Life With Nicolas
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April 8, 2002
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October 8, 2003


July 2005 - -  Nicolas is now 5 years old and he's doing very well. He seems to be a little more mature with each day. He goes through phases where he's very agumentative, and other times where he couldn't be more easy to deal with, and we get through each one. We try to really monitor what he eats to try to help out his moods, and it works often enough but not always. He really is getting to a stage now where he loves to argue with us and tell us no, or as the experts like to say "asserting his independence". It's not a fun time for us when he tries to assert himself.

Nicolas is a great older brother for both is sister and brother. There are days when he can be so sweet to Noelle and very helpful with her, but other days where he sometimes does anything he can just to irritate or upset her. He definitely adores his baby brother Noah and whenever Noah is around he likes to try to entertain him and make him laugh, which Noah just loves. NOw that Noah is more mobile, and will soon be talking, we expect the boys to be getting into a few more arguments for sure. Right now Noelle seems to connect more with Noah, because she can try to order him around like one of her babies, but soon I'm sure he'll prefer to play with his older brother and I think he'll be big enough early on to make a good match for his brother.

Full-day kindergarten begins for Nicolas in just about two months. He has pretty much cut out naps already and he had adjusted to that pretty well. We just moved him, along with his sister, to a new preschool and today is his third day there and so far he's doing okay, though I think he misses som eof the friends he had at his old school. I am hoping he can make some new friends soon at this school, though that may be tough considering he'll then be moving again. I guess we can look forward to kindergarten, when they will all be new and most of the kids won't already know each other. I think there he'll have a better chance and making some new friends.

I find that more and more Nicolas enjoys attempted learning activities. He can identify all of his letters and numbers, though at times some of his letters can confuse him. We've started the early stages of reading and recognizing words and trying to sound things out, and he enjoys that. Lately he has been asking us quite often to spell words for him, just so he can learn the letters. I think that he does know a few words, like color words, as I noticed when I had him do a coloring activity at home last week and he seemed to recognize words before I told him what they were, so that's a good sign. He and his siblings all enjoy books and we read to them every night as we always have, and that works out quite nicely.

April 19, 2005 - Nicolas is now 5 years old and for the most part he's doing great. His preschool teachers and director continue to have concerns about his behavior there, and the director is now bringing in an outside source to make recommendations to help them cope with him. It seems that, according to them, he is always needing some kind of attention. He knows the correct behavior but seems to not listen to them or follow the rules despite that fact. All of this sounds perfectly normal to us, and when I talk to parents of other kids it certainly doesn't seem out of the ordinary, but I've given them permission to get some help. We dont' seem to have the same issues at home that they do at school. Some of the behaviors they mention, like spitting and hitting, just don't happen with us. Of course, it would also be nice of the consistency of care was there, as his teacher is now out again for an extended period of time due to an operation she needs.

Nicolas is a normal child who is very caring and very sensitive. He loves his siblings, and although they have the normal fights, they have times where they get along great and can be so sweet together. I catch them holding hands in the back seat on rides to and from school all of the time. Nicolas and Noelle play really well together most of the time, and Nicolas loves to help take care of Noah and make him laugh and entertain him.

We have determined that we still feel a lot of Nicolas' behavior issues center around his diet. We know when he's hungry he can be a bear to deal with, and now we are not only trying to keep him well fed but also feeding him less carbs and more proteins as well to combat any blood sugar issues. His doctor feels this is reasonable and doesn't think there's any need to test him for any other serious issues. He seems to be doing much better in school since I stopped sending PB&J every day and started sending more protein-rich foods. It seems to be making a big difference.

A few months ago we signed Nicolas up for swim lessons, knowing how much he loves the water. For the first 3 Saturday sessions he cried and screamed for us the entire time. Now, he loves it, and asks me every day when he is going back to classes. Since the classes ended after 7 sessions, I re-enrolled Nicolas for another session and I think he'll really enjoy it.

Other than than, it's nice to see how far Nicolas has come in 5 years. He's very easy going most of the time, he listens a little better each day and follows directions, he's a very loving and caring child and he loves to laugh and play. He still loves dinosaurs and airplanes and anything with wings, and lately he's been enjoying building with Lego sets and really does well with those and following directions. He can write his name, though it's not the best, and he seems to know letters and numbers though sometimes he seems to pretend like he doesn't know them just for the added attention. He continues to have sleep issues, like falling asleep in our bed each night when we aren't in it, but doesn't seem to wake up from nightmares nearly as often as he did a few months ago. I can't wait to see how much he grows in the next year.

November 8, 2004 - Nicolas is now 4.5 years old and he's doing very well. He has the 4 year old attitude to go with it and at times it can be frustrating but we try our best not to let him get to us. It's difficult when he tells us that he's going to get a new Mommy and/or Daddy, or when he calls his sister a loser, or when he just screams nasty things just to try to anger us. His eating habits are about the same as they have always been. He's very picky but SOMETIMES now we can get him to try something new, even if he chooses not to eat it after he's tried it. It's hard to blame him for that, knowing that his mommy was just as picky as he is and still is in many ways. Nicolas still takes naps but not as often as we'd like him to at times. At least on days where he doesn't nap he doesn't show signs of it too much, but some days it's obvious by evening time that he should have had one. He still goes to bed around 8pm at night, but many times he's up by 5am the next morning. Thankfully he's to an age now where he can just close his door, turn on his light and play in his room so it isn't too bad when we want to sleep a little longer. Sometimes he will get his sister out of her room which can make things more difficult because she immediately wants to get downstairs to eat when she is awake. Nicolas now has a baby sister and a baby brother and so far for the most part he is good with both of them. There are days when he can be so sweet to Noelle and very helpful with her, but other days where he sometimes does anything he can just to irritate or upset her. He definitely adores his baby brother Noah and whenever Noah is around he likes to hug and kiss and talk to him, and even feeds him a bottle sometimes. Preschool has become a little more challenging for him as he's moved up to a new class and new teachers but so far he's doing okay. I know that they do find him a challenge, but so far it hasn't been too much of a problem. He even has homework to do sometimes and can complete it with some assitance from us. I can't believe that this time next year Nicolas will be in public school and taking a bus. That just can't be possible already!

April 21, 2004 - I really don't update this area as frequently as I should, so I just copied some updates from the last 6 months.  I'm just more amazed at Nicolas every day.  Just in the last 2 weeks he seems to be a different child.  The bad news is that's he gotten much more sassy and seems to backtalk a lot to us.  This can be very irritating.  He says things like "You're a bad mommy/daddy", "You're not happy", "You go to timeout".  We still used timeouts, though many times he refuses to go when we tell him and we end up resorting to threats of taking away toys, or sending him to his room, and usually that will work toy.  We try more often to praise him for the good things, and I have to say that seems to help tremendously.  What's even better is that we even receive praise and thanks from him in return.  I try to hold onto these moments, because I know for sure they won't last.  However, to hear him say "good job gave Noelle her toy back...I am so proud of you" or to hear him thank us for things we give him, or in the morning when he climbs into bed with us and kisses and hugs me and tells me he loves me, those are just the best moments.  He's still very compassionate when it comes to his sister, and he loves to feed her whenever I sit them down together and eat.  That's a good thing because usually if I sit Noelle at the table with her food she always wants what Nicolas is eating anyway.  He's happy to share cereal, ravioli or pizza with her.  His newest thing is a love for fruit-by-the-foot, and we often use this as a tool to get him to eat.  He knows if he eats his meal first, he can have that as dessert.  Even that he is willing to share with Noelle.

The best thing is that now Nicolas can and will dress himself most of the time, all the way down to his socks and shoes.  I can put out clothes for him in the morning, go and get ready, and come out and find that he's dressed himself.  He still requires help with buttons and zippers sometimes, and occasionally the clothes are on backwards, but that's okay. 

He still loves airplanes and he knows so many facts about so many different airplanes that I don't know at all.  He has several airplane books and could just go on and on about them, the different models, how things work, etc. and some of it has been memorized from an All About Airplanes video he's watched in the van about a hundred times.  For his fourth birthday, we had one big kids party with friends and family and it was air and space themed.  We had a space shuttle moonbounce, the invitations I sent were printed like airline tickets, and we had airplanes all over the place.  I ended up having to draw an airplane on his cake myself, but he still loved it.  He got lots of good airplane themed gifts as well.  On his actual birthday, we took a trip with us and with his grandfather Caddeo to the new airplane museum at Dulles airport.  He didn't get as much out of that as I'd hoped he would, but he seemed to enjoy it.

His eating habits are still pretty much the same.  Meals for him are usually cereal or pop tarts for breakfast, PB&J sandwich or cheese sandwich for lunch, and ravioli or cup of noodles for dinner.  Sometimes he'll eat some forms of chicken nuggets, and sometimes hotdogs, which he used to love.  He also loves fruit and yogurt, and usually drinks either milk or water and iced tea if we go out to eat at a restaurant.  He also loves pizza, as long as it's cheese only.  He's much better at sleeping through the night again, after some on and off times of him waking up several times at night for a few weeks.  I'm still not sure what that was all about.

I find that his temper tantrums these days seem to be much fewer and far between and usually shorter.  He has his moments, but they usually don't last nearly as long as they used to last, and most of the time they are only bad because he's either tired or hungry.  All in all, every day with him seems to get a little bit easier and I already feel like he's growing up too fast.  Just in the last 2 weeks he has finally taken to going into daycare on his own and staying without putting up a fight or insisting on one more kiss or hug from me a few dozen times until I just have to hand him off to someone so I can leave. 

FEBRUARY 2004: Nicolas is back on track with his potty training after a few weeks of regression.  He's great about getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom on his own, though more often then not he tends to ask us first if he can use the potty.  I think that's probably due to daycare where he may have to ask them.  He took his 3rd trip to Orlando Feb. 20 - 27th, and this was his 4th round-trip airplane flight and he did great.  He's really into airplanes now and can identify several of them by sight, including the Wright Flyer and the Space Shuttle.  He's just fascinated by airplanes and just about anything that has wings.  He also has still likes dinosaurs and can identify a few of those as well.  It's so great to be able to communicate with him on a regular basis now, to ask questions and get responses, and to just hear the questions he asks and the things he has to say.  He's also starting to dress himself more often now without our help.  He's eating habits really haven't changed too much, though there are a few more things he will eat these days, especially with some coaxing from us.  He's more than willing to share anything he has to eat or drink with his sister.

JANUARY 2004: Nicolas is now completely potty trained for the day and night.  Right after the New Year he used his last remaining pull-up at night and I decided we did not need to break open a new box for him.  He was actually very excited about wearing underwear at night and has done great in the 4 nights he's been in underwear.  He woke up one morning soaked but did finally the other 3 nights and even got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.  He's been doing that for a while now already on his own, so I knew he was ready for this next and final step.  We expect that there will be setbacks but for the most part I consider him potty trained.

He had a wonderful Christmas and got a lot of new toys.  He's also picked up a few new toys after Christmas, including an eagle that we found at Sears for 50% off one day during a trip to the mall and a Power Rangers toy which he got at McDonalds in a Happy Meal.  He loves the dinosaurs and robots and plays with them most often, but still has his airplanes and a new helicopter that he loves as well.  He still sleeps with Pegasus at night along with one or more other random toys, including his eagle.  His eating habits are the same, though lately he's actually had chicken nuggets or tenders when we've stopped at fast food places (instead of only eating the fries) and at home he prefers noodles or ravioli most of the time.   

DECEMBER 2003: Nicolas is finally full daytime potty trained and wears underwear during the day now.  He started around November 20th finally taking the initiative to go to the bathroom on his own when he had to poop, rather than just use his underwear or pull-up, and he spent the week of Thanksgiving doing it more consistently so we finally felt confident sending him to school in underwear and he's doing great now.  He may also be close to being night trained, since he also seems to wake up at night quite often to use the bathroom on his own, but we're giving him a little more time in the pull-ups at night before we make the decision to stop using those.  Of course, he still loves dinosaurs, airplanes and anything with wings.  He is always carrying around a collection of airplanes these days, and usually has a small box of them in the van with us wherever we go.  At night he sleeps with a stuffed Pegasus and that now seems to be his regular sleeping companion so we have to hope we don't lose it, though he doesn't seem to keep Pegasus with him much during the day.  He's still a picky eater who survives mostly on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, oodles of noodles, fruit, pizza and chocolate milk, but every now and then we get lucky and he'll try something new, especially if we tell him it's something very cool and get him excited about it.  Just this weekend, on his own, he tried some chicken enchillada soup at a restaurant and last night even ate some of my homemade tortilla soup.

NOVEMBER 2003: Nicolas still loves dinosaurs, airplanes and anything with wings.  Lately his passion seems to be in building with legos and he'll spend lots of time creating things such as airplanes with his lego blocks at home and at school.  His collections, that go in the minivan with us to school and to bed with him, range from a selection of airplanes or helicopters to a box of about a dozen stuffed animals that includes bats, angel bear, a dragon, a duck, some penguins and a few other things, all with wings.  He is still not 100% potty trained, though we tend to put him in underwear whenever he's at home except at night.  He's had a few times where he will actually initiate going and pooping on the potty on his own, but those tend to be in the morning when he first gets up.  Otherwise, he's great at stopping what he's doing and going to pee in the potty but we still have to catch him when we think he has to poop and get him in the bathroom to get any success out of him.  It happens a little more often these days that we can catch him, but still not all of the time.  He's still a picky eater who survives mostly on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, oodles of noodles, fruit, pizza and chocolate milk. 

October 8, 2003 -  Nicolas is now 3 and a half and tthe last month or so has been rough. He's testing his boundaries even more every day and it seems for about 2 weeks all he would say is NO whenever you asked him to do anything. He's getting a little bit better now but you can view videos here to see just how bad it was for him.

I guess I should say we are still potty training. For the most part, he really uses the potty on his own whenever he needs to pee. However, it's the other end of things that just isn't working out at all. He will go on the toilet, but only if I happen to catch him in the act or when I just KNOW he has to go, even though he'll deny it and then continue to fight me while I make him sit on the toilet. He's not afraid and once he realizes he has to go he does and he's very proud of the fact. For some reason, he just has no desire to tell us BEFORE he has to go and most of the time he just ends up coming to us with a load in his underwear and letting us know. During our DisneyWorld vacation last week we just kept him in a pull-up the whole time because it was easier and we wouldn't have to drag around dirty underwear. It's been a month since he started using the toilet on a regular basis now, and I hope he catches on to the final phase of toilet training soon so I can stop buying diapers for him, at least for the day. Night is still rough and lately he ends up soaking his bed and his clothes in the pull-ups, even when we try to limit fluids for him close to bedtime.

School/daycare is still going well and he seems to be adjusting to his new class. For a few weeks I would get reports that he was uncooperative or agressive, but even I knew it was just a phase for him due to all of the changes he's been going through and it seems that things are going much better now.

Nicolas is still a picky eater and I don't expect that to change. He also still loves dinosaurs and airplanes and really just anything with wings. He has a collection of "things with wings" such as stuffed animals and airplanes and those are his favorites. He even has a brand new plush Pegasus horse because once he spotted the horse with wings at the Disney store he had to have it. We knew there was no hope there. He did great on his most recent airplane trip to Orlando for the most part and survived several long days and some late nights at the Disney parks too.

July 21, 2003 -  Nicolas is still three and has his good and bad days.  He also just says some things that just makes us laugh and smile all of the time.  He's going through a difficult time with sleeping also and he's been getting up several times at night and trying to get into bed with us.  I think after a few nights we're getting him back into a phase of sleeping in his own room.  He tells us he's scared of something but won't say what it is so we feel helpless.  He's still not potty trained and not showing much interest in the potty at all despite several failed attempts and putting him in underwear (which he loves to wear) and letting him run around at home.  School/daycare is going well and we are FINALLY in a stage where I can drop him off without him clinging to me about 90% of the time.  In fact, now at times it's difficult to get him to go home!

June 23, 2003 - Not too much new to report here.  Nicolas is still three and has his good and bad days like any three year old child.  He's still not potty trained and really just doesn't have much of an interest in it all all.  It's such a struggle sometimes to get him to sit on the potty sometimes and it's just not worth it to us to traumatize him over it.  He's in the habit of telling us almost all the time now when he needs a new diaper.  I'm okay with that but the worst is when he asks for a new diaper just as we're walking out the door.  I'm sure that's because he anticipates having to sit in it and isn't happy about that.  School/daycare is going well but I still have times where he clings to me and I have to pry him off and hand him to someone.  He will run to his teachers sometimes, but it's rare.  I guess I should be glad that he loves me that much.  I know that he's happy once he's there.  Nicolas has new school and class photos which I'll have to scan sometime and post, but the scanner is having issues right now.  Nicolas is still a picky eater and sometimes seems to survive only on water or chocolate milk.  He loves rice, beans, mac and cheese, pizza and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and yogurt or fruit.  He also loves his little sister and is just great with her most of the time, even sharing his toys and showing her how to play with them.  It's so sweet.

MAY 23, 2003 - The age of three has reared it's ugly head in the last few weeks, and as a lot of people will tell you, it's much worse than two.  At three, instead of yelling and crying things which you can't understand, it's more backtalking and things you DO understand, and trying to reason with you and get their own way.  Yes, Nicolas is famous for this.  If you tell him "maybe later" he responds with "how about now?!" or his response to "no" is "how about yes?!" but it's a statement from him and then it becomes an all-out screaming crying fest sometimes.  It takes so much restraint to ignore him or walk away, which I know is what we should do, since punishing him with time-outs doesn't do a whole lot of good.  I find myself yelling a lot more, which of course isn't going to help him learn NOT to yell, but sometimes it's all I can do to no go insane.  He listens sometimes, but not very often anymore.  What a change a few weeks makes!  Don't get me wrong, he does still have his sweet moments, when he gives hugs and kisses and tells us he loves us, or he loves his sister.  He still isn't potty trained, and that's another battle that's just going to go on forever.  I know he can do it, but the fact is that he won't do it until he's ready, no matter how ready we are to get him there.  We've tried letting him run around naked and putting him in real underwear all day, but unless we take him regularly he won't initiate going on his own and will instead just go right where he's standing, say "uh-oh" like he knows it's wrong, and that just earns him more time of sitting on the potty for a while as we clean up the room, and him, and get him some dry clothes.  If I can ever get through a weekend with more successes than failures, or having him actually tell me or initate using the potty on his own, then I'll be ready to send him to school in his underwear and send a few changes in clothes for him also.  I think summer would be a good time, warmer weather and lighter clothes to deal with, but we'll just see what happens.  Poor Noelle just gets the short end of the stick on this since so often I end up stopping in my tracks with whatever I'm doing with her, like feeding her, to tend to Nicolas and the potty thing.  Maybe next month we'll see some progress.  Other than that, Nicolas is doing just fine, as active as ever, and his new favorite things are the Superfriends (thanks to his Daddy) and his 2 small Superman figures and Super Smurf (don't ask!) which go with him a lot of times.  If not, he has his two "Super Bears" which are stuffed teddy bears (a pink one with It's a Girl that belongs to Noelle, and a multi-colored one we brought him from Puerto Rico when I learned he'd started Super Bears at home when his grandmother was watching him) and the bears have burp clothes or dish towels as capes.  Also, he has 3 stuffed friends that also travel together:  Duck, Penguin and Stork.  They go with him often.  He sleeps with any number of toys on any given night, and often still wanders into our room in the middle of the night and climbs into bed with us with his collections.  These days he seems to be waking up at least once a night and coming into our room, where we have to take him back to his room and put him to bed, usually after changing a soaked diaper.   Favorite foods are still the same as before which are PB & J sandwiches, chocolate milk, pizza, noodles, ravioli, rice and his new favorite...popsicles!

APRIL 8, 2003 - I can't believe I'm writing about Nico's fourth year of life now.  It's true what they say about time going by so quickly.  Noelle is already 5 months old and I'm no hurry for her to grow up.  It's nice that Nicolas is a lot more independent these days but he still has his bad days.  We still insist on daily naps because we find that when he doesn't get them he is just much more wound-up and tends to yell, kick and hit a lot.  Most days he's in bed close to 8pm and up around 6am the next day.  In the last month I've noticed that Nicolas tends to listen a lot more to us and follow directions much better, which is nice.  He says please and thank you quite often without any prompting.  He gives hugs and kisses and says "Love you too" to all of us.  His favorite thing, especially when being punished, is for him to ask "Give me hug Mommy/Daddy" which makes it hard to be mad at him.  It's also hard to yell at him for doing things when some of the things that he does just make Noelle laugh and she only seems to laugh for her big brother.  He seems to be having a hard time at school these days and keeps asking all day where mommy and the baby are and the minute I show up to get him he can't stop talking about Noelle/the baby, are we going to get her, tells her "I'm coming Noelle" as we're driving to Muni's to get her.  Once inside, he can't wait to get her from whoever is holding her, hug her, then give her to me.  He's been much better with afternoon pickups about going inside with me and leaving when I ask him to, since for a while I thought I'd have to leave him in the van every day when I picked her up.  We still have moments at home where he likes to slam doors and lock them behind him, so we now have a key outside so he won't lock us out of the house.  His favorite thing these days it to go the mall and eat pizza but hopefully the weather will warm up soon and we can start taking bike rides with him instead or just let him play outside more often to release some energy.  He loves to swing and slide, especially with Daddy.  His other new favorite food is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with chocolate milk, but he still doesn't eat very much or very often.  We haven't had any luck in potty training, even though he has used the toilet a few times when I put him there and insist that he stays there.  He had his 3 year doctor's visit on April 1st which did not go well at all.  I'm not sure of his measurments because he barely stayed on the scale (I think he was around 26.5 pounds) and refused to lay down on the table to get measured.  Dr. Baldwin barely got his exam done with Nicolas not allowing him to listen to his heart with the stethoscope.  I'm dreading next year when he has to get shots!!

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