You are three-and-a-half today, which seems about right since it seems like forever ago we celebrated your third birthday. I read back over your three year blog post and not a TON has changed in the past six months but I'm going to write you a blog post anyway. Aren't you so lucky?
One thing I love about you? How outgoing, social, and interactive you are with other kids. Did I ever tell you that your daddy was painfully shy as a little kid? We are really happy to see you are more like me in this way, because you do not hesitate to walk up to a group of kids you don't know at the playground and ask them, 'Can I help you build that?' Or sometimes you will ask me, 'Mommy, can I go and play with those kids there?' You seem to love older kids and especially girls in the 10+ year range. It's fun for me to see you interact and share and converse with other kids and most of the time they respond well to 'the new kid who just barged into our game'. Never lose that social aspect of your personality, Truman. You have a charisma that I hope sticks with you throughout childhood and beyond.
At the same time, you can be a little bit shy at times. You will usually ask me to 'Tell them my name, mommy,' if I'm talking to someone you don't know. And if someone asks you how old you are, you will hold up your fingers but you don't like to speak on command too often. At least not to strangers, which I suppose is a good thing. You really don't like to be 'forced' into giving a goodbye hug to a friend, and if we are Face-timing with GoGo and PoPo you usually clam up and won't talk much. But if someone isn't paying attention to you, you will take initiative to strike up a conversation all on your own. Kind of interesting, and maybe that has something to do with you not liking to be 'on the spot' or having to perform? Who knows.
You are pretty athletic already, though, so I have a feeling we will be watching you perform for years to come. Daddy bought you a real golf club and apparently you swing the club and baseball bats as a leftie! You can make awesome contact with golf balls, baseballs, soccer balls, etc and you love to run around and race whoever will oblige your wishes. Sometimes you will ask me, 'Wanna see how fast I am, mommy?' inside the house and you will sprint away from me with a determined look on your sweet face. Your dad and I are really excited to see you play sports but we promise not to push them on you, since we were both high-school (has been) athletes. I just think you are going to like the concept of competing in team sports so I hope I get my mini-van soon to complete the persona of a soccer mom;)
In other 'motor skill' news, you can get yourself dressed and undressed except for your tops. I don't know what it is about shirts but you still get so frustrated with all of those holes. But pants and undies and shoes are no problem anymore so I know the upper body dressing will come soon enough (love that therapy talk, my fellow PT/OTs?)
Now you are brave enough to climb up some of the biggest ladders and biggest slides on the playground---something you weren't doing at the beginning of the summer. You will climb in and out of the bath tub for me too, and when I tell you to be careful, you tell me,' I'm always careful, mommy.' And often you will tell me, 'I have great balance, you know.' Ha! True, except for the times you totally bite it on our driveway and then every teeny scrape is a catastrophe that requires a bandaid and a kiss from mommy. You also like to tell me, 'I almost fell but I catched myself, mommy.' I try to correct your mixed-up verb tenses but mostly I find it very amusing how certain words get interchanged.
Like 'Colorado' is 'avocado' to you. A 'raisin' is a 'raspberry' nearly every time. Your 'L' and 'R' sounds are a little wonky, because the word 'little' is still coming out like 'yittle' and your friend Charlotte is 'Char-yit' and Lori is 'Yor-wi'. Henry is 'Hen-wee' but not every R is weird, because Erin is Erin...so who knows. It's just one of those quirks about how you talk that I'm sure will straighten out over time.
But back to the motor stuff: one place you will NOT climb? You have never once climbed out of your bed and wandered around our house. This is shocking to me when I really think about it and I know most readers will never believe this, sort of like how you have never once worn a pull up because when we put on your big boy undies last year we never once looked back. Shocking and NOT normal, I know! But if you have to pee in the middle of the night or if you want to wake up for the day you will always call me or your dad into your room. Then we will either lift you out of bed or tell you that it's okay to do it alone. I hope this never changes and although sometimes I'm lazy and wish you would just get yourself out of bed in the mornings, I don't want to start 'allowing' you to do that because then you could be anywhere at anytime! And at least now when you want to sleep in bed with us, you call for us and ask first. Totally different ball game when you just decide to get up on your own!
I feel like this aspect of your personality really highlights the fact that you are well-behaved and like to follow the rules most of the time. You are still pretty cautious, an observer, and sometimes you like to tattle on your sister or on other kids at daycare. My little brown-noser/rule-follower. ;) Wherever did you get that?
You are sleeping in your bed again after a few weird months of sleeping on your rug at night. Half of the time you will sleep all the way through from 9pm until 6:15am when your Tot Clock turns yellow, but the other half of the time in the past few months you've been waking up at least once in the night. Most times you will call out for daddy to tuck you in, sometimes you will ask me to sing you a song, and other times you just say you are too scared to sleep in your room and you beg us to take you to ours. Sigh. We are giving you FOUR rocks if you make it through the night now. Hoping we get back to that being our norm each and every night. Why is sleep such an issue in this house always?
You are still napping and will go 3+ hours if we let you. I tend to need that break in the day and with our busy summer days I usually do let you nap from about 1-4pm when we are home. That means you could easily stay up until 10pm or later but we usually have you in bed by 9pm. I bet you could go without a nap and then have an earlier bedtime (and maybe sleep better at night?) but you really do wear out by 1pm, especially since you are ALWAYS up about 6am. You still need that rest time for sure and since you are falling asleep and staying there for 3 hours, I feel like your body needs that. There were a few times this summer when you woke up in the middle of the night, got to sleep with us, and then you slept until nearly 8am. This always happened on a work day, of course;) Otherwise you are still a 6am riser.
You are tall as can be, usually matching up to a lot of the four year olds we will see at the pool or playgrounds. I haven't measured you lately but I know you must have grown in the past six months because you just look longer to me. Still wearing mostly 4T bottoms and 5T tops, which is crazy because your diet is pretty pathetic.
Food is basically the biggest battle we have with you right now, Truman. You used to be a stellar eater at home but especially at Lori's, and now? It's your 'thing' to give Lori trouble about nearly every item she serves and we are struggling to get you eating more than about four kinds of foods here, too. We are working on it, and hopefully the worst is behind us now that you know you have to at least TRY everything on your plate. If you don't like it, fine, but claiming that you dislike foods before they ever touch your mouth? No. I don't want to create a lifelong food issue for you but you cannot survive on granola bars alone, my child. You are even stubborn enough that when we say 'you eat this for dinner or nothing else until breakfast' you will just not eat anything. I worry about you withering away to nothing, so we are teaching you to try new foods and you aren't even gagging on most of them;) Progress, but I hope you really improve even more in this area by your next birthday, buddy.
Disciplining you really isn't too awful most days because you do listen to us most of the time;) Time outs work well, as does a stern mention of consequences. 'Truman, if you do not sit down at the table right now then there will be no TV before bed.' Not really 'bribery' per se, but removing a privilege definitely does work for you. We reserve time outs for more serious offenses like knocking your sister down or pouring water on her head for no reason--which are two of the time-outs you just received tonight. I suppose most of your time-outs stem from interactions with your sister but you are gentle and patient with her 95% of the time.
Watching you with your little sister is one of the best parts of these little kid years, T. You are so helpful with Cecelia, grabbing me a diaper, or reaching into her crib to give her a pacifier (against the 'rules' but still cute to see you want to soothe her), or offering her a toy that you think she would like....all of these sweet little details in your day as a big brother do not go unnoticed, buddy. Your sister asks for you whenever you are sleeping and she is awake and I can tell she just adores you. You do NOT like it when sissy gets hurt or if she is fussing. You don't mind if she wants to play with you and your friends right now but you do get pretty annoyed when she tears up a train track or tries to steal your food. Thank you for being her protector and being patient with her. Your personality is the perfect match for hers and I truly believe you two will be great friends in life.
Even though you won't start 4K until next year, you are already learning so much. You love books and can recite a few from memory: Train Trip and Brown Bear, Brown Bear are two that come to mind. You can count to twenty including number 'eleven-teen' which is always seventeen;) You can correctly identify all of the letters in the alphabet, sometimes mixing up letters G and J but you nail the others. I didn't know you could do this until the other night, when we read an alphabet animals book and I feel like this must be a new thing for you. You can write your first name as long as I model all of the letters except for 'T'--that one has always been your favorite. But you really aren't into practicing letters much and usually last about 2 minutes before moving onto something else.
You still love to play with your trains but it's nowhere near the obsession you had last year at this time. But it's interesting to see you 'play trains' alone now because you are so good at imaginative play. I love to hear the complex stories of each train and their challenges in life (i.e. Gordon and his inability to help his friends, or Percy and his pesky slow pistons). You taught me something new this month about trains, by the way. When describing the train you wanted me to bring up to your bedroom, you told me 'any metal train that has a tender'. 'WTF is a tender?' I wanted to ask. You were pretty annoyed with me for not knowing this, and apparently your daddy knew what a tender was---a little cart that carries coal for the train, I think. Sometimes you latch onto a new word or concept like that and I'm always amazed at how much information you soak in each day.
I have to watch what I say because you are getting to that 'sponge' phase, and will repeat us on things we never knew you heard. 'Do my feet reek?' you asked me the other day. Which, yes, they sometimes do. But I guess I use the word 'reek' more than I thought---had never heard you say that one before.
I'm sure you learn a lot of random facts from TV, which is fine because you really only watch educational shows right now and so I don't think it's rotting your brain yet. Some of your fave shows right now include: The Magic School Bus, Peep and the Big Wide World, Super Why, Color Crew, Dinosaur Train, Daniel Tiger, Sesame Street and still mister Thomas the Train. We don't have cable anymore so Netflix and PBS Kids are the ways you get your screen time, hence the rather odd combo of shows up there. Oh, and this month you saw your first movie in the theatre! You and your dad saw Despicable Me 2 after riding a city bus to the mall for this adventure....which means you filled up your rock jar again, buddy! You were a little scared of the dark theatre at first but after sitting on daddy's lap and devouring an entire popcorn container by yourself (you didn't want to share one with daddy and told him you each needed your own), you ended up loving it. 'That was a VERY long movie, mommy,' you inform me frequently. Although you love your TV you really don't focus on it for more than a few minutes at a time.
Wow, I guess I had a lot to say in an attempt to capture the essence of my T-man, buddy. Still not sure I really caught all of the amazing things about you. But the bottom line is that you are one special little dude and we love watching you become even more of Truman each day.
We love you so much, Truman. At 3.5 and always.
(photo by Andrea)