Each summer I make a to-do list for myself. Filled with projects in the yard and house, I try to beat those summertime blues. This year I decided that both girls would have some goals to work on while on break too. For Charlie, tying her shoes and learning to swim are on the top of the list. For Ryan, it’s transitioning to a big girl bed, getting off the bottle and onto a sippy cup, and starting to potty train – quite lofty for a three-month period.
After just one month, I am happy to report that both girls are progressing very well! Charlie has *almost* mastered the laces. She often ends up with just one “bunny ear” but she’s proud of herself nonetheless! Learning to swim isn’t as easy but with the help of one of my wonderful students, Charlie is gaining more confidence in the water. Too reliant on her water wings, she tends to be clingy and nervous but somehow K’s calm patience is starting to rub off.
Ryan is also crossing things off of her list. The very first week of summer I took apart her crib, put her mattress on the floor, installed a video monitor, and moved two baby gates upstairs. With one in her doorway and the other at the top of the stairs, I bravely put her to bed on the mattress on a night that Katie was working late. Ryan has been sleeping on a cot at daycare for months so I knew she could do it… and she did! It wasn’t easy though. In fact, she cried quite a bit, took her nightlight out of the socket, chewed on it, and then puked on the floor. But after some cleanup and a little pep talk, Ryan fell asleep. It just wasn’t on her mattress!
In the same week, I started to transition Ryan off of her bottle. For some reason this has been bugging me for years. At almost 4 years old this is long overdue. But for Ryan, she just couldn’t handle the amount of liquid coming out of a cup and attempt after attempt has failed in the past. I’m not sure why it worked this time but it did. She has been almost exclusively (I’ll explain in a minute) on a sippy cup for a few weeks now – even at daycare.
“Official” potty training has yet to start. I know this will be a looooonnggg process but Ryan is very aware of what the potty is for. Especially when we are in a public restroom and she repeats “pee” and “poop” over and over again for everyone to hear! It’s actually hilarious and she has received many smiles and comments from fellow pee-ers and poopers.
All of this has been in preparation for our vacation to Hilton Head (we just got home yesterday). We wanted Ryan to be able to comfortably sleep on an air mattress when we traveled because a pack-and-play is much too small for her now so we bought one months ago with high hopes. Much to our pleasure, Ryan slept on it (or half on it… or next to it) the entire week. We brought a gate and the video monitor just to ensure her safety but she did it! She regressed a little bit with the sippy cup during the week and one of the moms (read: not me) gave her a bottle. Maybe it was the change in location or the change in schedule or maybe it was that her right ear just isn’t quite right, but for some reason she wasn’t drinking her milk well and wanted what Katie calls her “suckie suckie”. I’m totally cracking up typing this right now but it’s true… she wanted the nip. We are home now and she’s back on her sippy cup game.
The best thing about our summer goals is that unbeknownst to us, the girls established some of their own. On vacation, Charlie started to show an independence that we have never seen. She ran up and down the beach, jumped right into waves, and swam (with water wings on, of course!) across the pool all on her own! She loved going on bike rides in the “weehoo” bike attachment and would request it daily.
Ryan has decided that it’s time to abandon her high chair and is only sitting in a booster seat or a regular chair when eating – it’s so nice! We also have to actually order another entire kid’s meal for her because sharing our meals with her is just not enough! Another HUGE change in Ryan is that she seems to be moving past some of her sensory issues. At the pool she wore her swim vest and didn’t fuss too much. She also LOVED the sand. Aside from gulping a handful of it and puking the first night on the beach, she would sit and “pay ow hide” (play outside) until we dragged her to the pool or back to the condo for lunch. It was such an unexpected advancement for Ryan and because of it our vacation was wonderful! These are some of my favorite moments…