Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy Half Birthday Z :)

Z turned 2 1/2 today! I know it may be strange but half birthdays are a BIG deal in my life ;) You see, I have a summer birthday which can be both a blessing and a curse :) Year after year in elementary school I watched children bring in treats on their birthdays and wished that I had a birthday during the school year so that I could do the same. One year we had a teacher who celebrated all of the summer birthdays on one day but for the most part, the summer birthdays were often forgotten :(

Eventually I discovered my 1/2 birthday and encouraged my mom to celebrate it with me (I share a birthday with my mom and my late maternal grandfather) . She didn't make too much of a big deal about the day but would wish me a 1/2 birthday and I might get a special dinner or a treat. Scott now tries to at least remember to wish me a "Happy 1/2 Birthday", although he sometimes needs reminding.

When I became a teacher, I vowed to make sure that all of my summer birthday children felt special. I sent home a note at the beginning of the year and let them all know that we would be celebrating their 1/2 birthdays and that they would have the option to bring in treats on that day. I also made sure that the children who shared birthdays had their own celebrations, so we would celebrate those children on different days. Birthdays were a big deal in my class....we sang a special song (in a special voice), ate special treats, had a small party and the birthday child got a special gift.

Because I taught at a year round school (early September- late July)....I actually got to celebrate my birthday during the school year! That first birthday was was during our field trip to the local park and my students brought in cupcakes, juice, balloons, gifts and many of their parents were there to celebrate with us. I was so touched by this wonderful first school birthday (and I was 25) was AWESOME!

So now it is Z's first 1/2 birthday. I don't plan on making a big deal about 1/2 birthdays until my children turn 2 1/2 :) I have made Z a 1/2 birthday cake (it is really 1/2 of a cake), we will sing to him during his special dinner and he will get his Thomas of the Month item at his "1/2 birthday party". I hope to make this a fun tradition with all of my children. I believe it is important to find reasons to celebrate everyday!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's March Madness

Last night my dad and I had Z fill out his first NCAA basketball bracket. He LOVES basketball and I thought it would be fun to see how he does with his picks. We would give him the two names of the teams competing (BYU or Texas A&M) and he would choose a team. When he did not give an answer we would go with, "Which letter do you like better B or T?" It took awhile but he made it through the entire bracket.

I just checked and some of his key teams have been eliminated (he tended to pick the underdog) but I thought I would share his final four (all still possible). Many people looked to President Obama's bracket when they made their choices....maybe Z will help to inspire some of you last minute folks with your brackets :)

Z's Final Four


Z's Final Two

(Z loves the letter M)

with Marquette winning it all :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Aruba with a Toddler was.....

AWESOME!!!!! We had such a great vacation and we are so sad to be back in the depressing world of cold and brown snow :( I have to admit that when I had to put Z's coat on for the first time this weekend, I cried! I know how ridiculous that sounds but it was so sad to leave our vacation and the beautiful weather behind!

Z was the perfect traveler! He listened (most of the time), was great on the plane, loved his life of building sand castles, swimming and playing and even did well in the restaurants (lollipops were our best friends here). It was great fun to vacation with my whole extended family and they were soooo helpful! S and I were so pleased with the entire trip and actually were quite surprised at how much relaxation time we each got! It was WONDERFUL :)

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Aruba and it was the perfect hotel for little ones. They have many beach huts (including one large beach hut) for perfect shady sandcastle building. They have a small shaded playground (with 3 slides) which Z owned the whole time we were there. The kids menu is extensive (and not too expensive) with foods like chicken fingers, string cheese, apple sauce, carrot sticks and even Kraft Mac and Cheese (in fact I ate off the kids menu for lunch most days) ;) The pool was the big hit and is perfect for little ones. It has a very large wading area (1/2 a foot deep) and there is even a large water slide! You have to be 42 inches to ride the water slide but they will let you sneak one or two rides a day with your toddler (S and Z rode together each day and he LOVED it!)

The rooms were also great! We had an adjoining room with my parents which was perfect for naps and early bedtimes. I highly recommend adjoining rooms because the balconies are only walk out so you will be napping with your child if you don't have an adjoining room. We requested a crib for Z and it came with full size baby soap, lotion, powder and wipes! We also requested a fridge because we had read online that they charge you BIG BUCKS for keeping things in the mini bar fridge!!! So they brought up a pretty decent size fridge and we stored all of Z's rice milk and other fun things that we bought at the local grocery store.

Z's typical day started off at about 7 AM :) He would snuggle in bed with us for a bit and then request to go and see his Neene and Chi Chi. We would open the common door and he would then run from room to room as we all prepared for the day. My dad was usually still down in line at the Towel Hut reserving our pool umbrella for the day (this process begins around 6:30 AM and according to my dad it is a very fun and social time ;)). Once the whole family was dressed and lathered up in sunscreen, it was off to breakfast. Most mornings we ate at the hotel and enjoyed their wonderful buffet. This was Z's big meal of the day and he hate his body weight in pancakes and waffles.

After breakfast it was off to build sandcastles. Z could dig for hours and this gave S and I a chance to relax! We would pull chaise lounges under the big beach hut and lounge as Z dug and dug in the sand :) A completely different vacation from last year where we spent the entire week chasing him! After sandcastles, we went for a swim in the pool and a trip or two down the water slide. Then came playground time (next to the Hyatt is a small playground which happens to be right on the beach and outside of a Dunkin Donuts....very convenient for mom and dad!!). Next we would have lunch poolside, one more dip in the pool and then Z would go off for his nap. S and I rotated who would sit inside with him and this gave the other person 2-3 hours of "ME" time. After nap we usually got ready for cocktails and dinner :) It was such a relaxing schedule!

Now that I have done both a cruise and a hotel vacation with my toddler....I would have to say that the hotel stay was a bit easier. We did love the cruise but the ships rule about no toddlers with swim diapers in the pool....was a very difficult one. We spent most of our time avoiding the pool deck and finding places on each island where Z could swim. This worked out fine and there was plenty of other things to do on the ship, however I do think the hotel stay was a lot more fun for Z ;) What more does a 2 year old want than to be able to play on a playground, dig in the sand and swim in a pool? He was in paradise!!!!

Thanks Mom and Dad for a week full of wonderful memories, love and FUN! We love you very much and think that this was the best family vacations yet!

Monday, March 9, 2009

"What Does Your Kid Think of You?"

This is one of the latest surveys traveling around the world of Facebook. I typically avoid these surveys (Okay I admit it I was one of the 5,000,000 people who got sucked into the "25 Random Things about Me"). One of the latest surveys asks you to ask your child questions and write them down exactly how they respond. Most people attempt this project with a child 3+...I thought it would be entertaining to try it with an almost 2 1/2 year old with a small attention span. Here is how it went (exactly).

1. What is something mom always says to you?
(as he was running and twirling around the room) "Weeeeeeeee...heee heee heee"

2. What makes mom happy?
(at this point he stopped running and twirling and had moved on to his slide) "Slides"

3. What makes mom sad?
(this question caused him to make a very fake sad face and pretend to cry) "Wahhhhhhaaaaaa"

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
(He zoomed down his slide) "Ha Ha....crash!"

5. What was your mom like as a child?
(Now onto the dangerous he was jumping he said..) "Mommy watch me! Mommy jump too???"

6. How old is your mom?
(He stopped jumping for this question) "1"

7. How tall is your mom?
(he started jumping again) "tall"

8. What is Mom's favorite thing to do?
(at this point he stopped jumping and had moved on to driving his race cars) "Lightning McQueen goes fast"

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
(stopped playing with cars and went to grab the paper I was reading from) "Z draw too??"

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
(moved on from trying to take my paper to his firetruck...stopped and looked at me puzzled, my guess is he didn't understand the question. I tried to clarify and I got this response) "Sam is the Hero Nextdoor"

11. What is your mom really good at?
(at this point he started playing with his bulldozers) "play trucks"

12. What is your mom not very good at?
(now he was ready for basketball) "mommy play basketball with me?"

s you can see, Z was not up to the task of answering these questions. He ignored all but a few and went from activity to activity just as he always does. Oh the life of a toddler :) And S wonders why I am so exhausted by the end of the day ;)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Who Is This Child???

Two weeks ago S and I took Z to get his haircut. My policy is to never go to the same place twice...this is due to the fact that I am usually so embarrassed and horrified by Z's behavior that I don't feel that I can show my face again. This time I decided to wait until the weekend and let S see how truly wonderful it is to go and get Z's haircut.

We walked into one of the many local Supercuts and all of the hairdressers smiled as we came in. They looked at Z all cute and sweet and thought...."oh, I'd like to cut that little cutie's hair". Little did they know what was about to happen!

This blonde lady called us over and S grabbed Z's hand. He immediately started crying, shouting "NO" and tried pulling S out the door. S was firm, picked him up, sat down in the chair and placed Z in his lap (per my instructions). I told the woman that Z would not like capes (for S or himself) and to please cut it as short as possible so that we didn't have to come back for another 3 months. I warned her that he was tough (she could already see this) and to do it as quickly as possible. I then told S to hold down his arms while I tried to talk sweetly to Z and calm him down.

Z screamed, sobbed, flailed, cried and reached out for was awful. The hairdresser was very timid and you could tell that she regretted calling Z's name. My advice....never have two parents bring a child to get their haircut. Having another parent as an option to cry and reach for, made this haircut even more difficult than the rest! The woman was weak, she struggled and S was not firm enough with was a disaster! I finally grabbed Z, sat down in the chair and firmly held him in place so she could get the job done. This lasted until I had to turn him and he started squirming so much that S had to take him back.

About 15 minutes later....we were done. Z's hair was AWFUL!!! We had already told him it was over and I didn't have the heart to ask her to fix the many things that needed fixing. His bangs were uneven, he had hair hanging over his ears, she had barely touched the top and the back was a mess! We paid the lady, didn't tip her much and left the store. I was almost in looked horrible. S told me we could fix it when we got home with his clippers. We tried but Z cried for us as well and we really couldn't do very much (we are not experts).

It is now two weeks later and Z's hair was so shaggy long again! We leave for our trip in a few days and I need him to look presentable. I asked a few friends where they take their children and I was given the name of two deals with children with sensory issues and Autism and so that sounded like the place for me.

I mentioned to Z that we would be going to get his haircut and told him that there would be a treat afterward :) We entered the barber shop and Z clung to my body. We sat down to wait and Z curled up as closely as he could, watching the women work. I pointed out the toy room (they have a TOY ROOM!!) and when he finally felt safe, he ran over and started playing with this helicopter. One woman finished up and came over to me. I explained how Z has a hard time getting his haircut and told her about our past experiences. She suggested I try putting a cape on now, go and pick him up and let him hold the helicopter. As I sat Z down in my lap, he did not tell me to take the cape off! He was fighting back tears but he clutched the helicopter and kept checking the hairdresser out in the mirror. She introduced herself, asked for a high five and called him "buddy". She joked with him, introduced him to "Mr. Tickle" (the clippers) and put them on his leg so he could feel the vibration....she was great! Z sat still, fighting back tears, but never screamed, kicked or sobbed! It was AMAZING! Eventually he got more comfortable and started chatting with her. They talked about Lightning McQueen, the trip to Aruba and the helicopter. It was soooo cute!

I have never been more proud of Z, he was wonderful! This was a big step in bravery for him and I am so appreciative for our new hairdresser! She was playful, kind, patient and very good at letting Z know what was going to happen next. She got a very big tip and I told her we would be back!

I hope we are turning a new leaf....he was pretty good during our last dentist and doctor visit and today was like a dream! My little boy is growing up and I am beaming from ear to ear!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

All I Want for Christmas is My One Front Tooth....

Let's hope that Z is not singing that song next Christmas!....after all he is only 2 1/2!!! Two weeks ago, my precious (and clumsy) son was jumping on his trampoline that he got for Christmas. I said to him, "Z please hold on to the bar or you will fall." He responded with, "Mommy me fall off and get hurt?" No sooner had he gotten the words out of his mouth but he fell and his two front teeth came down hard on the handle bar! They came down so hard that he bit through the foam handle and had paint from the metal on his tooth :(

There was blood everywhere!! I do not handle things with the mouth very well so I grabbed Z, a towel, boo boo bear (ice pack) and the phone. S had left about 20 minutes before and so he quickly turned around and rushed home. I sat Z down in front of the the TV and tried to get the bleeding to stop. It was very difficult to look into his mouth because he wanted to be held. So I did the only thing a mother could do.....I sobbed along with him (okay, not the smartest thing I have ever done but I felt so bad!).

S came in to find us sitting on the floor together (didn't want blood on the furniture). He tried to look into Z's mouth but he kept pulling away. The bleeding had not stopped and a tiny piece of his tooth (very tiny) was missing. S grabbed the phone and called the dentist and we were in the office an hour later.

Z hates the dentist (about as much as he hates the hairdresser and doctor) and screamed the whole visit. We pinned him down on top of S and the dentist got a good look at his tooth. He told us that it didn't appear to be loose (a good thing) but there was a very good chance that the tooth would change colors or get infected and have to come out. He put Z on a soft food diet for a week and told us he would see us in two weeks (Z's regular cleaning).

We just had his two week appointment this past weekend....the tooth is still not loose but it is gray! The doctor said that it is still too early to tell if the tooth will change back to white or if it will get worse and need to come out :( We have to continue to monitor it. I know it isn't the end of the world, it is just a baby tooth but I hate everything that has to do with the mouth! I can't imagine Z having to have his tooth removed???? They will have to sedate him (there is no other way to do it) and I will feel so was my idea to get the stupid trampoline (which he still uses multiple times a day).

So keep your fingers crossed that Z's tooth changes back to white! Because it will be a long 4 years without his front tooth :(