Learning to swim and more

Tristan is showing a lot of improvement and interest in learning to swim.  At the beginning of the season, he was afraid to be in the water without being held, whether or not he was wearing a lifejacket or floatie.  He was also drinking the pool water to the point where we had to stage an intervention program to get him to cut down on it.  Now he’s cruising across the pool independently and putting his mouth in the water to BLOW BUBBLES!  He finds the pool water to be cold, as do I, but has a harder time getting used to it than I do – poor baby.

All around, Tristan has been growing more mature and independent.  When he woke from his nap today, he gave his iPad attention and didn’t even need to hang on me at ALL.  For people who had seen him about two months ago, this will probably be shocking.  I have also been able to do something I hadn’t in a long, long time – put him down for naps – and he’s stopped most of the screaming when he wakes up, provided we think to leave the door open.  I have to hide my head behind a pillow to do it properly, but I’ve been enjoying several weeks of having a child who sleeps.  His tantrums have grown far less screamy and more grunty, to the point where sometimes I can’t tell if he is upset about something or pooping.  Yesterday he managed to sit through an almost 2 hour lunch (iPad in hand) and behave amazingly.

Potty training is still about the same; Tristan is making an effort to stay dry in his pull-ups and to pee in the toilet when brought.  He doesn’t usually initiate bathroom trips and he still refuses to poop anywhere but his diaper.  Thankfully, he does poop IN the diaper and doesn’t (yet?) try to remove it by himself or decorate with it.  He says that he’s scared when the topic of poop in toilet comes up, and whenever I’m removing the diaper to deposit said poop into the toilet.  But he has a solid (hah hah) understanding of what goes in the toilet and I’m confident that he’ll get there when he is ready.  I’m really happy that we can get away with being slackers (read: not really on top of things) and he’s still progressing.

We haven’t gotten Tristan anything new for his iPad in quite some time, but he’s fine with that.  He’s begun to write the names of numbers alongside the numbers in one particular application.  His handwriting probably looks like any kindergartner learning to write.  There’s a slingshot-type game called “Angry Birds” that has taken off tremendously, to the point where the plush birds are sold in every novelty store you can see – and I LOVE it that Tristan understands the rule, “You can throw Angry Birds only while in the house.”

Tristan is fully independent on playground equipment – I no longer have needed to go up with him to make sure he doesn’t kill himself.  He is, however, becoming notably impatient – his New York blood is showing.  He’s been climbing over other children who hesitate to take their turns or are lingering in any way when taking turns for slides and other equipment, and he’s been known to just plain cut in line while everyone else is picking their ass trying to decide who goes next.  As a rule, I don’t mind this (which is why I let it develop, haha) but I need to teach him the rule of “Don’t climb over the SAME people over and over, and let others in front of you have a fair chance to take a turn before climbing on over.”

His conversational skills are picking up.  One theme that keeps popping up is, “I’m scared!”  He is scared of the aforementioned pooping in a toilet and of automatically flushing toilets, public toilets, being overtickled, and probably drowning (he’s been reportedly saying he’s scared when I dive under water).  He is starting to be able to respond to the question, “What is your name?” – he does best with visual cues, such as the words to the question and answer being written out and in front of him to help.

Unfortunately, I am no longer wearing him in the sling, and him no longer being worn has very much coincided with him stopping climbing on my head.

He had an incident where he ran from me in a Kohl’s store when I took him there specifically to buy toys.  He walked a bit in front of me and then suddenly darted into a rack of clothing when I called for him to stop, going instantly invisible.  After panicking for a moment and wondering how to describe him to folks in the store to help me look and hoping he didn’t escape into the attached mall, I decided to look over in the toy section for shits and grins.  Guess who was there and so very proud of himself?  Unfortunately, that earned him prompt removal from the store and then the mall after he got the “never run away from me” lecture on a bench outside of the store.  I am pleased to report that after a month or so of requiring him to be in a stroller everywhere (I was seriously unable to keep up with him for a short time), he’s currently responding nicely to calls to stop and stay closer.

That is where we seem to be right now.


Tristan is quickly developing an obsession with Thomas the Train.

We picked up some trains and tracks the last time we went to Ikea – couldn’t have been too long ago, maybe three months?  And at first, Tristan needed to be supervised with them.  He got INSANELY frustrated whenever he couldn’t get the trains to stick together properly.  They were taken away a lot because he’d seriously lose his shit over it whenever the line of trains disintegrated.  Since we refuse to encourage him losing his shit unnecessarily, he needed to be gradually accustomed to the system.

Fast forward past our Vegas trip about a week, when I gave him the battery-operated, SELF-MOVING Thomas.  And it all began to click.  James has spent a LOT of time with Tristan playing with the trains and showing him how to have fun.  After all, battery-operated trains can be used to push uncooperative little trains around in a line.  And so we expanded our set with a second battery-operated train (Percy, the green one), a shitload more tracks, and a couple more from the Thomas line that were less active.

Last night, we had the following – a Thomas video on, a Thomas iPad app being played, and trains in clear sight and frequently approached.

This article was interrupted by Tristan waking up and resuming the Thomas-thon.

When my little brother was obsessed with Thomas, I tried very hard to pretend that no such trains existed.  Now, I’m glad to hear George Carlin’s voice narrating the videos (RIP).  Too bad he doesn’t drop the F-bomb a bit in these; they might be more interesting that way.

But Tristan is now firmly interested in a stereotypical BOY interest.

The musical keyboard

I taught Tristan that the keys on a piano/musical keyboard have letters; e.g. A, B, etc.  Tonight, he took ALL of his magnetic letters and placed them on the keyboard, and then proceeded to play right over them.  He’s not labeling them correctly yet, but.. giggle.

Oh hey, vacation

Seriously, did I just blink or miss almost a month of our lives?

I managed to chronicle that we were starting potty training, at least.  And so far, it’s going wonderfully.  Tristan understands that pee goes in the toilet and he will pee in there on command if anything’s in there.  He hasn’t yet pooped in the toilet, and I think he’s a little bit scared of the process.

But the big news is that we’ve been on a plane and survived!  Our kid wasn’t even the most annoying kid on the flight!

During the first week of June, we took our trip to Las Vegas to meet up with our family and spend some time among the lights and stimulation of the strip.  We stayed there for about a week, which was probably three days too long.  James’s parents were there, along with his sister Cindy, and my mom and stepdad joined us for part of the trip.  We rented adjacent suites – we figured that it would be SO much easier to coordinate people and pawn Tristan off on some of them if we were all in the same location.

Tristan’s favorite activities included opening, closing, opening, and closing all doors, including the balcony door, the bathroom doors, the bedroom door, the toilet seat cover, and the shower doors.  He enjoyed the sights from the 12th floor balcony, including pools, trees, cars, and the lights of the hotels.  There wasn’t a whole lot to DO there other than travel about and see things for children, but Tristan got a whole lot of time doing those things.  We got several-day monorail passes and he quite enjoyed riding on the train.  We also had one chance to go into the pool, which was this lazy-river sort of thing – Tristan enjoyed the water but disliked the floating tubes.

As far as relating to people went, Tristan was a considerable koala.  He got really, really, really upset whenever I disappeared from a room.  We had to sneak around a lot so that he never saw me so much as go to the toilet.  He related very well to his Grandma Linda and Aunt Cindy (read: they could sometimes calm him down even when he was being a butt), and even slept in the bed with Cindy (YAY!  We got a break from the bedtime routine!)

I’m totally up for taking another airplane trip, but I’m not sure I want to try to pass an entire week in one location without a doppelganger of myself so that I don’t have to hear “waaaaaaaaaAAAH!” for stepping out of Tristan’s sight. 😉

Potty training

We are suddenly on day 1 of official potty training and the third day straight Tristan has managed to deposit pee into the toilet!  We’ve missed one poop and a few pees today, but Tristan most certainly understands how to urinate into a toilet and did so about four times already.  We’re using Hershey’s Drops as the ‘production reward’ and they are working amazingly – he understands that peeing in the toilet earns him a piece, and even asks for it at the end (which sounds like, “I want chocolate please!”).  Anyway, what with my lack of managing a SINGLE post lately, I wanted to be sure to share Tristan’s success in beginning the toilet training process BEFORE THE AGE OF 3!

The time flies, the family recovers

We have managed to have some sickness or another for most of the month of May.  I’m kind of sick of this shit.  I’m speaking for the entire family with that statement.  I think we’re beginning to feel human again, but the last time I thought that was directly preceding what’s been the three week cold.

In any event, we’ve gone through the IFSP and the IEP.  “Speak English,” you say?  Ah, ok.

“IFSP” is the shit we get before Tristan turns 3.  It means Individual Family Service Plan. This is funded by the Early Start program and has been our at-home ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy.  We’re in the process of having solidified the last one of these and are about to finish the exit report process, since Tristan is 33 months, or 2 years 9 months, old.

“IEP” is the shit we get after Tristan turns 3.  It means Individualized Education Program. This is taken care of by the school district, which is Milpitas Unified in our case.  The focus shifts from individual and family needs to educational care, so Tristan will transition to a preschool setting at the age of 3.

Oh, shit, yeah, I am looking forward to the free time.  And I am looking forward to watching Tristan mature as a person as he gets to know new people and a new format.

I also am getting right sick of these meetings about Tristan’s skills and I suspect he also is.  One of the assessments involved putting us into this shoebox of a room – Tristan, the lady performing the assessment, and me.  We had to substitute James for me (and kick me into the hallway) after trying myriad configurations because Tristan was sort of spazzing out.

Tristan most certainly concentrates better without me around.  He hangs and climbs on me joyously; he’s rather fixated on me and can’t really ignore me to work.  He acts more calmly around everyone else, especially James.  Thankfully, James was present in this case.  I wish Tristan would calm down around me when it’s naptime.

Tristan’s language is taking a new direction.  He’s spontaneously using the phrasing, “I want (insert noun), please.”  However, this means a lot of things right now: I see, I know, I remember, I think, and sometimes even I want.  It’s the only phrase he uses consistenly (other than “More (insert noun), please” but that’s essentially the same thing).  But he is REALLY starting to express those things that he sees, knows, remembers, thinks, and wants.

Our family is on its way to Las Vegas on Monday – this will be Tristan’s very first airplane trip.  This is a family trip – we plan to meet most of the family that reads this website.  It will be the first break I’ve had in the daily routine this year, if I remember correctly (and I can’t be counted on to; that is the main reason I keep this site!).  Tristan is all about the sensory-seeking and stimulation so we expect that he shall enjoy this.  Wish us luck!

Family was sick

Apparently, puking is to be the way of the family.  Tristan started it last Monday and by Wednesday morning, all of us were in pretty bad digestive shape all around.  It took until Sunday for us to be considered recovered.  We weren’t too worried but we did feel really bad for Tristan, as there wasn’t much we could do to explain it all to him or offer him comfort other than lots of hugs.  We were all able to keep food down within about 6 hours of the initial puke-a-thon and Tristan resumed normal food consumption around the time I started feeling lousy.  Nothing like a nasty stomach bug to make you stop taking eating and drinking for granted!


We decided to try to finally make use of our Benihana gift certificate from Chistmas, today.  Took Tristan to a park in the area beforehand, and let him burn off some steam.  Maybe too much.

Tristan was a bit fussy/restless – managed to ply him with milk and an iPad, for the most part.  He actually consumed some of the mushroom/onion soup they had – which was fairly shocking.  But he wouldn’t eat corn, or rice, etc., which was equally shocking,.

The meal itself was fairly uneventful, for the most part.  Until about the main entree.  Kirin tried to feed Tristan a kernel of corn – and he puked all over.   To the extent that I was unaware he could contain that much… stuff.   It’s somewhat amusing that it’s basically the second time we’ve ever seen him actually puke.  He hit his shirt/pants, as well as the table, and his plate (which, based on the timing, the chef didn’t notice and tried to serve his chicken on, requiring Kirin to argue that the damn well should make a new order of chicken)

One of the others at the table evidently tried to give Kirin advice about how to avoid such in the future (uhhh, we’ve had Tristan puke a grand total of twice in almost three years, and this was a result of him gagging on the food – I think we’re good, thanks).

We, unfortunately, hadn’t really planned for such.  I managed to improvise a new outfit out of a sweatshirt and pair of shorts that happened to be in the car.  He took it fairly well – he got over it pretty much immediately (once he realized I wasn’t taking him to the bathroom, at least).

We wound up taking the food to go – Tristan fell asleep on the way home (he’d woken up at 7:45 this morning, so that part wasn’t shocking).  Thankfully, the food reheated fairly well.

Best part?  In all the chaos of Tristan puking everywhere, I totally forgot to use the gift card – so I guess we’ll be headed back there, eventually.  Maybe we’ll hit the one in Burlingame instead.

Progression in language

James was taking Tristan to bed and I said, “Good night!”  Tristan said, without any sort of prompting, “Good night… mommy!” The ellipsis represents the marked pause he currently has between his (gasp) independent strings of words.

Tristan isn’t just echoing back two word combinations or getting them by chance.  He actually remembers how to do it.  And he’s been calling me “mommy” and James “daddy” a lot lately, even to the point of calling it out if one of us goes to leave.

I never was as overwhelmingly disappointed at not being called “mommy” as other folks have been, but it’s SO nice to hear Tristan using words to refer to me and to his dad.  This represents maturity, intelligence, and independence.  He’s not using only babylike screaming to get our attention.  He remembers who we are and that we have ‘names.’  He’s catching on that words can get him what he wants and all fast ninja-speed like.

Oh, dear god.  He has learned to ask for milk.  While we’re at home, he still seems to have no drink preferences.  However, Tristan knows that both cars contain a case of portable milk cartons.  And since Tristan has learned that saying the word “milk” will earn him milk or at least dialogue on why he must wait for his milk (none in the case, about to hit a restaurant, etc.) he has been requesting milk Every. Single. Time. He. Is. In. A. Car.

We went to Bounce-a-Rama tonight.  All of the milk seems to have caught up to Tristan.  He managed to poop so copiously that it exploded out a side of a size 6 diaper.  That’s the largest diaper sold in the babies’ section – if he needs a larger one, we’ll probably have to shop the incontinence supplies.

I’ll pack extra diapers to win more battles in the war of language acquisition!  Extra wipes, too, I suppose..

Gaining skills and noticing things

* Tristan now notices house numbers and makes sure to look for them.  If the number is below 100, he will say the number; if it’s above 100 he will just recite the digits in it.

* His climbing has really improved this past week or two.  He takes major responsibility for his own safety.  He can climb up almost any slide from the bottom, he can climb most of the playground structures, and he isn’t nearly as likely to walk off the side of something dangerous as he was even a few months ago.

* We put him on a “big kid” swing again today and he did a wonderful job on it.  He even managed to dismount without too much trouble, although he promptly walked into my still-moving swing and cracked himself in the face.  He observes the other children on the swing since he understands that they are self-propelling the swings somehow, but I think it will require practice before he’s a soaring swing ninja.