One Simple Change: Creating my own ‘Back To School’ routine

Last Month’s Review: July

GoalStart prepping Dorothy and Jacob for arrival of Baby #3

Fail/Success? Success! I am actually shocked at how well things went, honestly. I had three goals last month and I’d say we’ve accomplished two and maybe a half? Is that possible?

  • Doing away with pacifiers:
    My real goal was getting rid of Dorothy’s pacifier since she is going on age three. My first attempt came on July 2, after we had a group of people at the house for fireworks and such. Because she was going to bed so late, I figured it was as good a time as any. She was so tired that even if she cried for it, she would likely fall asleep quickly. She did ask for her “paci” before I turned out the light, but I simply told her we weren’t going to use it tonight. Much to my surprise, she did not fight me! Maybe it was the whole exhaustion thing, but she just accepted what I’d said and rolled over.
    That was pretty much the end of the pacifier for her. The next night was similar and after that she stopped asking. She does not even try to use them when she finds them in the house. I have given her one a handful of times for napping simply because she hates naps. It is the only thing that she will really get worked up about–and I only force them when I know they are a necessity (which oftentimes also means more resistance). The pacifier has hushed her and helped her relax long enough to fall asleep. I did not attempt to wean Jacob, but he primarily uses them for sleep at this point. 
  • Overnight pull-ups: We actually did not work on the overnight peeing any. Interestingly enough, though, there was improvement and in some ways I think it might be linked to the pacifier. The first few nights of no paci, she woke up completely dry! She did not maintain, but as opposed to maybe having a dry pull-up once every other week or so; Now she is dry several times a week. My theory is the pacifier is such a soother to her, that when she would start to wake-up with the urge to use the bathroom, she would keep herself in sleep mode with the pacifier. Now, on her dry mornings, she’s either gone on her room potty on her own first thing, or she wants to go right away. On the wet mornings, she still tends to take the pull-up off immediately. 
  • Two Kids/One Room:
    We’ve done it! The kiddos are officially roommates! And I love it (for the most part). It was halfway through the month when we moved Jacob into Dorothy’s room.Oddly enough, their first night sharing a room turned out to be the first time ever we’ve had a kid get sick. The two were completely unrelated. Dot had a little bug that lasted a few days, and actually meant diarrhea, so there was only one night of throw-up. Jake ended up with the same thing the next week and he had a rougher time at night. The awesome part of it was the fact the issues did not cause problems for the other sleeping child in the room. Apparently they are very heavy sleepers!
    Version 2
    Most everything I feared about sharing a room has not been an issue. Dorothy ignores Jacob singing himself to sleep. Jake ignores it if Dorothy gets out of bed after we’ve left the room. Actually, she has taken it upon herself to let herself through the “secret door” into the other bedroom to sit on that bed and read books, as to not keep Jake away! (I have to bring her back to her room, though.) She’s done this in the mornings, too, when she wakes up before Jacob. She seems to have the understanding that he is sleeping and she needs to behave accordingly.
    I love hearing them together in their room. We’ve never had a video monitor, and I’ve never cared, but now I’d love one just to see some of their interactions. My favorite is to hear Dorothy in the morning when she realizes Jacob is also awake, say, “Hey there little buddy! How are you??” I also walked in one morning to find her at the foot of her bed (butted up again Jake’s crib) reading a book as he peeked over the edge to see the pictures. I love the best friends they are becoming and cannot put into words what it’s like to witness.

What I got out of it: I guess the ease of these changes goes to show that sometimes, as parents, we worry more about the complexity of things than we need to. Sometimes, we need to just “do it” and move forward and kids will actually roll with things, especially at such young ages.

Moving Forward: We vacationed with the kids sharing as room well. I’ll try to get Jacob’s pacifier weaned more before the baby arrives. (At least to sleeping only so I don’t have to deal with him stealing baby’s pacifier.) I probably won’t push Dorothy’s potty issue except to keep talking to her about the idea of keeping her pull-up dry. Instead, soon I’ll try moving on to potty training Jacob.

Version 2

New Challenge: August

Goal: Start Dorothy in a “pre-school” routine of sorts

Motivation behind the challenge: Many parents are in full scale back-to-school mode, including  many with kids Dot’s age who are sending them to a pre-school program. I won’t be doing this with Lou and do not intend to send her to school before kindergarten. It’s part of the reason I am giving up working outside the home. However, I don’t expect that having her kindergarten ready comes without effort. So far, she’s pretty “on track”, but I like the idea of structuring her learning and activities into our daily routine more. This will help keep me focused on teaching particular skills and it will help me then do it with the next two kids. I am predicting it could be very easy to let some learning slip with the younger kids as life gets crazier. 

Right now Dorothy can:

  • Identify half of the letters of the alphabet
  • Distinguish letters from numbers
  • Identify the basic shapes
  • Identify all colors
  • Recognizes her written name

She has recently started to love puzzles and matching games. I’d like to continue working on those skills with her this month, but I’d like to move ahead on the rest of the alphabet as well. Another skill is pen control. I think it’s a little early, but I’ve found her trying to draw faces. She does a really good job doing a circle and then eyes and a mouth. (It’s not always the happiest face, mind you, but she gets the idea.) I recently purchased a mini dry-erase board that we have had a good time with. I’m not worried about numbers just yet (letters first), but I do want to have her understand the concept of counting better. She can recite the numbers but she currently does not connect it with the idea of counting items.

I previously shared these ABC activities and we are working our way through. If you are a parent who works at home with your children on specific pre-school learning activities, let me know some of your favorites. I know the struggle on this challenge is completely on me dedicating time. Dorothy will be more than happy to have Mama doing such activities with her!

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