Now that Buddy is 3

When we took Buddy for his 3 – year development assessment earlier this month, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that his height was 98cm (38.6″). We had always felt that he was growing taller, albeit a little slowly, but didn’t know he has grown this much. (I guess, subconsciously, we are hoping he might be like Jeremy Lin.) Of course the development will continue into his teenage years and there will be more charting going forward. Right now, we’re glad he is taller than expected, and his weight has only increased slightly to 13.7kg (30.2 lbs). He has come a long, long way since he was a tubby sumo baby at 3 months old.

So far, Buddy quit the pacifier when he turned two rather easily without any fuss, and since end of last year, he has moved to a big boy bed. However he doesn’t want to fall asleep on his own, he always wanted me to lie down with him. I don’t think it’s because of the dark, though sometimes he says he is scared of the big triceratop toy that grandpa bought him and sometimes it’s T-Rex. Even for his afternoon nap, he wants me to be with him too. It has been a little frustrating for me because I have chores waiting, and sometimes it takes quite while before he falls asleep. I have tried leaving him alone, and he would end up standing at the door looking out into the living room. If not, he will cry when I leave him. I checked out the web to see if there is any effective way to get him sleeping on his own until I read this article from Your Modern Family “Mommy Will You Lay With Me”. Yes, before I know it, the boy will not want me to lie beside him and so I should spend this time with him when he wants to cuddle with me, and gives me kisses. Though I have to admit that sometimes the thought of the chores do get the better of me. Like the author, my husband also told me to spend the time with Buddy while he still asks me to. Besides, motherly/fatherly love is one of the three key ingredients for the mental development of a child (the others being diet and exercise).

There are still a couple of things that I am trying wean Buddy off. First, he still gets up in the early morning, between 4 ish to 5ish, asking for milk. Initially, when he moved into his own room, he would stand at the door and cry after he woke up. After some coaxing, he now comes into our room and stands by my side of the bed and says, “mama, I want milk!” After the feed, he will lie on our bed instead of returning to his. It looks like he wants company during bedtime. Again, I checked online for ways to get him to sleep throughout the night. One suggestion was to change the milk to water, though i seriously wonder if this will work, and I don’t want a wailing child in the early morning when I am still desperate for sleep.

It is obvious that Buddy has developed a habit for bedtime milk. I used to try to give him a full bottle so that he doesn’t feel hungry and wakes up in the early morning. But that didn’t work, and worse Buddy peed so much that he caused his PJ to get damp. I have since reduced the milk by half so that he doesn’t get woken up by the soiled pants. But it looks like he may be waking up because he is hungry.

I am also trying out a reward system. I keeps telling him that if he sleeps through the night, I will draw a star for him, and when he gets five stars, I will give him Emily Train (from Thomas and Friends series). He did it last Saturday morning, and was very happy when he told me he had woken up for the day as he thought he could have the train. But I explained he only has one star and needs another four more. He hasn’t repeated the feat since. Maybe I have to show him the train to motivate him further.

The other thing that we need to work on Buddy is potty training. We bought a potty for him and even put dinosaur stickers on it to get him to try it out.
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He only used the potty once or twice, and refuses to continue after that. Instead, he wants the dino stickers. We read him this book “Dinosaur Doo” about dinos using the potty, and we encouraged him to be like them (since he calls himself a “baby dino”), but he still refuses to comply.

A colleague sent me an article on potty training, and the author wrote that one of the key tasks is that the child has to choose the potty so that there is motivation to use it, and the same goes for the underpants. I understand from the daycare teachers that he is willing to use the child toilet in the center, and actually knows how to pull down his pants and pee into it. But he doesn’t want to use the adult toilet at home. Maybe he’s intimidated by the size. We don’t think it’s advisable to get him a child toilet seat since he’s still not tall enough to get onto it. So I took him to a Mothercare store and he likes the Thomas Train potty. However my husband felt it was too small for him. Instead, he suggested that I removed all the dino stickers from the potty at home and replace with Thomas stickers, like Buddy’s scooter helmet. Perhaps he will be willing to give it a go.

Anyway, I guess it’s obvious by now that Buddy is dino mad. Dinosaur is his fav, followed closely by Thomas Train. He is not into superheroes or transformers, or guns and soldiers. I bought him Superman socks once and he refused to wear them. And it’s very difficult to get him to wear non-dino shirts; same goes for his PJs. It comes to a point when my husband told me to hide the dino shirts so that he can’t find them and is forced to wear something else. Needless to say, I can only get him dino shirts, at least for now. Strangely they are not very common, but good thing that the movie, Jurassic World, is being shown now and there are promotional shirts available.

The phrase “Terrible Twos” is something many parents have experienced from their toddlers.
Buddy has his fair share of tantrums though they are non-violent. He doesn’t throw things and only occasionally rolled on the floor. Basically he just wailed and whined. We usually tell him off with a firm voice, and if he persists, he will have to sit at the naught spot (on the play mat facing the patio), similar to the naughty corner advocated by Super Nanny. He can only get up when he is ready to say sorry.

To be honest, the naughty spot is not exactly a bad place to be. It’s not like Buddy is staring at the wall, instead he gets to look out at the palm fronds, which may be therapeutic. But he doesn’t like it one bit, and so far he only ended up there a few times. Now he tend to stop his bad behavior when we threaten him with the naughty spot.

We usually use the star reward system to persuade him to do as we say. We tell him, for instance, if he takes a nap, he will get a star sticker. Initially, he would get a toy of his choice after he accumulated 20 stars. I now up the ante to 30 stars since he was able to achieve the feat within a month. I must admit it doesn’t work all the time though, especially when he is upset.

We had a parents-teachers meeting at the daycare last Saturday, and was happy to learn that Buddy has improved a lot since he was in toddler class. He is more participative, more sociable, and has developed self-confidence. He has also learned how to communicate with his friends, like asking them to play instead of getting their attention by patting on the back. Like what my husband always says, “it doesn’t matter how Buddy compares vis-a-vis other kids as long as he shows progress”.

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