Year 3

July 25, 2011 At his three-year checkup, Brenden measured 34 lbs (75th percentile) and 39 inches (86th percentile). Since he also measured 39 inches back in April, I figure one of those measurements must be off. His lungs are doing much better, so we’ve quit the breathing treatments altogether. I don’t know whether the medication, sending our pets to new homes, or the summer weather is responsible for his great improvement. Regardless of the reason, we’re happy to stay away from the ER.

We took a break from preschool this summer, but he is scheduled to go back right after Labor Day. This summer we’re staying busy with the gym, playing at home, and visiting family. His imagination is developing rapidly. His newest interest is having us make up stories for him at bedtime right before we sing a song. Anything involving him as the main character captures his attention like nothing else, especially if he’s a pirate. It’s so hot outside that he doesn’t play outdoors much except swimming or playing in the sprinklers or the inflatable pirate ship that our friends gave us. He seems to get hot easily this time of year. Tennis is only an option in the early morning, which severely limits our opportunities.

I am very pleased to report that pottytraining is going great! He wears underwear all the time when he’s awake, including when we go out. A combination of M&Ms, bribery with toy cars, and the promise of a Mommy-Brenden date to his first in-theater movie (Cars 2) finally made it stick. We still have to set timers and remind him often, and he still has a few accidents like we expected, but I think we’re going to get through this. It’s been strange trying to get in the habit of asking him to visit the bathroom and think about it when we’re out in public. Certain public bathrooms work better than others, and it’s best to time our trips so that he can go at home instead.

His personality continues to grow and emerge. He’s reached the tattling stage and occasionally tattles on his brother or other kids when we’re out in public. I get the impression that he’s more concerned about the breaking of rules than with malice toward the other child, but maybe I’m biased. He’s still very curious and loves to ask questions. Cooking up pretend food and pretending to be a pirate looking for treasure are some of his favorite games, along with wrestling with me and Jonathan. Speaking of food, he’s still fairly picky and unpredictable at mealtime, but it might be getting a bit easier. He likes to share his food with us. If we politely refuse, he explains that “I’m sharing”, as if that should obligate us to accept his gift. Sometimes it works. We’ve discovered that both Brenden and Jonathan love having time alone with either Jenny or me or both, so we’re looking for opportunities to have solo “dates” with each of them. This morning, for example, I took Brenden out for donuts and tennis while Jenny stayed home with Jonathan. He ate it up.

May 21, 2011 Brenden has almost finished his first year of preschool and is approaching three years old. We went to his first school program on Thursday. It’s hard to believe he’s so big.

Life with Brenden is never dull! He recently reached the “why?” stage. “Why is that light red? Why you have to go to work? Why you talking about weeds?” I love that he is so curious, but the machine-gun questions wear us down after a while. It’s still amazing to me that I can have a real conversation with a little boy who didn’t even exist until a few years ago. Now he has his own opinions, will, and personality in abundance. At times he can be very polite and friendly, like a little man rather than a toddler. He loves to help out, so we try to find little ways for him to help with our chores, such as throwing clothes into the washer or picking up Jonathan’s pacifiers from the floor. He also has developed an imagination, so we have a great time discussing the stories and situations that Brenden makes up (a family of bears hiding under a pillow on the couch, stuff like that).

Pottytraining is going much better. On most days he uses the potty a few times, sometimes even at school. He’s not ready to switch over yet, but we’re making progress. After rewarding him with Hershey Kisses for a while, we switched to M&Ms after he started using the potty multiple times a day. M&Ms worked for me back in the day, so I guess it’s only fitting.

His schedule is pretty much the same. Sometimes his naps don’t go that well, so we put some books within his reach in his room. That way he has something fairly calm to do if he refuses to nap. He’s still a picky eater despite our efforts, but he’s not as bad as I was. He eats a food fine one day and refuses it the next. It’s just a phase. We’re mostly doing a single breathing treatment in the morning and skipping the afternoon one. So far, he seems to be doing fine with it. He did start coughing a lot when we visited Jenny’s sister, who has two cats, so we’ll need to be more aware of catty houses in the future.

April 15, 2011 I’ll do a better update soon (I hope!). He is currently 39 inches tall, which is in the 97th percentile.

November 12, 2010 The biggest change since the last update is preschool. Brenden attends Colleyville Christian Preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays from about 9:00-2:30. He loves it! His teacher is great, and he gets along well with the kids. Despite our fears, he even takes a nap with the rest of the group. (Peer pressure isn’t always a bad thing!) He knows all his letters and numbers, many colors, some basic shapes, and can count at least to ten. Sometimes he likes to look through books on his own, including his bedtime story after we finish reading it to him.

Jonathan (“Brudder” or “Jon-an-an”) is an object of great interest and concern for his big brother. They like to wrestle, and Brenden happily lets Jonathan crawl over him. Brenden also enjoys sharing his toys (sometimes), food, and drinks with him. When Jonathan cries, Brenden gets worried and suggests that we give him a bottle. Most of the initial jealousy seems to be gone for now. We love watching them play together.

Daily life hasn’t changed much except for the preschool. Now that it’s cooler, we let him play in the backyard or park more often. Sometimes the whole family comes to the park to play while I run. Brenden loves it when we chase him around (“You to chase me!”) but is also happy to play on a playground jungle gym or simply to explore, picking up sticks and finding bugs. He still talks a LOT and is very inquisitive and observant. We hear lots of “What those people doing?” and “Where that guy going?” when we drive around. Three-syllable words have appeared, such as “comfortable,” “delicious,” “dangerous,” and “beautiful.”

Pottytraining has completely collapsed. He’s just not willing to use the potty anymore. Maybe in a few more weeks, he’ll regain his interest.

We took him to an allergist due to his recurring breathing problems. An allergy test revealed that he’s allergic to cats, dogs, eggs, and (slightly) milk. The allergist prescribed twice-daily breathing treatments to help his lungs stay open. So far they seem to be working very well, and Brenden does a fantastic job holding the nebulizer mask in place while he watches one of his favorite shows.

Aug 9, 2010 Brenden is two already! He is really adjusting well to life as a big brother. He shares his toys and food, wants to visit him in the morning, and gets concerned if we leave Jonathan with grandparents but take Brenden with us. His vocabulary is amazing. He can speak complete sentences, knows his colors and most of his letters, quotes from books he reads often, and gives himself permission to do things (“Brenden play outside? Sure! Get shoes on!”). Four or five days each week, Jenny takes him and Jonathan to the “gym-house”, which he loves. Since he’s two now, they’ve started letting him play in the indoor tubes with the big kids. Favorite TV shows include Veggie Tales, Thomas the Train, Sesame Street, Sid the Science Kid, and Super Why. Books are another favorite. He gets at least one book before naptime and bed plus others throughout the day. The family helped us get him a nice swingset for the backyard, and we’re hoping to get some other play equipment so he and Jonathan can have plenty to do in the backyard once it cools off a bit.

He got his two-year checkup last week. Like his daddy, he’s still tall and skinny – 30.4 lbs (77th percentile) and 37.2 in (98th percentile). For comparison, at two years I was 26 lbs 13oz and 36.5 in. I was a very picky eater at that age, which is probably the main reason I was so skinny. Except for having sensitive lungs and a couple of RSV infections, he is in excellent health and doing great developmentally. We had some pottytraining success for a while, but lately it’s turned into more of a battle, so we’re backing off for now and planning to try again later.

A typical day starts around 7:00-7:30 with breakfast and playtime before heading to the gym for a couple hours. Lunch is around 11:30 or 12:00. Naptime starts at 1 or 2, but lately he’s been playing in his room during naptime instead of napping. After his afternoon snack, he plays in the playroom or watches a bit of Thomas or VeggieTales before dinner with the family at 6 or 7. Before bed he picks up the toys and books that he has scattered around the house and takes them back to the playroom. Then we brush teeth, read a book, pray, and sing a song. Favorite songs include “Holy, Holy, Holy” and “Amazing Grace”.