Thanks, Mom and Dad, for volunteering to take care of the boy while Stu and I escape to Cancun for 4 days. You have no idea how much we appreciate it. Here are some tips for your special time with him:
Morning: Ignore him until 6am. If he starts making noise before 5am, try to encourage him to go back to sleep; otherwise, ignore.
Naps: Rarely happen. If he does nap, don't let him sleep past 3:30, or bedtime will suck.
Bedtime: Lights out by 8pm, but if he doesn't nap, it will be closer to 7pm. Make sure he has all 4 bears and both blankets. Tuck him in with the blue fleece blanket, even if it's 80 degrees and you can't imagine sleeping under a heavy fleece blanket.
Potty training: We have most success at home when Ryan is naked. Sometimes he'll go of his own accord, but usually you have to remind him to go. When he's naked, you'll get a... er... visual cue he needs to pee; it's much harder to divine this when he's dressed. He will never tell you verbally that he needs to go. I'm leaving you with a spray bottle of pet stain remover that is safe for most carpeting and upholstery. Put a diaper on him when he's sleeping or when you're in the car, otherwise carry a few changes of underwear and pants at all times. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!
Food: No wheat. Surprising sources of wheat include Twizzlers, soy sauce, and any margarine container you've ever double-dipped your knife in. Ryan will live on bananas and cheese if you let him; please don't let him.
Behavior: If he throws something out of anger, IGNORE it, then when he's calm, make him clean up whatever he threw. If he tells you to "go away," ignore it, or model more appropriate language. If he requests "Milk," model a more appropriate, "I want milk" or "Can I have some milk?" The want is more important than please. When you're about to leave the house and he starts chanting "Milk! Juice! Fruit bar!," calmly reassure him that you have a supply of snacks in your bag and that he can have them when you get to the car/wherever you're going if he still wants them. Encourage him to finish one thing before he starts another (ie, if he dumps out all the pieces of a puzzle, he has to actually DO the puzzle before he runs away.)
Glossary: Following is a very partial guide to Ryanisms that are totally obvious to me, but which might be less obvious to you:
- "Rectangle cheese" is an individually-wrapped cheddar snack.
- "Dissent! Dissent!" means "Please skip this part of the tv show, I want to see something different."
- "Milk" - when said in the evening, means "I'm ready to start the bedtime routine."
- "Watch George" means "I want to watch tv" - it does not necessarily mean he wants to watch Curious George.
- "Play a game" means "I want to play a computer game."
- "Wunch" literally means "Lunch," actually means "I'm hungry, I want whatever meal is appropriate at this time."
Scripting: Pretty much any time he's talking to himself in something that sounds like real sentences, he's just quoting a tv show or a book. Try to get involved and riff on what he's saying, encouraging language use beyond the script. You won't get the references; do not be discouraged, and resist the urge to ask him "What the hell are you talking about?"
Thanks! We'll come scrape you off the floor on Tuesday!