When I started writing this post, I had to go back and read Caelan’s 2 1/2 year post to see what he was up to back then and to see what’s changed since then. I sort of forget, until I look back and see that Caelan was a little toddler a year ago, but now he’s a preschooler. Really, A LOT has happened in Caelan’s 3rd year!
Caelan’s speech and language skills continue to blow us away. He tells stories, talks about past and future events, and speaks well enough for anyone to understand him. He uses pronouns and words like “probably” “either” and “maybe”. We’re finding that the days of us putting him off with a “maybe later” are rapidly ending. He pushes for definite answers from us now. He’s also much more observant. He’s on to me now about how I mix water in with his juice!
We were surprised to discover that Caelan knew his lowercase letters as well as the uppercase ones. We kind of skipped teaching him about the lowercase ones, but he must have learned at daycare. Caelan knows all of his letters, including nearly all of the sounds they make. He’s learned to spell a few very simple words (including his name) and with lots of help from us, he can sound out new words (“Daddy, let’s spell ‘mechanic'”). He recognizes his own name and Leah’s name in print and he often asks us about other words (“Mommy, what does this spell?”). As we’re helping him learn how to spell, I find myself frustrated with the English language. I can’t really explain why there are two M’s when it seems like one would suffice or why a Y makes an E sound.
We’ve been working on counting but for some reason, Caelan is reluctant to count past 10. He knows most of the numbers between 10 and 20, but a lot of times he gets angry if you try to keep going after 10. Usually he can get to 13 and then things get messy 🙂
Caelan is big on the repetitive questions, much to our dismay. “Can I watch a show? Can I have your iPod? Can I have a snack?” It doesn’t matter if we answer him the first time, he just keeps going. He also asks questions he absolutely knows the answer to. Apparently, he’s testing us to make sure we’re consistent (or something??) but I think we’ve passed the test already, let’s move on!!
He’s also kind of hysterical. He reasons with us now. He has a personality (of the smart-ass variety, not surprisingly) and something of an attitude. He’ll casually tell us how things will be. (“Can I watch a show after dinner?” “No, we’re not going to watch a show tonight.” “I think we’ll probably watch a show after dinner.”) Bill and I will usually vent to each other at the end of the day about things that Caelan did that frustrated us, but we always seem to end up recounting something he did that made us laugh as well.
The terrible 2’s or horrible 3’s or whatever it is that turns your sweet baby into a demon child is here. Oh it’s here BIG TIME. I’m still wondering if anyone in our neighborhood was looking out their window when I was chasing Caelan down the sidewalk and screaming at him one morning. Usually he waits on the sidewalk while I get Leah in the car, but that day…he grinned and BOLTED. Not my finest moment (or his). Sometimes, at the end of the day, I realize that all I did all day was yell at him. And then I feel guilty about that, but I also feel TIRED. I’m so sick of yelling at him. I don’t want to yell at him and I don’t think it’s effective given that he laughs and runs away, but at your wits end…you’re much quicker to yell. Honestly, some of the things he does make me wonder what I’m doing wrong as a parent. The answer, I tell myself logically, is probably nothing – he’s just 3. But wow, 3 can be ugly – and it’s just started!! When I’m NOT at my wits end, I try very hard to stay calm and engage or redirect him because that almost always stops the bad behavior. But the truth is that I can’t give him that kind of undivided attention all the time.
Caelan started to get into more and more trouble at daycare. He’d have tantrums, he’d hit, kick and push the other kids just because he was angry or frustrated. We’d come pick him up and learn that he’d spent most of the day in timeout. We had tentatively planned to move him to preschool at some point this year but when his behavior began to deteriorate, we thought it was better to make the move sooner, rather than later. Caelan had really thrived in daycare up until then, but now he needed something more – more structure and instruction, more kids his own age. The last 2 weeks of daycare were kind of a disaster behavior-wise so we were glad that we weren’t waiting until the Fall for preschool.
Caelan started at his new preschool the first week of April. The first couple days were great. He had a good time with his teachers and the other kids and didn’t seem to be anxious about it at all. Until the 3rd day. He had a massive meltdown at drop off and that was followed by meltdowns of varying degrees the rest of the week and into the 2nd week. This was a major change for him so I can’t say I’m surprised that he had some trouble adjusting. However, we’ve never had to deal with any separation anxiety with Caelan, so leaving him at school sobbing was not something I was really prepared for. By the 3rd week, things were easier. He likes school (and particularly likes his teacher) so we hoped that all he needed was a little time.
I didn’t anticipate that I’D have a hard time adjusting to Caelan being in preschool, but I guess I did a little bit. I’m excited and happy for him to be there. I love that he’s learning new things and making new friends. But it was A LOT of change all at once. After about a month at school, there was a field trip to the zoo planned. I had a rough time with not being able to be there when Caelan went to the zoo or rode on a school bus for the first time and Bill and I were a little anxious for him to go without us. But Grammy went with him and he had a great time.
After 2 months in preschool, Caelan is ready to move up to the next class. We’ve noticed his speech actually regressing since he is around younger 2-year-olds. He really thrives when he’s around older children, so we’re hoping they’ll move him up soon.
We’ve been working on things like dressing and undressing and Caelan can put on his jacket and shoes with little to no help from us. This is something that both daycare and preschool have worked on with him. Getting dressed is a SLOW process when we let Caelan do it all by himself, and there is always the risk of an exaggerated meltdown (“I can’t do it Mommy!!!”), but I’m sure he’ll get better in time.
Oh yeah…and he’s potty trained now! Another perk of preschool! They potty trained Caelan by the end of the first week, practically!! By “they”, I mean his teacher – Bill and I reinforced it at home of course, but we can’t really take any of the credit. He wore Pull Ups at night up until about 2 weeks ago. That transition was a non-event. I’m really stunned at how well he’s done. We tried so hard to talk him into potty training before school and we had NO luck. I suppose it was peer pressure that finally did the trick.
While Caelan’s bad behavior is really bad, his good behavior makes up for it (mostly). He makes sure bedtime always ends with him telling us “Night night, I love you!!” and blowing kisses. And he’s completely in love with Leah. The first thing he wants to do every morning is to see her. He shares his toys with her (usually), he rushes to comfort her when she cries (“You’re okay Leah! Shh, shh, shh…”), and they have “conversations”. He’s such a great big brother and now that she is getting a little bit older, they are starting to be able to play together. They seem to have so much fun – I love watching them play! Of course there are also accidents and “no that’s mine!” etc, but it’s still a lot of fun.
Caelan possibly has an imaginary friend. We’ve been hearing about “Caba” for at least 6 months now. At first we thought he was talking about an actual person, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I’m not positive Caba is imaginary – he may just be a sort of “default” person. We don’t overhear Caelan talking TO Caba, but he mentions him sometimes. We’ve asked questions about Caba but haven’t been able to get too much information other than that he is a boy and he has a yellow helmet.
At this age, I think Caelan is more high-maintenance than he’s ever been. He *isn’t* a high-needs kid – he’s generally independent and easy-going – but his age coupled with lots of changes in the past year and he has had more tantrums and more bouts of clinginess than ever before. Still, he handles everything really about as well as we could expect.
More changes are coming for Caelan (and our whole family) in the coming months. We are moving out of our house this week and living in an apartment for a few months while we wait for our new home to be built. Then we’ll be moving again this Fall. At the apartment, Caelan and Leah will be sharing a room. I honestly think it’ll be great. They are both so enamored with each other at this stage and I think they will really enjoy sharing a room. Of course we may run into a few bumps, but hopefully it will be great.
I feel bad that Caelan’s birthday this year is coming at such a chaotic time for us. I wish we could have a big party for him, but as it turns out, we’ll be having at least 3 separate celebrations for him – one with family, one with friends, one at school, and at least a cupcake with a candle on his actual birthday. We aren’t even going to get to spend his birthday with him since we’ll be moving.
Now that we’ve got 2 kids to juggle, sometimes I worry about keeping things “even”. I realized recently that most of the pictures I’ve taken lately have been of Leah. That makes me feel a little guilty, but then I remember 2 things. One, Caelan got 2 whole years to himself before Leah came along, and now it is her turn for us to gush over crawling and standing and whatever else 10-month-olds do. And two, I have a crapton of pictures of Caelan anyway! He’s into selfies lately.
Happy Birthday Monkey Monkey!! Mommy and Daddy and Leah love you so much ❤ I promise your birthday will be less hectic next year 🙂
Caelan’s 3 Year Stats
- Wearing 3T tops, 24m-2T pants and still some 18m shorts
- No more diapers 🙂
- Weight: 30.5 lbs
- Height: 37 1/4 inches
- Loves Thomas and Friends, Cars, playing ninja, playing catch, running, making Leah laugh