Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rylan is 3 1/2!

On Sunday the 18th, Rylan turned 3 1/2 years old. While he still loves to cuddle with me and keep his "bear-bear" close by, he is growing more mature and independent all the time.
As you can tell by the pictures, he also really likes hanging around in trees! He told me they are good places to be alone and think. I guess even a 3 1/2 year old needs some quiet time to himself. He also wanted to take his nap in the tree and took a lot of convincing to believe that idea wouldn't work.
This past week Rylan put his sandals on all by himself for the first time. He can take his bottoms off, but still needs help getting started with his shirts. We are still working on putting underwear, shorts, and socks on by himself. He is super reliable with his potty-training now and very rarely has accidents. He can handle the "going pee" routine all by himself and just needs help with getting on his potty seat for #2. What a big difference from six months ago! I am working with him on staying dry during naps, which is mainly a function of whether I think I will have the time/energy to change sheets on his top bunk. Once he has better control during naps, we may tackle night-time, but I think that is still a ways off. I am so thankful Rylan still takes his afternoon nap without any problem. Sometimes he stalls and stays up past his bedtime playing with toys in his bed, but he usually sleeps straight from about 8:00 pm to 6:30 or 7:00 am. He is more sensitive to noises and has more fears about the dark and likes to control as much as he possibly can about his bedtime routine and his environment.
Rylan is a pretty good eater. He always refuses green beans, but likes other vegetables and lots of fruits. Chicken nuggets and saucy pastas (ravioli and tortellini with tomato sauce) are some of his favorites for dinner.

He is curious and asks great questions, like today.
Rylan: What are those blue things? (Pointing to his feet.)
Me: Those are veins. They take your blood back to your heart.
Rylan: Oh, like pipes!

He can sing his ABC's and can recognize many letters by sight. He can count to ten easily. He amazes me by remembering the titles of library books we have only read once. When he really likes a book we will read it more often and he can often recite parts of the book.
I am working on writing and holding his pencil correctly, but he runs out of patience easily. I am pretty sure he is going to be right-handed. He does like to paint with watercolors and color with markers and has a longer attention span for that now.
Rylan thrives on routine and always wants to know what is going to happen next. Will we go somewhere after "big nap" (night-time) or "little nap" (afternoon nap)? Who is coming to our house today? He loves to hear stories about when he was a "little boy" or when we were younger.
Rylan makes friends easily and has buddies at the grocery, Mr. Tim in the deli department, and Target, Mr. Emory the photographer who took our pictures last Christmas. Ms. Yvonne, our neighbor, is still a favorite. He also has a tender spot for babies and small children although he doesn't contain his roughness with his own sister. Rylan also shows preferences for certain friends over others and I have noticed he will play more cooperatively with them. He loves to play "talking game" where we make the action figures talk to each other. When he watches a movie, Rylan will usually find the corresponding figures and play with them on the couch. He likes to play hide-and-seek, but usually gets so excited that he will pop out of his hiding place, giggling, before we find him. Not surprisingly, he also likes to wrestle with Dad and play chasing games, especially with Caroline.
Rylan does not like crowds, especially in unfamiliar places or with lots of strange people. Within moments, I can see a certain look in his eye and know that he is gearing up to hit or shove someone. I've also noticed he gets embarrassed easily and doesn't like anyone to look at him when he is hurt, unhappy, or crying.
We've struggled with some behavior issues lately. I hope it is just another phase and we won't be in this rough place for long. Many days I have stop and take deep breaths to keep from losing my patience. He is doing crazy things like purposely making huge messes with his toys, spitting his juice on the carpet, and unrolling a whole roll of toilet paper on the bathroom floor (that one was an "accident" he said). It is hard not to be frustrated when I know he knows better. I don't want to reinforce the bad behavior with the attention that he craves or be too hard on him for normal childish boy behavior. I am cracking down on his whining and demanding attitude, which I think I have let him get away with for too long. He also continues to be too rough with Caroline. I get exhausted constantly refereeing the two of them and listening to Caroline squeal all the time when he hits, sits on her, or pushes her down. No discipline seems to be working really well, and lately I have started to make Rylan play by himself in his room when he chooses not to play nicely with his sister.
On a more positive note, I have been praying with Rylan in a specific way before bed each night. We think of something to be thankful for, something to ask God's help for, and something to tell God we are sorry for. In the beginning, I had to prompt Rylan and give him ideas for his prayers. Lately, he has been taking more initiative and even recognizing behaviors he needs to apologize for, during the day, without any prompting. That has been encouraging to me. I also deliberately try to catch him in the act of good behavior and praise him for that. Some days that is much harder than others, but he really blossoms with the praise.
Motherhood is so tough and has been driving me to my knees more often lately. Many days I wonder if I am failing my kids big time and allowing them to be little terrors! It is so hard to be consistent and I desperately need wisdom and patience. Thankfully I know God is faithful. He loves my kids even more than I do and I know He won't abandon me in this wonderful and overwhelming job.
I'll leave you with a sweet story. I gave Rylan a peck on the cheek before nap one afternoon. He turned his head and pointed to the other cheek, saying, "Mom, this cheek is sad. It needs a kiss, too." How could I resist?

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