Sunday, April 29, 2012

5 Little Monkeys

On Friday evening, Jen and I took the kids to the opening night of The 5 Little Monkeys play at Adventure Theater. The kids loved it. In fact, I would say Marino was enthralled throughout the whole play.  Before the play started, when the lights were turned down, he looked at me and said "Mommy, this is going to be great!" Other parents kept looking at us and smiling; Marino laughed more and louder than any of the other kids there. He just loved it. Half way through the show, Marino had to use the bathroom. We ran into one of the monkeys/actors back stage and he gave Marino a high five and asked him a few questions. Marino was star struck! It was a great experience - I can't wait for the next show to open!

Noah, Sydney & Marino - since the play is about bedtime, the opening was a pajama party!
Marino and Syd - excited for the show to start!

Jen and Noah were excited, too!
Such a great night! They even had milk and cookies for the kids after the show!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pajamas and Playseum

We had a very fun and busy weekend! After storytime and naps on Saturday, Marino and I headed to a pajama party/fundraiser at his old daycare. We had a lot of fun visiting with old friends and teachers and meeting new friends, too!

Marino and his "Shi Shi"
He loves this car at the playground there!
Sunday was a yucky, rainy, cold day, but we still got out and had some fun.

We started a new "pretend play" class. This one is focused on Superheroes and, of course, Marino LOVES it. He was dressed and ready to go 30 minutes before I was!

After a nap, we headed out to the Playseum in Bethesda, which is my favorite rainy day spot!
We met my friend Monica and her two boys, Kanye and Vincent there.

We all had a great time. It's always interesting when we go there to see which new things Marino is interested in. The fire trucks and tools are a constant favorite!

How cool is this lizard? His name is Toothless and I love him!

More fire truck time with new friends...

Vincent checking out the tools and safety gear...
Learning how to work a pulley

Marino keeps asking when we can see our friends again! Looking forward to more sunny playdates soon!

Friday, April 20, 2012

5 on Friday

As always, here are 5 special reasons I am loving my boy this week:

5. The other day in the car, Marino was bossing me around and directing me which way to drive. "I don't need help driving" I said. He responded "Well, when I grow up and I'm a mommy, I'm going to drive my own car. And I'm going to say 'I don't need any help driving. No thanks.' "

4. Marino loves to say to Evan and I "Let's hug achother [each other]. Let's all 3 of us hug achother."

3. I woke up the other morning and blew my nose, apparently too loudly. "You scared me!" Marino said. "Sorry," I said, "why were you scared?" Marino said "Because you're freaking me out!"

2. Evan left at the same time the other morning as Marino and I. While we were on the highway, Marino said "Where is Daddy's car? I can't see him." "He's in one of the other lanes. You have to look for him." Marino asked "So, we're going Daddy hunting?"

1. Last night I got home late and Marino and Evan were outside. Marino stopped before we all went inside. "Come on, Marino" said Evan. "Wait, I'm wishing on that star" he said.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring Break 2012 - Part 2

Easter was a lot of fun this year. Marino understood the concept and was very excited for the Easter Bunny's arrival. This year, the Easter Bunny brought some treats, but also a toy recycling truck (by far the hit of the day), sunglasses, some books and a tiny kite. Marino still isn't really into candy - he just wanted to eat marshmallows.
We headed over to my mother-in-law's house in the early afternoon...
this is what Marino wanted to wear.
We had a delicious dinner and lots of fun visiting with family.

Monday was our last day of Spring Break. In the morning, we got together for a playdate with our friends The Richmond's, who we met back when Marino and Hayden were neighbors in the NICU. Today they are almost 4 and it's hard to believe they were ever so fragile and tiny!
Marino loves swings right now - the higher he goes, the happier he is!
I love this picture of Hayden - so handsome!
Serious conversation while climbing...
Pretending to drive...
Sweet brothers: Jackson and Hayden
Spring break is over but we made the most of our time off!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Break 2012 - Part 1

Marino's preschool was closed for 6 days for Spring Break. I was fortunate to have my mom and stepfather visit the first couple days so I didn't have to take the entire time off of work. Marino had a great time with Gramma and Grampa Ray - visiting the lake, playgrounds, the bookstore and getting in lots of snuggle time. They left on Wednesday afternoon and Marino and I headed up to New Jersey to visit Sonia and the girls. We had amazingly warm weather that day and the kids were happy to spend lots of time outside.

Siena and Cat, happy to be enjoying the great weather, chips and salsa!
The next morning, some more friends came over and the Easter Bunny (aka Uncle Wil), hid eggs at the playground across the street. The kids had a lot of fun finding eggs, and just as much fun opening them!
 Can you tell they're excited to find eggs?

Meeting to discuss whether there were any eggs left to find...
Cat enjoying her treats
This is the only thing Marino was interested in eating - bunny marshmellows.

After the egg hunt and lunch, we headed back to Maryland. On the way back, Marino was already asking "Can we go to Aunt Sonia's tomorrow?"

On Friday morning, we headed over to Meadowside Nature Center for a celebration of their 40th anniversary. This was my first time there and I'd like to go back sometime to check things out when there's a little less going on there. This being Spring Break, there were hundreds of people there (I think even the staff was surprised by the volume of visitors). It was very fun, though - they did a great job of having activities for every age.

This cool game featured a hawk "talon" with a magnet on the had to catch magnetic mice to eat, without accidentally picking up cars, hitting telephone poles, etc. A lot of the game emphasized how difficult life can be for raptors - it was an interesting perspective.
One of the permanent residents at Meadowside...this guy shares a home with a vulture.
I wasn't able to get a good picture, but they also have a bald eagle. I had no idea how huge eagles were!

Of course, all the kids loved the bubble wands, and chasing the bubbles after they made them.

My tired boy after visiting the raptors!
The rest of our Spring Break coming soon!

5 on Friday

As always, here are 5 special reasons I am loving my boy this week:

5. The other day in the car, Marino pointed at a Ride-On bus (public transit) and said "Mommy, I want to ride on that bus right there and go to my running by myself. You can pick me up later in Rockville city."

4. Last night, Marino and I went to a birthday party at a bounce house place. The boy loves bounce houses. It was so fun seeing him running and jumping with a giant smile on his face, saying over and over "That was so fun!!"

3. Last week when we were on our way to New Jersey to visit Sonia and the girls, Marino said "I'm going to give the girls a big hug and say 'hug me little girls!'".

2. Evan and Marino saw a commercial for a My Little Pony cartoon yesterday. Evan told Marino how I used to like My Little Ponies when I was a kid. "Well, I don't like ponies," Marino said,"I like someone who can handle bad guys."

1. After Spring Break, Marino complained the whole way to school that he didn't want to go. As soon as we got there, he and his friends were all so excited to see each other. "Look, it's Marino!" they said when he came in the door. It was really sweet to see all these little boys so excited to see each other.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Potty Training - A 7 Month Saga Ends in Success

I hesitated to even write a post about potty training because we really had a difficult time with it in our house. Marino is extremely stubborn when he's passionate about something. Giving up the bottle, sleeping through the night and in his own bed, pooping on the potty - these things were all a CHALLENGE to say the least.

We started potty training when Marino turned 3 in August. Peeing was fairly easy. He likes standing up to pee and he never really objected to our suggestions to go. Going on his own, that was more of a challenge. In his defense, we had a lot going on in the first few months - his brother was here for a couple weeks, he changed preschools twice - these are big things in a 3 year old's life and daily routine. We didn't really push him too hard early on.

Once he started attending his current preschool, one of his teachers (mom of a 4 year old) figured out the only way he would remember to go pee on the potty was to have him go without diapers AND underwear during the day. However, Marino's school is VERY Montessori, and as such, they don't like to push the kids to do things they object to. This meant the PM care teachers weren't willing (initially) to leave him without diapers, so he would just pee in his diapers during the afternoon (as well as in the potty, when he was asked). We realized that, if given the option, he was always going to choose to pee in a diaper. And by December, we still hadn't had any success getting him to poop in the potty. On the weekends, we would leave off his diaper/pull-ups all day until overnight. And, of course, he would wait until then to poop.

I learned fairly quickly that rewards were not going to work with him. He would use the potty, claim his reward, and go right back to peeing his pants. He also would manipulate his time on the potty to avoid going to bed, get extra attention, etc. I can't tell you how many hours Evan and I spent in the bathroom with him...he would insist he needed to go but 45 minutes would go by and he would just be playing around sitting on the potty. Anytime he actually needed to go (and this is true even now that he's fully potty trained), he would immediately use the potty. If he asks me to read him a story on the potty now, I know he's just trying to avoid going to bed.

In late December, we decided to forgo diapers and pull-ups all together, even for naps and overnight. We had 2 weeks without preschool around Christmas, so even though we were traveling, we wanted to put the extra time into potty training. He was still resistant to pooping in the potty. He would hold it to the point of being in pain - he'd be jumping up down and making these horrible faces. Clearly, he was uncomfortable. When we did get him to sit on the potty, he would panic and cry until this hard, bloody mess came out. He was holding it up to 7 days at a time - this is a kid who was previously going twice a day.

Peeing was fairly simple. We got some waterproof pads for his bed, to avoid a mess, but within 2 nights, he stopped having accidents, except for very occassionally. As I mentioned, he has never wanted to pee sitting down, so luckily we didn't have to teach him to stand.

The first thing we did was use suppositories to clean him out. You know your kid is in pain when they are thankful for the suppository. Next, we started giving him Benefiber tablets. It took a few days for these to kick in, but when they did, he quickly figured out there was no more holding it. We both learned that the hard way, but it didn't take long for him to start requesting the potty. After a couple of painless potty trips (with him telling us, in a surprised voice "It doesn't hurt!"), the whole seven month ordeal was over. We stopped the Benefiber and he's not had a poop accident since he's been potty trained (end of January). Pee accidents happen on occassion (once a week, maybe), usually overnight. But he's at the point where he goes completely on his own, however, flushing, hand washing and wiping require some reminders from us.

Honestly, I had moments where it seemed completely impossible, but now it's easy to forget that it was ever a struggle, since it seems like second nature. For anyone currently dealing with this frustration, don't give up! Once you know your child is ready, be consistent and stand your ground. Whether our kids like it or not, using the potty is a necessity for adulthood.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bunnyland 2012

Last Sunday, my mom and stepfather came from New York to visit and help take care of Marino during the first part of his Spring Break. They came down at the same time last year, and Marino remembered that the three of them went to Bunnyland at Butler's Orchard. He announced to me one day "I told all my teachers that I'm going to Bunnyland with Gramma and Grampa Ray." So, when they arrived on Sunday, Bunnyland was the first place we headed.  It was a gorgeous day and we all had a lot of fun.

Marino was excited to see the "hay bunny". We had passed another one on the road the other day and he was excited to see it up close.

He loved riding the ponies again this year. Doesn't he look pleased with himself?

Marino told us the other day that the Easter Bunny lives at Bunnyland, so he excited to pet a real bunny.
We started down the big slide before we were ready!
Marino and his Gramma. The second she walked into the house this visit he proclaimed "Mommy? I love you AND Gramma."