Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A summer for preschoolers

Well, here we are in the middle of the summer with a 2 year old and a 3 1/2 year old.  The name of the game these days is, how do we keep these ever-growing, ever-changing kiddos entertained and happy?

One of our favorite activities lately has been going to the library every 2nd or 3rd Tuesday for story/craft time.  Each week is a new theme and they get to listen to the librarians read 4-5 books about the theme alternated with fun children's songs in between and at the end, they get to make a related craft.  It lasts about an hour and keeps them occupied right up until we need to go home for lunch.  We also use this library trip to check out a new bunch of books to read.  The kids love choosing their own books, which is a pretty haphazard method of just randomly grabbing the first 5 or 6 that they each come across on the shelves.  They will occasionally look at the cover first, but usually, it's literally a luck of the draw what mix of books we'll end up with - they're all from the children's section, of course, but sometimes some of them are a bit strange, or too wordy, for a 2 or 3 year old to sit through.  But we give each one a fair shot, and if there are any really good ones, we'll usually re-check them out the next time, too.  We've actually bought them books that they first discovered at the library that they almost refused to turn in.  I guess we're making little readers out of them - yeah!

Another of our favorite activities is going to Palm Tree Playground, and we usually attend on Mommy and Me Tuesdays, because it's cheaper and they open earlier!  It's an indoor playground featuring a large climbing structure for older children and a fenced in baby play area for tots aged 3 and under.  Paul is big enough to crawl through the large climbing structure and Camille just enjoys running all around the place.  We usually alternate this with the library on most Tuesdays.

Occasionally, we'll do another activity from our Metairie Moms group, like play at the indoor Chick-Fil-A play area and eat breakfast or lunch there or go to a park, when it's not so hot outside, or go to one of the Audubon attractons - zoo, aquarium, insectarium.

It's so nice that the kids are at an age where they can both enjoy all of these activities and understand what's going on, as well as communicate what activities they like best, or don't like so much.

One of the things they really like to do is to go to Target and walk up and down the toy aisles checking out all of the toys.  They know we usually don't buy anything, and they are OK with that, and are usually very polite during this activity "Put this toy back please" "Get that toy please" "Go to another aisle?"  It's really fun if I know we have time to spare, which we usually do.  So, I just enjoy browsing and taking pictures of them having fun.

The big news of the summer is that Camille is POTTY TRAINED!  We began potty training the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, and spent the entire weekend locked up at home to initiate the potty training and since then she's only been in a diaper at bed time and underwear for the rest of the day.  Usually at naps, she's in underwear with no accident.  She's been doing absolutely amazing, especially considering she was potty trained before even turning two!  It took several weeks for her not to be afraid to go #2 on the potty, but she would reluctantly do it.  Now, it's no problem at all!  She now takes herself to the potty, for the most part, when she has to go and we don't have to escort her all the time, though she does need help wiping and washing her hands still.  But, overall, we've been extremely pleased and impressed with her quick progress.  It's already made our lives so much simpler, not having to take diapers everywhere, and knowing that she will likely not have an accident as long as we potty right before leaving the house.

Paul is our little superhero these days.  His favorites right now are Spiderman and Thor.  He will "shoot webs" from his wrist like Spiderman and he likes to pretend he has a hammer like Thor. He's (and Camille) also been talking a lot more lately.  He can hold regular conversations, but we still aren't always clear on his pronunciation of certain words and it takes us a while sometimes to figure out what he's saying.  But, the difference in this time last year, when he was barely talking at all, and one year later, is remarkable.

Paul, Camille and I are still all going to school together on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  It's been fun to be there and get to see them during the day.  They have both been doing extremely well at school and seem to really enjoy their time there.  The cutest thing is that when both of their classes are on the playground together, Paul and Camille can usually be found swinging next to each other on the swings, or maybe even playing "Ring Around the Rosy" together.  It's really sweet how they stick by each other.

That leads me to mention that whenever we are anywhere in public and Camille starts to stray too far, Paul has an absolute fit yelling to Camille and telling her to come back.  He absolutely hates when he isn't close enough to hold her hand.  It's so sweet that he's already so protective of her.  I think it'll really serve her well when she's old enough to have to start fending off the boys.  Paul will be right there for her.

About 3 months ago, we started doing little chore charts with the kids.  Each week, there's a new chart that they can earn stickers on, and at the end of the week, we count up the stickers and that's how much allowance they get (30 stickers = 30 cents).  The chores/activities range from brushing teeth to helping with laundry or unloading dishes to feeding Mandy to cleaning up their room or putting their dirty clothes in the hamper.  They seem to really have taken to this and are more willing to help around the house when they know it equals a star sticker that they get to add to the chart, which will translate to money on Saturdays.  They love being able to put a pile of coins in their piggy bank at the end of the week.  There's also a separate chart for "Gentle Hands".  There are 25 total spaces and each day that they have gentle hands ALL DAY, they get a sticker for the chart.  This one usually takes them about a month or a little longer to fill up and at the end of that time, they get a special prize - a new toy that Mommy or Daddy has picked out (usually a great Target clearance deal).  They are totally in to this, and it seems to have helped some with being gentle with one another.

Well, I'll try and update again soon, since it's been too long in between since the last blog.  But, for now, good night and happy summer!

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