Chase is officially two-and-a-half years old and while I feel like a broken record around here, I just LOVE this stage. He is a chatterbox to the extreme and always wants to tell us anything and everything. His imagination exploded over the past few months and watching him play make-believe and create little scenarios and conversations for his trains, farm animals and cars makes me smile so big. He wants to be included in everything, asks a bunch of questions, loves reading books together and is an absolute bundle of energy. When his preschool teacher said to me, “I don’t think we’ve ever seen Chase tired,” I could only nod my head. Thankfully most of his energy is joyful energy and he is a very smiley, happy and engaging kid that is truly FUN to be around.
Chase is very social, loves his friends and teachers and talks about our family members and his friends all the time. In the same breath, he’s rather independent and doesn’t shy away from new experiences but still looks to me to scoop him up in my arms if the tears start flowing. When I can tell he’s about to break down, I’ll often ask him if he needs a hug and his lower lip will stick out as he runs into my arms. He still says “Mama, kiss it” when he hurts himself and his boo-boos need a little extra love.
All of these little moments of tenderness remind me that while Chase is growing like crazy and asserting his independence more and more (“No, I do it!”), he’s still very much a toddler in need of affection, love and nurturing.
Play is still a big-time priority over eating for Chase and while I’m not sure this will ever change, his eating is slowly improving – and I mean slowly – but progress is progress and I’ll take it! Involving him in cooking is my favorite way to get him to try new foods and veggies. Since he’s SO darn curious he will often ask, “Mom, I try this?” as I’m chopping up everything from cauliflower to zucchini.
He prefers raw vegetables to cooked and cucumbers are his favorite by a longshot. He’ll also snack on raw carrots and zucchini and the only cooked veggie that has captured his heart is green beans. (He LOVES Whole Foods’ garlicky green beans from their hot bar but will eat the green beans I prepare as well… just not with as much vigor.)
His appetite seems to be increasing which makes me want to run all over our neighborhood and high five everyone I see. For the kid who used to take a single bite of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, he’ll now eat an entire half of a sandwich at lunchtime which feels like a MAJOR victory. His food favorites include apples, oranges, strawberries, blackberries, Earth’s Best Organic Sunny Days Bars (just take all of my money), cashews, Goldfish, white cheddar mac and cheese, Cheerios, thin crust pizza, quesadillas, yogurt, muffins… and of course pretty much anything with sugar we allow him to have. (Ice cream and the icing on top of cupcakes is his all-time favorite. I wonder where he got that from?)
Sleep is kind of a tricky one around here lately for no other reason than the fact that a lot of the predictability we’ve been loving for the past few months seems to be a little up in the air over the course of the past month and a half.
Nap time usually goes well, but there have been two separate weeks of NO naps and others weeks where Chase will skip a nap a couple of times but then nap like a champ the other days. No part of me thinks he’s ready to completely drop his nap because he is still sleeping so well when he does nap and his demeanor tells me midday sleep is still quite important for him. Right now I’m back to feeling like I can semi count on five days of decent naps and two days of nap unpredictability. On days when he’s not settling in his crib, I’m trying to enforce “quiet time” and load him up with books or a few toys and tell him he can read in his crib but that we need to rest for a bit which seems to work out fairly well most of the time.
We also experienced two weeks of super-early morning wakeups when Chase would wake up crying or screaming for me. I could usually calm him down with some cuddles and a book in his room but it was a rough couple of weeks there for a while! I’m not sure what was up, but that seems to have passed and hopefully won’t return anytime soon (though part of me did love the sleepy cuddles)!
I briefly mentioned some of our biggest toddler battles and some solutions that work for us in diffusing meltdowns in this post. When it comes to meltdown territory, distraction is the name of the game and I’m still trying to enter into these battles armed with some kind of a distraction to stimulate Chase and get him excited about anything other than what must happen, whether it be getting him dressed (currently our #1 battle), leaving the house, loading him into his car seat, heading upstairs for bed, etc.
We have two additional “challenges” on my radar in the coming months: Potty training and transitioning Chase into a big boy bed. When it comes to the whole big boy bed thing, I’m SO hesitant to make this transition because Chase loves his crib and has never tried to climb out of it. Plus, I know our child and there is zero chance he will stay in his bed at nap time or even in the early morning hours when he’ll sometimes wake up, make some noises and then settle himself back to sleep for a bit. Do we just buy a second crib for our new baby and leave him in his crib or bite the bullet and try to do the whole big boy bed transition before our baby arrives? I’m so torn!
As for potty training, I think Chase can definitely handle it and will grasp the concept just fine but I’m not sure how to really approach the whole thing and so mostly out of my own laziness, I’ve put it off. I’ve read a bit about the whole “stay home for three days and put them on the potty a million times a day” idea and that’s my current plan but if you guys have any other tried-and-true methods or words of advice that worked well for you, I am ALL ears! Also, do stickers or some kind of a mini prize for each successful pee or poop in the potty work well? I’m pretty sure Chase would do anything for a jellybean or peanut M&M…
Adjusting to the Thought of Being a Big Brother
I could cry as I write this because Chase’s heart is just so tender and he is so darn sweet when he talks about the baby in Mom’s belly. Chase has been 100 percent obsessed with his toddler friends’ baby brothers since three of them were born last summer which both warmed my heart and also made it ache because Ryan and I so badly longed to have a second child. Now that a baby is growing in my belly and we felt comfortable enough to tell Chase after a good 18-week prenatal appointment, he is ALL IN and his little voice drops down to an almost-whisper as his high-pitched little voice asks to touch my belly or prays for our baby.
The other day Chase told me “Baby needs a Wubby” (wubby = Wubbanub = his beloved pacifier) and I told him he could help me pick out a Wubby for his little brother or sister which made him light up. When he prays for our baby, he says things like, “Dear God, baby be growing. Baby be healthy. Thank you for Wubbys.” My heart melts every time and I truly cannot wait to see him in his new big brother role. Chase has a very sensitive side and will always stop and talk to me with great concern when he sees another child crying and loves crouching in front of his friends’ little brothers to check on them during play dates. I am not naive enough to think that he’ll be completely sold on the baby from day one and know enough to expect jealousy and some serious challenges through the changes but I am so beyond ready for it and cannot wait.
Now, speaking of Wubbys… As of early December we are pacifier-free. Woo! In my last update I was absolutely DREADING this transition because Chase and his Wubbanubs – all FIVE of them – were absolute BFFs.
(Flashback to the Wubbanub Glory Days)
I loved reading all of your suggestions for how to get rid of a pacifier and highly recommend checking out the comments on my previous Chase update post to anyone thinking about getting rid of their little one’s pacifier soon.
In the end, we decided to roll with the “Wubby is broken” idea and cut the little stuffed animal off the pacifier so he could keep the animal but the pacifier was no longer an option. I toyed around with the pacifier fairy idea where he’d leave all of his pacifiers out for a Paci-Fairy and receive a new toy in their place but I had a strong feeling Chase would chuck the new toy out the window and want all of his pacifiers back within 5 minutes. The “broken” option seemed to be the most viable for Chase’s personality since he understands the finality of that word. Once the Wubbanubs were officially “broken” (we “broke” one Wubbanub a day to slowly transition him), we explained that his Wubbys were all broken and told him he could still hold onto the little animals or cuddle with Snowball (his favorite stuffed cat) if he felt sad and that Snowball would help him feel better. He seemed to grasp this concept from the beginning and though there were some serious tears, his first nap Wubby-free went shockingly well! It was not nearly as big of a deal as I thought it would be – thank goodness!
I’ve also noticed Chase’s crazy teeth have improved a bit since we got rid of his pacifiers which is a relief since, as his dentist warned us, his palate was definitely impacted by the pacifier. (Our dentist’s urging was the catalyst for our mission to drop the paci otherwise I’m pretty sure Chase would’ve had a pacifier until he was 18.) I’m shocked at the change in his teeth and the shape of the roof of his mouth after only two months of no pacifiers but I’ll take it!
- Playing with cars and trains
- Helping Mom cook or bake
- Reading a billion books
- Dancing and jumping
- Riding his Plasma Car and racing around the house with Dad
- His friends
- Singing (He has every song on this Raffi CD memorized)
- Sadie (especially calling her back in from outside)
- Videos from Aunt Leslie of her dog, Kona
- Pointing out every fire truck, school bus, construction vehicle, etc.
- Being outside
- Any marine animal
- Looking for fish in the lake off the dock near our house
- Getting dressed
- Having his hair washed
- Brushing his teeth
2.5 Year Old Favorites
- Plasma Car (Chase’s OBSESSION. Perfect outlet for non-stop toddler energy!)
- Little People Animal Friends Farm
- Mega Blocks
- Foam Airplanes
- Kitchen Helper Stand (We use this daily for everything from cooking “help” to washing hand and doing crafts at the kitchen counter.)
- Train Table (A gift from my mother-in-law along with train tracks that is, without a doubt, the best source of “solo play” for Chase right now.)
- Any kind of sports ball
- Indoor Collapsible Play Tent
- Golf Putter
- Thomas the Train (and all of his train friends)
- LeapFrog Learning Laptop
- Magnetic Building Tiles
- Anything Pete the Cat
- Bedtime Bible Stories
- Go, Dog! Go. (Chase practically has this one memorized.)
- Are You My Mother?
- The Cat in the Hat
- Green Eggs and Ham (Confession: I love this book, too!)
- Happy Little School
- Cars and Trucks and Things That Go
- 26 Months
- 20-22 Months
- 17-19 Months
- 13-16 Months
- Twelve Months
- Eleven Months
- Ten Months
- Nine Months
- What I Wish I Knew Before My Baby Was Born
- Eight Months
- Seven Months
- Six Months
- Our First Sleep Training Experience
- Traveling With A Baby For The First Time
- Five Months
- Four Months
- Three Months
- Two Months
- And Then He Smiled
- Three Weeks
- The First 12 Days
- Q&A: All About Birth & Life With A New Baby
- Chase’s Birth Story: Part I, Part II