Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Toys! (And other random facts about our toddler)

by Tarzan · 1 comment

I remember how easy it was to keep our house clean and everything put away nicely.  The baby toys had their own place and Jane and I took them out and put them back each day so Monkey could play with them.

Then we progressed to Cars.  Not just any cars, Disney’s Cars.  We have just about all of them.  We know all of their names.  We’ve seen the movie so many times that we, including our 2 year-old can recite many parts of the movie.

Cars were our life.

After a day of playing, Jane and I would have to play scavenger hunt to see if we can find all of them.  We’d find them in every place you can think of.  Under the bed, in the bed, beside the bed, on the couch, in the couch, on the floor, in the bathroom, in the shower, in the bathtub, and even in a bag of Gold Fish.

Soon trains came into Monkey’s life.  We then became the House of Thomas the train.  A train track soon lined the toy room.  And where we once found cars, we found trains.  And where we found trains, we found pieces of the track.  Our jobs in life soon became ‘professional train track fixers’ every time the track came apart… which was often.

Around the time I was seriously considering gluing the entire train track together, Monster Trucks entered Monkey’s life.

And that’s the phase we’re in now.  Everything is about monster trucks.  From watching videos of monster trucks on YouTube to Monkey playing multiple monster games on his iPod. (Note: Monkey’s iPod, which he calls his “phone” is an old one that we had laying around that we did not use, so we gave it to him.)  I’ll talk about the iPod more in a moment…

We have a huge basket full of monster trucks.  Between some we’ve bought for Monkey, some he’s bought himself with some of his piggybank money (we’re teaching Monkey how and why to save money early in our own little way, it has helped a LOT), and of course friends and family know he loves monster trucks, so they get him monster trucks.

Jane can tell you the name of just about every monster truck on Monster Jam there is just by looking at them.  Monkey has about 1/2 of them down.  As for me, I just like to stick to my old standard, or what Monkey calls, “Daddy’s favorite monster trucks” who are Spiderman and Grave Digger.

So we live in a monster truck house.  Our coffee table becomes “monster truck show”, “monster truck school”, and “monster truck races” at night.  Monkey and I play a few games with the monster trucks.  I came up with the monster truck school to see if I could teach him things while we played.

I’d be a monster truck and he’d line up all of the other monster trucks in a HUGE line in front of me.  I’d be the teacher and ask which truck wants to help me.  I’d teach how to do wheelies, one wheeled wheelies, jumps, and other tricks.  And then I’d say, “who can help me say the A-B-C’s?”  Monkey looks around, find a truck, rolls it up and then says the ABC’s.

I do this with the ABC’s, counting, colors, monster truck names, and anything else I can come up with to get him to think and/or remember.  I SWEAR Money has a photographic memory.  There have been countless times Jane and I are blown away by what this little guy remembers and absorbs.  I don’t have much time on the clock as far as spending time with other two year-olds, so maybe that’s normal.  But either way, he blows me away daily with the things that he says and remembers.

So what’s next?

I already know… Planes.  Disney has a new movie coming out soon that is like Cars, but will be called Planes.  I have a feeling that monster trucks will be replaced by planes before we know it!

Anyway, to get back to the iPod subject.  Jane and I are amazed DAILY by Monkey and his skills with the iPod.  He knows how to use it just as good or even better than we do.  He creates folders, moves games into folders, downloads games, watches YouTube videos, knows how to navigate around any app, knows how to avoid clicking on the annoying ads some apps have, and just about everything else you can think of.

I’ve heard other kids just take to these things and my hat is off to Apple for making such an intuitive technology.  I swear they have a product testing room filled with 2-5 year olds.

We of course do not want Monkey to be playing games and sitting with his iPod much.  And if he did, we’d have to limit it and get on some iPod schedule.  But he does a great job limiting it himself.  He’s only on it for a short period of time, sometimes at night.  So for months we just leave it out where he can get it and when he wants to play it, he plays it for a little while, then he’s off to his own thing.

Because Monkey is at the age where he’s absorbing everything, Jane and I are really paying attention to what he’s watching, doing, learning, etc.  For example, Jane and Monkey were watching some kid’s learning show yesterday and they were teaching some Japanese words.  She told me that after a few words, Monkey looked at her and said, “Japanese is hard!”  lol  But thanks to Dora the Explorer, he’s picked up on a lot of words in Spanish.

Monkey also has a great imagination.  I used to do a lot of drawing, painting, creating, etc. as a kid.  I think he’s picked that up from me so we’re always on the lookout for things that we can do with him or for him that will allow him to be creative and learn.

If you know of any great kids learning products/games/etc. that your kids love, please let us know!

We really want to take advantage of this phase where Monkey is learning and absorbing and understanding everything like a sponge.  The big key is that we want to make learning fun for all of us.

We’re also looking for craft ideas for 2-3 year olds that we can do with Monkey.  Any ideas?

He loves to paint – but as you can imagine (or know first-hand!), that gets quite messy.  We do have a few things that he car draw on that make no mess… but ideally want to find some crafts that we can all do and/or Jane can do with Monkey when he’s not at school.

And finally, I’ll just add that I’m having a BLAST being a Daddy.  Monkey is so much fun, he’s funny, and MOST of the time a very good boy… besides the normal 2 year-old freak-outs over little things, but that usually only happens when he’s tired.

And speaking of being tired… I’ll end this post with some interesting sleep info about Monkey…

1. Monkey naps 2-3 hours a day (yes, we know how lucky we are!)

2. Monkey sleeps from 7:30 PM to 7:30 AM (yes, we count our lucky stars daily!)

(Knock on wood) Monkey never gets up at night.  Never.  I can count on one hand the number of times he woke up at night in the past year – and those 2-3 times he was sick.  So he sleeps through the night and has slept through the night for at least a year straight now.  We know that we are VERY lucky here compared to many other parents we know.

When Monkey wakes up at 7:30, he gets out of bed on his own, turns on the lights, turns on the TV, plays for 10-15 minutes, then wakes up Jane.  Already becoming Mr. Independent at 2 years old!  I joked with Jane that we should look into getting him his own apartment for his 3rd birthday. :)

You might also want to read:

  1. Toddler iPod Apps And My Internal Parenting Debate
  2. The Cars DVD: Monkey Is Officially Addicted To Cars
  3. Toddler hell nap time: I’m in it
  4. It’s time for a kitty intervention. For real.
  5. The HCG Diet Results And A Lot Of Other Random Thoughts

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1 Toys For Toddler

It’s refreshing to see another parent embrace that our children’s education and learning shouldn’t always be about the technology that is available to them on an ipod or an ipad. Now granted, I allow my almost two year old to play her apps on our ipad (which she has lovingly named Elmo) but I make sure the time she spends on it is limited, like you. I want her to understand that so much can be learned by tangible products. She LOVES playing with her stacking blocks, it’s amazing what she creates and the things we build together.
Recently we have been getting into puzzles. I have a Two Step Toddler Stool that has her name puzzled into the top that she can take out and put back together. She learns so much and enjoys the challenge of trying to fit the letters into the correct spot. Puzzles are great at this stage!
All in all, it sounds like you are a fantastic dad and you and your wife have nothing but the best in store for your son! Thanks for the sweet read.
Lanaya
http://www.raising-reagan.com

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