Monday, April 1, 2013

Ryan: 3 Years & 6 Months

Ryan is now 3.5 years old! He is still as spirited as ever and has a special talent for making dramatic facial expressions. Adam claims he inherited this from me, but I have no idea what he's talking about =-/

Ryan would play outside in any temperature if he could and lately he hasn't cared if it's in the 40's or 60's...he just wants to be outside. One day when it was in the 40's this week, he went out in his winter coat, hat and mittens, but started to take off his socks and shoes to play in the sandbox!

Ryan is learning how to stick with tasks that seem difficult at first, like getting completely undressed and dressed by himself (although he doesn't have many clothes with buttons so he hasn't mastered those along with starting a jacket zipper), doing more complex puzzles, cutting with a scissors, coloring more in the lines, brushing his teeth by himself, etc.  He sometimes gets "flustrated" and can make quite the scene when he gets frustrated, but we're trying to teach him not to give up. It is fun to see how proud he is when he completes a previously "flustrating" task. He may have even demonstrated a touchdown-type dance when finishing a puzzle :)

One of the things we've noticed that has made him a bit agitated is playing ipad. I don't know if it's just being upset when his time is up, or if not passing the levels gets him mad, but he started to have fits shortly after playing every time, but always claimed he was "crying because I'm tired" or for some other reason. He also complained about his neck hurting, even when he was only playing for 10 minutes at a time. After he threw down the ipad one day, he had to take a break for a 5 days and then he tried to sneakily play it, so he lost it for several more days. Now he rarely asks and we're trying to get him out of the habit of wanting to play after meals. It's one of those things that I wish he could enjoy in moderation, but for now we have to just avoid the problem.

Ryan's new habit is asking for "dezzert" after meals, but usually we can get away with just 1 Oreo as a satisfactory ending.  Now that he has enough Easter Candy to last until Halloween, I think he'll be choosing jellybeans, Starburst, Skittles, or M&M's for either dessert or as a substitute for his usual afternoon fruit snacks.  One interesting thing is that he admits that he "loves sorting". Anything from fruit snacks to mini M&Ms gets sorted into lines by color and he'll eat the color with the least amount first. If there is an "odd man out" with no matching colors, he usually offers it to someone else.

I've noticed that Ryan is developing good matching skills and can name many opposites, like up/down, hot/cold, inside/outside, etc. He also can think ahead and name several steps in a plan. For instance, he told me the other night that he was going to 1) Get jammies on 2) Go potty 3) flush 4) wash hands 5) brush teeth 6) read books 7) go to bed, while counting them off on his fingers.  He can count to 16 but skips 13 everytime. He also knows most of 1-10 in Spanish. He can sing several Sunday School Songs, including "Who Built the Ark", "Wise Man Built His House on the Rock" and "Zacchaeus". He loves getting new books from the library and is also enjoying his Highlights magazine that comes every month.

We've tried to start talking to Ryan more about what to do in a fire, what to do if he is lost, etc. but it's hard to know what to tell him without scaring him!  So far we've kept it really simple and just work on a few fundamentals at a time, like not hiding if there is a fire, calling out for us, and crawling on the floor under smoke. I also talked to him about staying by us in stores and if he can't see us, to first call out for us and if he still can't find us, to find one of the girls at the checkout stand. We practiced saying his name, our names, and what town he lives in and eventually we'll add things like address, phone, etc.  I did find it interesting that when we talked about never leaving the store or going outside without us, that we'd always wait for him in the store, he retold to me an entire incident where he went to return his mini-grocery cart at Fareway while I was checking out and instead of coming back to the check stand, he went out the automatic door. I was watching him and ran right out after him and got him back inside before he made it off the sidewalk, but it must have left quite an impression because that happened at least 5 months ago, we've never talked about it since, but it was all very clear to him.

My favorite part of the day is reading books to Ryan at night and then listening to his stories or questions, or just being silly and making shadow puppets on the wall, tickling him until he begs me to stop (but then begs me to do it again), and hearing his prayers.  As with any 3-year-old, we have our struggles, but at the end of the day, I love him to pieces.

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