Well, if last Sunday was cold and miserable, this Sunday is simply gorgeous. We spent time at the park and are now just relaxing with Curious George and some mint iced green tea that's really satisfying my summer Sonic cravings. I cannot believe that my little guy is counting down to his second birthday in less than a month! The past almost six months, from 18 months on, has been filled with some major ups and a few downs from our little guy.
The talking! Oh my goodness, this kiddo can talk. Yes, no, please, thank you, names of friends and some family members, what different animals say, and our latest, play-dough. Although our conversations are still pretty one-sided, he definitely has thoughts and opinions he does his best to share with us.
We're starting to do activities together more. The aforementioned play-dough is very popular, as is coloring together, and using stickers on our art projects as well. He has lots of fun playing pretend with fake food and feeding it to me or other soft toys in his room. However, books are our definite favorite. Each night, we spend a good 20-30 minutes looking at and reading books together before bed. I often catch him flipping through books on his own too!
Holidays have been a blast as well! Opening Valentines and hunting Easter eggs have been such a treat. So was playing in the snow earlier this winter! I'm looking forward to all the shared summer activities this summer too. Spring experiences like mud puddles, planting our own seeds for a salsa garden, and time at the park have all been time well spent.
We've also had some learning to do... there was a biting phase that still pops up when he is feeling particularly frustrated or overly tired. This was definitely the hardest thing to discipline and manage because it was happening in many different places and for several different reasons. With the help of his wonderful teachers at the ECC, we were able to help him learn that biting was not an acceptable way to show his frustration and as his vocabulary (and use of it) improved, so did the biting! I'm very proud of how well he's done lately using his words when frustrated or upset.
Mass is still a struggle. Honestly, I expect it to be for the next year or so. In my inexperienced opinion, Mass behavior improves as their understanding of the Mass grows. It's hard to expect a toddler to be quiet and calm during the consecration of the Eucharist when he has no idea how beautiful and sacred the moment is. For the time being, we'll keep reading our favorite Easter book, looking through our children's Bibles, and saying "Amen" after prayers to help his young faith grow.
Regardless, being this little man's mom is daily adventure that isn't without its struggles. Its pushed me to do research and really consider what kind of parent I want to be, as well as be very mindful and reflective about what works well for our son. Its really all trial and error at this point, but I can say with confidence our son is funny, friendly little boy who is growing up well!
On a side note, what do you think, should I celebrate my little turkey with a big bash for two years? Or should we keep it simple until he can actually remember the party? I'm torn... let me know in the comments!
In an ideal world, dismissal ends promptly at 3:30 and I am able to scoot upstairs for maybe 30 minutes of organizational work before briskly walking across the parking lot to my son's school for pick up. My personal goal for this second quarter of school is to be walking out the doors by 4:00 each afternoon (barring extenuating circumstances like meetings or insanely high piles of papers to be graded...)
Upon arrival home, we put away shoes and jackets, let out dogs, and dress down into something more comfy for the evening. I tend to start meal-prepping within the first thirty minutes of arriving home because my son is ravenous by 5:00 or 5:30. I strive to offer him healthy and lighter meals, because his lunches tend to be very filling at his school. Think meatloaf, mashed potatoes, pizza, etc. Depending on his mood, dinner can be anywhere from oatmeal with fruit and milk to chicken or fish with more traditional dinner sides. To save my sanity, Mondays are always, always breakfast-for-dinner. He loves any sort of breakfast food, so scrambled eggs or French toast are always a great option after a long and wild Monday.
While he eats his dinner, I sit with him, have a glass of water, and eat a small snack like cucumbers and cheese or hummus and crackers. I'm generally not hungry enough for dinner when he is but I value and understand that quality time together, which is why I sit and eat with him. Oftentimes, Josh will be home between 6:00 and 8:00, so I have someone to share dinner with anyways. I will also use this time to grind beans and load the coffee maker before bedtime I need recommendations for a better grinder... ours is so loud!
Once dinner is wrapped (around 5:30-45), it is either bath/play time or it is just playtime. I am striving to leave my phone behind during this time together as we play. He really enjoys stacking blocks, playing with age-appropriate puzzles, and chasing or wrestling. If Daddy is home, you can bet it is wrestlemania for the next 30 minutes.
I try to let him dictate his bedtime to some degree, but he tends to start acting very tired by 6:00 or 6:30. When he starts resting his head on his dinosaur rather than tackling it, I know it's time for our bedtime routine. After several months of work, I'm so proud of his ability to fall asleep on his own each night after some time calm, gentle time together.
Once he is down, I will prepare adult dinner while listening to a podcast. I also try to maximize my time by picking up while things are heating up or baking. Laundry, sweeping, dishes... a little bit each day goes a long way. After dinner is done and cleared away, I allow myself time and space to relax. I try to avoid any work after 7:30 in the evening, giving myself two hours to enjoy a show, book, or podcast. Sometimes I will color, fold laundry, or another less demanding task while enjoying some form of entertainment.
By 9:00, I park myself in bed and start winding down by reading. I'm working on less scrolling while waiting for sleep to come (working on being the operative phrase here...)
When Josh is home, it is a similar evening although I tend to stay up a bit later with him and am less likely to clean because we don't get every evening together. Regardless, at 9:30 is my ideal lights out time in preparation for tomorrow's 5:30 am wake up call.
All together, I can get between 2 and 3 hours of quality time with my son before bedtime and additional two with my husband when he isn't working. I know one of the concerns of working while raising little ones is the time spent together. However, I think purposeful time spent is much more valuable than passive time spent all day disengaged with our little ones. I'm by no means great at it, but I always feel better about an evening disengaged with my phone and engaged with my sweet little family.
Okay, that's all! Thanks for hanging with a longer post! I hope you found some tidbits of faith, mindfulness, and love in our evening routine. Let me know if you have any coffee grinder suggestions, ours is seriously louder than a vacuum.