Thursday, May 3, 2012

Two and a Half!

I've procrastinated all week on writing this post.  My boy turned two-and-a-half on Monday!  OK, so it's not really a birthday, but two-and-a-half comes with its own milestones.

Let's see.  Where to start?  Oliver became a big brother in November, and he really shines in the role.  He absolutely adores Joanna.  He constantly asks me if he can hold her or snuggle her.  He likes to kiss her cheeks and rub her head while saying, "So gentile."  He lets her grab his hair and shirt, and he likes to make her laugh by throwing stuffed animals.  He is truly wonderful to her, and we have yet to encounter any problems.  I'm sure there are going to be many, but, for now, we're still problem-free!

Andrew and I have been working hard at improving Oliver's social skills. He's such a good boy when we go out.  He listens, walks with us, and impressing people constantly.  Well, he impresses people until they try to talk to him.  When someone talks to him, he responds by yelling noises or yelling, "No!"  His "best" response to people when they talk to him is to hide behind me.  He has yet to answer anyone when they ask him his name or how old he is.  Most of the time, if someone asks him to give them a high five, he turns to me and says, "Mom's going to do it."

He's getting better with other kids.  His very shy and prefers to just watch for a long time.  If another kid is too forward or very friendly, he gets even more shy.  When kids are kids and running around the park, he'll slowly warm up and join them.  It takes him a long, long time, though.

To remedy this, we try to get Oliver out of the house daily.  He still goes to swim class and music class once a week.  He's exposed to other children there, but it's still mostly parent-child interaction.  Once he turns three, he can start some classes by himself, without us.  Until he stops freaking out at adults who talk to him, I know I can't enroll him in any of those classes.  That's OK.  He'll get there!  I've started to take him to McDonald's once a week.  I get him an egg & cheese sandwich and then let him run around in the play area.  He plays with kids sometimes, but he mostly enjoys watching them go down the slide.

We've also been trying to work on Oliver's language skills.  He talks a lot now, but he still doesn't use pronouns.  The only questions he asks are "What" questions.  He hasn't started to ask who, where, why or how.  I try to encourage him to use the questions by asking things like, "Who is she?" while pointing to Jo.  He doesn't answer, so I do.  I hope he's picking up on it.

Oliver's getting so good with his letters.  He now knows most of the lowercase letters in addition to all his uppercase letters.  He likes to try to write letters, but, so far, the only recognizable one is "O."  He's started to memorize how some words look, and he can recognize the words "mom," "dad," "Oliver," "Jo", "go," "no," "open," and "stop" by sight.  He hasn't grasped how to sound out words yet, so reading is still a while away.  He does have numerous books memorized, though, so he enjoys "reading" to Andrew and me in that regard.  I've also been excited to see him branching out and wanting to read new books.  For a long time, he only wanted to read the books that he knew really well.  New books were of no interest to him.  In the last week or two, he's started to bring me new books off of his shelf and asks me to read them to him.

He still doesn't really watch any TV or movies.  The only exception to that is a full episode of Sid the Science Kid on Youtube and, occasionally, Jacques Pepin on the Create channel.  It's not that he doesn't get any media.  We let him watch Sesame Street music videos, and he plays a few games on the iPad (Andrew got one for work).  We just don't ever sit down to watch movies or shows, so he hasn't picked up on any of that yet.  I recently ordered a copy of The Lion King, so we might try to watch that with him sometime soon.  I'm not sure if he'll have the attention span for that or not.

He still is phenomenal with numbers.  Oliver can count up and down to 60.  He can count actual objects to about 15 before losing track or doubling up on numbers.

Oliver now enjoys making choices.  He loves when I tell him he gets to choose something, like choosing which pair of underpants he's going to wear for the day.  I also let him choose his pants and shirt frequently.  He can get his undies, shorts, and most shirts on by himself, but he can't get pants, socks, or shoes on yet.  He's recently learned how to take his shirts off, and so I frequently find him running around butt naked in the house.

Another new development is that Oliver now stays dry throughout the night, so we're officially done with all diapers for him.  That feels good!  He has no accidents whatsoever, but sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night and calls to us to help him use the potty.  Speaking of the potty, he's started to occasionally stand up to pee.  I always tell him it's his choice.  For awhile, he was choosing to stand up regularly, but now he's gone back to sitting down for the most part.

At night time, he still usually sleeps in his crib, but he sleeps in his big boy bed occasionally.  We let him choose at night.  Hopefully, he'll be transitioned completely to the big boy bed in the upcoming months, that way Joanna can take over the crib once she's sleeping entirely through the night.

At two-and-a-half years old, here are some lists of Oliver's likes and dislikes:

*Taking baths
*Cuddling with his sister
*His stuffed "Monkey" and "Doggy"
*His monkey blanket
*His toy kitchen
*Helping Mom bake
*Pretending to play with small appliances, like the food processor without the blade and the ice cream maker
*Running around out back
*Swim class with Dad
*Singing with Sesame Street videos (but no one else is allowed to sing with him)
*The iPad, especially the Lego 4+ app, a jet pack game, and Sudoku (he pushes the numbers I tell him to push)
*Going to the "coffee store" (aka Starbucks) on Thursdays, followed by music class
*Going for walks
*Going to McDonald's
*Watching other kids run and play

*Getting his clothes wet.  If he so much as drools on himself, he insists on taking his shirt off.
*Strangers talking to him
*Mom and Dad talking to each other ("No talking!")
*Mom or Dad singing ("No singing!")
*Not doing something himself.  He gets upset if someone else starts the laundry or coffee or even flushes a toilet without him.
*Other children coming up and talking to Joanna.  He makes it clear that it's his baby sister.

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