Saturday, October 16, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday, Rylan!

Rylan had a great birthday this past week and lots of fun at his party. Several times this week, he has asked me, "Am I still 4-years old? How much longer till I am five?" Slow down, little man, let's not rush this growing up thing. I also realized this birthdy would fill in the last birthday space of his baby book. There are two more pages for the start of school then he has officially outgrown the baby book. Boo hoo. How the time has flown.
If the past month or two are any indication of life with a 4-year old boy, I am liking it! Oh, he still has his whiny, demanding, bad attitude moments, but they are so much better than this summer.
These are a few things I would like to remember about him at this age.
Rylan has grown in so many ways this past year. When we went to the doctor for his 4-year check-up, he weighed 36 lbs. (50% percentile) and was 40 3/4 in. (75% percentile). As I expected, he was scared about his shots, but suprisingly still cooperative. I waited until the very last moment to tell him that bad news and I think that technique worked. He has been milking us for extra sympathy the past few days.
He is wearing size 4 tops and bottoms and looks like a lean, mean pre-schooler rather than a chunky toddler. I blink and I can imagine him as an athletic, school-age boy and I don't want him to grow up so fast. He is still a pretty good eater, especially with favorites; grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, quesadillas, pasta with marinara sauce and star soup.

This past year he has gone from just beginning to use the bathroom to being completely potty-trained, day-time, naps and night! I am so proud of him and love having just one child in diapers. Speaking of naps, I am also thankful Rylan loves to sleep like his mama does. Sometimes he even asks us to hurry and put him to bed after lunch. He isn't stalling quite as much at bedtime either which happens at 8:00. Caroline usually wakes him up before 7:00 each morning or I think he would be content to doze until later. Bear-bear now lives in Rylan' s bed full-time and so far he has been pretty cooperative with these attempts to decrease his thumb-sucking. He still asks for his special buddy when he doesn't feel well or is extra tired. I think it will be almost as hard on me to put bear-bear away for good when the time comes.

Just this week Rylan has been much better about letting me floss his teeth and he likes to help brush. I am doing my best to prevent any more cavities in those baby teeth. We ended up having to fix a cosmetic complication with his crown. A bubble burst in the resin after it was applied, leaving him with a small hole in the front of the tooth that collected a brown stain. If it wasn't so visible, I wouldn't have worried about it, but I really didn't want to have that hanging around for several more years. We were able to convince him to hold still for the fix so he wouldn't have to be sedated, but now Rylan definitely doesn't like the dentist now. I hope his bad memories will fade by the time of his next appointment. (Update: Rylan loves his dentist again! His dentist and pediatrician are in the same building, so after his shots on Friday, he asked to go upstairs and visit all the nice ladies at the dentist office. They fussed over him and gave both him and Caroline stuffed animals. I have also taken care of our dentists' babies in the NICU, so we have all kinds of connections with her.)

Rylan still gets frustrated easily with new or challenging tasks, but has finally conquered putting his shoes on by himself with fewer tantrums. We have been working on an "I can do it" attitude because he tends to want to give up easily. He is getting closer to being able to dress himself and can get himself undressed in no time flat. I realized he never had that "I can do it myself" attitude that so many toddlers get and since it was so much easier and faster for me to do things for him, I didn't push him to be as independent as I should have. It is an adjustment for both of us, but I love seeing the look on his face when I congratulate him for doing something like a big boy.

Rylan's gym class has been everything I hoped and then some. Rylan looks forward to going each week and talks positively about his teacher and classmates. His teacher has also worked on building his confidence and perseverance and we are seeing the results both in class and at home. Charlton told me last week, that Rylan was so literally attached to his teacher, Ms. E, that she once had to ask for her hand back! Rylan loves the parallel bars and since we don't have a set at home, he likes to hang on the tree limbs in our front yard. I also was shocked to catch him climbing on the front hood of my car the other day as I was putting Caroline in her car seat. I guess he wasn't ready to turn off his "climbing, jumping, running" switch after class.

Rylan still loves to read, even more than Caroline and likes a variety of books. He can recognize most of his letters and numbers and can count to ten and say his ABC's. Like most boys, he would rather be moving than sit and color pictures, so I have a hard time getting him to practice holding his pencil correctly. One of my goals for the new year is to set aside some time each day to work on his letters and build up those fine motor skills. Rylan is a thinker and loves to ask me questions about animals, our bodies, and the way life works. Sometimes all the questions are mind-numbing, like "Do bats eat wasps?" "What is inside of grapes?" "When is Grace going to come back from heaven?" and "Why do we call her Aunt Bethany? She is not an ant!" Sometimes it is just fun to get a glimpse into the curious mind of an almost 4-year old.

Rylan is getting more and more content to play independently, especially with his action figures and the forts he and Dad build for them. If only Caroline wouldn't pester him and constantly steal his "favorite" toy, he would have a great life. When she isn't driving him crazy, being a thief, or intruding on his "turf", Rylan is an excellent big brother to Caroline. He is protective of her, will translate when we don't understand what she is asking, and will alert us if she is getting herself into trouble. Rylan asked for her to sleep in his bed one night. He begged so sweetly that I gave in. After a few minutes of loud thumping and squealing, I heard him crying for me. Caroline had pulled both his night-lights off the walls and Rylan asked me to please put her back in her own bed!

Here are some things that Rylan loves: watching movies, M&M's, swinging on the "big boy" swings at the park (we gave up the baby swings this year), superheroes, wrestling with Dad, taking pictures with our old digital camera, bubble baths, lemonade at restaurants,...

And I love this sweet boy!

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