Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Party Thrills and Dressing Skills

On November 13th, Aidas turned 3 years old. Noah and B. were lucky enough to be invited to the celebration, along with other friends and family of Aidas. It was great that Aldona, Aidas's mom, was able to have the party on Aidas's actual birthday. It made it even more special.

Noah and I were the last ones to arrive. (There were a couple of well-timed meltdowns just before we left our place, to slow us down.) We knew we had been holding up the party because as soon as we got there, Aidas turned to his mother and said "Now can I open presents?" She gave him the green light. His friends were happy to help him uncover his treasure! I think this S.O.S. Station Aidas received was by far his favourite. Noah has recently been talking about asking Santa for the same one for Christmas. 

We all enjoyed pizza. The adults also enjoyed a delicious salad Aldona had made. Then it was back to opening presents! Noah and I gave Aidas a Star Wars shirt, and a few Star Wars toys. (He seems to be enchanted by what little he has seen of Star Wars.) Then it was time for Diane's (Nana's) chocolate cupcakes! Here's the beautiful boy being sung to on his 3rd birthday. Happy birthday, sweet Aidas! 

Although some days have been quite mild (considering it's November, and this is Toronto), some days have been very chilly. We are officially into snowsuit season now. The kids and I have been working really hard on dressing skills (except for Oscar, of course). Now that the 3 older boys are more or less toilet trained, I expect them to at least take part in putting on and taking off: underwear, pants, snow pants, coats, and boots. They are all able to do about 80% completely on their own, with verbal instruction and encouragement. The things that sometimes hold us back have nothing to do with ability. They are more like: refusal to cooperate, fear of failing, or wanting to remain in the 'comfort zone' of having me do all this for them. While these are all completely normal responses for 3-year-olds (B. is almost 3) experiencing such a large change in their routine, I am remaining consistent in my expectations. These expectations are not that they should succeed in doing all, (or any, for that matter) of these parts of dressing on their own, but that they should at least try. So, for example, pulling their pants up to their waists is difficult for them. Still, they are expected to hold onto the pants with me (or hand-over-hand), so that they can at least get the feel, or the idea of how to accomplish this in the future. They really are doing amazing with all of this, and are happy and proud to receive stickers each day for their hard work.

As with last November, we again have an issue to battle: dog poop. It seems that starting in November, people feel they no longer need to clean-up after their pets. I have to admit that, without a yard of my own, this makes my job quite a bit more stressful. Thankfully, the 3 veterans are older and wiser. They now (usually) point out the dog poop rather than playing with it. They also understand that we can no longer play in certain areas because of this. So far, we have been pretty lucky, with only a few mishaps. Look at how happy baby Oscar is frolicking in the grass and leaves (in the video below). Thank goodness there was no dog poop here on this day!

Actually, there was a quite a bit of rolling around that day by all the kids. They were like pigs in mud. And on this occasion, Noah and Oscar were both furious with me for eventually bringing them back inside for lunch. But we like to share a bit of our drama with the neighbourhood on a daily basis. It makes us memorable. :)

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