more cranky during the day in general (which truthfully made me want to just give him back the ipad and not deal with it lol).
Thankfully whatever bug or issue I had went away after about a week, but by this time Leo was hooked on his morning ipad time.  He would wake up and as soon as I'd open his door he'd say - hi mommy, I play ipad? And when I'd say no, not now, or after breakfast or something like that he'd lose it. Like an addict. lol.
So it took several days of distracting him with something different in the mornings before it stopped.  He had to detox.  He's been like a week now with no screen time other than a show on Friday night and probably something in the nursery at church on Sunday (which I find to be totally different because he understands the concept of start and stop there and is usually also playing and interacting with other kids/people while the show is on rather than sitting on a couch glued to the ipad. lol) and I'm sure some people will roll their eyes but I notice a huge difference in his behavior.  He's not the kind of kid that can handle sitting down and watching 1 show (except for our Friday nights, he does surprisingly well with that) and then being done and moving onto the next activity.  It really makes my life so much easier if there 0 TV.
And then the ipad becomes something super special again that I can pull out in times of need - like when I had to take him with me to the dentist or when I'm 32 weeks pregnant, sick, and need sleep.

Now I know what you're all thinking - suuuure lets talk again in a couple months when you have a newborn, no sleep, and Leo.  I know.  I know I'm going to let him watch TV when I'm desperate for a nap because I know that he'll sit on the couch without moving for like an hour+.  But, I also know my kid and what is going to be better for us in the long run (not like long term long run, like long run as in after I wake up from that nap and have a disney jr crazed addict on my hands in addition to a starving newborn).
I really and truly feel like these first 2 years with limited screen time have been so beneficial for Leo's development and his ability to play independently and to just find things to do when he's bored and I want to make sure that baby brother has the same.  Trust me I still watch plenty of shows, they just all happen during nap or at night, haha, I love TV!

Shew that was a lot longer than I intended it to be.  I meant to just say - yeah Leo's a much nicer kid when he doesn't watch TV.  Moms are always justifying everything they say or do. Whatever works. And whatever works for that specific season or time period.  Your kid watches tons of TV and that works for you.  Your kid has never had sugar?  That honestly is amazing, I know sugar isn't good for kids, but I still bribe mine for something at least every other day with a sucker and give him a skittle every time he pees on the potty...

Back to this whole Leo's 2453452342 months post -
Something else he does that does drive me nuts is change his shirt 15x per day.  He LOVES his character shirts (mommy not so much) and so with every whim of what he's feeling like he thinks he needs to change his shirt. Batman for an hour, spiderman for 15 minutes, then a ninja turtle, now a basketball player.... His shirts used to be in my room in a drawer so I could just close the door, but now that we finally got him a new bed with storage drawers underneath (because we are running out of room in the house like whoa) all this clothes are in his room and super easily accessible under his bed.  But you know what, I just make him clean up the 29 shirts he pulls out every hour and put them away. I've given up caring which drawer they go in and if they are folded. Makes life easier.
Another thing I had to do was put all his tshirts in drawers rather than hanging up.  I used to hang up almost all his clothes, just because, but after a few incidents of him trying to climb the closet to get to them and knocking the closet doors off their tracks I just gave that up and only his "button" shirts are hanging.  When you ask Leo what kind of shirts we wear to church he'll say "button shirts" haha... because I also got tired of telling him that he couldn't wear Batman to church on Sunday mornings because darn it I will have 1 day a week where he wears something I approve of.  We told him that he and daddy have to wear shirts with buttons every Sunday and so now he just accepts that and there's no fighting when I put him in a polo or button up.

Leo loves to take every single article of clothing off the second we get in the door. lol. We walk in shoes, socks, shirt, shorts, and diaper come off before he does anything else. He spends the majority of his time at home completely naked... it's been great for potty training.  I can't remember the last time he's had an accident!  I've only been brave enough to do very short trips away from home in underwear so I'm not pushing that yet.  We wear diapers out and to bed and that's ok with me.  Everyone told me to expect regression when the baby comes so we'll see... but if I can count on not changing a single diaper of his all day long while we're home I am thrilled.

We have been practicing with wearing underwear around the house and pulling them down.  I need to break down and buy him all new underwear in a bigger size.  I bought 2T/3T and they fit fine, but he has trouble pulling them down.  I bought a pack of 3t/4t and they are much easier but of course he doesn't prefer those ones...... but have you seen the price of kids underwear?!  I guess I shouldn't complain when you see the price of diapers, but still.
So my advice to parents beginning to potty train their kids - buy underwear bigger than you think you'll need so they can actually pull them down quickly over those chubby little legs. A lot of the time too if he's not completely naked he'll just wear shorts so those are easy to pull down too.  Maybe I should buy toddler boxers. lol. I'm sure they make them.

Leo now knows the whole alphabet and can sing his ABCs pretty accurately. He can count to 10, sometimes 12, with no assistance, and recognize almost all the numbers between 1-10.
The other day I was asking him numbers and he read - 1,2,3,4,5,6,L,8.P,O haha so he's not real sure about a few, but he did a good job of guessing the next closest thing!
He used to do his letters by identifying a word they start with, A Apple, B Batman, C Cookie, etc. but now he knows how to just say the letter on it's own and he'll point letters out on signs in stores and o boxes.  He really truly loves to learn, I'm not just a crazy lady pushing this stuff on him.
In fact he asks to do flashcards. haha. not kidding.   I was like that as a kid too, I'd beg my dad to ask me trivia questions or state capitals.... and I turned out ok right? lol.
We have some of those Brain Quest cards for 2-3 year olds that are supposed to build vocabulary and problem thinking skills and the very first time we did them (this week when I found them in the closet digging out baby stuff) Leo could answer every single question easily.
They ask things like - what is he doing in this picture? a. he's drinking milk, he's talking on the phone, he's sleeping, etc.  Then it'll ask - what color is this or that? What shape is his cracker? How many animals are there?  (he just recently began being able to count objects to see how many there are!)
This is the same kind of thing I do with him when we read books,  I ask him questions about whats going on and what the character's names are and he really understands.  It's amazing.
He picks out what books he wants to read at nap time and at bedtime and usually when he pulls it off the shelf he knows the title of the book... and we have like 100+ books (mommy is a thrift store book hoarder!)
At Leo's 2 year check up the Dr gave us a milestone questionnaire to fill out for Leo's 2.5 year check up and about a month or more ago I picked it up and went through the questions and Leo can already do everything he needs to be able to do by 30 months!

He LOVES to tell stories!  He'll start almost every one with - One time and little boy named Leo and a little boy named Batman.... and then they'll go on to go to a restaurant or the park and drive the Batmobile and see their friends Flash and Superman and sometimes Mommy and Daddy get included.  If you keep asking him prompting questions he'll tell very elaborate and long stories. He has such a good imagination.
I think that's also why he loves to draw and paint so much too! He likes to tell me what to draw too.  Usually it's a family portrait and he picks out our clothes or accessories (which sometimes are swords like ninja turtles...... uh)

Along with stories he's getting so so good at playing on his own with his "guys".  He'll play out scenarios of them driving around in the car and going places and then getting in fights.  He makes the cutest sound effects and talks for each of them in different voices.  Man, he's so fun!
The other day while I was in the kitchen cooking I could hear him talking for his guys so I peaked in to take a video, unfortunately he's completely naked so it's not suitable for the internet. but I caught him putting Batman, Superman, Wonder woman, and Robin in a car and Batman said - Lets go kids! Let's go!  In the car! We're going to store! We're going to store kids!  Store to buy milk!
I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants (eh I am 8 mo pregnant) but it was so funny because I don't know where he heard that.  I obviously only have 1 kid so I don't say - lets go kids.  I say let's go Leo. And then their car was in a crash and flipped over, hahahaha.

He does funny stuff pretty much every single day.  I really should write it down more often.
This weekend Lee hurt his big toe pretty badly by dropping a heavy box on it and he was in a lot of pain and laid down on the couch to prop his foot up and Leo was very concerned.  He wanted to kiss it and get him a bandaid.  Then he comes back in the room with a banana.  I guess it was one of the only foods in the kitchen he could reach.  He said, here daddy, nana, feel better!  And Lee was like oh thanks buddy and sat it aside... then Leo opened it and force fed it to him. hahahaha I don't have a clue why he thought a banana would cure him but he was convinced Lee needed that banana.
The next day Lee came home from a long shift at work and his toe was still very sore (ended up having to stick a needle in it to relieve the pressure of the blood buildup under the nail, gross...) but as soon as Lee said his toe still hurt Leo made a mad dash to the kitchen for a banana.

Tonight at dinner he kept just randomly saying  - Mommy I need a hug! I had to hug him every single time.  My little un-affectionate baby is becoming a mommas boy and I absolutely love it.
He insists that mommy put him to bed every night, even though by that time I am usually pretty tired and more than happy to let Lee take over that task if he's home.  I sometimes give in and "tuddle" him in his bed because he's just so sweet at bedtime, but I also need him to understand that I won't always be able to do it and am going to be possibly occupied with baby brother here pretty soon at bedtime...

As you can see I could probably go on and on and talk about this little guy for an entire book. I'm cherishing these last few weeks that he is my only baby.  The sole recipient of my attention. But like always, I don't get too sad about hitting the next milestone because it is so fun to watch him grow and develop and I cannot wait to see him be a big brother.  Pretty much something that will define him for the rest of his life is being this baby's big brother.  His protector and confidant, and best friend.  I do get emotional when I think about the amazing gift of a brother that we get to give our boys.
I love you Leo and I just know that you are going to be the best big brother.  Thank you for being you

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