Finally, John's 2.5-year-old post! This is the longest post ever, since I've combined his 30-month, 31-month and 32-month birthdays into one post.
Our firstborn turned 2.5 years old on my 30th birthday, July 8th! Mommy, Daddy and Lila were in Texas that day, but John was having fun back in Illinois with Grandma and her friends. Grandma had lined up an activity for each day that we were gone -- fishing with Mr. Mike on the 7th; swimming with Aunt Ruthanne and Uncle Steve on the 8th; a trip to the Arboretum with Aunt Wrenne on the 9th; and swimming with the Repsholdts on the 10th. It was a jam-packed weekend for everyone!
At 2.5 years old, John is quite the character. He is Mr. Personality for sure -- super friendly and outgoing, always ready to meet new people and try new things. He adapts extremely well to new circumstances, which has been a huge blessing given our recent circumstances, and he generally acts much older than his age. I often have to remind myself that he's only 2.5 (like when he's throwing a tantrum, hehe). It seems like he's 3.5!
Here's (a lot) more about John at 2.5 years:
John definitely started getting taller and leaner over the summer. I had to take him to the doctor on Friday because he's been sick this past week, and he measured 38 inches tall and weighed 30 pounds. He usually wears size 2T or 3T. Now that he's wearing underwear instead of diapers (see potty training section below!), his shorts and pants are a bit big around the waist.
His feet haven't grown a whole lot since the spring. Since August, he's been wearing his size 6/7 slip-on Crocs and size 7 velcro-strap Gap sandals, both of which fit him perfectly, so I'd guess he's a 7 right now. (Update: I just measured him after Steph told me about the Keen sandals Elise has, and he is indeed a size 7.) I'm going to buy him another pair of Crocs in size 8/9 because I think he'll soon be outgrowing the ones he has (and he LOVES his Crocs). I bought them back at the beginning of the summer, and he has worn them almost every day since then. He can easily put them on himself, so there's one less thing for Mommy to do :) I think I'll try a pair of the Keen sandals, too, since they look durable and are on sale for a really good price. Thanks, Steph!
The most noticeable change in John's physical appearance this summer was his new haircut. John sweats profusely when it's warm out, and we decided we needed to have his hair cut as short as possible so he would stay cooler while playing outside. Daddy took him to get his first buzz on July 17th, and when they got back to Grandma's house (this was the week she had her surgery), he was SO excited to show his new haircut to his buddy Brayden, who also has a buzz cut. I love his hair being so short. It does make him look older, but it also makes him look more like his Daddy.
Overall, John is still a fantastic sleeper. Once he falls asleep at night, he NEVER wakes up unless he is really sick and is awakened by a coughing fit (like he is right now). That being said, we did have to experiment with naptimes and bedtimes the past few months because he was having trouble falling asleep. After we got back to Wisconsin on July 17th, John started taking forever to fall asleep at both naptime and bedtime. Some afternoons he'd be awake for more than an hour in his crib during naptime, so I'd end up going to get him so he wouldn't wake Lila up from her 2nd nap with all his talking and playing. He'd be fine for most of the afternoon, but then around 5 p.m., he'd start having meltdowns because he was overtired, and we'd have to put him to bed for good at 6:30.
So we decided to push naptime back to 2 p.m. and bedtime to 8 or 8:30 p.m. This worked ok for a while, but it meant that Mommy and Daddy had less time together at night to get stuff done around the house (plus we were exhausted). I finally figured out that John just needed more stimulation in the mornings so that he'd be ready to lay down for his nap at the usual time of 1 p.m. (and for bed at the usual time of 7:30 p.m.). Now we make sure to play outside for at least a little while and/or go to the YMCA so he can burn all that energy! So he is back to his previous naptime and bedtime.
On a normal morning, John wakes up around 6:30 a.m., so he's getting about 11 hours of sleep at night. He typically naps for 2-2.5 hours, so the total amount of sleep he's getting in a day is 13-13.5 hours.
John is still a great eater. But he definitely has a few quirks. For some reason, he has decided he does not like the breading on chicken fingers. Aunt Ruthanne made us two batches of her (delicious!) healthy gourmet chicken fingers, and whenever I serve them to him, he asks me where the chicken is. He's had chicken fingers once or twice in restaurants, and he won't eat them there either.
Another quirk of his is that he doesn't like the word "breakfast." When I ask him in the morning if he's hungry for breakfast, he'll say, "No, I don't want breakfast. I want a snack." I'll give him some different options, and he'll end up picking something breakfast-like, but he doesn't want me to call it breakfast. Strange.
Since mid-July, John usually eats breakfast and lunch in one of the chairs at the kitchen table (as opposed to the booster seat in the dining room). If it's really nice outside and Lila's still sleeping, we'll have a picnic lunch outside. For dinner, we either eat outside on the patio or in the dining room. He usually eats his snacks when we're on the go.
John's favorite things to eat at each mealtime/snacktime are as follows:
-cereal with milk (Cheerios, Shredded Wheat or Kashi Heart to Heart)
-toast with jelly
-any flavor "squeezy pack" (blended fruit and veggies in a portable pouch)
-cheese stick or "circle cheese" (Babybel cheese)
-peanut butter and jelly sandwich
-turkey and cheese sandwich with lettuce
-any flavor "bunny fruit snacks" (Annie's fruit snacks)
-noodles with spaghetti sauce
-carrots (especially cooked)
John still loves Chipotle. He orders a cheese quesadilla with a side of rice and corn salsa, and we get him a side of guacamole, too, which he likes to eat by the spoonful or spread on top of his quesadilla. We probably have Chipotle for dinner once a week. About a month ago, when Daddy was philosophizing about what to do with his Army career, Daddy asked John where John thought he should work. John answered, "Chipotle!"
One more funny thing about John and eating: ever since Lila started eating puffs last month, John has wanted to eat them too. We give him a little pile of puffs on his plate next to his dinner food.
Believe it or not, but for the past two weeks, John has been wearing underwear during the day!!!The potty-training process started back in mid-July. John started taking off his diaper in his crib the week of July 11th. He would take it off at some point after I'd lay him down and then pee in his crib while he was sleeping. So I had to figure out a way to prevent him from taking off his diaper. My solution was to either put a pair of underwear over the diaper or a pair of pajamas that zip all the way up, both of which are too difficult for him to take off himself. That worked really well. But we soon realized the underlying problem was that John just didn't want to wear a diaper anymore -- he'd complain that his diapers were soggy even when they weren't, saying, "Change mine diaper, Mommy!"
So we decided to start potty-training with him. The week of July 18th, he started peeing regularly on the potty -- whenever it was time for a diaper change and before his nap and bedtime. His reward for going potty (or trying to go potty) was a gummy bear. We knew things were going well when his diaper was always dry. I had already bought him some underwear (Cars- and Thomas the Train-themed), so we started letting him wear it around the house for a while during the day so he could get the "feel" of it. John's first full day of wearing underwear was August 26th. The next day John wanted to go back to diapers, but then the following day he wore underwear again. And he's been wearing underwear ever since!
For a while, we were having issues getting John to poop on the potty -- he'd throw a mini tantrum. He has always wanted his privacy when pooping, so this didn't surprise me. But luckily he's always given us plenty of warning signs when he's about to poop, so we finally figured we just needed to show him what it was like for him to poop on the potty. The night of August 3rd, we took him to the bathroom "by force," so to speak. He was kicking and screaming no, but he was already mid-poop, and he became so interested in watching what was coming out of his body that he stopped his fit. We gave him 6 gummi bears that evening for his big accomplishment! He pooped on the potty again on August 6th, but it took another three weeks or so before he would do it willingly.
He now wears underwear all day long, including during his nap, and he's only had a handful of accidents (most of which were my fault because they occurred while I was distracted by being on the phone or because I forgot to have him go before we left the house). One of his potties is upstairs in his bedroom, and the other is in the playroom by the door that leads out to the garage. These locations might sounds strange, but I've found that it's way easier to have them there because then Lila has something to play with while I'm helping him. He knows that he is supposed to sit on the potty first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and whenever we're transitioning between activities (especially if we're leaving the house).
John sometimes doesn't want to sit on the potty to "try" going -- he can hold his pee for a very long time, and he often protests by saying something like, "I just went!" (He has just started telling me in the last week when he has to go, but this is the exception rather than the rule.) One way I can usually get him to go potty when he's resistant is to ask him if he wants to pee on his "Lightning McQueen" potty -- a seat that goes on top of the regular toilet -- or if he wants to stand up (that's how he goes when Daddy takes him to the bathroom while we're out somewhere).
While John was really sick last week, we just put diapers on him again because he was miserable and couldn't even sit up straight on the couch, let alone the potty (it's very important that he sits up straight on the potty so he doesn't spray everywhere!). He still wears diapers at night just in case he has to pee, but he's usually dry in the morning. When he started school, I was a little nervous that he might not want to go potty in the classroom bathroom or that he'd have an accident, but so far so good! Speaking of school.....
Since mid-July, John has been attending the Mother's Day Out (MDO) program at Community United Methodist Church of Elm Grove. (This is the church that we've been attending.) From July 19th until August 18th, he went twice a week to the program's summer sessions (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. -noon), and now he's going to the regular preschool twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays (9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.). He really seems to enjoy himself!
His first day of regular school was last Wednesday, September 7th. I was a little nervous about him being able to fall asleep during the quiet/nap hour (1:15-2:30), and rightfully so. His teachers said he rested, but didn't fall asleep. John had his second day of school today, and they said he actually did fall asleep for about 45 minutes (maybe the new sleeping bag I ordered for him from Pottery Barn Kids helped). I think he will end up napping better once he gets used to it -- he's never had to nap at school before! At least he is being quiet -- in fact, his teachers says he's a real enforcer of "quiet time" and will say "Shh!" to his fellow classmates if they're talking. Hehe.
I really like this preschool for a number of reasons. First, it's affiliated with our church, just like John's Parent's Day Out program in Illinois. Second, it's a longer day than the other preschools I looked into. I guess a 3-hour day is typical for most preschools, but that's not very long when you factor in the drive to and from the school and Lila's morning nap. Third, it has a huge outdoor playground and grassy area, as well as a sandbox, that the kids use during the school day. (One of the preschools didn't have a playground.) And fourth, it's licensed to handle diaper changes, so if John happens to have a (potty) accident or two at school while he's still training, I don't have to worry that he'll be kicked out (like he would be at other preschools that aren't licensed). After all, he's only been potty-trained for about 2 weeks. I don't want to put that kind of pressure on him.
John behaves himself wonderfully as long as he's healthy and well rested. I would say he generally handles himself with the maturity of a much older child. HOWEVER, if you take either his health or his sleep away (or, God forbid, both!), he can be a beast. This past week has been interesting, as you might imagine, especially since Lila is older now and requires a lot more supervision.
As is the case for any 2-year-old, the most difficult times for John are the transitional times, like when he has to stop doing an activity to do something else or go home. We always tell him how many more minutes he has left before the transition, and this usually works. Sometimes when he's really involved, though, he'll throw a tantrum. We are going to start using an egg timer to count down the minutes so he can be angry at that instead of at Mommy and Daddy.
We still give him his time-outs in his crib. Time-outs (2-3 minutes long) are reserved for especially egregious actions that he knows are unacceptable, such as throwing toys. A month or so ago, he started swatting at us as we'd be taking him upstairs for a time-out, and he'd say, "Go away, Mommy/Daddy!" We'd hold his arms down and tell him we were sorry he was so upset, but we were so mad! We consulted the Love and Logic book to make sure there wasn't something else we could say or do when this happened. Love and Logic recommends saying, "I love you too much to argue with you," so that's what we've been doing. We concentrate really hard on saying this so we don't lose our cool with him.
This past month (August 10-September 9), John had WAY fewer time-outs than the previous month (July 10-August 9). I'm sure all the traveling and changes in July were tiring and stressful for him. By August 10th, we were finally back home, and we've been home ever since. Routines and consistency are so important!
Since we got back to Wisconsin in August, John has been OBSESSED with chalk. He now has an entire shoebox full of different colors of washable chalk. We have a really long, really flat blacktop driveway that's perfect for drawing on, and he will happily draw for an hour or more at a time. That's usually what we do when we get back to the house after our morning activity while Lila's taking her nap. We make hopscotches, draw pictures of John's favorite things (Cars vehicles), and spell our names (John has been able to spell his own name and Lila's name for 3 or 4 months now).
John has been equally obsessed with our garage and Daddy's toolbox. He loves to climb up the kitchen stool we put in front of Daddy's toolbox and rummage through the tools and other miscellaneous items (Daddy took out all the expensive and/or dangerous things, of course). He also loves to get people drinks from the refrigerator we have in the garage. "You want a beer, Daddy?" is a familiar question from John, even if it's 10 in the morning.
Another favorite activity for John is playing with his Mega Blocks. For a while, he wanted to play with them two or three times daily. We'd build airplanes, helicopters, giraffes......anything he imagined. He really likes the Legos he has from Grandma's house, too. I think we need to get him more Legos, actually.
Last month, I bought John two puzzles from Land of Nod that focus on rhyming and opposites. He started liking puzzles again after Uncle Eric and Aunt Chiara came to visit and brought with them one of Baby Kael's puzzles. I'm going to get him a few more puzzles for the fall, I think. He can do them on the new table I bought for the kids for the playroom.
"Ladies and Channels!" (instead of "Ladies and Gentlemen!")
John: (talking in his crib 40 minutes after we put him to bed) "Mommy, bring me mine small potty! I go pee-pee on mine small potty and dump it in big toilet!"
(a few minutes later)
J: "I want to do a somersault, come here, Mommy!"
J: (reacting to Lila's cries in the car on the way home from school) "It's ok, Lila, I'm a doctor!"
Grandma: (sitting on the back deck of her house with John) "John, did you miss the deck?"
J: No, I missed you!
Mommy:(looking at Lila's 9-month photos with John) "Isn't Lila pretty?"
J: "Lila's an angel?"
J: (watching parachuters jump out of an airplane while in Daddy's truck) "No, Daddy, don't drive over them!"
Pics from the summer:
In our front yard, getting ready to slide down the slide of our new pool: