Our little chefs…
A few nights ago Cooper woke up crying. I (Chris) went to check on him and asked him what was wrong. In between his mumbling and confusion from being half asleep, Cooper told me that he had a bad dream. Here’s the rest of our dialog:
Chris: You’re ok buddy. Daddy’s here. What happened in your dream?
Cooper: The dinosaurs were chasing me and they were going to eat me!
Chris: It’s okay. There not going to eat you and dreams aren’t real. What kind of dinosaurs were they?
Cooper: It was a stegosaurus and a triceratops
Chris: Oh. Well Cooper, they’re not going to eat you because they are herbivores. They don’t eat meat or people, they eat leaves and plants…
Then, without skipping a beat, Cooper responded: But I was wearing a leaf costume! They thought I was leaves and they were going to eat me!
We were at the my in-law’s farm this weekend. The have a pond and the boys love to go fishing in the evenings there. Cooper went fishing this evening with Chris and a few other guys. One of the guys caught a fish and before he released the fish he gave it a kiss. Well, Cooper fished a little and after a little while it was time to put a new worm on the hook. Cooper stretched out the worm and right before he put the worm on the hook, Cooper kissed the worm. Chris immediately said to Cooper, “Oh Cooper, you can’t kiss a worm.” Cooper replied, “but Jake kissed the fish.” “That’s different Cooper,” said Chris.
Cooper is obsessed with cars. Of all the toys he owns, he always gravitates to his cars. I would have to say he plays with his cars about 80% of the time. He says the word car about 100 times a day if not more. Today, he took all of his cars and lined them up on the window ledge. After I took this picture the entire window ledge was full of his cars. Today when I went to put him down for his nap he clung to his red fire engine. When I took the fire engine out of his hand before he went to sleep, he started to wail and scream, “Car, Car, Car!!” over and over. I finally just had to put him in his crib and leave. I could hear him all the way down stairs screaming for his car. He did that for abotu 5 minutes and then finally gave up and went to sleep. When I went into his room to get him up from his nap, the first thing he said to me was….you guessed it…”CAR!” He pointed at the fire truck. I picked him up and handed him the fire truck and he looked extreamly pleased. My son is all boy, or should I say, my son is all about cars!
We spent Thanksgiving with Chris’s family at the farm. We had a good time hanging out by the camp fire, taking long walks under the autumn leaves, smoking meat in the smoker, eating a ton of food, riding four-wheelers, and taking the canoe out on the newly formed lake. Cooper had a good time and enjoyed all the attention from his grandparents, aunt, uncle, and extended family. Cooper was pretty much spoiled rotten while we were there.
I hope that all of you had a good Thanksgiving with your family!
Here is a picture of Cooper from our trip at the farm.
(Don’t worry that is milk in that glass!)
Cooper is trying to communicate more and more.
Currently he can sign:
Potty/ Bathroom (sometimes)
Currently he can say:
Ma/ Mom (sometimes, but not often)
“Gu”- this is really anything he points at, including dogs
We went to Dallas this past weekend. It is a 4 hour drive from Houston to Dallas. The trip up there went fairly well. Cooper was easily entertained with his DVDs and did not really fuss too much. It was only towards to end of the trip to Dallas that he started to get cranky, but it was past his bedtime so that was understandable.
On the way home, I cycled through his DVDs and he did not fuss once. The entire trip home he contently watched his DVDs in the back seat and I never had to climb in the back seat. I was able to remain in the front seat for the entire trip. This was a first for us!
I hope the our future car trips run that smoothly!
It seems that taking care of Cooper got pretty difficult from about 9-12 months. This is really mostly my fault. I lacked structure to our day. Other than I knew what time he was suppose to eat and sleep, the rest of the day was a free-for-all. I had all his toys in random boxes and bins on the floor in his playroom. He could basically grab any toy he wanted to play with at any point. The result from my lack of structure in his day and his toys laying around at his disposal- a clingy child who did not know how to self-play or entertain himself for long. He also lacked discipline because I was not trying to create boundaries and guidelines to his day.
When Cooper was a baby, I had done Babywise with him to train him to sleep through the night. He slept through the night, 7-8 hours stretch, from about 9 weeks old. He slowly increase his sleep. By the time he was 5 months old he was sleeping 10 hours at night and by 6 months old he was sleeping 12 hours at night. He had regular nap times and things ran smoothly. Thank you Babywise! Babywise is a book meant for parents of infants 0-5 months old. Then the next book in the series is Babywise II. I bought the book and read it, but decided that I really did not need to implement all the things that the book suggested. One of the recommendations was that you put your 5-15 months old in a pack n play daily for a short period of time with a few toys. This structured time was suppose to teach a child how to play on his own and to develop mental focus since there are not a lot of toys. However, I decided not to follow this recommendation, because Cooper hated to be in his play pen or pack n play. Man did I pay the price for this later!
So anyways, I found myself with a cranky, clingy, can’t play by himself, undisciplined child and it was about to be the end of me. I decided that perhaps I should revisit Babywise II (5-15 month olds) and buy the next couple of books in the series, Pre-Toddlerwise (12-18 months), and Toddlerwise (14 months through 3 years-old). I also stumbled into a group on www.babycenter.com for mom’s who are currently implementing the babywise and other wise programs with their children. Between the books and the group I joined on babycenter.com, I have learned so much about how to structure Cooper’s day and disciplining him. Cooper is doing such a better job playing independently, he minds Chris and I much better now, he does not cling to me as much, and he seems to be in a better mood and happier!
Thoughts on discipline:
Before I reread Babywise II and picked up Pre-Toddler Wise. My main form of discipline was telling him “no.” If that did not work, I usually would look him in the eyes and gentle squeeze his hand to get his attention (not to the point of pain). The gentle hand squeeze did come from babywise. If that form of correction did not work, we did time out in his mini-pack n play for 30 sec to a minute. That would usually do the trick. I will say, even with all of those strategies in place, my discipline was still not working effectively. The problem was with saying, “no” over and over again. After reading through Pre-Toddlerwise and Toddlerwise, they speak about first time obedience. I am not going to get into that topic to much, but I will say that if Cooper does not respond after the first no, and I give him time to comply, then he get a brief time out. This quick and easy discipline strategy has saved me and Chris from saying, no over and over. He will 70% of the time obey us with the first no. He knows that certain things are off limits in our house too, such as the tv buttons, the stairs, and outlet plugs. He is usually good about not touching them! This is saving me a lot of piece of mind so I don’t feel like I am running around disciplining him all day long.
Thoughts on Structure:
As I mentioned earlier in this post, the only part of my schedule that I had down was the time Cooper ate and slept, the rest was free and open to whatever happened. The lack of structure created many discipline problems because he was allowed to roam around the house too much, and touch too many things. Pre-toddler and Toddlerwise would call this- allowing your child too many freedoms. I also had way too many toys out which was over simulating and he was not able to concentrate and just play with one toy. After reading the three -wise books, I made some adjustments. The first was, get all the toys off the floor and into bins. I only allow Cooper to play with a select few toys at a time. I also rotate the toys he is allowed to play with so he does not easily get board with his toys. The next thing I did was structure his day better. To fill in the times between eating and sleeping, I created the following activities: independent playtime, outdoor playtime/ walks, blanket time, table time (which is done in his highchair), TV time, story time, structured play/ learning time, family play time, free play time, bath time, and time to run errands. I have been following this schedule for about a month now, maybe a little longer, and it is great! Keeps Cooper from getting board, keeps me from going nuts trying to entertain him all day long, and has taught Cooper how to self-play and respect boundaries.
The two actives I cannot live without:
Independent play time and blanket time have been a wonderful addition to our schedule and have helped Cooper learn to self-play, develop better mental focus, and respect boundaries and my authority. Cooper plays in his playard every morning for an hour, I select the toys he plays with and rotate them so he is not bored every day. For the first week he cried a lot during independent play time. The crying slowly decrease and I am happy to report that this is the first week where I can put him in the playard and he happily starts to play with his toys! I think he even looks forward to this time. Blanket time I have only been doing for two weeks, but I think it is great! Cooper is told stay on a blanket that is no bigger than 3×4 and I give him very few toys. He started with 10 minutes of play and now we are up to 20 minutes of play on the blanket. It only took 2 days of me picking him up and telling him to stay on the blanket for him to stay put. He cried for about a week, but now no more tears and just play! I went to a restaurant last week and sat him on the ground while I was paying the check. I told him to stay put and Cooper did not move for 5 minutes. It was a very crowded restaurant with lots of temptations to allure Cooper, but he was able to resist them and obey me. I owe this to blanket time.
I am glad I decided to crack down on discipline and structure his day! With twins on the way, I wanted to make sure that Cooper was a happy, compliant child. I did not want to chase Cooper around or having him cling to me throughout the day while I was busy with the twins at various points. I am able to get more done around the house such as laundry, cleaning, and kitchen stuff now because I do not have Cooper constantly clinging to my pant legs and wining or me running after him telling him “no” all the time! So thank you to the -wise series. You have saved my sanity and helped Cooper to be a happier child!
Cooper’s new love is cars. This is actually his first true word. When he says car he sounds like he is from Boston, which sounds so cute! He plays with cars about 70% of his day. He loves to roll them around the hallway and through the house. He even enjoys looking at books with cars and trucks. I just got a Baby Einstein DVD for him that is called “On The Go” and it has tons of vehicles on it, which he loves. To him all things with wheels are cars. He points out the window at trucks and says, “Car”. He points at the tractor in a book and says, “Car.”Cooper is also very into using his walker to get around the house. He is still not walking unassisted so his walker is mode of transportation unless he chooses to crawl.
I uploaded a 6 minute video of Cooper play with his cars and using his walker. It totally captures the stage that Cooper is currently in. Enjoy!