At least the reading balances out the Minecraft. I only vaguely knew what Minecraft was (I could tell you a video game, but nothing more) and didn't think Oliver knew anything about it, so I was taken aback when Chris returned from a trip to the cabin with the boys with a new Playstation and Minecraft. It doesn't matter if Oliver had been unfamiliar with Minecraft or not, because he's obsessed with it now. There's part of me that admittedly enjoys a bit of piece and quiet when he disappears to the basement to play, but when I have to cut him off, oh my oh my. He's a textbook example of the addicting qualities of screen time.
And oh my gosh, the Legos. That's another obsession of his, but one I consider much healthier, at least for his development. It's not necessarily healthier for my sanity. I'm engaged in a never-ending battle to contain the Legos. I can't vacuum without doing a detailed survey of the floor and when I try to clear out what look like piles of partially-built, unidentifiable creations from Oliver's room, I'm met with cries of "That's my [term I've never heard of and probably comes from Start Wars]!"
As happens every fall, I push Oliver into the next size of clothing even though they're a tad too big for him. Last week I swapped out his 5T shorts and size 6 t-shirts for size 6 pants and size 7 long-sleeve shirts. He's short and skinny, so his shirts hang a little long on him and we have to cinch the elastic bands on the inside of his jeans as tight as they can go.
Oliver continues to flash a smile full of baby teeth. I think he's starting to wish he would lose some teeth like all his friends. I know it will happen soon enough though. Until then, he's my big boy with a smile full of baby teeth.
We signed Oliver up for a parks and rec league soccer program because he enjoyed playing during recess at school last year and we wanted to have him in an outdoor activity before starting on indoor activities for the winter. Not surprisingly, it took him awhile to warm up to it and even while he eventually had fun, he never loved it. Because of his birthday, he was in a group with older kids and he didn't know any of them. He's an active kid, but I think he likes to enjoy activities on his own terms.
An activity Oliver is loving more and more, despite his humble beginnings, is swimming. He is so much more comfortable in the water and takes every opportunity to go swimming. Even though his last formal lesson was this past spring, he has since learned to swim short distances. He can also now jump in the water, even if it's well over his head, like when he jumps off the dock or the back of the boat into the lake (with his life jacket on of course). For a kid who was once terrified of getting his face wet, (and who still isn't thrilled about having to wash his hair) this is a huge!
Oliver got up on water skis for the first time this summer, although he still needs to develop more balance and strength before he'll be able to cover any sort of distance. Chris was Oliver's age when he first learned to ski, so this milestone made him one proud dad.
|And he's (just about) up!|
These dinnertime power struggles are a few of many examples of the little disappointments or problems that can send Oliver into a spiral of emotions and negative talk. My psychologist friend calls them "automatic negative thoughts." It's hard as a parent to watch my child melt down over something so trivial and talk negatively because even though I know he'll eventually calm down and be back to his happy-go-lucky self, in the moment, he really feels those feelings.
I'm believe strongly that children (and adults!) need proper sleep at night and that children need more hours of sleep than we think. We've always had early bedtimes for our children because they, especially Oliver, need it. As a young child, Oliver was not the kid who could skip a nap or stay up past his bedtime because he melted down. Although I still think his bedtime needs to be 7:00 p.m., it's so difficult to eat dinner at 5:30 p.m. and still have enough time for the kids to wind down, go through the bedtime routine and be in bed an hour and a half later. On the rare nights we achieve that, Oliver still has trouble falling asleep.