Monday, March 17, 2008

March 17, 2008

It's a rainy, cloudy kind of day today we are staying home and living life at toddler pace. The boys have still not shifted their wake up time along with the time change we had recently, so they are waking up around 8:00 or 8:15 am these days. They are still going down for their nap at around 1:00 pm and today they were asleep within 15 minutes. We are also still putting them down for bed around 8:00 pm and they normally go to sleep fairly quickly. I am surprised that they have not started waking up earlier, since they were waking up around 7:00 a or 7:15 am before the time change. The only thing I can think of is that maybe the colds have impacted their sleep requirements, although we are all well on our way to getting better, with me lagging behind a bit.

The boys always have oatmeal in the morning for breakfast, except Saturday, which is eggs and toast day. They always drink milk for breakfast and I mix their oatmeal with unsweetened applesauce, which they also love. Our ritual is that they each get two bites of applesauce before I dump the rest into the oatmeal (two is their favorite number these days; they want two of everything). They love their oatmeal and at bedtime they will ask "oatmeal?, eggs and toast?", so they know what to expect the next morning. Sometimes they ask that at nap time too, "oatmeal?, snack?". I think they like the consistently because it helps them understand what time of day it is and also what day of the week it is, to the extent they can understand it anyway. They know that the day we have eggs and toast is the day daddy normally stays home from work, the following day is the day dad serves their oatmeal and we go to church and the other days, mom serves their oatmeal and dad works.

When they are done eating, I put some sunscreen on Ben's face, where the surgical scar is healing, while he sings the alphabet with me. He knows a lot of it but not all of it. Some days we will count to 20 instead. He can count by himself up to around 13 or 14 but needs a little help after that. I have to wash Nick's face with a special mild, liquid soap, on a dry cloth so his face does not break out. He likes to count also, since brother does it. They are both counting very well these days. We count when we read certain counting books and also when we climb the stairs. They are getting lots of practice and they really enjoy it. Although Ben knows the alphabet, he does not know them in order very well yet, unless he is singing the song. Same for Nick, although he does not quite know the entire alphabet yet, but most of it. There is a floor puzzle I saw at The Apple Tree that makes a picture of a train, with each letter of the alphabet being a train car. I really want to get that one because I think it would help them to learn the order quickly, while having a lot of fun. They love puzzles.

After breakfast, I dressed the boys and changed their diapers. We used to do this before eating but, once they started having opinions of their own, they let me know they prefer to eat first, even though they are still in their all-night diaper. I think that's kind of yucky but they really prefer it so we go with it:). Then I cleaned up pj's, diapers and dirty dishes and did a bit of organizing, while the boys played.

I am feeling very disorganized with my 'stuff', which primarily includes homeschooling information (quickly growing), arts and crafts supplies and scrap booking supplies. I am definitely the type of person that has a place for everything and everything in it's place, for most things anyway. I still have one or two stacks of magazines and stuff around but, overall, I'm not much for clutter in my house. The exception to that rule is the husband's office, as he is a bit of a clutter bug at times and that is his space to do with as he pleases. I think if I were to design and build my own house, I would have more room for an 'office' type of area in my kitchen for me. We do have a small desk in the kitchen with some storage above it but it is very small. So I am cleaning out another area for this purpose and also need to organize some of the shelves in the library/playroom a bit better for the arts and crafts type of stuff.

The boys played very well together this morning. I helped them put two old bibs on some teddy bears and they spent some time serving their bears breakfast, playing with trucks and trains, looking at books and playing with the phonics/alphabet toy I bought them recently. I only had to help them a couple of times, when Nick wanted to trade a toy ("brother, trade?") and Ben did not ("no thank you"). Anytime this happens, the child who wants to trade does not want to accept "no thank you" as a response and will keep asking "brother, trade?" over and over, while pushing the toy to be traded towards the other child. The other child will keep saying "no" or sometimes "no, thank you" over and over and will keep pushing the toy back. The one who wants to trade will inevitably end up in a bad way; Nick typically will become more aggressive and will either throw something or will take the toy he wanted. Ben will typically start throwing a big fit, crying, yelling or whining, or all three:). Today it was Nick who was wanting to trade.

I have tried handling this in a multitude of ways, none which seem to have worked well so far. The last two times this has happened (this morning and yesterday evening) were both Nick wanting to trade. I went to him before things got out of control, picked him up, sat down with him and talked it out. I would not let him get down until his attitude had changed. This seemed to work the best out of everything I have tried to date, which was nice. The situation was de-escalated and everyone ended up happier in the end, including me. Plus, hopefully some of 'the talk' hopefully sunk in and Nick is starting to better understand that sometimes you don't get to have everything that you want and you have to learn how to adjust to that gracefully and move on.

Overall, the boys are playing together better and better. I have even noticed times lately where they will go off and each play by themselves for a period of time. This is not something they have done much in the past really. They usually followed each other around and at least played near each other, if they were not playing with each other.

After the boys played and I organized, it was snack time. The boys ate yogurt and I had an apple, which they wanted part of also. They are into eating yogurt right now because they like to eat it from the cup and try to stir it themselves. They are so into doing things themselves now. It is really cute and it is amazing how much they can do once you take the time to show them a couple of times. They are such quick learners. Another big thing right now is that they like to get their own ice and water from the door of the fridge. They need help to do it without making a big mess but they enjoy trying and I'm sure they will get the hang of it soon enough. They can do it better if they remember to pull over a stool so they can reach it better. I'll have to work on this with them.

After snack time, we read books for about an hour or hour and a half. They just kept getting one book after another and I just kept reading. They actually sat and listened to a couple of readings today that were longer than our normal reading. We have a bunch of Winnie the Pooh books that my sister gave us. They have always enjoyed looking at the pictures but there are quite a few words on each page so they normally won't sit and listen to more than a couple of pages. Today, they sat and listened to the entire story of "Oh bother! Someone won't share!" and they really got into it. Sometimes I have to stop and explain a word or repeat a sentence in words where they understand it but I can tell their vocabulary is really expanding quickly from some of the books we have been reading. I also read to them from The Beginner's Bible today, which also has quite a few words on a page and has been too much for them until today. We read a couple of stories from this Bible today and they listened really well.

When we read the Pooh book, I would stop and ask them questions to see how much they were really understanding it. I have read this is a great thing to do so I try to do it on a regular basis an the normally surprise me at how much they really understand. I read once that toddlers probably understand about twice of what people normally expect or think they understand. I think this has helped me a lot of having higher expectations of them, although they often still end up surprising me.

After reading, it was time for lunch. I normally give them two choices from which to choose. Today was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or veggie beef soup. They chose sandwiches so they each had a half a sandwich, along with some raw carrots, some frozen peas and milk. They love frozen peas and it is good for fine tuning their fine motor skills, as they eat them with their fingers.

After lunch, they played while I cleaned up the kitchen and then it was about time to start cleaning up toys before nap time. We always do clean up time before nap and bed time and the boys are very used to the routine and they usually help with a very nice attitude. Then it is time for a change of diaper and up the stairs to nap time.

This was our very pleasant morning and now I am taking a break and writing this post.
One of the boys (sounds like Ben) just woke up and I can hear him over the monitor singing the 'I Dig Dirt' song. They love this song and sing it all the time, even though they have only seen the video maybe a half dozen times. I don't hear him anymore so I think he went back to sleep. They should sleep until around 3:00ish, although sometimes on dark, cloudy days like today, they will sleep until 3:30 or 4:00.

Did I mention that I love love love being a stay at home mom?

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