Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rylan at 2 1/2 years old

On Saturday, Rylan was halfway through his third year and it is so cliched, but I am amazed at how quickly time has flown and how my chubby baby has grown into such an active talkative, big boy. I warn you, that unless you are a grandparent, this post may bore you, but I wanted to keep a record of my memories of Rylan, his great qualities and our challenges with him at this age.
I was looking through dozens of video clips from our old website last night and got a little misty eyed watching so many of his "firsts" caught on tape; rolling over, crawling, taking his first steps, and hearing his squeals and babbles gradually morph into intelligible words. In one video, we were laughing at Rylan's newest antics when he was about 8 or 9 months old. Charlton was resting on the floor and Rylan was slowly and clumsily climbing up and over his back. Little did we know that was a foreshadowing of things to come. Now about 1 1/2 years later and 10 lbs heavier, one of Rylan's favorite actviities is wrestling with his dad. Rylan will even tell Charlton to lay down on the floor so he can launch himself full-force and tackle his poor father. He also loves to stand on the couch, arms spread wide, shouting "to infinity and beyond" and fall forward into Charlton's waiting arms. He never gets tired of playing rough with dad, and Charlton is such a great sport about it. I, on the other hand, excuse myself from wrestling duties. I am much happier to oblige when Rylan asks, "Mommy, I need hold you," or "Mom, I need cuddle time."
This winter has been a challenge with Rylan, with adjustments to a new baby sister and having to be cooped up inside so much because of the weather. I have been reading, well actually re-reading, Love and Logic and it has been super helpful these past few weeks. The first time I read it, Rylan was a baby, and I couldn't imagine ever needing to discipline my perfectly sweet child. Haha! How the toddler years have changed that. I definitely needed a refresher. For most of Rylan's life we have dealt with his hitting whenever he gets hurt, frustrated, or just doesn't like being told "no." Finally, we seem to be making some progress in this area, but this creative child has just come up with other ways to express his anger, most recently, spitting. There are times when I have told him "no" and he will glare back at me with a look that can kill. The main thing we are trying to do is be consistent with our discipline and I have been praying a lot. Some days are discouraging, but I do believe we will weather this stage just fine. Someday I believe Rylan's strength and determination will be a great asset.
Rylan also can be very loving and kind, especially to his sister. He does get jealous sometimes when we pay attention to her, but mostly he smothers her with hugs and kisses. He likes to tickle her and make her laugh, wipe her chin when she drools, and even hand her some toys, as long as they are not his! She gazes at him with such adoration, it is really neat to watch.
A couple of times this month, Rylan has fallen down or off some equipment at the playground. I thought he might want to take a break, but he looked at me and said, "I try again, mom." He loves to climb and explore, throw rocks in the creek, and swing as high and fast as possible. He also likes the toys that spin and make him dizzy. We have made a few good friends that are Rylan's age and he talks about going places with them and seeing them at church. He rarely cries anymore at the nursery, in fact, he says "goodbye, mom, have a great time," even as we drive into the parking lot. He gets along great with his friends, but gets overwhelmed in big, loud groups of kids. I guess I can't blame him for that. We enjoy going for walks, especially if we are not in a hurry. Walking with a toddler is a total exercise in patience. I have given up on walking with him to get fit, and we just investigate every rock, flower, and creature in our path. He likes to do things "like a big boy" especially washing his hands and climbing in the car. Nothing thrills him more than sneaking into the driver's seat so he can turn all the knobs and push all my buttons. Coming a close second to driving the car is, surprisingly, washing dishes! He absolutely loves to stand on a chair in front of my sink and play in the suds.
I can understand almost everything Rylan says now and his sentences just keep geting longer as his vocabulary expands. Almost every morning, he asks me, "What are we doing today?" His memory amazes me, too as he has started to "read" back parts of books that we read frequently. He also remembers and sings parts of songs like "Amazing Grace." He knows the alphabet song, but sometimes gets parts out of order. Charlton got him some alphabet flash cards and he can identify about four or five letters. He has also learned the shapes of our wooden blocks, triangle, rectangle, square, etc. You can tell his parents love nature because he can name species of animals, robin, owl, duck, etc. instead of just bird, and one of his favorite shows to watch with us is Surviorman. Sometimes Rylan will play make-believe with me and it is fun to join in with him. Other times he is very literal and if you ask him if he is pretending to be Buzz Lightyear, he will reply, "No, I'm Rylan." I have started asking him his favorite and not-so-favorite parts of each day and he enjoys telling me exactly what he likes and dislikes. In fact, lately instead of saying "no", he says "no, ganks (no,thanks)!" I wonder if he thinks that being polite will change my mind, even on things that are non-negotiable!
Almost every day, he makes me laugh with his cute sayings or actions. We were waiting at the drive-through pharmacy the other day and I was talking to the technician on the speaker. From the back of the car, this little voice pipes out, "I would like french fries, please."
Well, right now my mind can't think of anything else to add about Rylan. If you have read to the end of this post, then bless your heart and I hope you weren't bored to death. Come back in six months for the three-year old Rylan update!

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