I am having some technical issues with posting photos (combined with a motivational issue with solving the problem). But, I thought I would share some thoughts. Joseph has honed some exciting new skills this summer. It really is quite an honor--and very interesting--to be part of this amazing process; a process I do realize occurs every day, all the time, all throughout history. However, he is the only one with whom I have gone through this process!
1) Bike riding: This is a little old, but sometime this spring/early summer Joseph learned how to ride his bike for real! As with other skills, when you are helping a youngster learn, you realize how incredibly challenging bike riding really is. For a long time Joseph found it very frustrating and disheartening. And then he took off! Like everything, it's mostly a function of practice and taking risks. He really learned by just hurling himself down a hill here at our house. Over and over. Now he loves it and can ride on the grass and trails around our house, or pretty much anywhere, but his favorite riding by far is all around Bristol with grandpa Bob. When he goes to Bob's he expects lots of bike rides and boy does he get a work out! Plus, I can't tell you how many people mention seeing them around town. It means a lot to all of us-Thanks Bob!
2) Swimming: This has been the most fun for me personally, since I love to swim! Before this swimming season it didn't even occur to me that he could possibly actually SWIM and now he does. Today he swam all the way out to a raft (I did hold him briefly twice so he could rest), jumped in numerous times, and swam back (I think just one rest that time). I mean, he's not swimming laps, and it's not stylish, but in my book it's swimming. I fondly remember when he was three or so and still afraid of going underwater and I just yanked him under. That was a turning point for us and from then on he thought it was fun. Go mean mommy! This summer I think the biggest help was when I let him go down a water slide in the deep end where they have changed the rules and you can not wear floaties or have anyone catch you. I knew he was really close to swimming, and I knew I could jump in if I had to. And he was dead set on it. So I let him go down. Low and behold he came up and swam over to the edge. Then he did it like 1000 times and pretty much learned to swim. He did also just finish swim lessons where they are starting to teach strokes as opposed to just doggy paddling. He surprised me by jumping off the diving board unassisted and loving it (and repeating, over and over)!
3) Sleeping in own bed: Sleeping has generally been a very hard issue in this household and since he turned two and went into a big kid bed he has come into our bed sometime in the middle of the night. We were all too tired to care very much, and since everyone seemed rested we never fought the battle. At times we tried some bribery and some limits, but never stuck with any of it. We always kind of had kindergarten as the cut-off in our head. And low and behold about two months ago, he started just staying in his room. I actually think that spending the night with grandma and grandpa (who very wisely just expected him to sleep in his own bed, like the many kids they have raised) might have been what made it happen. Either way it happened pretty painlessly and we are all very happy about it. He still usually comes in when Brad leaves for work (5:30 or so) and still is his very cuddly self ;-)
4) Playing by himself: He actually does this sometimes now and even seems to enjoy it a bit. Make no mistake he would ALWAYS prefer a playmate, but he can actually entertain himself sometimes. I have made a very concerted effort to ignore him at times and expect him to entertain himself and actually play with toys. It is still a bit surprising to me when he actually does this, but so good for my mental health, and I think it's good for him too! Next I want to try and get him to play by himself outside . . .
(PS there is another skill too, a skill I was embarrassed to give a bullet . . . he can now take care of ALL potty issues by himself. It has taken two years for him to learn to wipe himself and it is so great. Now he can poop when mom is not around, which means a much healthier belly. Just like sleeping pooping has always been hard for Joseph. We are making strides. Sorry to be gross!)