Monday, August 25, 2014

Welcome to Avery Kindergarten!

Ben started kindergarten almost two weeks ago and so far it's been amazing. I assumed he'd enjoy it, especially once we found out his best friend and another friend from the neighborhood were in his class. I also assumed the transition would be a little bumpy. He's never done a full-day program before, so I was expecting him to be a tired, grumpy mess when he got home from school. However, I've been very pleasantly surprised. Completely unexpectedly, his attitude actually seems to have gotten better. Over the summer there was lots of fighting with Sam and whining and throwing tantrums (yes, even 5 year olds have tantrums now and again), but now that he's in school he's playing nicer with his brother and being fairly cooperative. Nobody's perfect, so of course he still has Moments, but overall he's been very pleasant.

It was a bit baffling to me at first, but when I started thinking about it I realized that he probably just wasn't getting enough extrovert time. Over the summer we were subject to Sam's naps, which meant he spent most afternoons with only me. And by the afternoon I was jonesin' for some introvert time, so more often than not he spent afternoons playing video games by himself. Going to school and being surrounded by classmates for seven hours a day must be like a breath of fresh air for him.

The idea that being in school restores him is ALSO baffling to me, but I'm so glad for it because it allows me to restore, as well. And I think that's the other piece of the puzzle. While Ben gets his extrovert tank filled at school, I get my introvert tank filled at home while Sam naps. So when we finally come back together at 3pm we're both feeling happier and more content, which obviously leads to a more peaceful co-existence. It's lovely.

Another lovely side effect of kindergarten is that it seems to have... opened up his brain. Since about age 4 he's been pretty resistant to us teaching him anything, like reading, math, etc. But now he doesn't seem as annoyed when Heath asks him math questions or I ask him to read something. And the other morning over breakfast he and I had a GREAT conversation. It started with him asking about ice ages and over about 10 minutes it morphed into talking about climate change, the origins of humans, evolution and why people have different skin colors. It was the best conversation we've ever had and it was truly a give and take. It wasn't just me lecturing him. It was amazing and three weeks ago I never would've imagined it.

So Ben is definitely flourishing in school and it's hard for me to express in words how wonderful it is to watch. It fills my heart to see him maturing and growing into the person he will be. It's absolutely amazing.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Master P(ee)

Sometimes you just get a feeling about your child. I had a feeling Sam was going to be harder to potty train than Ben. I'm not completely sure why, but something about Sam's personality was telling me that keeping his underwear dry and clean wouldn't be at the top of his daily agenda.

However, as we approached our three-day potty training boot camp I gave myself pep talks and by Day 1 I was feeling very confident. It worked extremely well with Ben. I had no real reason to expect less from Sam.

On Day 1 Sam had 44 accidents. Part of the reason is because with this method you give them A LOT of liquids, so they have plenty of opportunities to feel their bladder be full. You want them to recognize that feeling and know that means "get to the bathroom."

On Day 2 he had 15 accidents, which was major progress! And he pooped in the potty that morning! Ben didn't poop until the very end of Day 3, but Sam's such a prolific pooper I was hoping he'd learn faster, and he did! We were so excited and proud. He even got up during the night and asked to use the potty! It was working!

On Day 3 he had 9 accidents. More progress! And all of his "accidents" at this point were merely getting his underwear a little wet, rather than peeing outright all over the floor. Plus, the only night he wet his bed was the first night. I was so delightfully surprised he was keeping his bed dry.

Oh, did I mention that Ben was out of town for all of this? So Heath and I could give our full attention to Sam, and he wouldn't be distracted.

Again, I had a feeling that things wouldn't go so smoothly once Ben was on the scene. *Sigh*

Unfortunately for my sanity this time around, Ben was really easy to potty train. After those initial three days, Ben was great. He had completely dry days that first week. He only pooped in his underwear a couple times and to this day I could count on one hand the number of times he's wet the bed. But he also didn't have an older brother distracting him.

It's now been seven days and Sam hasn't had one dry day. We've gone through 4-6 pairs of underwear and shorts a day, which has led to the new rule that if Sam's in the house he's not wearing shorts. And, very unfortunately, he only has about a 50-50 track record for getting poop into the potty.

I'm very proud of Sam because this is a huge change in his life and obviously he has made a lot of progress since the beginning. But it's still exhausting and disgusting and hard. Using this method you go cold turkey with diapers and never look back, so we must soldier onward. I just wish my feelings hadn't been right this time.