Wednesday, February 27, 2013

So Happy Together

It's been in the last couple of weeks that Leo and Gus have really started playing together. I mean, they have played together for a long time but now they're almost on the same wave length. Like tonight they were spinning in the living room and laughing. And earlier today Gus started a game of "night night" where he would pretend to go to sleep and Leo would do the same. Sometimes Leo creates this whole imaginary world and says that Gus is in on it. "We are playing pirate and we are on a ship. I am the captain and Gus is a kid pirate." Gus really does seem like he's going along with it!

And at the YMCA, the people in the play center have told us many times that Leo and Gus are "always together." Leo likes to draw treasure maps and Gus will just sit next to him and watch. And at Parents' Night Out at the Y, they told us that "Leo and Gus were pretending to be in a band. Leo was playing the harmonica and Gus was playing the keyboards." I would have liked to see that!

Here are a few of their "together" moments. (Capturing pictures is tough these days because Gus sees the phone and screams, "I see! I see!")

Coloring, Rocking and Picnicing

And in the pictures at the top they are reading. But be glad it's not a video; Leo is making up his own words to the book and the story is all about poo poo. Gus totally got it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Expanding his Ball Vocabulary

Gus used to call every ball a "football." But now he has expanded his ball vocabulary. He can also say "Soc-ah Ball" but I didn't have one handy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Raundy Loom Decor

Earlier today we were at Bed, Bath and Beyond getting some necessities from the "beyond" section when I took a spin through the wall art aisle. Leo asked why we were looking there and I told him I wanted to find something to hang in my laundry room (my lady cave). Leo pointed at some picture of a skyline I couldn't identify and I said, "That's nice but not really laundry room-ish." Then he pointed at something else and said, "Look, that's raundy loom-ish!" Hahahaha, we chuckled at his reversal of first letters. Gus sucked his thumb and stared at us. 

When we got home we did a little art (glueing cotton balls as clouds; that's about as crafty as I get) and Leo said that he thought this would look good in my laundry room. So thoughtful (and affordable)! 

He was right; it's a perfect fit. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lots of Love

Who knew that Valentine's Day was a total kid holiday? It's not about romance, flowers and candlelit dinners when you have little people in the house. It's about paper heart crafts, Valentines and candy.

Leo got really into it. So much so that he insisted on making his own Valentines for his classmates.

"We're going to go to Target to pick out your Valentines that you can give to the kids at school. Won't that be fun?" I said.

"What about this heart I made? Can't I just make more of those?"

"Um, sure. So you could either make a bunch of hearts or you could pick out Valentines with characters on them like Star Wars or Transformers!" I said (not encouraging one way or the other, of course).

"I want to make them myself!" he said.

So he did. Well, we did.

I would draw a heart and write "Happy Valentine's Day" and "Lovey Dovies 2013." (His class' name is "The Doves" and the teachers call them "Lovey Dovies" so he asked me to write that.)

He would cut out the heart, sign his name and then decorate the back.

Then we attached Kit Kats to them with tape (which Frank said looked ghetto).

Oh, and I punched a hole in the top, tied ribbon and curled it. The ribbon couldn't be too long or else it looked too "gwirlie" (girlie).

They were cute in an "obviously homemade" kind of way, not in a "clever Pinterest" kind of way. And upon seeing the ones he brought home I can tell you we were the only ones who went this route! 

Gus and I attended the class party which was so fun. They made hats, handed out Valentines, decorated  their bags, played "heart potato" and bingo. They also ate lots of Valentines-themed food like heart-shaped strawberries, heart-shaped muffins and Leo's favorite--strawberry milk which he got to drink using a Twizzler as a straw. (Now that surely came from Pinterest!)  

Leo and Ben playing "heart potato." 

Gus thinks he is a Dove too! Here he is sitting with Ms. Desiree during a story.

Leo, Gus and "Lovey Dovies" playing bingo

Gus playing heart potato! 

Gus leading the class in song? 

"Hooray for Valentine's Day! It's all about us!" 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Super Leo!

I hope I'm not jinxing anything but I feel fairly confident in saying that the terrible twos are finally over for Leo.

Oh, you thought that the terrible twos applied to kids who were two years old? Hahahahahahahaha.

In Leo's case, the terrible twos started around age two (remember the "goalie" phase?) and seem to
have wrapped up around four and a half.

I haven't written too much on the blog about the rough times with Leo because really, who wants to read that? But if I can sum it up, he's been defiant, stressed out, overly fearful, tantrum-ridden, prone to boo-boos (I once counted sixty in a day), angry, whiny and abusive. I'm sure I'm leaving out some other unflattering qualities but you get the picture.

I know taking kids places isn't easy for anyone but with Leo, I can assure you it was worse than most. I liken it to pushing a grocery cart with a bad wheel. You can't get anywhere without a struggle and everything takes longer.

So that's enough of the bad stuff. Here's the good stuff: Since Leo has been four and a half, he's been so much easier. We put him on a strict discipline program and we think that that, coupled with his age, has helped.

He hasn't had a big tantrum since then. Sure, he's gotten upset and even had what I would describe as "outbursts" but nothing like he used to. I have not been assaulted in the process. (And yes, I was before.) He still exaggerates boo boos but we're down to like two-five per day and sometimes they're even legitimate! He's also more brave than he used to be. He'll climb on anything at the playground, play in the indoor contraptions at fast-food places and he LOVES jumping in bounce houses! (The last one is HUGE!) He also listens better and most of the time responds with "okay, mommy" when I ask him to do something or stop doing something.

In general, he just seems happier and more comfortable. Here's another one of my awesome analogies: He seems like a kid who has had some reactive food taken out of his diet. You know like when kids are misbehaving and they take out gluten or dairy? That's how Leo acts.  It seems like something has been taken out of him. (Or maybe he was possessed? My thanks to whoever performed the exorcism!)

He's also becoming more independent:

He was still sleeping in a Pull-up (and filling it up every night too!) until a few weeks ago. Cousin Ellie came to visit and they slept in the same room. When they got ready for bed Leo was putting on his Pull-up and three-year-old Ellie wasn't! That didn't bother Leo and even though a bunch of moms told me it shouldn't bother me either, it did. I know every kid is different but to me, when you are almost five, it's time to give up the Pull-up. So we did it and I've only had to change the sheets a few times.  We wake him up to go the bathroom right before we go to bed because he does not get up himself. He is so out of it when we come in, sometimes he lays down on the bathroom floor and tries to go back to sleep!

The other thing he does that is SO helpful to me is that he can buckle himself into his car seat. He used to do the top buckles but not the bottom ones but now he does them all! It sounds like a small thing but it saves me a lot of time and trouble.

You already saw his cool "to do" list. That really helps the mornings to go smoothly.

Oh, and he's eating better! He finishes his lunch at school and tries new things at home. Just the other day, he ate steak!

Now, if you don't really know Leo, you might not realize that all of these things are big accomplishments. So as you read them just assume he was doing the exact opposite of that before. Like in the food category, he used to only eat mac and cheese and a short list of other foods. So for him to eat steak is incredible!

Is he an angel? Not at all! But now he's just doing typical four and a half year old stuff which I can handle. And since he's easier to take places, we've signed him up for a soccer team for the spring.

Don't worry that his quirks are gone: he still has tics. His current one is where he takes his fingers up to his cheeks and says, "Ding ding ding ding." It's odd but perhaps not as odd as his aversion to "little things" like Polo shirt logos. Nobody, not us, not his preschool teachers or his psychologist, can figure this one out. I like to say "there has never been a documented case of this."

So if you want to see our new and improved Leo, you are welcome to come visit. Just do NOT wear a Polo shirt.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Football Fixation

Leo has this special football that Frank got for him from a co-worker who went to last year's Superbowl. It's so special that it sits on his dresser and nobody is to touch it. Gus spotted it awhile back and begged to play with it constantly. 
Last week Leo finally gave in and let Gus play with it. At first Gus was thrilled but now he's just obsessed: 

After a few more days of playing with it, Gus no longer remembered that it belonged to Leo. And Leo complained that Gus played with it for too long "for hours, for days, for weeks" and in this video, "for years." (Please notice the comic relief by Leo and the glow stick.)