Posted by: ppernick | August 10, 2010

Potty Training

I’ve been remiss in posting … again…. ūüė¶

When last I posted, we were dealing with bedtime and pacifier issues.¬† Thankfully, the pacifier removal was pretty quick – less than 2 weeks and it was forgotten.¬† Unfortunately, bedtime continues to be exhausting.¬† Finding ways to get her to relax and calm down for bedtime is difficult and I’ve finally resorted to putting the baby gate up to keep her from leaving her room.¬† I got excited too early when I didn’t need to use it a couple days into the tactic.¬† *sigh*

The new thing to get excited about though is potty training.¬† Last week, the teachers at school decided to use my trick of making her count to 10 before getting off the potty.¬† Sure enough, keeping her on a little longer produced results.¬† That day she wound up going 3 times on the potty and it’s been constant since then.¬† Dry or wet, we’re onto day 5 in a row of peeing in the potty.¬† Last night at dinner, she even told me she needed to go to the potty and when we got there not only did she pee, but she had a dry diaper!¬† And today she was wet only once.¬† Next is pooping and then…woot!

Simeon is¬†being a great supporter of Caitlyn’s potty training effort.¬† Today, when we went into her classroom, he immediatly walked over to the¬†board and¬†was excited for her when he saw she went potty all 3 or 4¬†times.¬†¬†On our way out of the parking lot he said “Oh. My. Goodness. You went potty four times today!¬† I’m so proud of you!”

Posted by: ppernick | June 15, 2010

Pacifier Withdrawal

I know there are people who are passionately against pacifiers and others who swear by them.¬† I’m neither.¬† I can see reasons for both sides.¬†

That being said, I was very thankful that Simeon never wanted one.¬† He was just fine twirling his hair for self-comfort.¬† Caitlyn on the other hand¬†– while¬†copying her¬†brother’s hair¬†twisting – needed more.¬† At some point, I realized that she wasn’t actually using the night feeding for food. All she wanted was something to suck on.¬† Since I was exhausted and Ari was sleeping through the night, I decided I would give her a pacifier.¬† Sure enough, it worked.

Unfortunately, I’ve reached the point that had me hoping to never use pacifiers…the stopping point.¬†

I purposely kept pacifier use to sleeping only.  I gave one to the daycare for naptime and was disappointed when I found they were using it for more than just naps.  However, they apparently lost it on a buggy ride one day and never asked for another.  I actually found out when she moved up to the next class and the teacher said she had no idea Caitlyn used a pacifier Рshe slept at naps just fine without it.  It figured that she would still get fussy without it at night Рarms outstretched reaching for it.  So it became an only-in-the-crib thing.

Then we moved her mattress out of the crib because she was trying to climb out.  I was tempted to take the pacifier at that point, but decided I would just do it when we moved her into a bed or when she could actually use words to say she wanted it.

The word came pretty quickly and the opportunity of quitting time showed itself not long after.

Over memorial day weekend, we stayed at a Lake Chelan lake house (thanks for the invite, C!).¬† Because my brother didn’t arrive until Saturday afternoon, Ari, his mother and the kids left a day before me.¬† After picking my brother up at the airport, I called Ari to see if he needed me to bring anything and, with Caitlyn nearby,¬†he whispered ‘Paci’ over the phone.¬† I grabbed one on the way but decided to leave it in the car.¬† She managed to get to sleep the night before, so¬†I wanted to see if we could continue while we were away from home.¬† It turned out relatively easy.

Then we came back home.

It wasn’t like¬†she would go down easily before the trip, but I didn’t want to give her the pacifier just to get her to lay down…she needs to find another means of self-comfort at some point.¬† The weekend following Memorial Day, Ari turned the crib into a toddler bed, but unfortunately not a change of rooms as we originally were thinking; so more than a week with no pacifier she was still asking for it (though not as much) and still climbing out of bed and running out of her room instead of going down at night.

I’ve been trying the SuperNanny method of simply putting her back in bed without saying anything.¬† Unfortunately, I’m not as consistent as I need to be and Ari is usually so tired he just brings her into our bed and waits it out.¬† And while I know it isn’t an immediate cure and it takes more than one night…darn it, the TV show makes it look easy after the first night.

The other night even I had pacifier withdrawal and when Caitlyn said ‘Paci! Paci!’ I actually came to our room and asked Ari if I should just give it to her.¬† Of course he wasn’t much help…his response was to choose one of the following 1) go ahead and give it to her 2) guard her door 3) bring her in our bed until she calms herself down.

I then went and picked her up and put her back in bed without a word.

Yet one more week later and she’s at least stopped asking for the pacifier. Unfortunately, her body seems to be attached to a 10pm bedtime no matter when I attempt to put her down and she¬†still won’t stay in her room either.¬†

So, while she seems to be off the pacifier I’m still going through withdrawal..

Posted by: ppernick | June 9, 2010


Simeon has been showing just how skilled he is with math[1] and reading for awhile now.  He read his first book the day before his 4th birthday and now he can read most of the words to a Berenstein Bears book he recently got from his Uncle Neil.  As for math, he was counting to 10 (except for skipping the number 7) before his second birthday and today he can do simple addition and subtraction with numbers under 10.

What it all comes down to is patterns.¬† He loves patterns.¬† It’s actually how he reads. ¬†He doesn’t really sound out the word; he remembers the pattern of letters and just knows the word the next time he sees it[2].

The other day I tried using patterns to help him understand the logic of taking an equal number of turns with a toy.  He wanted to not only be the first to play with this toy, but the last one as well.  So I sat down with him, a pen and a piece of paper.

Me: [Write “X Y X” on the¬† paper] Let’s say the X is you and the Y is Caitlyn.¬†How many Xs are there?
Simeon: Two
Me: How many Ys are there?
Simeon: One
Me: Is that a full pattern of equal Xs and Ys?
Simeon: No
Me: What do we need to complete the pattern?
Simeon: X Y X Y [which I then write down]
Me: So if the Xs are you and the Ys are Caitlyn and you got to play with the toy first, who should get to play last so everybody gets to play the same amount?
Simeon: Caitlyn
Me: Good job.
Simeon: [A couple minutes later] But I want an X Y X X Y X X pattern.

The next day, Simeon grabbed the same toy and said he wanted a Y X Y X pattern and he wanted to be Y this time. 

After our ‘lesson’ I didn’t really know if he understood it.¬†¬†My mother-in-law has said numerous times that you can’t use logic with a child until at least age 7, but darn it if Simeon doesn’t seem to get it here.¬† Add that to how he played his teacher’s at school today[3] and I get the feeling he has a good enough grasp of logic I should be worried.

[1] I wonder how much Caitlyn will follow his love for math.  She shows more of an interest in art and writing than math, but she keeps asking for Team Umizoomi Рa preschool math show.
[2] It works most of the time, but quite often he does wind up with the wrong guess.¬† Such as at Passover when he asked ‘Why on this night do we recycle?’ instead of asking why we recline.
[3] Simeon took his baseball bat to school today hoping to play some teeball.¬† When it was time for afternoon recess, he told Ms. H that Ms. J said it was ok to take his bat outside.¬† He then told Ms. J that Ms. H said it was ok.¬† They eventually figured out neither one had actually said it was ok.¬† Ms. J then asked Simeon ‘Did you ask if you could take out your bat?’ He got a sheepish look on his face and simply put his bat back without another word.

Posted by: ppernick | May 13, 2010

Creative Writing

This morning I was talking to Simeon about what he wanted to take for show-and-tell today.  The letter for the week was U and I had initially figured he would want to take his umbrella.  When he said he wanted to tell a story, I started looking on his shelf for a book that had a word starting with U in the title.  When I discovered that he wanted to tell his own story about the letter U, I asked him to tell me the story.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember it word for word, but the gist of it was that there were four letter Us and one-by-one they left.  I remember that the first one went underwater, another one got on a boat, and the last one was eaten by a shark.  He commented that it was a scary story, to which I concurred.

A little later, he changed his mind and decided he was instead going to sing a song.  This one was definitely memorable…enough that I had it stuck in my head all morning…

U is for Unicorn…Unicorn…Unicorn. U is for unicorn, U…U…U.
U is for Umbrella…Umbrellla…Umbrella.  U is for Umbrella. U…U…U.
U is for Up….Up…Up. U is for Up.  Up…Up…Up.
U is for Underground…Underground…Underground.  U is for Underground.  U…U…U.

The rest of the song is just repetition of one of those versus.  Most often unicorn or umbrella.  And I admit I suggested underground, but he definitely kept it going.

Posted by: ppernick | May 2, 2010

Quotable Morning

Conversations with Simeon are getting much more quotable and amusing.  I may need to carry a notebook and pencil with me everywhere just in case.

Saturday morning, Simeon came to my bedroom door asking if he could watch a movie in bed.¬† I said sure and snuggled back under the covers.¬† Sometime later, Caitlyn woke up and came to the doorway.¬† I said that if she wanted to watch a show with Simeon she had to put her pacifier away.¬† She took it out of her mouth, ran back to her room and returned without it.¬† I then told her to go to Simeon’s room and off she went.¬† Didn’t hear anything so I assumed they were good and snuggled under the covers again.

At some point, it was time to get them dressed.¬† Ari got Caitlyn dressed, but was having trouble convincing Simeon show time was over.¬† When I got there, I discovered they were watching a dvd¬†about Sesame Street’s Baby Bear learning to deal with a new baby sister – a movie we were given when I was pregnant with Caitlyn.¬† Simeon started talking to me about the movie, and explained that there were 3 bears, but then the baby popped out of the mommy¬†and then there were four. He then continued…

“You’re going to have a baby.”
“You’re going to have a baby tomorrow.”
“Do I look big enough to have a baby?”
“It takes a couple days.”

A bit later we were getting out of the car to head into the coffee/donut shop.¬† I asked Simeon if he wanted a donut…

“Do you know what you want?”
“Yes.¬† The messy one.”

Posted by: ppernick | April 30, 2010

Naming a Cow

For the last couple months, I’ve been consistently driving the backroads to get to work instead of the interstate[1].¬† The scenery is nicer.¬† It’s only an extra 5 minutes. And, the main reason, the kids love seeing the farm animals we pass[2].¬† Every morning, before I even reach the interstate entrace I have to at least drive past, Caitlyn is asking ‘Cow?¬† Cow?'[3]

There are 3 main points along the way where we see animals.  First is a large field in which there is a beautiful white horse, two donkeys, some llamas/alpacas and a couple brown calfs.  Next is a farm yard with one big grayish brown cow.  And finally, a few horses at a stable which I really need to consider as a place to take the kids horseback riding some time.

While there are times we don’t actually get to see the¬†animals at the first field and the stables, we can always count on the Big grayish cow.¬† Sometimes it’s under a shelter, sometimes its grazing hay towards the back of the field, but it’s always in eye view (or at least it’s tail is).¬†

So, today, I decided we should name it.  When I asked what its name should be, Simeon responded:Simeon feeding llamas at the Cougar Mountain zoo

“Cows give us milk, right?”
“Then it should be Milk.”
“So, you want to name it Milk?”
“Ok. From now on, we’ll call it Milk.”
“Yay! I got it right!”

[1] The first time I ever went this way on a semi-regular basis, I was making this into a Dora pattern for Simeon.  Our personal Dora episode was to go over the snowy mountain, go past the animals and then we get to school!

[2] And, I have to admit, I do too.

[3]Just about any farm animal is considered a cow right now.¬† If you correct her, she’ll repeat what you say, but otherwise everything is a cow.

Posted by: ppernick | April 29, 2010

Polite at night

 Ari and Caitlyn laying down

It’s late. I should be sleeping¬†but I woke up with¬†a bad taste in my mouth and decided to brush my teeth and get a cup of ice water..

On the way downstairs, I stopped to take a peek¬†at Caitlyn.¬† Once the night light provided enough light to see her, I found her sleeping perpendicular to the mattress on the floor covered up with the blanket.¬† I considered moving her back onto the bed, but instead just¬†stood watching her for a moment. I remembered the other night when I did move her back to bed.¬†I happened to find her pacifier as I was adjusting the blankets and handed it to her.¬† I don’t recall if she asked for it, but I didn’t think she was very awake, yet she still managed to say “Thanks.”¬† This time, I decided to just let her sleep and continued downstairs.

And now it’s an hour later.¬† I’ve started some laundry, put some dishes in the dishwasher, took care of the litter box¬†and gathered some of the trash and recycling to take out in the morning.¬† Now it’s time to try and get back to sleep or I won’t be so polite when it’s time to wake.

Update:¬† Just as I was getting ready to shut down the computer last night, I thought I heard a noise.¬† Sure enough, I found a confused, sleepy Caitlyn standing in the hallway.¬† I picked her up and took her back to bed.¬† As I was gathering the blanket she asked for her ‘paci’.¬† And yet again, I got a nice thank you as she curled up under the blankets and went back to sleep.

Posted by: ppernick | April 25, 2010


Simeon found Ari’s old phone yesterday.¬† It’s like a brick, but Simeon could care less…the face slides over to uncover a keyboard…how cool is that?!¬† He carried it all over the place yesterday and kept calling it his iphone.¬† Not sure where he got that idea…neither Ari or I own one…most we’ve done is talk about it every once in awhile.

Posted by: ppernick | April 22, 2010

Boy’s Best Friend

I know dogs are considered man’s best friend, but we only have cats here and Maggie is definitely doing her best to fill the role for Simeon.

He was having trouble sleeping last night.¬† I’m somewhat inclined to say night terrors, but I thought he outgrew it and I have no idea what the trigger may have been.¬† ¬†Maybe just a nightmare?

At one point, he asked for a lullabye to go back to sleep – “Me and My Teddy Bear” a song my mom used to sing to me when I was little….

Me and my teddy bear
we have no worries and we have no cares.
Me and my teddy bear
we play and play all day.

Every night he’s with me
when I climb up the stairs
and by my bed he listens
until I’ve said my prayers

Me and my teddy bear
we have no worries and we have no cares.
Me and my teddy bear
we play and play all day.

At some point I added my own lyrics for a new verse/song

Me and my kitty cat
I love her and she loves me back.
Me and my kitty cat
I love her so very much.

Every night she’s with me
when I climb into bed
and on my pillow she sleeps
right beside my head

Me and my kitty cat
I love her and she loves me back.
Me and my kitty cat
I love her so very much.

As I was singing the last verse, I noticed Maggie had climbed onto bed.¬† When I stood up, she continued up to Simeon’s pillow and sat watching him.

A little later, I heard Simeon again.  Headed upstairs and found Maggie at the foot of his bed curled up in her spot.  I got Simeon to go to the bathroom and as I was covering him up, he asked to pet Maggie.  I picked her up and put her next to him.  He pet her a couple times and then laid his arm over her.  She was purring and settling in as I left.

Posted by: ppernick | April 22, 2010


Simeon and his new hammer

About a month and a half ago, I worked out a reward system with Simeon’s teacher to work on his behavior at school.¬† We broke the day up into six parts for which he can earn stickers.¬† If he gets at least 5 stickers at school he gets a sticker at home.¬† Fill up the sticker sheet at home and he gets something.

A week or so ago I started asking him what he wanted and he consistently said he wanted a toolbox.  This last weekend we wound up at the outlet mall and I picked out a tool bag, hammer, screwdriver, level and measuring tape.  He was quite excited.

He finally earned his toolbox yesterday.  Tomorrow I am going to stop somewhere and pick up supplies (or hopefully a kit) to build a birdhouse which we can hang up somewhere in the yard.

Took this pic when we took an evening walk tonite.¬† Love the image of Caitlyn running away as Simeon happily shows off his hammer, even if she didn’t have a clue what he was doing.

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