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Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Thomas the Tank Engine ride and show both scared and intrigued Jack. He never quite relaxed.

Posted by Doug at 7:42 PM

Monday, March 10, 2008

Helping Dad in the Garden.

Posted by Doug at 10:43 PM

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jack missed Childcare for all of last week –sick with a horse voice and hacking cough. He handled it reasonably well – but Al was justifiably tired by the end of it. Grandma Q came down twice to care for him, meaning we only ended up missing half a day’s work each.

The reduced dummy use has worked well – Jack doesn’t even seem to ask for it now.

His testing behaviour continues – although it ebbs and flows. We have tried various punishments once – corner time, bed time, no computer, which he did not react well too. As horrible as it is to say – we have only have to subsequently threaten him with them to moderate his behaviour.

The trick is not using the threats too often, and of course ensuring you follow through if you need to. Actually, the trick is probably not to use threats in the first place…

We still try using the distraction method where possible – and find it works the best. It just requires a level of creativity that we are not always capable of in the heat of the moment. We were having trouble getting Jack to come to the table at Meal time – so now we get him to set the table for us, which helps. We were having trouble getting Jack to open his mouth to brush his teeth – but since his Grandma Q suggested he “Open his mouth like a Whale”, he’s been enthusiastically doing that since.

Posted by Doug at 10:43 PM

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The other day Jack called out from upstairs

“Dad – are you down the stairs?”

“Yes Jack – are you up the stairs?”

There was a slight pause, then Jack responded.

“No – I am on the stairs, coming down with Mummy.”

His comprehension and logic keeps amazing us.

We were watching a small diesel locomotive this morning moving carriages around – part of the Puffing Billy Collection. We were asking Jack questions about it, including what numbers were written on its side. He looked and said “D Two One”, and then before we could ask he continued with “oohh look – Eleven on the Carriage”.

While he knows his colours, alphabet and numbers up to around 25 – his responses today reminded us that he is actually reading things around him “in real life”. He seems to get that concept, so we will have to start working more on his general word recognition. He knows his own name, and the words Mum and Dad. I suspect we will find him familiar with other words - just that we hadn't noticed as yet..

Posted by Doug at 10:35 PM

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Jack’s last baby tooth has cut. Unless it is sucked back into the gum for a second round, we should only have a few more weeks of teething angst. Jack is again hard work and is out of sorts. He is frequently asking to go “up to mummy”, even when he is already on her lap or in her arms.

While the timing wasn’t ideal, we are also starting the process of dropping Jack’s mid day sleep. He was going to bed later and later at night, leaving Al frazzled and without much downtime. Jack is quite enthused about this change – although on busier days we force him to have a nap anyway. He gets over tired in the early evening, but drops off much quicker, and stays asleep much longer before demanding a transfer to his human mattress.

Posted by Doug at 9:10 PM

Monday, March 17, 2008

Once again it has been a very busy month - so it has taken me awhile to find time to do this update.

The main event for the month was a group holiday to Lake Hume with some Uni friends (10 adults and 8 kids in total). We enjoyed the opportunity to walk onto the Hume Wall, go to a Wildlife Park, Galleries, Lookouts and drives. It was great to catch up with our friends in a relaxed environment, and we enjoyed meals on the restaurant balcony and in our cottages together. Jack particularly enjoyed the group visit to a trout farm (his first ever fishing experience) and playing mini golf with his dad.

Another highlight was a ride on the Thomas the Tank Engine and watching the following Thomas show. Jack was suitably excited - but also scared earlier on during the ride, and with the loud noises. He now keeps asking to go to the 'train park' (located near Emerald Station), so he can watch Puffing Billy go past. We have also found a park with a lake frequented by ducks, so that is also becoming a regular weekend haunt. Jack was intrigued by putting long sticks in the water around the lake and saying we were 'fishing'. Jack also enjoyed the 'Zoo Twilight' Jazz session with attended with some of our friends.

Unfortunately the month has also been a particularly difficult one. Jack has been out of sorts for much of it - between a bad cold and cough that is still lingering, and his last tooth coming through. He has also really amped up the 'terrible 2s' behaviour - screaming at top of his voice when not getting want he wants, more tantrums (including more in public), kicking and hitting us, deliberately doing what we tell him not to and so on. It has had me madly re-reading our baby books looking for strategies to try to avoid the bad behaviour (like trying to always give him some notice before moving from one activity to the next), and strategies to try once he is misbehaving.

Even with all the strategies and best intentions in the world, I have struggled more than usual to keep on top of things. I am not handling stress as well as I usually would, and am feeling worn down after months of difficult behaviour. We really hope things start to calm down after this last tooth is finally through. Speaking to the other mothers of kids at the same age, they all seem to be going through similar behaviour - so it is of some comfort to know it is normal and expected.

Summary of Jack at 32 months:

. Jack's current favourite pastime is building train tracks all around the house. We spend all day building it and then packing it away, then building a new one. He insists 'we work together' to build it (which is difficult for our backs).

. Jack's favourite soft toy is the bumble bee puppet that is used in music class. Bumble Bee now accompanies us on many excursions, participates in our play at home, and Jack has many 'conversations' with him. Jack’s latest Bob the Builder DVD has Bob's Dad in it. He refers to Bob as 'Bobby' - so now Jack refers to his toy Bob the Builder as Bobby. Bobby also participates in play and has conversations with us. We let Jack play with some tongs from the kitchen - which Jack refers to as 'Snapping One'. Snapping One is also involved in play and conversations, and is helping Jack's co-ordination skills with holding train tracks and other items. It is lovely to see Jack's imagination developing.

. It is interesting watching Jack's thought patterns and conversations become more complex. When we sit down to play he often starts by giving us a long monologue about all the steps he wants to happen, such as 'we build the train track and snapping one to help build it, and it will go all the way around the house, then we put the train on it and the train will go round and round then we will pack up the train track', etc. He has very specific ideas of what he wants to happen and is able to increasingly convey his ideas, but does get frustrated and upset if we don't fully understand and follow all the steps he has explained.

. Jack's dummy use has been confined to bed time and long car trips in the past month. He threw a couple tantrums in first week, and occasionally still whines or pleads for it, but on the whole it has been a much smoother transition than we were expecting. At the same time it is hard to know how much of his extra difficult behaviour this month could be attributed to not having the dummy to help calm himself down.

. Jack is starting to miss some day sleeps. I had been dreading it - given I enjoy the break, but it hasn't been as difficult as I had imagined. He is in a difficult transition stage. If he has a daytime sleep he takes ages to get to sleep at night (often 9-9:30pm) - which leaves me frazzled and with limited time to relax. If he doesn’t have a nap, he is a bit overtired by the end of the day – but promptly goes to sleep when he goes down around 7pm. He then seems to sleep more soundly and longer in his cot bed before waking to call for me, so I am enjoying this longer relaxation time. Dropping the day sleep is something we will continue to gradually introduce. I suspect the day will come (sooner rather than later) when he refuses to go down for a day sleep at all. I think he will still sleep during the day at childcare though for some time - since all the kids nap at the same time.

. Tooth number 20 is partly through. All teeth being fully through is a milestone I have been looking forward to for quite some time!

. Jack still barely participates in his music class (only does things if I 'help' him, although does seem to enjoy observing the class overall) - so I have finally decided it is time to finish it up. His last class was this week. I have found this term rather chaotic, so hopefully reducing our activities by 1, rescheduling to closer venues, and only doing 1 activity per day will make the remaining activities more enjoyable next term. His confidence has been down at swimming this term also (since they use different blue floaties and after the long summer break) so hopefully a longer 2nd term will help redevelop his confidence.

. Jack's counting continues to develop, and he can now count to 29 when he concentrates, and recognise written numbers. A new childcare worker remarked on how surprised and impressed she was with it.

Posted by Al at 8:42 PM

Friday, March 28, 2008

We have always been affectionate with Jack – lots of hugs, kisses and physical interaction. Due to Jack’s nature, and I hope in part our example, he has always been affectionate back to us.

I was surprised to find that the mechanics of affection actually involves some learning.

Jack’s early kisses for example would just involve lips mashed against your cheek with some force. Now they come with much more finesse.

Jack’s hugs were also originally closer to enthusiastic draping – arms thrown over your shoulders as he landed on you. Just lately however he has perfected them. Now he grips you in his little arms and hugs tightly – even throwing in the occasional pat on the back.

I would like to indulge with two examples from yesterday – so I can remember them in future.

When I picked up Jack from Childcare he noticed me walk in and loudly exclaimed “Oooo Jack ######’s Daddy is here”. He danced / skipped over to the nearest carer and said “Jack run to Daddy, Ok?” (They are not allowed to run inside normally.) When she nodded he came running. I bent down on one knee and Jack launched himself at me, wrapped his arms around my neck and gave me a huge hug. You could surely not ask for a better greeting.

On our way home I told him that his Mum had a sore head. When we arrived Jack gave his mum a hug, then grabbing fists full of her hair, forcefully yanked her head down so that he could kiss the top of it. He then asked “Sore head all better now mummy?”

Posted by Doug at 1:47 PM

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