Monday, October 18, 2010

Colin is 2 1/4 Years old

Colin picks the perfect pumpkin

We went pumpkin picking on Colin's 2 and 1/4 'birthday'. It wasn't planned that way, but it did make for some cute 'birthday' photos.  Enjoy!

  • Still awesome overnight. He generally sleeps from about 8 until 6:45ish. Very rarely do we have to deal with a night time wake up and then it is usually around 5am. He is so used to the game at this point that he lays back down as soon as we come into the room. The 'problem' area is starting to be naps. If Colin lets himself fall asleep he generally sleeps 2.5-3 hrs. However, there are days when he will just sit in the crib and talk for up to 2 hrs (that's as long as I've let it go). Some days he will talk for an hour and then fall asleep... it is really unpredictable and frustrating. We've tried putting him down later and earlier and neither is a magic bullet. I'm guessing he is gearing up to drop the nap but it seems very early for this, and if he only slept for 40 mins I would be more inclined to think he doesn't need it but, 3 hrs? doesn't seem like a kid who is ready to drop a nap to me.. I expect this will get worse before it gets better...I've been considering waking him up at the 2 hr mark to see if that will regulate things, but 1) he is a total crab fest if you wake him up and 2) these long naps never interfere with bed time, in fact he is easier to put to bed on long nap days than on no nap/short nap days.
He took pumpkin picking very seriously. This one was either too heavy or too dirty.

  • School: You'll find this doubly listed right now. Colin has a bit of a love/hate relationship with school. He loves school by about 9:10am, but from 7:00-9:10 he generally is not a fan. Once he settles in he loves it and doesn't want to leave when I pick him up. He is really starting to come out of his shell. His teacher told me he is really talking a lot more now.
  • The cats, Griffin in particular: Griffin is extremely tolerant, and will allow Colin to pet and lay on him extended periods of time. Colin just eats it up! It isn't uncommon for me to check on Colin when he has been quiet for too long, only to find him and Griffin snuggling on a pillow.  If you ask him what he is doing he will tell you he is 'pepping Gif-fin'.
  • Lollipops. Now that Colin is two I'm following "Todd's Law" about sweets. Basically he is allowed to have things when the universe provides them but I don't provide them at home. So when the doctor, or hair dresser offers him a lollipop I allow him to have it. If he has been there recently he will ask repeatedly if he can go see "Dr. Ella" or "get a haircut", but what he really wants is to get the lollipop.We do have some organic lollipops at home (which taste the same they just don't have all the art colors), but he doesn't know this and I rarely give him one. He has to do something pretty special to get that (or need a serious distraction).
  • Playgrounds: For the first time ever Colin ran full speed away from me.  I had unloaded the groceries into our cart and then unloaded him. He usually holds onto the cart on the sidewalk and my hand in the road while we push the cart home, but on this particular day we were parked near the public playground and while I was adjusting some bags he took off and never looked back. I called out to him and got no response. Since he had never done this before I didn't think he would get far before realizing I wasn't next to him and come right back. Nope! Of course I had to follow him (he was completely safe since this area is about 90% fenced from the road and my back was to 5% of that unfenced area)  and I was laughing a little (I know I know bad reaction) at his new found sense of freedom and his total delight in his own naughtiness, but when I caught him took him straight home and we had a long talk about running away. I tell you all this to highlight that playgrounds now trump separation anxiety/insecurity issues and that is a huge deal. Our boy is spreading his wings a bit.
  • Traveling and staying in hotels: This boy is always happy when we stay in a hotel. The way he runs down the hallway to find the elevator it just precious. 

    • School. To be fair it isn't school that is the problem, but the fact that mommy doesn't stay at school. However, since hitting rock bottom, he has gotten progressively better and the director of the program sends me a half dozen pictures while he is there to show me how well he is doing so I know he is enjoying himself. I am beyond grateful that the school has been so flexible with him. I imagine it would only be worse next year.
    • Meat. Still!  Ugh.. I'm almost ready to give up trying, this is just nuts! The few things I could get him to eat before are no longer possible... when I try to hide it, he just stops eating entirely. I have no idea how he knows!?!
    • Katie's boyfriend Chris. For one reason or another, the mere mention of this boys presence has Colin in tears. I have no idea what it is. At first I just thought it was just that he was an unfamiliar teen male, but no, Lauren had a friend stop by and the first words out of Colin's mouth after meeting him were "I like Harvey". No idea what this one is about.
    He still looks 'little' to me in this picture

    New Things:
    • Teeth: His final 2yr molar (his upper left) is through. It made an appearance about the same time Colin hit rock bottom at pre-school. The two things may have been related but who knows.. 
    • We are hearing new and more complex sentences all the time now. For example: "Miss Tahsula, Mommy came back!" or " I want Daddy go to work instead" or "That's not a good one, it's heavy" (talking about pumpkins)
    the end

        Thursday, October 14, 2010

        College Search

        We have decided that Colin is way too smart for preschool and we are currently seeking to enroll him in a 4-year college...just kidding! We are, however, currently helping out with the college search of the oldest of Sean's two younger sisters Lauren (aka Nin to Colin). Last weekend we made a fairly impromtu trip (we booked a hotel literally 2 days before we left, we don't roll like that usually)  to Boston to visit two schools. To say that the drive up was long would be an understatement. We left here around 8:30 after picking Lauren up at the train station and drove to Boston. We expected to arrive around 12:30, we did not actually arrive until after 3am. We hit traffic on the Whitestone Bridge due to construction, then on the 'Hutch' due to a car accident. Then 84 was just closed in Danbury and the traffic trying to manuever around this was beyond insane. Just when we thought we were in the clear, around 2am three cop cars pull in front of us (literally, one car in front of us) and just slow WAY down until we are all stopped. Another (very bad) traffic accident.  Thankfully we started moving again within a half hour so this was probably the least of the torments, plus we had a up close and personal view of the emergency response (but not of the accident) so it was interesting. It is hard to stay too annoyed when reality slaps you in the face that it could have been your car in the accident but it wasn't exactly a fun trip. Colin woke up with all the sirens and lights and we aren't really sure if he actually fell asleep again at the hotel or not. Both Sean and I passed out long before he stopped talking, and he was up again at 6:00 when light started peaking in the curtains (yes we were thankful for those three hours).  I did sleep in the car a bit, Sean really didn't...maybe a half hour. Our hotel was 40 mins out of Boston due to cost and logistical constraints (When traveling with Colin I will not get a hotel room that isn't a suite, more on that another time) so we had to leave fairly early to get to the colleges (not that anyone was sleeping anyway!) We saw BU the morning and BC in the afternoon. Sean and I took traded off parental duties, I went to the info sessions (since he would just fall asleep!) and he played with Colin outside, then I wrangled Colin during the tours and he stayed with Lauren and the group.  All in all both colleges would be a fine choice, but neither would be her first choice. Because Sean and I have been around the college scene for some time now and seen it from all angles, we have a lot of opinions about things to look for in a college. We try, however, to not be too pushy with our own opinions because it is her opinion that really matters (that and the ever important financial aid package). I took no  pictures of the college tours because I had my hands full, but did take some the next day while we showed her around Boston. 

        I apologize to all our friends living in the area whom we didn't get to see! This wasn't a pleasure trip, so we weren't able to plan extra time for visiting.  We know you will understand, and we promise to try harder next time.  We were able to see Jayson (Uncle Jay Jay to Colin) and Kat on Sunday for a few hrs, which was good because we had  missed them on the two previous trips through the area.  Here are a few pictures of our trek through Boston.
        We stopped at Fenway Park, but since the Red Sox's season is over we didn't see a game. We will go next year for sure.  We did take a few minutes to pose with the statues since there weren't many other tourists to get in the way.  This is a statue of Ted Williams who was apparently an extremely tall man not to mention an exceptional baseball player (according to Jayson the best that ever lived... my baseball fan-ship doesn't' go back far enough to appreciate him, I should be embarrassed to admit I didn't recognize the name, but I'm not.)

         I know I know! I cut off Ted's head in this one (he should be shorter). But Colin's pose is too darn cute to leave it out (I saw that face and focused too much of my attention on him and not enough on composing the shot). I have a friend who I think can fix it since I have other pictures that have the full statues... If it does get corrected I'll probably frame it with some of the other baseball statue pictures we have of Colin. Come on tell me he isn't the cutest little baseball fan ever!
        Last week, looking at Nin made Colin cry. This week she was his favorite person in the world. He is a fickle character our boy. I do hope he grows out of it.
        I give this dog some serious kudos, Colin was still pretty much covered in glazed donut frosting (yes he does eat donuts on occasion) and I thought for sure he would get his face licked but he didn't! The dog licked Sean but not Colin.  Maybe he doesn't like glazed donuts...
         For my sister. She used to work here (well actually it was across the street) when she lived in Boston so I took a picture for her.

        Have boy. Will travel with sports equipment. The 
        boys play baseball in 'the commons'.
        This was day 2 of crazy disrupted schedule. Nin was the only one allowed to hold him around his typical nap time.  We were BEYOND impressed with his resilience and flexibility. Normally I hold nap time sacred but it just wasn't possible on this trip. He feel asleep in the car on the way back to the hotel after the college tours (around 3) and I had to wake him up at 6 to go eat dinner (actually I had to wake everyone up!).  Day 2 he slept the ENTIRE drive home 3.5 hrs in the car. He got up at 6:30 and was in bed again by 9. He was as good as any 2 yr old could have been on a trip like this. This boy loves 'big trips' and hotels, loves 'em!
        On the carousel. He is the happiest boy in the world, and Sean and I will thrilled not to have to ride with him! All that round and round stuff is for kids! Nin was more than happy to join him.
         Best seat in the house for watching some street performers.
        Riding the trains and still loving on Aunt Nin. I started to get the impression that the Berry siblings are in a friendly competition for Colin's affections.  Lauren was beyond thrilled by Colin's reaction to her and equally excited to tell  (Uncle) Chris about all the love.  I'm sure Uncle Chris is ready for his turn when we go to Miami in a few weeks. Don't worry Nin, you'll always have Boston! =)  (note to Uncle Chris, if there is birthday cake with candles involved, Colin is easily 'bought')

        Wednesday, October 13, 2010

        Preschool Progress

        I feel like the only thing I ever write about these days is preschool, but that is the major focus of Colin's life right now. If you are sick of reading about it stop reading now. Come back next week. 

        After the first week, Colin got less and less comfortable at preschool with each day. Culminating in a hour plus tear fest last week (in one day). He was crying when I dropped him off and would start crying again when I picked him up. It was as if he was so relieved to see me he burst forth with all the nervousness he was experiencing.  I spent two hours with the program director last week to discuss what was going on and how to help him (and me) make this adjustment.  After discussing many aspects of Colin's behavior the teacher mentioned that she thought Colin was showing some early signs of anxiety. While I hadn't really considered it with that label, it did make some sense. Certainly he was showing signs of separation anxiety, but we both felt that other things also made him anxious and dealing with those things without me magnifies the anxiety. So we decided that 'gradual immersion' would be a better approach than just 'get over it kid!'.  The plan was/ is for him to go for shorter periods of time more often until we can build his confidence. I also had to really make sure to keep my facial expressions bright and cheery. Previously if Colin got upset during the goodbye, I walked away with my back to him so he would see my face... not the right plan. At pickup I was also not monitoring my facial expression and when he started to falter I would put on the 'oh its okay' face which just reinforced that something was wrong. How many times do I have to learn that lesson??
        Day1 (of new plan):
        Colin and I arrived an half hour early so he could play before the other kids showed up (a source of anxiety) this backfired a little because he just screamed the entire time knowing I would leave soon. At 9:10 I left a very VERY upset Colin and did my best to make eye contact with him and smile . If you have never smiled at your child while they are screaming and crying for you, you have no idea how difficult that really is, particularly the first time you do it. The plan was for me to return at 10:10 and I was keeping in touch with his teacher so I could hopefully time it while he was happy and end on a 'good note'.  Well, he calmed down after 20 minutes (I should tell you I told him it would be a short day) and didn't get upset again so I returned at 10:30 to a happy kid. Once again I really had to keep my expression in check,  he looked like he would cry but I didn't let my face mirror his concern and he quickly lost the expression, and turned to show me what he made at school (a 'sillycrow' aka a 'scarecrow' that isn't scary). He was happy to leave but confident about coming back.
        This time we only came 5 minutes early. Colin basically whined and cried about going to school from the moment he woke up.  I was not feeling very brave myself and really fought my own emotions to keep a positive attitude. Again, he was crying the moment we walked in the room, but today I only stayed until 9:05 and by 9:10 he was happy. Unlike the week previous, he was no longer gaining and loosing control periodically. I got pictures and updates from the program director throughout the time he was there and he was happy the whole time, once he settled down. When I came to get him he was playing with play-dough and showed only a slight faltered expression but lost the expression as soon as it appeared. This time he didn't want to leave!!
        He is really showing signs of improvement in the classroom (including starting to interact with other kids). However there is some carry over at home. He is now really nervous about me leaving him alone even with just his dad! Sean usually puts him to bed and it has a bit of a struggle to pass him off the last few nights, and I'm only going to the living room!  I'm hoping as preschool improves more this will also get better. I'll update you on this weeks progress another time.
        I haven't uploaded our weekend pictures yet so I'll have to post them later. Besides that is a whole different post.

        Tuesday, October 5, 2010

        Lots to do...

        As usual my to-do list runneth over. I apologize for the lapse in posts. After week one, the novelty of pre-school wore off and we are attempting to deal with Colin's total melt-downs in my absence. I'm not really ready to talk about it until I am on the other side of the issue. We havn't had a weekend off in I don't remember how long and things aren't looking any better in the near future. We have trips planned to Boston and Miami and probably DC area over the next 6 weeks or so before we even get to the holiday season. I am still hoping to finish up with school by January.  If I make it through all this alive I'm going to sleep for a month.
        Here are a few random pictures from this past weekend at homecoming in CM to keep you interested. 

        Lauren and her friend Emma on their homecoming float (the winning one!)
         Katie during the halftime show at the football game
         Coming down.
         Sean and Colin watching the parade.
         The resulting 'sunburn' from being outside all afternoon on a sunny October day.

        We also watched Lauren's soccer game but my battery died at that point. I have some good video of it but I'm not uploading that tonight.