Sunday, November 15, 2009

we made it to 3!

I had a couple of posts written before this one, but I had to make sure I got this one up soon! Well, I can say that this past year with a 2-year-old has been quite an adventure, but we made it!

Two is an amazing age. When I think that Josh has only been around for 24 to 36 months, I can't believe how much he's changed in that time! Last November, he was a toddler turning into a little kid. Now, he's a little kid saying that he's a "big kid". And believe me, that's not all he's saying! Josh thrived on communication this past year. When he first started talking, I wrote down all the funny little "Joshism's" that he used to say. Well, I can't keep up anymore! He loves to talk about everything! Most times we understand him, but sometimes, it can be very confusing and I feel bad when he's trying to say something to me and I don't understand! His pronounciation has really improved within the past year, though. He used to pronounce "r" as "w" and, most recently, his "l" is no longer "y".

I could go on and on with the list of changes I've seen in Josh over the past year, but here are the highlights:
- He can put on his shoes and take them off (velcro kind)
- He can undress and he can dress himself except for putting on pants
- Brushing teeth was a struggle last year, but now he will brush his bottom teeth well on his own and he will let us do his top teeth
- Mealtimes are still a stuggle getting him to sit down for the whole meal, but he sits in a big chair and he eats pretty much all the same stuff we eat
- He can draw lines and circles
- He loves to hang, climb, jump and he can walk the length of the balance beam, assisted, but without falling
- He learned to skate on BOB skates last January and now he's learning to skate on real skates
- He's in swim classes without us and he's progressing well. He's not doing things on his own yet, but he will float on his back, go underwater and blow bubbles and all the stuff the instructor teaches them.
- He goes to a "stomp" class without us and he loves dancing and hip hop
- He's not afraid to try new activities - he's been on waterslides, roller coasters and he loves it all
- He's starting to "socialize" with other kids his age. They can play together and they even talk to each other (and boss each other around!).
- He can be very protective and endearing with Avery these days. When she was an infant, he wasn't particularly interested in her, but now that she is 7 months old and more interactive, he loves to help me change her diaper and he always goes to her and tries to soothe her when she's crying. It's alot of fun watching them interact together!
- I think he understands the concept of family. Everytime he talks about us doing something as a group, he says, "Daddy, Mommy, Joshie, baby Avery and 'Kita". It's very cool to hear.

Of course, we have to take the bad with the good and this is where the "we made it" part comes in! Josh DEFINITELY went throught the terrible 2's. I'm so envious of the parents who say they never really had trouble with their child at 2!

Josh started out the 2's just by being very active! He always wanted to run around and wasn't afraid to be away from us, so we had to chase him down alot. At 2, he was still too young to understand "listening to us" but now, he is really good about "staying close" when we ask him to.

I think it helped that he developed the emotion of fear next. Last January, he started to say he was afraid of things and he actually started filtering what he watched on tv. Shows that he really enjoyed before (like Cars movie and Dora) all of a sudden had scary characters like Frank the combine and witches. He also started having bad dreams and waking up in the middle of the night because of it! All of this, I think, slowed him down a little and made him cautious in certain environments.

At around 2.5 years old, the REAL terrible 2's started. Josh started with hitting and pushing. Whenever he would get excited, he would hit or push. No amount of telling him it was bad could stop him! That phase has mostly passed but it evolved into growling, screaming, spitting and stomping. Honestly, I feel like a broken record when I tell him to stop doing something! Of course, this eventually leads to a time out, which I'm not sure is effective with Josh, but it's what we can do to calm him down, get him focused and calm ourselves down! And to top it all off, now I see a temper started to appear. Whenever Josh gets angry or frustrated, he wants to yell, hit and cry (hmmm...wonder where he gets that from?!).

I know that a switch will not automatically go off and he will be an angel when he turns 3, but I see more and more he is starting to understand when we explain things to him. Adn believe me, we are learning just as much as Josh is when it comes to parenting and dealing with a pre-schooler!

I could go on and on about all the experiences, good and bad, that we've been through with Josh this past year, but I better stop here! As hard as it's been dealing with the terrible 2's, I would not have changed a thing about the past year. I am still astounded by Josh everyday. I learn so much from him and he brings such joy to my heart. I find that many days, we'll just be playing I find that out of the blue, I have to tell him that I love him.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Joshie. I can't believe you're growing up so fast! We love you and we're so proud of you.

Josh and his birthday cupcakes, celebrating in Toronto last week

Josh got to celebrate with Big H and Little H while in Toronto (we missed the Sugi cousins!)

And then Josh got celebrate with his Van Dop cousins on his actual birthday!

indian summer

Obviously, I'm not talking about Vancouver. We were in Toronto last week for an impromptu trip to see my grandmother. I miss the Fall season. It used to be my favourite season growing up back east. Our recent trip made me realize again how much I missed it. We lucked out and had fabulous weather during our trip - a bit of an indian summer but not quite as warm.

Even still, Josh got to ride a bike around my parent's neighbourhood on 4 of the 7 days we were there. Since he really got the hang of actually pedalling a bike at the end of the summer here at home, it was a treat to see him go around the neighbourhood.

Josh rode his bike to a little neighbourhood park and the leaves were SO abundant and crisp, that they were calling us to play in them. Josh LOVED it. It's so hard in Vancouver to find a day where you can play in the leaves without them being wet and rotten, so it was really new for Josh. We even walked home through the "forest" around my parent's neighbourhood. When we visited in the summer, Josh didn't want to go in the forest because it was too scary. I guess all the trees made it pretty dark in there. But with all the leaves on the ground, the forest didn't seem quite so scary and Josh had a blast with Uncle Lenny and Auntie Tini looking for walking sticks.

We had a wonderful little visit to Toronto. I wish we could go more often...

Walking and riding to the park

A candid smile

Avery's first swing ride

Pure joy

Happiness is...playing in the leaves

Kicking them is just as much fun too!

Pile on Uncle Lenny!

More candid moments

Joshie's turn to be buried!

Now it's Avery's turn! NOT!

Since Josh couldn't immerse the stroller in leaves, he decided to throw them on Avery

Avery loves to be carried

Looking for walking sticks in the "forest"

Looks like Josh is alone in woods, but I think Auntie Tini is behind the tree...

Family out for a walk

Monday, November 2, 2009

shrek ruined it!

I'm not a big Hallowe'en person - I can't even recall the last time I dressed up! Wait a minute - I think it was in 1997 and I only did it because my roommate, Val, forced me to!

I remember, though, that I enjoyed Hallowe'en when I was a little kid. It was really the trick-or-treating that I liked and, let's face it, it was mostly about the candy. So, I want my kids to be able to experience Hallowe'en and though I don't decorate the house or anything, I'm hoping that there will be little things that make the day special for them.

I asked Josh what he wanted to dress up as for Hallowe'en this year. Though I don't think he understood the concept, he said he wanted to be Buzz Lightyear (we were in the Disney store, by the way). Unfortunately, there were no more Buzz Lightyear costumes in his size, so I just got him a Lightning McQueen costume from the movie Cars. It's kind of hard to make a costume for characters in a movie when all the characters are cars, but Disney made it a sort of "pit crew" kind of costume. Josh wasn't too excited about it because he had his heart set on Buzz Lightyear, but I got it anyway for lack of a better idea.

Anyway, we were invited to Josh's cousins house for Hallowe'en. I knew Josh would LOVE going trick-or-treating with his cousins, Brooke and Luke, so I figured this might make Hallowe'en a nice memorable event for him. Unfortunately, the most memorable parts for Josh were the Shrek monster that answered one of the doors and the loud fireworks that made him cover his ears and ask to be carried!

We arrived at the Shrek house about a dozen houses into our trick-or-treating. Up until that point, the kids were having a GREAT time! The 3 of them were going up to the houses all by themselves, ringing the doorbell or knocking and saying "trick or treat". I had to keep reminding Josh not to reach into the candy bowl to grab the treats; he was suppose to wait until it was given to him. I don't think he really ever grasped that concept, though!

At the Shrek house, a lady opened the door and the 3 kids said "trick or treat". Well, standing behind the lady, was a girl wearing a Shrek mask. She wasn't doing anything. Just standing there and staring at them. The 3 kids just stared back at the mask and then they started stepping backwards away from the door! They managed to stay long enough to get their candy, but Josh hightailed it so fast after that he almost fell down the stairs! After they came back down, Josh and Luke wanted to go home. When we said we were going to go to a few more houses, they insisted on holding their mommy's hands. And we had to walk up to every door with them after that! Josh kept saying he "did not like the mask" the rest of the night. All I could think was that he was going to have nightmares that night!

I think Josh's favourite part of Hallowe'en was the pumpkins. He's been talking non-stop about pumpkins since Nana bought him one that he painted. When they started appearing on people's doorsteps, he wanted to go up to every doorstep and look at them. Maybe we will carve a couple of pumpkins next year and hope that he'll focus on that and not the scary mask or the fireworks!

Here are some photo's that we took of the kids before they headed out for their trick-or-treating adventure...

Avery looked super cute as a lady bug!

Unfortunately, she wore her costume for all of 15 minutes while we took these photos. Then she went for a nap!

Josh as Lightning McQueen, Cole as a pirate, Luke as Spiderman, Avery as a lady bug, Brian as himself and Brooke as a princess

Josh loved his Lightning McQueen costume after he saw what he looked like with it on!

The 3 cousins ready to head out trick-or-treating.

Bri, Avy and Josh