Three to Three and a Half
(June 19 - December 18)
It is tough trying to sum up six months of Charlie’s life when he is changing, growing, and learning so much, but here we go.
When Charlie turned three, it was apparent that he understood and loved birthdays. The idea of singing Happy Birthday, opening presents, and eating cake was a big topic of discussion after his birthday.
So excited and "helpful" at Colson's birthday in November:
Charlie still loves coloring, puzzles, writing and talking about letters, his Charlie Brown stuffed toy, throwing things, painting, coloring with markers, TV, climbing things at the park, and slides. He finally enjoys swinging! Yay! It is a milestone!
When he gets sad or in trouble he will say, “grapes, grapes, grapes.” Daddy will respond, “No grapes. There are no grapes! What do you want? Why are you sad?”
When we were in St. George over the summer, he loved the water and swimming with his puddle jumper. He was able to jump in from the side on his own into the kiddie pool. That is huge for a boy who used to be afraid of swings and slides! He also started to understand kicking in the water.
Pictures from St. George:
Charlie loves peas from our garden. He also loves green beans and turkey deli meat. We have gotten him to eat bacon. Of course he still has his other favorites like peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt, pizza, french fries, and cereal, but these are things that are new to this stage of life.
Summer was huge for donuts and parades! Charlie was in love...well mostly for the frosting and sprinkles.
More summer parades and festivities:
He liked it all except for the fireworks:
We got his special education preschool letter in the summer indicating that he was going to go to Windsor Elementary for the afternoon session and would be receiving speech therapy while there. He would be going Wednesdays and Fridays. We later learned that his teacher would be Miss Reay and that the bus would come pick him up at the corner of our circle. Generally, the bus picks them up at their house, but because our circle is so small, the bus can’t fit in it. So the bus picks him up and drops him off at the end of our circle. I was really concerned with how he would handle it, riding on a school bus without me and with total strangers. But the day before his first day we started talking about it and I was surprised to see how excited he was. The excitement continued to the next day and got him right up into the bus. No fear, no tears. It was amazing and I was so relieved! And he hasn’t looked back since. He still loves it. The bus picks him up Wednesdays and Fridays at 12:25 pm and then he doesn’t get dropped back home until 3:55 pm. He loves his teacher and he loves preschool. He never resists going, so that is a big sign to me.
Charlie can spell his name, Mommy, Daddy, and a few smaller words from his letters puzzle, like cat, dog, cow, bird, bear, cake, fish, bus. That is pretty dang impressive!
Potty training officially started on Thursday, August 13th. That is about two months after Charlie turned three. I really was not planning on it anytime soon because it seemed like such a big step that communication was needed for, but after a daily routine of cleaning poop out of the carpet in his room, I knew it was time. Charlie kept taking off his diaper after he pooped, getting it everywhere! This could happen at night or during his naps. It was ridiculous. So it was time. I also wanted to make sure that if we did this, it wasn’t during the school year where he could potentially have accidents. And so it began. It was really, really hard. I was determined to do it all in the “one weekend” method. Nancy helped with Colson the first day and my mom helped out the second day. It made a huge difference! I was able to focus on Charlie and stay with him in the bathroom for extended periods of time. To get Charlie excited, I got him a basket full of goodies, including new underwear, candy, cookies, juice boxes, and a new water cup that he could drink from before going to bed instead of taking a sippy cup to bed. We also had a sticker chart that he was probably most excited about. I followed the strategy of rewarding attempts, rather than just successes. When he sat on the potty with me for an extended period of time he got an M&M. When he actually went potty, he got a cookie and a sticker on the chart. Then we would do the potty dance. Once he filled up his chart, he got ice cream. We would also “practice” with his stuffed animals, putting underwear on them and pretending they needed to go potty so he could see the routine. Overall, it was so hard! We stuck through it though, and I’m glad we did. On day four, Jason and I almost called it quits thinking Charlie just couldn’t get it. But by the next morning, something clicked. He didn’t have any accidents that day. What if we had quit the day before? It kills me thinking about that. Just persevere people!
Originally, I was determined to potty train him for day and night at the same time, but I quickly learned that Charlie just wasn’t ready for that. So as much as I hated it, we kept him in pull ups for night time. He still wears pull ups at night to this day, but we are seeing more and more dry pull ups in the morning, so we are hopeful.
Around this time, I noticed Charlie starting to nap more. It was great, except a little stressful with the potty training thing. I would wake him up after an hour and a half to go potty and so he wouldn’t sleep too long and affect his bedtime.
Getting into fall and winter, here are a few more things that Charlie was up to:
Charlie will say “good morning” in place of awake. I will ask him if Colson is awake or asleep in his car seat when we are driving and he will say “good morning” instead of awake. Whenever I mention a nap, he will say “out”, like he wants to get out even before he goes in his room. He will say “lunch” anytime he means he is hungry.
He can climb to the top of the yellow twirly slide at the park and then slide down it. I am still in shock about that. If you knew Charlie and his fears, this is huge!
Around Halloween time, he loved seeing all of the pumpkins and eating candy corn and candy corn pumpkins.
At this point, his going potty was still going really well, except for pooping. He had gone several times in the toilet, but still preferred to wait until his nap or bedtime to poop in his pull ups. This was super frustrating as I knew he knew when he had to go, and the whole pooping during naps and bedtime was the reason we started potty training in the first place!
At Charlie’s first Parent Teacher Conference I learned that Miss Reay just loves Charlie and she thinks he is very cute. He is their "fashionable" student. He is quiet, but is starting to speak up a bit more in the bigger groups when it comes to letters and numbers. It is crazy to think I have started the phase in my life that I am attending Parent Teacher Conferences! How is this possible?
Now Charlie loves honey on his peanut butter sandwiches. He still uses his index finger to scrap the peanut butter off of the open faced bread and then flips it over to pick up pieces of bread from the back. But now, rather than just plain peanut butter on bread, he likes to have honey. That is all thanks to Daddy.
By the end of October, we put an end to his naps and we took the door lock off (which shortly went back on as he kept coming out at bedtime). There were just too many “nap times” where he was found with poop smeared all over himself and the walls. He hardly slept anyways at this point. I only held onto these nap time/quiet times because I needed both boys down at the same time so I could make my calls for work.
At the beginning of November, after we got back from our cruise, Charlie started saying “yes” appropriately for the first time. He was also doing a lot better with eating a variety of foods he wasn’t eating before, like meat and other items Mom and Dad were eating for the meal. This is all thanks to the Gruber magic. It sure makes a difference having a change in parenting every once and awhile. See the end of this post for the tending notes I left for George and Nancy about Charlie.
At this point, we still have our ups and downs. We have our struggles. Some days he just whines and cries about everything, even if he is doing something he likes. It’s like he just wakes up in the morning crying and can’t be happy about anything. It is very hard to deal with and be patient. Disciplining is interesting because anytime he gets in trouble, he wants a hug. He will cry even harder until he finally gets a hug, even though he is the one that is supposed to be getting in trouble. He will cry and say “hug, hug, hug” until he gets one. It literally will not stop until you give in.
In December, Charlie was still obsessed with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but was becoming a snob. If the show was buffering and went fuzzy for a second, he would instantly cry. I would tell him to count to 20 or to sing the ABCs. That worked for about a day with a good attitude, but after that he would do it with a loud crying voice. He would start insisting that I rewind it to the time before it went fuzzy. This was not going to fly as he would watch it while Colson took his first nap and I worked (since Charlie no longer took naps I had to resort to sitting him in front of the TV while I worked to keep him occupied and quiet). I would hear him through the door screaming the ABCs, waiting in agony as the show buffered. This was becoming a serious problem that wasn’t resolved until after Christmas when he got new toys that he was anxious to play with (alone without Colson) instead of watching a show. (More on that in his next update)
Here are the tending notes for George and Nancy:
6:30-7:30 am - The boys wake up
- Charlie: He may cry out in the night every once and awhile. He might repeat words over and over. I only go in there if it continues on for several minutes or he sounds really upset. When I do go in there at night, I just repeat back to him the words he is saying, then say “yes” or “ok” and get him to lay back down and put the covers/blankets on him, then leave and close the door. In the morning, he usually wakes up between 7:00 and 7:30 am. You don’t have to go in right away, he will sometimes just talk to himself or play with his car mat that we keep under his bed. I definitely go in there though if he is saying potty or crying. First thing, take him to the bathroom. If he pooped in his pull-up, then lay down his towel in the bathroom and use the wipes under the sink. Then have him go pee in the toilet. Immediately after that, he likes to go in his room to get dressed. He likes to pick out his clothes. You have to be patient with him because he likes to examine everything he is putting on. He dislikes wearing pants or long-sleeves. If it is really cold outside, you can be firm and explain to him that it is too cold for shorts. You can make him wear pants and a jacket, and he will eventually get over it. His hair stuff is in the top drawer of his dresser. I also have him (try) to make his bed.
7:30 am - Breakfast
- See Food Suggestions
- I would suggest using the same bowls, plates, cups, bottles, spoons each day for the boys, otherwise you will go through a lot of dishes and bottles and run out before you even run the dishwasher.
8:00 - 10:00 am
- I would recommend only getting out so many toys at a time, and getting him to clean up after he is done with one activity before moving to the next. This isn’t mandatory (and hardly happens here) but it helps keep the clutter down at the end of the day.
- They love music.
10:00ish am - Colson Nap
- Take Charlie to the bathroom and then give him the iPad to play games while you put Colson down for a nap.
- This is the time that I usually work and put Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on for Charlie. He will be expecting that, so you may just want to put it on for him and do your own thing. I would recommend telling him from the beginning that he can watch (blank number) of shows, otherwise he can get very upset when it comes time to turn it off. If the show gets blurry while buffering, tell him to count to 20. He can get very upset when that happens. You are welcome to skip the show and just play with him during this time if you would like.
11:30 am - Lunch
- See Food Suggestions
12:00 - 2:30 pm
- Check with Charlie every couple of hours and take him to the bathroom.
- See Below for schedule of Preschool Days (Wednesday and Friday)
2:30 pm - Colson Nap
- See 1st Nap Notes
- I have not been napping Charlie. I still give him the iPad while I put Colson down, but I try to switch things up during the second nap. He will ask to watch a show, but I will tell him, “Yes, we watched a show. We will watch it again tomorrow, okay?” I try to keep the answer in “yes-mode” but explain that it will be later, or we will do it again tomorrow. His second favorite activity during this time is coloring with me. He likes me to sit with him and color one of the pages in the book. If it is warm enough, let him go outside and play or ride his bike.
3:00 - 5:30 pm
- If it is warm enough, Charlie likes to go for a walk. I take Colson in the stroller and Charlie leads the way on his bike or scooter.
5:30 pm - Dinner
- See Food Suggestions
6:00 - 7:00
- Clean Up
7:00 - 7:30 pm - Bath and Bed
- Bathe them together, just pay close attention to Colson
- Give them their toothbrushes as you get them out of the tub.
- We put Charlie down first. Have him wear pull-ups. He likes to pick out his pajamas and usually likes to wear socks to bed. If there is time, you can read a book. Say prayers. At this point, he usually wants some water. I will get him a cup from the bathroom and I will have him drink it at the door of his room so he doesn’t spill it in his bed or on his pajamas. Immediately after this he will usually say “potty” and he will attempt to go poop. Really encourage him to poop. Sometimes I will leave and let him sit there for a minute while I prepare Colson’s bottle or get his pajamas on. After Charlie poops, take him straight to his bed and lay his blanket near his face. Leave and close the door. He is down for the night.
- YOU’VE MADE IT! :)
PRESCHOOL DAYS (Wednesday & Friday):
12:25 pm - School Bus Pick Up
- Take Charlie potty 5 or 10 minutes before the bus arrives.
- At 12:25 start watching for the bus. Have Charlie put on his backpack (it is in the middle cubby in the window seat). You can wait until you hear or see it, or you can walk to the corner and wait at the yellow fire hydrant.
- The bus comes to the north corner of the circle.
3:55 pm - School Bus Drop Off
- Charlie is dropped off at the same corner. I usually wait at the window until I see or hear the bus before I go out to meet him. The bus has come as late as 4:10 pm before, so don’t stress. However, it is usually pretty close to 3:55 pm. If the bus arrives before you see it, the bus helper will bring Charlie to our door.
- First thing when we get inside, I check his backpack for any papers in his folder and if anything needs to be returned. Keep the folder in the backpack and put it back in the cubby. Immediately after that, take Charlie to the bathroom. Who knows when he last went?
And here are more pictures from these six months:
Learning about selfies...but mostly learning how to smile for the camera. A skill that is apparently hard for some.
Learning about sharing
Gruber Summer Fun:
More Arbon Summer Fun:
A reception at Castle Park:
You got some paint there on your face, buddy.
Family Pictures at Tibble Fork:
a sick boy
Trying on his Halloween ewok costume
Costumes at preschool
Thanksgiving Point Gardens:
Great Grandma Gruber's 95th Birthday
Cool, new hand-me-down toys from Alex
The beginning of December:
Apparently, you have to pull your sides up to make a smile :)
A new favorite with PG friends: Kangaroo Zoo
Charlie went down that big one once...and never went again. It was pretty intense.
And there you have it! Charlie, we are so lucky to have you in our lives! Love you!