• Bedtime Rituals

    Leon was still sitting up in bed over an hour after his bedtime, so I went upstairs to see what was going on.

    Me: “What’s up, buddy?”
    Leon: “I need a band-aid my knee.”

    So to humor him, I went downstairs to get him a band-aid, covered his week-old scab with it, and tucked him back in.

    Me: “Ok, here you go, bud. Good night, I love you.”
    Leon: “I need kiss, please.”

    So I kissed him and left the room. He was asleep five minutes later.

  • All Kinds of Attitude

    Yesterday was Leon’s 30-month wellness checkup — he’s 36.5 inches and 28 pounds! The doctor said he seems to be ahead developmentally but expressed some concern that he hasn’t gained any weight since his last checkup six months ago. She said she often sees a dip in BMI between ages 2 and 4, so we’ll just keep him on whole milk and full-fat dairy and keep an eye on it.

    He’s had some attitude lately, so I’m wondering if his upper molars are coming in. I made a list of things he threw a full-blown tantrum about in the span of two hours on Saturday, mostly because it was funny and made me feel better about having Mr. Hyde for a son.

    1. The piece of cereal he was about to eat broke in half
    2. I told him he couldn’t eat Play-Doh
    3. He thought there was a hair on his cup (there wasn’t)
    4. I gave him the wrong color bowl

    All in all though, he’s a generally happy kid. He sings to himself all the time, and his favorite songs are “The Wheels on the Bus” and, of course, the alphabet song. He gets so excited sometimes that he can’t control himself — so I can’t complain too much when he has a bad day. 🙂

    “I making eggs like Daddy!”
  • Bedtime Upgrades

    Last weekend we took a road trip to visit my family in Missouri! I was a little nervous because it would be our first road trip since potty-training Leon, but he did great and honestly, due to my coffee habit, we had to stop more for me than for him. There was only one hiccup during the trip and it was at our first stop — Leon was afraid of the loud fan in the bathrooms and wouldn’t relax enough to go, so I had to take him to the side of the gas station building with his potty chair. Other than that, he peed at each stop and had minimal tantrums during the ride itself. We even learned during our stay in a shared hotel room that Leon was waking up in the night when he had to pee, so he may soon be able to ditch the one diaper a day and be 100% potty trained.

    I think my family had fun seeing Leon — and likewise, as he was all smiles the entire trip. He got a ton of new books and enjoyed playing outside with his second cousins. Thanks to Elmo Doll, his toddler pillow, and his Sesame Street blanket, he still felt comforted at night in the new space.

    The night we got back, after Leon was put in his bed, he shouted that he had to poop and tried scaling his crib to get out. I really wasn’t ready to move to a toddler bed, but as Minh pointed out, it’s better to be safe than sorry. We put the mattress on the floor that night, and the next day Leon came home to a big boy bed. He was pretty excited about the new sleeping accommodations, but come bedtime he became apprehensive. I’m not sure if he was scared of the dark or of being alone, but it was tough to hear him crying like how he was. On the one hand, we want to instill independence and the confidence that he can work through his troubles — but on the other hand, Minh and I both remember what it’s like to be scared of the dark as a kid, and it sucks. We took a moderate approach the first few days and stayed with him for a while before leaving the room, then consoling him through the baby monitor. It only took a couple minutes before he calmed down enough to go to sleep.

    Anyway, Leon’s becoming a chatterbox and actually has a few jokes. His favorite joke, which he picked up after reading a Sandra Boynton book, is putting his clothes where they don’t belong (sock on nose, shoe on head, etc.). Another joke is “Where’d [daycare owner] go?” The answer is “To see [teacher]!” Cue giggles. We’ll have to work on his sense of humor.

    My favorite thing to hear him say (besides “Good night, Mommy — I love you!”) is “Mommy silly!” Granted, it’s not difficult to make a two-year-old laugh, but it sure is a good feeling.

  • Where’s Daddy?

    Minh: *hiding under blanket*
    Me: “Hey Leon, where’s Daddy?”
    Minh: “Hey Leon, I think Daddy’s outside!”
    Leon: *runs to put on shoes so he can go look outside*
    Minh and me: 🤔🤔🤔

  • Reflections

    I’ve been spending my free time lately drawing, cleaning, and organizing my video collection of Leon. I’ve worked the past two evenings and renamed/filed 188 videos, but I still have 1,011 to go. It’s slightly overwhelming…but absolutely necessary.

    On another note, Leon’s doing great. He speaks in crude sentences, he’s back to being generally pretty happy when he wakes up, and he hasn’t had a potty accident in who-knows-how-long. He’s down to one diaper a day, and I honestly just really haven’t had the desire to wake myself up in the middle of the night so we haven’t attempted night training. But he understands that diapers are now just for nighttime, and he even gets a big gray sticker on it (AKA duct tape, which we’ve used keep him from pulling off his diaper and throwing it across his bedroom, which he has been known to do since he realized he doesn’t like the feeling of a diaper anymore).

    Three years ago yesterday, I found out I was going to be a mom. It’s cliché to say, but I had no way of knowing then how my life would change — but it’s so much more fun. Sure, I have less free time, and sometimes I have to negotiate with a creature who’s literally half my size. And I still don’t know how I ever made it through those first few months. But 2-year-old Leon is so funny and silly and full of joy. Don’t get me wrong — he has strong opinions about taking a nap, turning off Sesame Street, and Reese walking too closely to him (how dare she, right?). But moments like this afternoon, when a big box was delivered to the house, he thought Minh hauling it in was literally the funniest thing he’d ever seen; he couldn’t stop laughing. When’s the last time you laughed over a big box?

    He’s getting quite the vocabulary, too. Every week my dad and my friend Amanda comment about how much more articulate he is from the week before. When he told me my favorite cardigan looked like a “pink towel,” all I could do was laugh — because doesn’t it though? Or when he sees his reflection in a storefront and makes sure to tell me, “I see Leon shadow, mommy!” Or my favorite, which never fails to make me chuckle: “Uh-oh — I farted!” I couldn’t have imagined these goofy little Leon-isms three years ago.

    His favorite things are climbing on Minh, watching Sesame Street (oh, how he loves Elmo), reading books, and eating. He can count to 20 in English (with a couple numbers missing, but who needs 14 and 15 anyway?) and eight in Spanish. He knows all his ABCs, plus a ton of other kids’ songs, like Wheels on the Bus. He knows his shapes, including hexagon and octagon. He’ll do anything for food or a sticker. We’re working on days of the week, and thanks to a chart on the refrigerator, he’s starting to grasp that weekdays are for Ms Brittany (his beloved teacher at daycare), and weekends are for Sesame Street.

    His chores are putting his plate up to the counter, wiping down his seat at the table, and cleaning up his toys. Occasionally he’ll feed Reese and walk with me to get the mail. If he makes a mess, he’s expected to get a towel and clean it up by himself, and if he needs a tissue, he’s expected to get one by himself and then throw it away (although we had an issue today where he took baby wipes and flushed them down the toilet, and the kept flushing when it wouldn’t go down, but I digress…)

    Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. More soon!

  • The Big, Blue Ohsh*t

    Leon’s learning about the ocean on Sesame Street and insists it’s called an “ohsh*t,” so obviously that’s what Minh and i have always meant when we’ve said that phrase

  • Leon’s Silly Day

    Minh: “Leon, what’d you do today?”
    Leon: “Um, went outside.”
    Minh: “What’d you do outside?”
    Leon: “Um, puzzles.”
    Minh: “Who’d you do puzzles with?”
    Leon: “Babies.”
    Minh: “What were the babies’ names?”
    Leon: “Um, Bus.”
    Me, whispering: “That’s not true.”

  • I See Moon

    This morning after getting Leon out of his crib…

    Leon: *pointing out window* “I see moon, mama!”
    Me: “Oh wow, I see it too!”
    Leon: “Two moon?” *holds up two fingers looking confused*
    Me: “No, I mean I see the moon also.”
    Leon: “Moon also?”
    Me: “Nevermind. It’s a cool moon. Let’s go downstairs.”

  • Big Boy

    Potty training has been going pretty well, actually! Leon’s only had one accident in the past week and a half, and that one was only because when he told his teachers he had to go there were two other kids using the toilets and he couldn’t wait long enough for them to finish. He’s no longer afraid of the toilets at daycare, and the teachers actually don’t even log his pees anymore because it’s assumed that he’s going every time they prompt. I can typically trust him to either go on his own or answer in a telling way when I ask if he needs to go.

    We’ve ventured out to Kroger a couple times but haven’t pressed our luck leaving the house for more than an hour. This weekend though, we plan to go to the car dealership, then to a birthday party, then out to eat. We’re going to bring his potty from home, but I’m a little nervous that he’ll be too distracted to go.

    Our only other challenge is poops. He waits until his nighttime or naptime diaper to poop and has only gone once in the potty. I’m a little worried that we’re going to have issues with it, but I guess no sense worrying about it at this point. Since having this kid I’ve learned to love my sleep, so I’m not ready to get up several times a night and/or switch him to a toddler bed in order to ditch the diapers fully.

    Speaking of loving my sleep, Leon has been a nightmare in the mornings. He’s so sweet and loving, so it’s so strange that every time he wakes up, whether morning or nap, he’s got BIG MOOD. I’m talking a tantrum for an hour or more every morning — noodling on the floor, thrashing around, hitting, throwing things, etc. Obviously he’s a toddler so tantrums happen, but mama can’t get lunch ready and get out the door on time when there’s a toddler throwing cups everywhere and hitting the dog.

    Nothing helps — not water, milk, tissues, books, puzzles, in crib, out of crib, standing there, not standing there, lights on, lights off, singing — until this morning (maybe). I turned on some YouTube nursery rhymes and went back downstairs to make our lunches. It didn’t take long before I heard him singing upstairs. I went up a couple times to check on him, but he insisted on staying in his crib for over a half-hour. He was still whiny once we got downstairs and didn’t want to put on his underwear, but it was much better than the other days this week. Here’s hoping we have somewhat of a solution!

  • Oh Crap, Indeed

    I’d been dreading planning potty training for a long time. Six months ago, I read the infamous Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right potty training book and put together a mental game plan. In November, we decided that Martin Luther King weekend was the weekend we were going all in. Minh and I both had MLK Day off, but we took off Tuesday too to get four full days of potty training under our belts.

    The concept of the Oh Crap! method is to strip kiddo naked, then watch him literally all waking hours and pick him up and place him on the potty as soon as you notice him peeing or doing his “pee-pee dance.” Emphasis on the watching. Literally all day. No social media. No TV. No dishes, laundry, or vacuuming. You sit. And you watch. And you sit and you watch. All day long.

    Anyway, as soon as he can essentially pee on command, you add in pants, then eventually undies and small outings. Apparently, the book mentioned many a time that the initial stages would be stressful, but honestly I think I just kind of glossed over that part.

    Leon and I started Saturday (Day 1) by ceremoniously saying “bye-bye” to our stash of diapers and pulling the potty chair out into the living room. We spent half the morning doing puzzles and reading books. It was exhausting focusing so intently on one thing (pun intended), but by 10 a.m., he had gone twice on the potty with only one accident when we first started. Things were going well! This potty training business was nothing!

    Hasta la vista, diapers!

    But by 6:30 p.m. on Day 1, he had had multiple accidents and no additional successes, and I was starting to lose hope. We did end the day on a positive note, but I was still mentally exhausted after being “on” all day and went to bed at 8:30 p.m. 

    Sunday (Day 2) is Minh’s day to get up early with Leon, so I slept until 8:30 a.m. when it was my turn to take over. Leon held it in for most of the morning, then had two accidents before his nap. While he was napping, Minh and I seriously debated giving up. I only hesitated throwing in the towel because I really, really didn’t want to go through this process again in a couple months. I posted on the Facebook Oh Crap! book club group, and advice quickly poured in urging me not to give up so soon. With a little attitude adjustment, Minh and I were back on board. We ended the day on another positive note, but I was still exhausted and went to bed early again.

    On Monday (Day 3) we loaded little Leon up with water, Pedialyte, and salty snacks to make him thirsty. He held it in until about 11:30 a.m., then peed on the potty a little while fussing and trying to stop it. We were so excited we gave him a sticker, a freeze-dried fruit treat, and more Pedialyte — basically what Oh Crap! says not to do, but you know what? If I have to give him a sticker every time he pees until he’s five years old, that’s fine with me. I have a book of 786 stickers that cost me $13. I can afford that. 

    I went into the kitchen for a minute after our celebration and came out to find him sitting on the potty again. Right as I told him, “Leon, you don’t need to sit on the potty all day if you don’t —”, I heard him going again. Cue celebration #2 (but not that #2). 

    Day 3 ended great — he had one accident and five total successes, two of which were self-initiated. We decided that even though he was anxious about peeing, we would power through and move on to the commando stage for Day 4. 

    On Tuesday (Day 4), Leon immediately peed through all the sweatpants I had set out for potty training, so we had no choice but to jump into underwear while his other clothes were in the wash. He was so proud to wear boxer-briefs like Minh that he had no accidents between 10 a.m. and bedtime. We did have to swap out the undies at one point because he started to go before he had himself situated on the potty, and I tried to help but it turns out I have no idea how to help a little boy aim himself downward.

    Oh, also, on Day 4 we realized that Leon really doesn’t really care about stickers as a reward. So I have about 775 stickers with no immediate use. Go figure.

    This morning (Day 5) was our first day back at daycare. We said hi to the crossing guard, per usual (albeit very, very quickly); ran back into the house to pee (unsuccessful); buckled ourselves into the car (doggie pee pad under Leon, of course); and drove to daycare. Leon’s morning teacher, Ms. Brittany, was excited to see him and asked if he needed to go potty — he said yes, but as soon as he sat on the kiddie toilet and realized his feet couldn’t touch the ground like with the potty at home, he started to fuss. I assume it also didn’t help that he had an audience of five curious toddlers standing at the door gawking at him. I left before I found out if he went or not, but I packed his entire wardrobe (including two extra pairs of shoes) so he should be set in the event of an accident. More to come!