Thursday, April 24, 2008

Potty Training

That's right, it's the ever so enjoyable task of potty training. Jacob just turned 2 at the beginning of February so he might be a little young, but he's showed all the signs of being ready to train. He takes an interest in the potty, he sometimes tells us when he has to go, he will sit on the potty, etc. Danielle has off of work this week so she's keeping him out of daycare today and tomorrow so we can potty train him. Since Danielle is going to be away all day on Saturday I get to continue the training all by myself!!!! (That was meant to be sarcastic in case you couldn't tell). I know you're going to say why can't you do it by yourself if your wife is essentially doing it by herself today? And the answer is, I honestly don't really have an answer for you. I don't know what it is but I think I'd rather be doing ANYTHING else rather than trying to potty train Jacob all day long.

What have you done to potty train your child? Are there any "tricks" that you used? How long did it take? How old was your child when they were potty trained?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Daily Tantrum

I'm curious to know what everyone else does when their child whines or throws a tantrum when he doesn't get what he wants. I always try to tell Jacob that he's a big boy and that he needs to tell us what he wants rather than whine. The problem is, I don't think he really understands what I'm saying. Just this morning as Danielle was getting him ready for school he started crying and running in place because Danielle didn't zipper up his sweatshirt. I thought to myself, "are you kidding me?!?! This is what you're upset about?" I only figured out by sheer luck that he was upset because his sweatshirt wasn't zippered up.

Some help on this issue would be appreciated. What worked for you when your child went through this stage?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Here's Jacob...

I wanted that title to be a little Johnny Carson-esque.  Anyway, here's a recent picture of Jacob.  I've talked about him enough that I figure it's time to let everyone see what he actually looks like.  The answer to your question is yes...we're HUGE Rutgers fans so my son will be one as well.

Switching Daycare Centers

I mentioned in yesterday's posting that we'd decided to move Jacob to Tutor Time on his second birthday so let me explain the thought process behind the decision.

Danielle was a stay at home mom for the first 18 months of Jacob's life but because she finally had to return to work we obviously needed to find a daycare center for Jacob to attend. We looked at a lot of different places but ended up choosing Tender Years for a few different reasons. The first one was that a friends sister had sent all four of her kids (that's right....4 kids. I can't imagine having more than 2 let alone 4.) there and each one of them had loved it. Some of the other reasons were that there was some continuity with the teachers (one of his teachers had been there for almost 10 years) and the location of the the center was extremely close to our house.

Jacob dealt with the transition from being at home with mom to spending the day at daycare extremely well.  The first week was a little rough as he would cry when I would drop him off, but the teachers would pick him up and console him and after a minute or two, he would be completely fine.  He adjusted so well so quickly that he wouldn't want to leave when I came to pick him up.  

The classroom he was in ranged in age from 18 months to 3 years old.  It's a pretty big range of ages for the kids but at the time we thought that being around older kids would help Jacob a little faster.  We noticed a big change right away especially in his vocabulary.  Jacob being one of the younger ones in the class was great in the beginning but we thought that it might hold back his development a little as he got older.  At this point we decided to 'shop around' for another daycare center.  

Our good friends Adam and Rina have 2 children named Sydney and Sasha.  Sydney just turned 5 and Sasha is a few weeks older than Jacob.  They'd been using Tutor Time for a little while and highly recommended it.  Danielle and I took a trip to check out the facilities and we were very impressed.  Jacob's classroom would be made up of kids between the age of 2 and 2 1/2. When the kids turn 2 1/2, they are transitioned into the next classroom which runs until age 3. I'm not exactly sure what the range of ages are for the classes after 3 but I'm not too worried about it.  It was exactly what we were looking for.  

The ultimate decision to switch daycare centers was a very tough one because of how much Jacob loved going to Tender Years and how much Tender Years loved having Jacob.  In the end, we decided that the transition may be tough for Jacob at first but he'll fit right in in no time and the fact that he knew someone in the class already (Sasha) would make it all the more easier.

How have any of you dealt with the transition from home to daycare or from one daycare center to another?  Did you struggle with the same choices that we did? 

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Parent/Teacher Night

Jacob's only 2 so you can imagine my surprise when last week when I saw a sign-up sheet posted on the door of his classroom at Tutor Time for a time slot for parent/teacher conferences. I thought it was a joke. They have parent/teacher conferences for 2 year olds? What could they possibly tell us? That he's a great colorer?

Anyway, Danielle and I met with Jacob's teacher last night and I must say that I was actually really happy that the school had these meetings. It was great to hear that Jacob gets along so well with all the other kids, that he loves to dance, and color and especially paint. That last one was a little surprising to me since we've never painted with him before at home. He's also passing all of the milestones in the development of a normal 2 year old that Tutor Time has spelled out.

A quick back story. We moved Jacob to Tutor Time from a different daycare center on his second birthday for reasons that I'll get into in a later posting. Of course we were nervous since he absolutely loved his time at the old daycare center. We used to love it when he would tell us the names of all the kids in his class. We knew the move would be made easier by the fact that Jacob had a very good friend Sasha who would be in the same class with him. In the beginning, we asked the teachers to try to keep Jacob and Sasha together as much as possible to get him used to the new environment. The two of them would nap side by side or be seated next to each other at lunch. Whatever they did made it a lot easier on Jacob since it was a VERY smooth transition.

Danielle and I got a kick out of it last night when Jacob's teacher told us that during nap time, they have to put Jacob and Sasha on the opposite side of the room from each other because if they don't, the two of them will talk to each other the entire time. I found this especially funny since Jacob's sentences are normally filled with a lot of jibberish sprinkled with 4 or 5 normal words.

In the end, I was glad to have parent/teacher conferences. I wasn't expecting them for another 3 or 4 years when Jacob's in kindergarden, but it's always nice to hear good news about your child.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Multiple Kids

What a weekeend I had. My Saturday morning started off just like any other. Danielle (my wife for those who don't know) had a couple of doctors appointments to go to so it was going to be just Jacob and I from about 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. I had some errands to run and figured time would fly as Jacob and I zig zagged around getting things done.

All of a sudden things changed. At about 9:15 the phone rang and it was our friend Gwen who proceeded to tell Danielle that Harrison (their 1 1/2 year old son) had poked Glen (her husband) right in the eye the previous night and that Glen was in an extrutiating amount of pain and couldn't really see out of the eye. The asked if we'd be able to watch Harrison for a little while so they could run to the doctor's and find out what was wrong. Harrison's been to our house a bunch of times and he and Jacob have played together a lot so I didn't think anything of the request. "Of course" I said, "don't worry about a thing". 30 minutes later Gwen dropped him off and gave me only 2 warnings. First, he hadn't had a his dirty diaper yet (we're not talking #1 here) and second, don't feed him strawberries. I said that was fine with me while secretly hoping that Harrison didn't have any bodily explosions while on my watch.

Things started out fine. Jacob and Harrison were running around the first floor of our house playing without a problem. Soon after they both expressed the desire to go play downstairs so we took our little play date down one level. I popped in an Elmo DVD, sat on the couch and thought that things would be good for the next hour. Boy was I wrong. All of a sudden Harrison started to cry. I didn't know what was wrong. Was he hungry, thirsty, or did he finally realize that his parents weren't around? So I picked Harrison up and tried everything in my power to calm him down. I offered some Cheerios, juice, whatever I had. None of it worked. Of course Jacob wasn't too happy about the extra attention that Harrison was getting. Jacob started to give me his fake crying and wanted me to carry him as well. He wasn't having any of it when I tried to tell him that he was a "big boy" and that Harrison was a "little boy" who needed my help and that I couldn't carry the two of them at the same time. That only made Jacob cry more so now I did what any other parent would have done in the same situation...I walked around the house carrying 2 boys who were both crying in my ears. That lasted for all of about 2 minutes when I told Jacob I couldn't carry him anymore. I didn't care if he threw a tantrum, my arms were burning and I could barely hold one of them up let alone two.

This went on for about 1/2 hour when all of a sudden Harrison started to calm down. I put him in front of the TV and gave him all the toys we had to play with. I now gave Jacob a few seconds of attention when he now informed me that he wanted to go into the basement to play. Harrison's parents called to give me an update on Glen's situation and even with 2 screaming kids I told them not to worry that I had everything in control. No matter what I was going through I knew it probably didn't care to the amount of pain that Glen was in.

I situated myself on the top of the steps so I could watch both kids at the same time. I saw the clock said 11:00 and said to myself that I only needed to make it to 11:30 after which I could bring them upstairs and start to make lunch. Lucky for me there were no additional outbursts for the next 30 minutes. My plan was to make some grilled cheese for lunch for two reasons. One, its quick and two, I know Jacob will eat it. I quickly made the two sandwiches while both kids sat in their chairs quietly snacking on some Cheerios. It was the first bit of silence to make its way through the house in an hour and a half. I gave Jacob a few pieces of grilled cheese and he sat in his chair quietly stuffing his mouth. I cut up some smaller pieces for Harrison and put some on his plate. At first he wanted nothing to do with it. I said to myself "shit, this can't be good." If Harrison wasn't going to eat the grilled cheese I wasn't exactly sure what else I could've made. Pasta's easy, but would've taken at least 15 minutes. We were out of frozen chicken nuggets. "Shit, shit, shit" I said to myself. I tried to help things along and put a piece near Harrison's mouth. Still nothing. "Come on Harrison" I said to myself again, "you've gotta eat this". His mouth finally opened and he took a bite. It was like the parting of the Red Sea. I let out a HUGE sigh of relief. Harrison and Jacob both finished their sandwiches. "What else can I give them?" I thought to myself. I figured some fresh fruit would do the trick. I cut up some canteloupe and gave each of them their own bowl. I figured I had a free minute to clean up so that's exactly what I did. I turned around to quite a surprise. Harrison had pieces of canteloupe all over his body. This wasn't just like he had dropped the bowl and spilled some on his lap. He had individual pieces all up and down his arm, on his shoulders, and on his stomach. I thought to myself, "How in the world could the melon have gotten like that?". I tried to help Harrison out and feed it to him myself but all he did was suck on the melon and spit it out.

Since he wasn't really enjoying the melon I tried to give him some Minute rice. Pop one of these babies into the microwave for 60 seconds, add a little bit of Smart Balance, and you've got yourself a quick and healthy side dish. I put some in a bowl for Jacob and watch as he starts to go to town. Based on my recent experience with his eating habits, I didn't think Harrison was going to do this by himself so I tried to feed it to him. The first spoonful went in and about 99% of it ended up back on the plate. I wasn't sure if he didn't like it. My experience with Jacob has been that if he spits something out because he doesn't like it he won't let me get anywhere near his mouth with it a second time. So the only way to find out if he liked it or not was to offer it again. Again, he opened his mouth and again about 99% of it ened up back on the plate. I tried this 2 or 3 more times before finally giving up. Jacob seemed to be done with lunch so I made the executive decision that it was time to go upstairs, change some diapers, and put Jacob down for his afternoon nap.

I don't know if this is a common experience, but Jacob doesn't exactly sit still when I try to change his diaper. It's usually a struggle where Jacob cries, I try to hold him down with one hand, Jacob cries some more, I attempt to open the diaper with one hand which never goes well so I must relinquish my grip on Jacob. Of course he now rolls over and stands up so I've got to get him back down again which leads to more crying. The diaper gets changed, Jacob stands up, stops crying, and everything goes back to normal. This is my normal routine. Harrison was the complete opposite. He lied there looking at me and the ceiling while I changed his diaper. Not a peep. It was great. Thankfully, I didn't have to worry about changing a #2 dirty diaper. I don't know what it was. The thought of changing another childs poop kind of grossed me out. I have no problem touching Jacob's poop or snot or whatever else he should excrete from his body but I got the icky feeling when the prospect of Harrison's poop crossed my mind.

Now it was Jacob's turn. Jacob was a little better than usual but Harrison did what any 1 1/2 to 2 year old will do. He found every box of toys we had and dumped them all onto the floor. I didn't care. My only goal now was to get Jacob in his crib and down for a nap so I could turn my attention to Harrison. Jacob wouldn't go to down with Harrison in the room so I put Harrison in the hallway for a second with some toys, closed the gate and told him to "hang tight, I'll be right back." I quickly put Jacob down, sang him a very quick version of Twinkle Twinkle, and went to attend to Harrison who by this time had started to cry again. "Oh no" I thought to myself, "not again". At that exact moment, the blissful sound of the doorbell rang out through the house. It was Gwen who was back from the doctor.

Glen had to go to two doctors that morning because the first one told him that he needed to see a specialist. That couldn't have been what he was hoping to hear. Glen was in a ton of pain and couldn't exactly see out of one of his eyes. No matter how tough a time I had watching two kids, it couldn't compare to what he was going through. I was exhausted though and happy that I now had the opportunity to pass out on the couch.

I've always wanted to have two children and this past Saturday morning doesn't change that fact even one bit but boy are Danielle and I in for a rude awakening. Things are a breeze with one child compared to two. It's not a problem when one of us wants or needs to run out of the house for a little while. I'm sure that's going to COMPLETELY change whenever we decide to have a second child.

Readers, what's been your experience when having your second, third, or fourth children? How have you dealt with preparing your first child with what's to come?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Family

In my first post I mentioned my wife and how we've been married for 5 1/2 years but I never really expanded on that.  Her name is Danielle and she is unbelievable (yeah I know, every guy will say the same thing so their wife doesn't start nagging them).  My wife got her Masters in Social Work and has a job in that field.  She also has a private practice on the side where she sees patients outside her normal course of work two days a week on Mondays and Thursdays. 

I work in the Finance field and am lucky enough to work for a company whose offices are located approximately 4 miles from our house.  

Jacob is in daycare at Tutor Time and absolutely loves it (he better love it for the amount of money it's costing us to send him there but that's another discussion for a later time).  

Because of my close proximity to the house, and because Danielle has to leave for work a lot earlier than I do, it is my responsibility to take Jacob to daycare every day.  I always pick him up on Mondays and Thursdays and will sometimes pick him up on other days as well if Danielle can't get to him before I get out of work.  

That's the quick and dirty version of our family but I thought it would be good to give a background since some of my stories might not make too much sense without it.  

Many more stories to come.  I had an interesting 4 hours on Saturday morning that I'll go into more detail tomorrow.  That's all for now.  Good night!