Matthew is becoming the typical 2-year-old. I say “becoming” instead of “is” because I don’t know if he’s at his peak or not when it comes to the “curious twos.” (Our pediatrician calls them the “curious twos” instead of the “terrible twos,” which makes a lot of sense to me – therefore – I call them that too!)
Matthew is a riot! He’s always charmed the heck out of me, but every day he does something cuter, or funnier, or smarter than the day before. For instance, he’s in preschool now and is obviously learning a lot of things – including songs and the actions to songs that I’ve been trying to teach him for a long time. He had no interest when I was the teacher, but for Mrs. Y, he’ll do just about anything. We were on our way to Kansas City last weekend when he started saying “bus, bus, bus” and moving his hands in a turning motion. AH! “Wheels on the Bus!” So of course we sang that the whole way to KC (and back). He also asks for the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” now, and just started asking for “Row Row Row Your Boat” today. I love it!
Matthew is learning his colors (“boo, bwack, llllelllow” and can point out orange and red but doesn’t say them) and some letters (B, C, and E for sure), but most importantly, he’s learning classroom structure and etiquette. We got nothing but glowing reports the first several weeks, but recently, he’s been a bit of a pill. Sigh. I know this is normal, age-appropriate behavior, but I don’t like it! The last two weeks, his daily report has said that he’s been “good” instead of “excellent” and both of his teachers told me that he’s taking other kids’ toys (but will give the right back happily) and last Wednesday, he pushed a kid. I just could not get over it because he just isn’t aggressive… but maybe he is!? Mrs. Y said, “there’s a lot of testosterone in the room and this is normal, so don’t worry about it,” but she did ask me to talk to him about having “nice hands” on the way to school today. That helped, apparently, because they only had one incident today and Mrs. Y said it was “no biggie and we had a much better day!”
But he still only got a “good” rating. 😉
I know that Matthew is testing his boundaries at school because he’s testing them here at home too. We’ve started doing “time outs” (Dr. E style, not “go sit there for 2 minutes by yourself and then you can play again”) and that was working but now seems to not be a deterrent. We do notice that his behavior is better after the time out, but that doesn’t mean his behavior is necessarily good. HA! We have quite a few firm talks every few days but so far, everyone is keeping their cool for the most part and trying to just brush these things off as normal toddler behavior.
I am much tougher on Matthew than his dad is because I know what he’s capable of, and I have high expectations. Getting dressed in the morning for school is not an option, so I have no problem just going over and stripping him down and getting his school clothes on him even if he doesn’t want to get out of his jammies. B likes to wait until Matthew is ready. Nope – not me – I don’t have time to wait (because he will NEVER be ready, for crying out loud). I like Matthew to know that although I respect his differences in opinion, there are many times that I will make the calls without his input. Our house is not a democracy (if it was, I would always lose because I am apparently not the fun parent!).
Matthew is a doting big brother and actually had a fit today because I wouldn’t let him hold Bryson as he was winding down for his nap (I was nursing Bryson at the time). Matthew spends much of his time smiling at Bryson, trying to play with him, moving his hands for him when we sing songs, and comforting him when he’s worked up. I could not ask for a better-behaved two-year old when it comes to brotherhood. Matthew gets a gold star from me, and everyone who sees him interact with Bryson, every single day for being such an awesome big brother! I honestly did not expect it to go this well.
Bed time is going so well! We had a bit of a regression last week when my mom came to visit and B was out-of-town. Matthew cried as I got up to leave his room and begged me to stay in his bed. He kept pushing my head to the pillow, saying, “sit down, sit down.” I fell for it once but then realized what was happening. The next night, I did stay until he fell asleep (I clearly forgot what was happening) and by the third night, he was asking the same of B. I put a stop to that and dragged B out of there with a white lie (“Mommy needs Daddy’s help with something”) and bed time has been going much better since then. HA! He does whimper a bit when I get up to leave, but never gets out of his bed (he did the first night when my mom was here) and falls asleep within 20 minutes. I still don’t have my nights back to myself because I spend those 20 minutes watching the monitor like a crazy woman, ready to cut him off at the pass if he does get out of bed. Maybe by next week, I won’t need to worry so much!
Matthew started speech therapy almost 2 weeks ago and we’ve already seen some great progress! I asked the therapist if “there is something not working and putting things together in his brain” and she said no – that he is just a bit lazy. HA! We were told that he has no reason to talk because we understand his needs so well without him talking, and that it’s up to us to force him to talk by giving him the words, and not giving him what he wants until he says the words. Man alive – that is hard to do! It’s hard not playing with your kid because he won’t say, “play.” But we did stop giving him snacks until he said, “snack” and he now says it quite often, and always when prompted. He has gained quite a few new words since the first appointment and we have another appointment this week. I am super excited about it because I want him to be able to converse easily with his friends who are all a bit older than him. I think we’re going to be in good shape by this time next year – he’s picking things up quickly, or so it seems.
An interesting point about Matthew’s speech (which a friend told me would happen) is that his teacher says he talks for her quite a bit. Say what? Oh yeah – “he asked, ‘what’s that?’ and I asked ‘where?’ He pointed up and said ‘sky.’ So I pointed to the moon and said, ‘Matthew that’s the moon.’ and then he said, ‘moon.'” No shit?!?!?! Matthew had NEVER said sky or moon to us, despite several attempts to get him to say them. This proves the speech therapist’s assessment that he understands the words, and is storing them in his brain, but that he just won’t say them if he knows we want him to. After his teacher told me this, he started pointing out the moon morning and night and saying, “Mom, moon!” Unreal.
When Matthew’s speech was evaluated, his behavioral, social, cognitive, gross motor, and fine motor skills were evaluated as well. He passed all of those evaluations with flying colors and was well within the normal ranges for each. The concern is that if his speech doesn’t improve, that he’ll begin to get frustrated and the other things (like behavior) will take a dive. I’m not so concerned about that, but I can see why they want to watch it. Matthew is the most social child I have ever known (and I’m not saying that because he’s mine – his ability to make friends instantly scares us a bit when it comes to strangers) and if someone doesn’t understand him, he’ll just go find someone who does. We’ve watched him do that! Nothing holds this kid back!
Matthew is crazy about sports. He is beyond crazy – he is fanatical! He has always been way into basketball and that has not changed. He’s outgrown his indoor toddler basketball hoop (“ba-a-ball hoop”) so we bought an adjustable one that will grow with him. He’s making shots at the 4 and 5 foot hoop settings and gets better with his aim, form, and shooting distance every day. I am amazed by his form and jump shots – I often times just shake my head in wonder. He’s learning to dribble and does pretty well. Every man who sees him in action stops to tell me that he is “naturally talented” at basketball and is already quite good for his age. I agree, but what do I know? I am thrilled that he’s so good at something he loves, but I’m trying not to get wrapped up in it. He could lose interest in it tomorrow (Dr. E says he won’t – that kids this young who are so into a sport or two will hone that skill for years and years, which was fun to hear), so I try not to get too excited. But I am proud of his talent because he is quite good! He loves playing pool as well and enjoys watching football. I signed Matthew up for soccer and he starts that on November 2nd. His dad was crazy into taekwondo but we can’t start him in that until he’s 4, which is a bummer because we’re super excited to see if it comes as naturally to him as it does to his dad, uncle, aunt, and grandparents (on B’s side!).
And finally, Matthew is still IN LOVE with Curious George and he got to meet him over the weekend! Watching him meet and hug George made me a bit weepy – it is just so neat seeing your child truly love something or someone so much! Matthew got more than his fair share of George time, but it still wasn’t enough for him. There was a typical toddler meltdown as we left George, but it was worth it!