The Start of School

by Kristi Van Dyk in

I feel like my children started school today ... not because they are old enough yet (though I'm sure before I know it they will be), but because they seemingly grew overnight. I imagine that when it comes time for Kayleigh to enter pre-school, I'll look at her and wonder how she went from my 7 lbs 10 oz 20" long cutie pie to the little child I'm dropping off at her new classroom. So, it's that same image that I use when I look at the milestones that my children hit today, seemingly overnight. I'm serious. It was as if my babies weren't able to do these things yesterday and today, everything was functioning. Both of them checked off at least one important goal on my list of "next steps" for them. Kayleigh's goals: Kayleigh has 5 goals right now (1). Potty train (2). Get rid of the pacifier (3). Learn to count (by understanding number concepts, not just reciting) to 10 (4). Learn her colors and shapes by sight (again, not by memorization) (5). Learn to play independently.

This last goal is what we've really been focusing on lately. For all of her short life, my baby girl has been at my side. Even from the time she could crawl, she wanted to be nearby. If I wasn't in the room, she'd crawl to find me. She wanted to do exactly what I was doing, exactly when I was doing it. There was never a time when I could put her in a baby proofed playroom and let her explore. If I wasn't there, she didn't want to be. As an infant this was relatively harmless, as a toddler, it's a bit of a problem, especially when you consider that sometimes Benjamin needs snuggles, feeding, or to be put to bed. So, it's been my goal to help her learn to play, imaginatively, on her own. It's been largely unsuccessful ... until today ...

Kayleigh has always been one to tell us when she's ready for something. She simply stopped drinking from a bottle one morning, after stressing all morning about her lack of appetite, I tried a sippy cup. She inhaled her formula. Another morning she just looked a Matthew McCaunaghey (spelling is atrocious, I know) and crawled to his picture ... similarly, after many days of trying to help her walk, she simply took a few steps and grabbed the penguin singing Ice Ice Baby. Her crib was a thing of the past when she said she wanted to sleep in a big girl bed, the next night she was in it and never left. So, I don't know why I try to even teach her ... but ... we've been practicing alone time. She will play in the basement while I empty the laundry (simply around the corner) ... basically she always comes and finds me and says, "K help Momma. K hang clothes." Today, though, we were out on the swings. She is deep in thought and quite silent (a rarity for her). She looks at me and says, "Mommy, I go downstairs." "Okay, K, we can go downstairs. That means we're done swinging." "Yes. K downstairs. Momma upstairs. K downstairs by self." I clarified her statement and then brought her to her playroom. I figured it wouldn't last 5 minutes. I was wrong ... 5 turned to 10, 10 to 20 .. at 25 minutes, we had to leave and I called her up. She came up happily and off we went! Just like that ... independent play time achieved. Later on in the day, it was the same thing ... she asked for playtime by herself and she played for another 20 minutes alone. Great job, Kayleigh

Benjamin's goals: (1). Take 3 naps per day, at least 1 hour each (2). Continue putting himself down (Mommy snuggles him until he's drowsy, but he gets put down awake) (3). Continue extending time he is able to play in his exersaucer/Bumbo for neck and back strength (4). Work on floor mat time for rolling (which he is not the least bit interested in doing) (5). Keep working on tummy time (he still hates it and refuses to pick up his head, even though we know he's strong enough).

Ben's success: NAPPING!! Today he napped from 8:45 (this after he woke up at 7:30) until 10:00. He napped again from 1:00 - 3:30!!! And again from 4:50 until 6:15. He did all of the put downs on his own, without Mommy rocking him entirely to sleep :) ... He's a champ alright. We're working on the extra time in the saucer/Bumbo. It's usually cut short not because he's tired, but because he's puking ... always puking :) ... Soon, perhaps, his reflux will end.

Anyway, I'm one proud Mommy today. Let's see if we can consistently keep these success coming.