Trevor’s Adjustment to Preschool
Tru took a little adjusting to get used to a new classroom, new teachers, and new classmates this fall. He never cried or threw tantrums before school, and for that I’m extremely grateful! He’d just say, “I don’t want to go to school. I don’t like school.” When Chris and I would ask why he didn’t want to go to school, he wasn’t able to express any real reasons. He’d usually say, “I don’t like the color.”
But now that we’ve reached November, he’s settled. He usually happily sprints for the door when we reach the parking lot. The teachers say he likes to keep busy throughout the day and that he’s very social. There’s a “peace corner” where children can go when they need alone time to think. His teachers say he’s never once gone to the peace corner. That wasn’t a surprise to me! His favorites at school: numbers, counting, and building work.
When I pick him up, Tru has very little to say about school. It’s like he’s already let the morning melt into the past and has no recollection of it whatsoever. He’s a certified master of living in the present moment! Sometimes he’ll give me a tiny nugget like, “We went down to the waterfront and I held Noah’s hand.” He’s developing friendships with a couple of the boys in his class, that much is clear.
I never really know if his stories about school are tall tales or the truth though. Honestly, I don’t know if he distinguishes between imagination and reality. Once after school he said, “Duke is really big. He read me all of the books, every single one.” I think Duke is about five or so. And the classroom does have a reading corner. So it’s possible they looked through a lot of the books together…
Tru has developed a little routine for himself after school too. Since school is in a downtown location, he knows where all of his favorite stores are at this point. And he has an agenda already worked out when I pick him up. His requests: chocolate shop (for a chocolate covered M&M pretzel), bakery (for a frosted sugar cookie), ice cream shop (for vanilla with rainbow sprinkles), smoothie shop (for a fruit smoothie and a zucchini muffin), playground, or toy store. These little trips are some of my favorite moments of the day: holding his tiny hand as we walk along the cobblestone sidewalk and sit down on a bench, Tru happily chatting and munching on his cookie.
But when the weather is bad and I don’t want to walk around town, or when I don’t want to buy more sweets for Tru, his tantrums are rough. Today, I picked up Tru in the pouring rain and I told him we would be going straight to the car because of the weather. He screamed and dropped down on the ground in the middle of a busy parking lot. And so I had to pick him up and carry him, crying, to the car.
The Extremes of the Preschool Years
Having a preschooler is a study in extremes, if nothing else! My mom had a rhyme she used to read to me as a little girl and I still remember it well:
‘There once was a girl
who had a little curl
right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good,
she was very, very good.
And when she was bad
she was horrid.’
How accurate is this? The good times are so very, very good. And the awful times are so very, very awful.
As for the good: Tru makes up the funniest random stories. His imagination is amazing! Today he said, “I picked a boogie from the boogie tree. But I didn’t like it because it was so sticky!” The other day he said, “There was a little seed and it grew and grew until it popped (with the “popped” he clapped his hands) into a big balloon.”
Here’s one thing he says that I love, “Mama, you got a friend in me.” He picked this up from Toy Story. It’s the cutest thing. Every time I respond, “awwww Tru! You’re melting my heart!” And it’s true. He is. He’ll also say, “I love you Mama. I love you so badly!”
He also still loves music. The other day he started singing, “This land is your land, this land is my land, from California…” It was something he learned at school and remembered. There’s nothing sweeter than a singing preschooler!
He’ll still curl up in my lap to read a book before bed. He doesn’t like to go through five or more books at night anymore. Just one is enough. I love sharing that time with him so much.
As for the bad: Tru came down with his first bad cough of the year this fall. He was as active and high energy as ever during the day, and he never had a fever. But at night – partly because he still can’t blow his nose, I think – he’d cough pretty badly. Sometimes he’d have a fit of coughing where it was hard for him to catch his breath and he’d almost gag. This was beyond terrifying for me. My sense of helplessness was overwhelming! For several nights, I barely slept. For several nights, Chris slept in Trevor’s room on an old Ikea mattress on the floor.
The Mischievous Elf In Endless Pursuit of Me
What’s it like to live 24/7 with a preschooler? Here’s my best description:
Imagine you have a very mischievous elf who is literally always following you – never leaving you – and has one goal in mind: to test and challenge your peace of mind and your sanity.
Here are some examples:
Sometimes, Tru will walk by me and just absentmindedly wipe his runny nose on my pant leg. Or, while I’m talking to him at the dinner table, he’ll just wipe his hands on my shirt as he’s chatting away. He doesn’t think anything of it. I think he sees me as truly a part of him.
Here’s another one: sometimes when he’s bursting with energy or overwhelmed, he’ll just randomly scream at the top of his lungs. I’m pretty sure the neighbors on the other end of the street can hear him. He’s not frustrated or angry when he does this. I call him the little teapot who has boiled over and started to whistle.
Whenever Chris and I start talking, Tru doesn’t like to feel left out. He’ll burst out with a “Heeeey! I have something to say!” And then struggle to come up with something….
He loves to fly through the house on his little plastic tricycle and he’ll do his best to weave around me. Even so, he frequently crashes into my ankles.
Also, Trevor continues to pepper me with eighty questions per day. The endless interrogation is enough to make any person weary. I try my best to answer the questions with patience. Sometimes I lose my patience and then feel bad. Sometimes I just say, “I don’t know, Tru. What do you think?”
Tru’s Sleeping Habits
Trevor has the same bedtime routine every night: bath or shower (he chooses), followed by pj’s and teeth brushing (he loves his Toms of Maine strawberry toothpaste and would swallow down a whole tube if we let him). After that, he’s allowed to watch the tablet for a few minutes. He loves “Blippi” and “Clark Man” (YouTube stars for toddlers).
The routine sounds so simple, but it’s actually exhausting! Tru is normally exploding with energy, jumping on the bed, and tearing through the hallways half dressed.
Most nights, Tru isn’t asleep until 9pm. This is because he fights bedtime with everything he has! After we finally tuck him into bed (honestly, it’s more like wrestle him into bed), he calls out to us with random questions and requests. He (thankfully!) never gets out of the bed. He just yells for us: “Daddeeeeee! I’m done with my milk!” (referring to the sippy cup of milk he usually drinks before bed). “Mamaaaa! My noise is too loud!” (referring to his white noise machine).
He usually wakes up around 6:45 in the morning. I’ll hear his feet hit the floor with a thump, then the pitter-patter of his tiny feet dashing into Chris’s and my bedroom. Next, he’ll crawl right into bed between Chris and I (he always has to be in the middle)! This is one of my favorite parts of the day. He’ll usually cuddle with me and let me kiss his hair, which smells its most sweet and sugary first thing in the morning. He’ll make up stories and ask a million questions. Sometimes he’ll give me a hug or look right into my eyes and I’ll think: “I wish he could stay three forever.”
Trevor still naps in the afternoon for about 2 or 2 1/2 hours. When he misses the nap, he completely loses all of his self control by about 5pm. I frequently wonder: how do parents have the energy to make it until bedtime without a nap? How exactly do they do it? I’ll find out one day, I know…
Tru’s Eating Habits
Trevor’s eating habits are a continued source of major stress for Chris and I. He’d be happy to live off ice cream, chips, cookies, crackers, pretzels, and chocolate. We do our best to get healthy foods into him. We don’t give up. This week, Tru saw rainbow baby carrots at the grocery store. So Chris bought them and I cooked them for dinner. He took one bite of one baby carrot. But the fact that he was willing to try was a victory for us!
He likes fruit smoothies, milk, orange juice, yogurt, peanuts, cheese sticks, popcorn, and peanut butter. Those are the healthiest foods he eats on a regular basis. Tru and I still bake pumpkin or blueberry muffins nearly every week, and he likes those (especially the batter!) And he’ll eat strawberries. Today, we tried writing letters with frosting on halves of strawberries. He must have eaten about five strawberries in total. That was a huge victory!
Some of Tru’s Favorite Things
Trevor continues to love being physical above all else! He still wants to be rough and tumble all day, every day! Now that the weather is getting colder, we’ve had to spend less time outside. But he loves to hop on his plastic tricycle and do loops around the house and chase poor Calvin (poor, poor Calvin!) He enjoys skating lessons on the weekends and he’s getting really strong and sure of himself, slowly inching his way along the ice all by himself! His favorite toys are BRIO and Legos.
His favorite shows and movies these days are Tayo, Cars, Toy Story, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Puppy Dog Pals. He also likes Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood! I was excited when Tru said he liked Mr. Rogers because I remember loving this show when I was his age. It’s such a good show for kids: I wish there was someone out there continuing his legacy and making a modern version of Mr. Roger’s (there’s a Daniel Tiger animated show based off Mr. Rogers, but it’s not quite the same). We watched one old Mr. Rogers episode where they built the most incredible display of dominos. Tru loved it and wanted to watch it over and over. So we bought a domino kit, and Tru loves it. He can get really frustrated because it takes practice to not accidentally knock everything over. But I’m proud of Tru because he’s willing to keep practicing and work through frustration.
Trevor Is Growing Independent…
These days, Trevor has been preparing his own snack. He’ll drag a chair over to the pantry to reach up to the high shelf where I keep the popcorn. Next, he’ll drag the chair to the microwave to put the popcorn in. I’ll help him press the buttons to pop the popcorn. Then he’ll ask me to stand beside him while the popcorn pops: he’s terrified it’ll burn, so he wants me there to remove the bag on time.
He also likes to help me pour his milk and maple syrup. And he knows how to throw away his own yogurt container after he’s finished eating.
…But He Still Needs Me Too
Tru couldn’t care less about clothes or what he wears. So I pick out his outfits every day, and that’s a lot of fun for me. He’s only three, so everything still looks miniature and adorable on such a tiny little human. He gets frustrated with certain parts of getting dressed (he can’t figure out which side is the front of his pants, for example), so he still needs help with that. He also still prefers to have Chris or I around to play with him or come up with new activities for us to do together. He plays independently more than ever before. But if I’m upstairs combing my hair and changing my clothes for example, within a couple of minutes I’ll generally hear, “Mama? Mama? Maaamaaa! I neeeeed you!”
Trevor was so excited for Halloween this year! I dug through his book shelf and found his Halloween books and he fell in love with one in particular: “Pete the Cat: Trick or Pete.” We read it almost every night leading up to Halloween. He was fascinated by the concept of going door-to-door to say “trick or treat.” Just like last year, Tru chose his own costume about a month before Halloween. He said he wanted to be a tiger, and he stuck with his decision all the way until the end, just like last year. I was so excited about his choice too! I thought my days of buying Tru a cute and cuddly costume were already behind us. But he was the world’s most adorable little tiger. He even let me paint his nose black and add a few whiskers.
He had a couple of chances for trick-or-treating too. He went to his Grammy and Grandpa’s neighborhood for trick-or-treating on the Friday before Halloween. He went to every single house in the neighborhood (there were only about ten or so). On Halloween night, we had terrible weather. Luckily, the town rescheduled trick-or-treating for the following Saturday. So we went out that night and then we returned to our house and had a big (chaotic!) party with all of the neighborhood kids. Tru’s favorite candies: KitKat and M&Ms.
My Favorite Thing
Sometimes when we need a rest, Tru and I will curl up on the couch to watch TV together. Tru will say, “let’s do cuddles,” and he’ll lie with his head on my chest. I’ll wrap him up in a hug and his body will feel so tiny and so precious in my arms. They are the simplest moments and also the best moments of my life.