I know some of you come here just to hear about the dayhome kids, so a quick update on where everyone is:
Oh, Pixie. She’s 33 months now and a total princess (despite her mom’s best efforts to make her into more of a tomboy). She loves having her hair done, painting her fingernails, wearing dresses. She constantly asks me “Am I pretty?” and I struggle to answer, because she is super-cute, but she’s also kind to the babies, fantastic at puzzles, helpful, and a good artist (her paintings actually look intentional, as opposed to blobs of brown from all the colour-smearing). I try to strike a balance between complimenting her appearance – “I like your hair today” or “that’s a nice outfit” – and drawing attention to her strengths.
She has developed a really unfortunate habit of pouting when she is reprimanded or isn’t getting her own way. She sticks her lip out so far a family of squirrels could live under it for the winter, lets her eyes fill with crocodile tears, and whimpers. It gets short shrift from me but I’d love to know who she learned it from, so that I may dangle them upside-down over a scorpion pit.
However, she is friendly and pleasant to everyone, is especially patient with the toddlers, and is well able to amuse herself for long periods of time, either with imaginative play or with her beloved puzzles. She missed a day last week with sickness and I really missed her – aside from being a total sweetheart she is also a stabilizing influence on Louis.
Louis will be three next month, but he is in a lot of ways very young. His verbal skills are excellent, but he’s got some pretty big cognitive gaps, and his emotional intelligence is way behind Pixie. It’s a tricky balance because you hear well-crafted sentences coming out of his mouth, and then he reacts in a way that just blows the illusion right out of the water. I think sometimes I expect too much from him because I know he can understand me perfectly well.
The potty-training thing is really going nowhere fast. He pees in the potty 99% of the time (missed it this morning because he was lollygagging about getting his pants down, and he just let fly all over himself, the floor, and his own feet. Then he walked out of the bathroom soaking wet and announced that he “didn’t need to pee”. Not anymore, SoggyPants.) Pooping in the potty, though – no. We’ve been actively potty-training now for a month and he has pooped in the potty successfully exactly once (and that was at home, where his parents watch him like hawks for indications that he’s getting ready and then put him on the potty. Which isn’t teaching him anything except how to hide when he needs to take a dump.)
We are however making great strides with getting him to be more independent. I’ve taught him how to dress & undress himself, how to take off his outdoor gear and stow it properly, and how to clean up the toys. I still have to remind his parents to stop doing everything for him – which is weird. They are pushing him way too hard on the potty thing; he’s not ready and they refuse to acknowledge it. But then they spend way too much time doing things for him that he is well able to do on his own.
She’s a cute little thing. She’s a world-champion napper, a climber, a chewer of books and a smasher of block towers. Lately she’s going through some pretty intense separation anxiety, so we spend a fair bit of time every day watching her fling herself to the floor in dramatic fashion while wailing “MAAAA-MAAAAA!!!” Her storms never last very long, though. She’s enthusiastic about hugs and loves her high chair. (She’d spend the whole day in the high chair, if I let her. I don’t, of course.)
She eats like a hog if she likes the food. So enchiladas go down a treat, but roast pork with mashed potatoes gets flung on the floor while she shakes her head emphatically.
Arthur still has an obsession with pretend baby-play; as in, he *always* finds a way to play a baby, even if they are playing Star Wars (“I’m baby Anakin!”) or super heroes (“I’m baby Iron Man!”) When we can distract him from that, he’s fine – he is by the far the best with the younger kids, and he is my most appreciative audience at storytime.