Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Third Birthday, Oliver!


Oliver is officially three years old. As every parent knows, this little guy has changed our lives forever. Things have sometimes been difficult (nothing can compare to his first 6 months!), but all the happiness he's brought to our family has made every sleepless night worth it.

Oliver is starting to make friends. When he sees "the kids" outside, he asks to go out with them. He's still too young to play outside without us close to him, but I'll let him run and play as long as he follows the rules (like stay in the grass!). Sometimes, the neighbor boy at the end of the block comes and rings our bell to ask if Oliver can come outside.

He loves making things. I'm not talking crafts; I'm talking baked goods and food. He lives to help in the kitchen. Whenever I ask him to do something, he tries to bargain with me. He'll say, "OK, first, I'll eat lunch. Then, we can use the mixer." The small appliances are still his favorite toys. He whips up all sorts of pretend things. He doesn't watch TV or movies, but he asks us to play videos of cooking demonstrations on YouTube. He lets us know all the different appliances and attachments they use, and then he pretends his toys are those attachments. He gets very creative. In fact, when he plays outside, he sticks dirt into the ground and tells us it's a birthday cake with candles. Everything he does basically revolves around pretend baking or cooking. His Grandma Colleen took him out to Target one day last month, and she decided to take him down the appliance aisle. She told us, "You should have seen him! His eyes grew wide, and he whispered, 'Wowwwwww.'"

When he's not playing appliances, he plays with dolls. Joanna got a baby doll that laughs for her birthday. Oliver has adopted it as his own. He kisses the baby and tells it, "I love you!" He cracks up when the baby laughs. He uses the "snuffy" (nasal aspirator) on the doll to "get the boogers out."

He is still very good to his baby sister. Sometimes, she wakes him up in the middle of the night, but he never gets mad at her. He likes to help get diapers for her when it's time to change her. He'll ask her, "Jo, why don't you use the potty?" Unfortunately, sharing has become an issue. Joanna now gets into Oliver's toys (read: appliances), which frustrates Oliver. He gets them set up how he wants them and doesn't like her to get in the way. He's getting better at giving her another toy when he doesn't want her to play with his.

Oliver sleeps well at night. He usually naps well, although this week has been an exception. I think he's getting ready to eliminate naps now, but I appreciate that he lays in bed quietly for an hour when it's supposed to be nap time.

He's eating OK. We have to bribe him to eat because he usually wants to do other things. At his last appointment at WIC in August, he was 36" tall and just over 30 pounds (I think 30.4 pounds), so he's a little lean (not too much). We've had to get a lot less picky about what he eats just to make sure he eats at all. So, if what he wants is Mac 'N Cheese, he gets it! Well, except at dinner time. For dinner, he gets what we eat.

Music class finished at the end of the summer. The instructor is focusing on her church group and school group, and she's no longer teaching at the rec center. I was pretty disappointed. I signed him up for a gymnastics class beginning in September, and--oh my gosh--he loves it. At his age, I could sign him up for a drop off class, but he's not ready for that yet. I'm hoping he'll be ready to do a class without me in the spring, but, for now, I go to class with him. He's one of the oldest ones there, and age makes a real difference at this point in kids' lives. So, with his older age, Oliver's one of the best in the class at the gymnastics stuff. He walks across balance beams, climbs onto a balance mounds, swings from bars, and has a great time. Right now, he's trying to learn how to do log rolls and somersaults without my help.

Oliver hasn't wet the bed since a little past age 2. He had a few potty training set backs after Jo was born, but nothing major. Now, he's able to go pee completely by himself without even having to let us know. We took away his little potty chairs a few months ago so that we can bring them back later this spring or summer as Jo's.

He knows his letters and knows what sounds they make. He tells us what letter words begin with, and, if we say a letter, he can tell us words that start with that letter. He isn't reading yet, and, I'm sorry to say, I haven't focused on teaching him much more regarding reading over the last half year or so. It's challenging to find time to sit down and learn about things like that when I'm also chasing after a mischievous almost-one-year-old.

He's not very interested in art yet. If I give him markers or crayons, he'll scribble for about a minute and then leave, or he'll just take them over to his food processor (with his pretend blade) and pretend to blend them up.

In all, Oliver is a happy and very, very sweet little guy. He's not as good at socializing as other little kids his age, a combination of being shy and from being around adults most of the time. He's got a very good attention span and loves to help. We love him so much!

At 3 years old, Oliver likes:
*Gymnastics class
*The park (his favorite thing at the park is the climing wall)
*Running around in the grass with the neighbors
*Sticking his fingers in mud
*Collecting rocks, sticks, leaves, pine cones, etc.
*Helping Mom and Dad with absolutely anything
*Making sure Jo knows the rules (no playing with plugs!)
*Appliances, especially the mixer and food processor
*Going to either of his grandparents' houses
*Garages. Specifically, he likes opening and closing automatic garages.
*Going to McDonald's or the coffee store (we go out once a week to one of those places)
*Going for walks to the creek
*Walking to the mailbox
*Helping Dad pack his lunch
*Cooking demonstration videos
*Sesame Street characters and songs
*Baby dolls
*Grandparents, Mom, Dad, and Jo
*Books, especially his book about using the mixer to make cookies
*Taking showers (baths are OK, too)
*Blowing out candles (real or pretend)
*Helping Dad find letters in a game called "Subway Surfer"

Oliver dislikes:
*When it's bright outside. He asks for sunglasses and cries in the car if the sun is shining on him.
*Wearing shirts. He doesn't mind wearing undies or socks. Pants (Britches) are OK.
*When Mom sings or dances
*When Joanna grabs the toys he's playing with
*When anything gets wet. If he so much as drools on himself, he asks for a towel. If the towel doesn't help, he insists on getting a new pair of pants or shirt or whatever is wet.

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