Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tot School

As Spring faded into Summer I found that Christopher and I were bored. He was acting up too much, melting down too often, I let him watch one too many episodes of Dora and we were still struggling with potty training. After receiving some really good advice from my sister-in-law Laura and her sister Caroline (a.k.a. 2p), I began what I will hence forth call "Tot School". Basically, I create fun, inexpensive activities for Christopher. I change it up everyday, so he never gets bored. In fact, he begs me to do "activities" before I am even ready for the day. I get most of my ideas from Carisa's "Tot School" Blog. www.1plus1plus1equals1.com
Our days run a bit more structured and go something like this:
**Give Lilly her morning nap
**While Lilly naps we do Tot School. I lay out three trays, each with their own theme (cutting, gluing, sorting, pouring, lacing, etc) which I put together the night before. I supervise from the kitchen as I tidy up breakfast. This way he is as independent as possible, but I am still within reach to avoid complete disaster. When he is finished one tray, he puts all related materials on said tray and returns it to the shelf. Then he can move to the next tray. This has helped tremendously with neatness and his sense of order, as well as obedience. When trays are exhausted, I put them away. I have a closet full of random goodies to keep this Tot School interesting.
**Then we go about the morning as usual, sometimes heading out when Lilly wakes up.
**After a 1pm nap, I usually have another activity set up, like music, painting or just playing in the pool.
**Before you know it, its dinner and bed time.
What I have noticed since starting this routine is a much happier, more independent Christopher. He has been going potty all by himself, without many, if any, reminders. He hasn't had an accident in 3 weeks! This in and of itself is HUGE! He hasn't had any time outs. He is listening the first time I speak to him. There is alot less whining. He is just a pleasure to be around. I also bought him a stool so he can wash his own hands, and help at the kitchen counter. I have also labeled his dresser drawers with pictures of their contents. Now he can dress himself every morning. Which he does wonderfully, even if his underwear is on backwards 50% of the time!
Christopher counts using 1:1 correspondence. Each time he counts a butterfly, he covers it up with a foam shape. The cards were in a Hungry Caterpillar tot pack I made.

First time using "tweezers" as he likes to call them. He really liked this activity. The muffin tin gives him a place to put each pom-pom.

Second time using scissors. He could cut all day long. I am surprised at how good he is so early.

Looking at another tot pack. He likes these packets for about 15 minutes, then he moves on. The fan folded strip on the right side of picture asks to color each character and he followed the directions. Its the most he has colored in a long time.

First official time using scissors. We made a picture by cutting out different shapes. He loved this. He is still displaying the picture randomly throughout the day.

Christopher finally pedals a tricycle. I have exposed him to a trike at least once a week for a year now, but he never made one revolution with the pedals. He usually whined then dismounted the bike. He just wasn't ready for it. Then last week he hopped on Sophia's trike and without hesitation, started pedaling away! He has learned so many skills these past weeks. I am truly amazed.


Christopher is very intrigued with Diego and Dora. He likes the whole map/backpack thing. So when Lulu bought him a Diego backpack, you can imagine what a huge hit it was. He wears it everywhere. There are so many random things he likes to stuff into the bag, like bowling pins for instance. (You never know when someone might what to go bowling on a whim.)

One morning as I lay in bed trying to wake up, I hear him rustling around in the kitchen. Its barely 7 am and this is how I find him. Just too darn cute.

A Big Month For Lilly

In the month since I last posted, Lilly has made many milestones. She is now crawling, and fast! She has three teeth and is working on her fourth. (She has her two bottom center, and the top left incisor. It looks like I will have another child with a Jack-o-lantern smile for Halloween.) She loves Patty-cake and claps her hands and makes the "roll it" sign. Anytime she hears music, me whistle or sing, she bobs and shakes her head as if dancing. She is very affectionate, biting me on the chin or nose while grabbing my face in a very possessive "hug". We are enjoying her more everyday. Christopher, however; well lets just say the honeymoon is over. Now he quickly tells me "Mommy, pick Lilly up" if she ever gets too close to his space. But Lilly adores her older brother already, and is always wanting to be near him, or more often, on top of him. She is constantly watching him and all the while has a smile on her face. She is downright fascinated with him.
This is taken just days before she started crawling.

Here she is playing with some noisy things in her crib.

A toothless grin... but not for long!