Jack is 2 3/4!

Jack is 3/4th of the way through his third year and getting smarter and smarter every day.  It seems like every day he's saying something that impresses us and/or makes us laugh.

This week I had a parent/teacher conference for Jack.  I had one when he was in the toddler room too, but it was mostly just looking at the portfolio they've made for him (they add a page each month with a picture and something new, like "Jack is crawling" or "Jack loves to hug his friends").  This time it was a full-fledged conference.  Jack's teacher, Ms Lauren, came prepared with pages and pages of notes and examples.  She walked through several different areas: cognitive, relationships, physical, emotional, literacy, etc.  Overall she said that he's a bright little guy and is meeting or exceeding expectations in every area for his age group.  Here are some of the examples that Ms Lauren gave me:
  • Jack has become a leader, not just a follower.  She said he often has his own ideas of what to play or pretend and the other kids will follow and do what he does.
  • She said he sticks with something until he's completed it; most of the other kids kind of come and go while they're doing crafts, for example, but he stays until he's finished.
  • Quick learner: she said one day they were wearing construction vests and he asked for help getting his buttoned.  She explained to him how to do it and he tried and tried until he got it buttoned on his own. Then a little while later his friend Grier needed help, so he buttoned hers too.
  • Sorting: when they play with peg puzzles or other similar activities, Jack sorts all the blue together and all the yellow together or puts all the same shapes on the same board.  Ms Lauren said next she wants to work with him on simple patterns (i.e. blue, yellow, blue, yellow)
  • She said he's doing great on the physical, athletic stuff; she said "you obviously work with him a lot on that at home."  Oh yes, that is how he spend most evenings - usually playing baseball.
  • Jack does great with his counting and can count up to 20 (sometimes with a skipped number or two in the teens).  Ms Lauren pointed out that he can also look at a few objects and say how many are there without having to count them.  I had to tell her that Grandpa Lang has been specifically working on that skill with him.
  • She said she was surprised the other day when another slightly older student was spelling her name and Ms Lauren asked Jack to spell his and he did.  I told her that's because of the stool we have in the bathroom with his name on it (thanks Waldrops!) - every time he sits to go potty, we point to the letters and spell his name.
  • She said there are two levels of pretending: the first step is when a child uses an object for its actual purpose (i.e. uses a toy phone to pretend to talk) and the second step is when they use something totally different and pretend it's something else, using their imagination.  She said he demonstrates this more advanced play often.
  • Jack does great with the routines they have in their classroom.  For example, when they are finished eating lunch, they get up, throw their plate away, then go back and get their cup and throw that away.  She said she never has to remind Jack to do it.  AND they recently added another step to the routine: pushing their chair in.  Ms Lauren said Jack picked up on it right away and is one of the few.  In fact, he regularly pushes the other kids' chairs in too when they forget.
  • Jack is doing great with pulling up and down his pants/underpants, so that's a good step towards independence.
Obviously it was a great parent/teacher conference; I left there beaming with pride over my big boy.  They gave me the portfolio they've been compiling since he started at the center in February 2010 because they are switching to an online system.  The new system will notify us each time a new "observation" on Jack is entered, which they expect to be 2 times/week/child.  Looking forward to it!
 Other items of note:
  • Jack is still hooked on his loveys, particularly "blue" and "white."  He sleeps with them (of course) and takes them to Grandma and Grandpa Lang's to sleep as well.  If we could just hold him to that, I'd be happy, but he also carries them around the house and often brings them in the car when we go places.  I think he's getting a little old for that, but since we're still mastering the potty training, we're going to wait a bit before we enforce an "only in bed" rule for the precious loveys.
  • Speaking of the potty, Jack is still doing great.  He had his first accident at school this morning (after two weeks of wearing underpants - not too shabby!).  His teacher said he was running to the bathroom while peeing, so he knew what he needed to do, he just waited too long.  He's also had a couple more poo poo accidents in the evenings while we're at home, so that's no fun.  Jason taught him to stand up to pee last weekend (using a stool since he's just barely too short) and he loves it.  He actually can do the whole process without assistance: pull pants down, lift toilet seat, do his business, flush, etc.  He leans forward and holds onto the top of the open toilet seat so that his aim is right in the middle of the toilet, so he surprisingly doesn't make a huge mess.
  • As I mentioned above, we are on another hard core baseball kick.  That is ALL the little guy wants to do.  We either pitch to him or he pitches to us, or we play catch with him.  He's still working on catching with his glove, but his hitting just continues to improve.  This week Grandpa bought some bases, so when I picked him up Thursday they were playing baseball and running the bases.  Fun!
  • Jack's new favorite movie is Toy Story 3 and he asks to watch it nearly every night.  We oblige many nights, but only for 10-15 minutes before it's time to start the bedtime routine, which some nights can take quite some time around here.
  • He's still competing for the master staller of the year award, but we did find one method that helps about 90% of the time: we race!  When we're getting in the car, he races Charlie to his car seat.  When it's time for bed, we race him to the radio (first one there gets to turn it on).  Turns out the kid likes to win, so if you threaten him with "I'm going to do X faster than you" it almost always lights a fire under his little stalling tush.
  • He still loves his baby brother, but is starting to really test the boundaries with him.  We catch him pulling on Charlie's arm or pushing his leg, sometimes to the point where Charlie gets mad.  He also struggles at times to share with him, ripping toys right out of his hand, but then other times he goes out of his way to make sure Charlie has toys to play with.  We'll get there with lots of practice and reminders.
Certificate on the last day of soccer
That's our boy.  Only three more months until his big third birthday.

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