Friday, July 30, 2010


Nick clearly said "purple" today, many times. He showed me a tiny purple gift bow I was letting him play with, I said, "Purple bow," and he said, "Puh-buh." Then he tried again several times and got pretty precise with the pronunciation!

Xander is back to snoring and getting up out of bed. I think it's time to start up the Nasonex again.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Art Appreciation

Nick really likes a book I got from the library called My First ABC, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each illustration is a piece of art from that museum. "Aa apple" is Delicious Apples by Brian Connelly, 1962, and so on.

We are meeting friends at the Cummer Art Museum this afternoon for Free Tuesday! I've packed a picnic dinner to take. We'll see how long I can keep Nick interested.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Today's Communications

Nick now definitely signs: more, please, bathtime, all done, up, and bye-bye. He also claps. He also knows how to say all those same things except maybe bathtime and bye-bye.

Today in the car Xander began to ask me a bunch of questions about the magazine I had handed back to him. I said, "Xander, I cannot look at the magazine while I'm driving, so I don't know."

He said, "Mommy, you don't have to look at it while you're driving, just say yes."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The "What Bradley Owed" Story

I thought this was a cute story (from the [Quaker] Children's Story Garden) related to my previous post about being grateful for what we have: Xander even understood part of it, although I'm not sure how far the understanding went.

In Comfortable Circumstances

Last night I was reading a document about simplicity (the Faith and Practice of the Southeastern Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends [Quakers]) and there was a section about Right Sharing. One of the sentences said: "Friends in comfortable circumstances need to find practical expression of the testimony of simplicity in their earning and spending."

My eyes whizzed over that line with my passing thought of, "Doesn't pertain to us, we're not in comfortable circumstances...," and then I stopped myself. What?! We're not in comfortable circumstances?! The truth is, we have had to watch our spending for so long that we have assumed we don't have (much) money to give. We have given many material goods and volunteered time, but we tend to gloss over financial helping. It is true that we need to build up a nest egg, especially with young children. It is true that we have debts to pay down. It is true that I watch every dollar being spent at the grocery store each week.

But the other night, reading in bed, I was thinking just how comfortable I really was. I have a car with working air conditioning that I can jump in with the kids anytime I want to go somewhere. We even have enough money to fill it up with gas on any day of the month. Erik and I have a very comfortable, large bed with a very comfortable pillow top. Our home looks pleasant and functions well as a shelter. No one is ever truly hungry in this house (although they may sometimes have to satisfy their hunger with Ramen noodles or peanut butter and jelly, but not often). I have every implement that I need to easily clean the house and cook meals. We have a working washer and dryer next to the house, a beautiful fenced-in backyard with a garden, two sheds, and a playset for the kids. We have many books that are special to us. I own everything I would need to teach my children the basics for at least a few years (if you count in the use of our local library). We have a large TV and cable, a stereo and many CDs, wonderful board games, seating for about nine people in our living area and for seven more in our screened-in back porch. Comfortable, mended clothing hangs in each of our closets. I don't even want to start on the abundance of toys that my children have.

This is comfort! If ever a family was comfortable, we are! We don't have to wait at the bus stop to go somewhere. We don't have to go to a laundromat every time we need clean clothes. We don't have to get to a park in order for the kids to play on outdoor equipment. We don't have to get to the library or a store to entertain ourselves with games, books, music, or movies.

So I need to re-read that passage about "Friends in comfortable circumstances" and take it to heart. I am no longer a have-not. Right here and now, I have what I need physically and emotionally.

The reason I put such a rant on the kids' blog is that it is very important to me that they understand everything that they have to be grateful for, and that they feel gratitude. This is why I felt so bad about getting Xander that preschool laptop. It's not bad for him to have it, it's great--but I don't ever want him to believe that he needs anything else in life to be happy.

Eight Words

Nick said "more" and "please" today!

The food that inspired his talking: strawberries and milk.

He now says car, ball, da, shoes (sshhhs), dog, eye, more, and please.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Yoga Instructor

The cutest thing just happened. For "Y" week, I told Xander we could do yoga exercises. He led me in a bunch of moves that I think he had seen his aunt and his dad doing. During one of the moves, he said, "Put your elbows - um, down." He meant that I needed to put my heels on the ground and keep the rest of my feet up. I was getting instruction on proper form from my four-year-old!

One of our moves was called the beluga whale. One was the tiny fish.

I keep forgetting to mention that Xander suddenly has a real interest (sometimes) in his baby dolls. He has two, one that looked like him when he was a baby, and one that cries and drinks and pees in a diaper that I got in preparation for his baby brother. He never really paid attention to them, but in the last week or so, he has done some nurturing things for them. It's interesting that he's doing this just as Nick is learning to run, talk, have table manners, and go potty without a diaper.

Chapter Books We've Finished

(updated 9/9/10)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Sir Reddy and Sir Pants
Prince Caspian
Catwings Return
Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings
Jane On Her Own
The Water Horse
T. Rex Attacks!
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
Volcanoes! : Mountains of Fire
Magic Tree House #37: Dragon of the Red Dawn
The Horse and His Boy
The Magician's Nephew
The Last Battle 
Stuart Little

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Yet Another Nick Milestone

Nick peed in the potty this morning! Then after lunch, he went #1 and #2 in the potty!! Very exciting here. I asked if he wanted to watch All Aboard the Potty Train and he went into the bathroom to his "potty basket" where the All Aboard the Potty Train book is kept. I am impressed.

Xander and I have had a challenging morning, but we both came out of it refreshed and with better attitudes. (Lots of whining around chore time on his part and lots of deep, angry breaths on my part. We sat on his bed together for a while and talked about it. Actually, even after that, he interrupted me often while I read aloud to him, talking, planning things, and leaving the room. I got mad and told him what was making me mad and said he could stay in his room until he was ready for a reading lesson. I went to my bed to cool off, too, and in five or ten minutes he nicely came to get me because he was ready for a reading lesson. Since then we are both doing pretty well.)

We finished the letter Z during reading lessons! Tomorrow we will read short words together!

I am planning our weekly menu today and asked for Xander's input. Next week, he wants macaroni and cheese, chicken, and bacon. We will be having those things. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Four-Year-Old's Mind

I noticed today for pretty much the first time that Xander can color within the lines. I got out his big dinosaur coloring book and he was coloring one spine at a time. The interesting thing he is doing now is coloring spots on the dinosaurs where they have dirt on them. He said they were dirty so they needed water on them to wash their legs off. I just nodded. Now he is drawing water on the dinosaurs, with drips coming off their noses and running off their backs. So in one day, I've seen him color within the lines, and use a story he's telling to purposely draw/color something outside of the lines. Very interesting!

He is loving having that laptop "just like Bailey's"! One little drawback is that he loves when it tells him "uh-oh, try again." He giggles and giggles and sometimes tries to get things wrong on purpose.

He is also pretty excited about our reading lessons, especially since we will be on "z" today. He asked what comes after that, and I said, "Reading small words!" He was excited to see that. He's been able to sound out words like that for a long time now but this lesson book we're using will take him one step further each day until he is able to read more than just words with one short-vowel sound.

I began exposing Nick to Spanish early on with nursery rhymes and songs. Now we do Spanish Time with both boys using charts of things like colors, numbers, and animals. We learn a new Spanish word each week. We have also been reading familiar children's books in Spanish. Xander soaks it in like a sponge. It's the same thing with signs I try to teach Nick. I suppose I'll see that Nick got something (besides fun) out of it later, but if not, I know that Xander's getting a lot out of it!

Poor Nick seems to be hurting lately. It's got to be teething. I can't see a tooth coming, though. He was up at 4:45 AM again last night.

Last night I had a dream about the boys' cousin Foster. He had gotten much older and had red-red hair. I didn't recognize him anymore! I remember him doing some sort of gymnastics where his legs were over his head. I think we were all visiting in someone else's house. That's all I remember.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Happy Tuesday

Last night I was up kind of late. This morning, Nick cried off and on until I got him out of bed. I put him in his seat for breakfast and milk, like always. He screamed his head off until he woke up Xander. I was groggy and tired and had no time for my coffee (!) until I could calm down Nick. I held him and gave him ibuprofen because he is acting like he's teething. He gradually calmed and had fun playing around his Daddy a little bit.

With this start to the day, it would have been easy to write the whole thing off, be discouraged, put the TV on, and look forward to nap time so I could sleep. But, as I told Erik, when my days start off this bad that usually means they will turn out pretty well, if only to defy my expectations.

So instead of the above attitude I decided to be uber-proactive. I gulped down my coffee(s), put Nick in independent playtime, did chores with Xander, started my chores, got Nick up, did Spanish time with the kids, gave Nick some potty sessions, did a reading lesson with Xander, went outside for chores and watering the garden, looked at clouds, found a green, yellow, black-lined spider with bright orange splotches on its abdomen, did learning activities together, and read aloud to both boys. The difference today was that I stayed very close by to both of them and didn't let them get away with one single thing. I stayed with Xander, repeating my expectations, until he decided to speak to me cheerfully about the help he wanted with his chores. Usually I would let him get away with one or two times using a borderline whiny voice as long as he did it the right way most of the time. Not today. He had to get it right each time. I did the same with Nick for sitting on the potty and coming to Mommy. I repeated all this as necessary for each activity, and we shortly began to have a breeze of a day. The push-and-pull ended! We were able to move on to what Mommy said was next without any argument, so that there was more time to just have fun.

I can see that if I keep this up, it won't take long before the push-and-pull situation is vastly improved.

By the way, I did the same thing in my head for myself. I did not allow thoughts like, "Oh no, I'm still in my bathrobe, poor me, I'm tired, I won't even be able to answer the door today," to remain. I said to myself, "What is stopping you from putting on clothing while Nick is in independent playtime, and brushing your hair and teeth?" Nothing. The same thing for thoughts of laundry sitting in the washing machine. What was stopping me from taking both kids outside while I hung the laundry on the line? Nothing! And we found a cool spider because of it and had fun playing as well.

Monday, July 19, 2010


It is about a month till Erik's and my wedding anniversary: six years! We have been together for ten, so we also think of that number around our anniversaries.

I have an idea for a homemade gift that will help me try to express how much he means to me. After reading an online friend's wonderful blog this morning, I realized I don't say much about Erik on this blog. It was meant to be about the boys, but certainly Erik has a lot to do with their daily lives!

I don't think I will say a whole lot more about him in the future, other than what activities we all do together, because I think notes and cards and personal interactions are better ways to communicate his importance to him and our sons. But this is a post to publicly state how important he is.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 5

Erik comes home this evening. Xander and I are excited. I know Nick will be, too.

Erik said his talk went well. It sounds, so far, like he got a lot out of the conference.

Today I brought Nick and Xander to two stores in a row, Target and Winn Dixie. That's a dangerous thing to do, but they did very well. I did buy Nick a box of animal crackers to keep him happy in Target. Now that he has an easier time communicating with me about food, he points to everything he wants and is not happy when he doesn't get it. He pointed to basically all of our groceries as I picked them out and as they were bagged. Including the raw meat. I may leave him at home the next few times I go grocery shopping.

One of the reasons to go to Target today was to pick up training pants for Nick. Today I brought down the potty chair and showed it to him. I know this sounds crazy, but I'm thinking about starting him on a potty routine. My first plan for potty training Nick was to wait until he asks about how Xander does it, and then hope he picks it up fast from having an example. In the last week, though, I've seen how much Nick is learning. He likes to learn new things and ways to communicate about them. It might be a perfect time to teach him about the potty and what we do in there, along with the Baby Signs book and DVD from Leslie. He will be interested and very much less resistant than he will be in a few months. It will make more work for me, and it won't happen quickly, but it might go more smoothly. The one thing I don't want to repeat from the experience with Xander is all the stops and starts. I want to move steadily and progressively once we start. If common sense dictates a pause in the training, I'll have to take that into consideration. So I'm not 100% sure about starting this early.

Nick also needs to be kept busy and not bored at this stage. Potty training could come in handy that way.

Last night Nick woke again at 4:40 AM. What is it about that time? One night he woke me at that time, the next night Xander did, and the following night Nick again! I have a very hard time getting back to sleep at that time of day.

Now we are eating waffles, blueberries, and bacon for dinner. I was going to make pot roast but forgot to put it in three hours before dinner time. The kids are very happy with it; Erik's not home yet. We are also watching Prince Caspian again. I allowed this because I was having a great time talking on the phone with my friend Charity. While having a meaningful conversation with her, I let the kids have outside playtime, blew bubbles, watered plants, weeded the garden, refilled the bird bath, got drinks for the kids, changed a dirty diaper, put on a movie, put Nick in independent playtime, and made dinner. The afternoon went by nicely fast.

So... here is Xander's quote of the day: "Aslan is a amazing good guy! And even powerful!"

You have to imagine it said with the utmost expressiveness.

I forgot about his interaction in Target with a stranger. A young woman was piling another box on top of a precarious pile coming out of her cart. In a clear, strong, loud voice, Xander said, "Mommy, that is TOO MUCH!"

The young woman laughed and said, "I think you're right. You are smarter than I am. This is probably too much!"

Day 4

Xander is throwing up today. He woke me up at about the same time Nick woke me up the night before, gagging a little and looking pale. He slept a bit more with me, then got up and ate two tiny bites of breakfast, a half glass of orange juice, and began throwing up. Poor babe is lying on the couch, still pale, on top of a large sheet with his own pillow and blanket, watching How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

Since yesterday evening he has not wanted me to be out of his sight, not even in the kitchen doing dishes or in the next room playing with Nick.

Nick, on the other hand, ate half an adult bowl of oatmeal and raisins and two pieces of toast along with milk and water. The trick today will be keeping him out of Xander's way.

Xander keeps asking for milk. This will not end well.

Day 3

It is only 8:10 in the morning and I already have something to say about each of the kids.

Nick has started nodding or shaking his head to answer me. I ask him if he wants more food, and he looks into my eyes and slowly, carefully nods up and down. I ask him a few minutes later, and he shakes his head and does some sort of vague "all done" sign. I am starting to get the eerie feeling that he understands everything! He also points to things he wants or places he wants to go. Not rocket science for a toddler, but it is another breakthrough in communication.

He did something strange last night. It was a restless night for him in one way, but he didn't cry. I heard him talking to himself at one point. Then I woke up at 4:40 AM to a rhythmical pounding noise. I got up to see what it could be and, listening at his bedroom door, I realized it was his leg hitting the pack 'n play mattress. That sound continued off and on for another hour and a half. Argh. I couldn't sleep through it but I didn't want to disturb him any more by going into his room.

As he was eating breakfast, Xander said something in a very sweet tone of voice: "You made a nice fruit treat for me last year. Thank you!" Then he went on to describe it and I have no idea what he was talking about, but it is wonderful to be given a thank you out of the blue.

Last night after both kids were in bed I put on a nightgown. Xander came out of bed to go to the bathroom and saw me and said, "That's a nice dress you got."

It is now afternoon and Nick is stirring from his nap. We went to Preschool Storytime at the library, which Xander goes to by himself while Nick and I browse. Nick did amazing! It's only his fourth trip to the library ever and he has already learned not to pull books off the shelves. They got in some new toddler equipment, including a large table with all kinds of wooden manipulatives on it. Nick actually likes doing the traditional puzzles. He picks up pieces from the table and drops them on top of the open slots in the puzzle. He did not fuss at all and I was able to pick up all the books I wanted to get.

Xander chose interesting books to check out this week: A Frog in the Bog, by Karma Wilson, onthatday, by Andrea Patel, Tonka's Rescue Action, by Craig Carey, Creature ABC, by Andrew Zuckerman, a Bionicle graphic novel (#7: Realm of Fear), and Build Your Own Combat Robot, by Pete Miles and Tom Carroll. That last one is an adult book with real diagrams and photographs. I will have to look at that one in more depth. ;)

When we got home we had birthday presents waiting from Aunt Johanna. The coloring book, stuffed animal book, stuffed polar bear, and especially the light-up Glow Caterpillar were huge hits. Nick likes to roar for the bear.

I read some library books to the boys and, surprisingly, the two Spanish books were listened to with great interest. We've been reading Where the Wild Things Are over and over, so I got Donde Viven Los Monstruos along with Oso pardo, oso pardo, ?que ves ahi? (Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?)

It was really bugging me that I went ahead and ordered that kid's laptop for Xander. He doesn't know I did it. I felt better about it when I talked to him today, saying, "It's too bad you don't have a kid's computer, but there are lots of other fun things you have."

He said in a happy tone of voice, "Yeah, like ____." (I can't remember what it was. One of his toys.)

I said, "You also have a loving family."

He said, "Yeah!"

So I'm glad I at least addressed the idea of not getting every material thing he wants. Then there will be a surprise later when he gets the laptop.

Day 1 Without Erik

This weekend we were in Destin to see everyone: Jeremy, Leslie, Bailey, Foster, Larry, Alla, Bonnie, Pat, Koa, Cadbury... It was fun. In fact, it was so fun and relatively easy for us that it was hard to keep in mind that we wouldn't be seeing some of them for a long time. Jeremy and Leslie & Co. are on their way to move to Colorado, and we haven't gotten out to Oregon to see Larry and Alla yet. The kids had fun, even though they wouldn't sleep much in the car. Xander showed some very "melty" behavior as a result of his sleep deprivation but it's worth it to see your best friend in the whole wide world. The little boys are getting cuter and cuter and are pretty easygoing...except when they're not.

Immediately after we got home, Erik started packing for his business conference. He'll be gone all week. I thought I would try to post every day in case he wants to see what we did while he was gone.

Day 1, today, Monday:

Xander went to school. He came back prepared to defy me. Sometimes preschool has that effect.

Nick learned how to spin while dancing and giggled and giggled and spun and spun all by himself. He was dancing to the Chicken Soup and Rice song on the Where the Wild Things Are story video. I tried to get a video per Erik's request but I think he was too dizzy already for me to get a good one.

We went outside for a while to play tennis and football and soccer. Nick was the happiest I've seen him just trotting around in the back yard chasing after balls. Xander's learning how to hit a tennis ball. Later, Nick and I came back inside for a snack. Xander showed up to tell me something outside was turning into a robot. Then he looked out the front door, saw a funny-looking seedling that had fallen to the ground, and asked if it was robot poop.

This evening at dinner Nick started to throw his food again. I told him "no" sternly and repeated it with the sign for "no." He shook his head back and forth vigorously as if to say, "Mommy's saying no, no is fun, watch me shake my head no."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 2

Today we did a tiny bit better sticking with a normal routine.

But Xander got very upset over not having a kid's computer yet. I kept explaining that it would take a long time to save up for a kid's computer on his allowance, but that we could look at Goodwill stores to see if they had any that he would be able to afford. We checked one Goodwill store and he left crying when I wouldn't buy him a broken ball-tunnel toy. He was sad but kept telling me in the car, in a tearful voice, that he was happy. I think the idea was that I would go to another store if he was happy instead of sad. We did check our Beall's down the street which has been going out of business and was almost out of merchandise. I went a bit crazy with the discounts. I bought a history at-a-glance book for Xander, a farm lift-the-flap book for Nick, a small plastic set of tennis rackets and ball for Nick, and Xander begged for a plastic Indian and horse ensemble. An employee also gave Xander a roll of Cars stickers for free. I spent a little over $7.

Then we came home, and because I felt sad for Xander for some reason, ordered a Vtech preschool laptop from Ebay for $8 (plus $8 shipping). I am terrible about that.

Enough about my failings. Nick had a wonderful time outside with his new plastic tennis rackets. He walked up and down the little sidewalk in our backyard with a racket in either hand. I've got it on video. I think it was four minutes of him walking up and back, up and back, up and back. He was so happy. The only reason he stopped was because I went in to grab some laundry.

Xander loves both books. He doesn't seem likely to hand over the farm book to Nick. I've read it to him twice already and he is currently trying to read it back to me.

Xander injured Nick today. I heard a cry from behind me and Xander saying, "Sorry, Nick." The cries continued. He said, "I'm really sorry, Nick." All I know is it involved the edge of a wooden block and Nick has a little boo-boo under his eye. I'm sure it's the first of many boo-boos earned this way.

I measured Xander again on our closet door and he has grown three-fourths of an inch in about a month.

Oh, and I trimmed both boys' hair today. The floor is currently presentable and the dishes are almost all done. Nick has been sleeping for almost an hour and Xander is ready for bed on time. I even got some knitting done.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Starting yesterday, Nick definitely says "dog."

Xander can say the name of the five vowels, and then their short vowel sounds.

Nick is loving my packing up to go to Destin this weekend. He gets to see all the cool things getting packed away, and then he gets to dig in the bags to get them out.

We're going to Destin where we will be able to see Bonnie, Pat, Jeremy, Leslie, Bailey, Foster, Koa, Cadbury, Larry, and Alla. When you count our family, that's only twelve people and two dogs. Cozy! :)

(By the way, I hope we will be able to watch the World Cup final, but if not I have got our DVR set to record. No one tell me what happens, in the third place or championship game!)

Figured out how to "recharge" our new Flip video camera, so that's going with us. You, ahem, put two new AA batteries in it.

Have Grandma's birthday present all worked out in my head. Maybe one of these days I will finish the tangible part to it.

Mom's gift is also still in the making. Xander wants me to finish it so I can make something for him.

And along those lines, Happy Birthday to Leslie and Foster on the 7th!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer Entertainment

Last night we went to the beach so Xander could see his friend JT again and so Xander and Nick could frolic in the ocean. They both loved it, and got extremely wet and sandy! I am so glad we went, even though it meant slightly later bedtimes.

Okay, so now I am yelling in a funny voice, "Bwooo hooo hooo hooo hooo hooo hooo!" and Nick is responding by walking around the room fast with our pretend remote control in his hand, laughing crazily every time I make that sound, and falling over and laughing. Very easy parenting.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July

So far today, the boys had their early morning with Erik. Then Erik finished weeding our side flower bed while Xander and I made a construction paper American flag and glued it onto a stick. After that, we watered and weeded around our new garden planting. It's middle of the summer in Florida, so what we can grow now is okra, basil, and rosemary. We're also still getting (small) green peppers and I have some hope for the pole beans now that I've given them something to climb on and Erik has given them Gardentone manure. Then Xander and I did a reading lesson and made a red, white, and blue fruit salad. Nick looooooooooooved that salad when he got up from his nap. Everyone chowed down. (There were also doughnuts that Erik picked up this morning.)

After that, the boys each got to open a present of American flag hacky sacks. They were very, very happy. We played catch and bowling with blocks.

Then we got to Skype with Grandpa Mike and Grandma Lesley until Nick started pulling his hair out for naptime. Erik went out and bought some fireworks for our yard this evening.

Tonight we are having steak kebabs and shrimp dumplings (the kids will probably have hot dogs) and more red, white, and blue fruit salad. Homemade apple pie and vanilla ice cream for dessert! Yesterday Erik made most of the apple pie and I did the finishing touches. There was enough to make a small "kid's pie" and Xander is very excited about trying to eat the whole thing himself tonight.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Nick's First Birthday

I didn't even post about Nick's first birthday!

We went to the zoo on the weekend. Each time we go he pays more attention to the animals. He liked the birds including the penguins. The penguins are one of Xander's favorites now, too. I was not thinking clearly and brought helium balloons along for each boy. The zoo staff informed us that the balloons would scare the animals. Oops.

Xander helped me decorate the living and dining area with stuffed animals and animal blocks. We had them in every nook and cranny! The Happy Birthday banner went up and the balloon (which we got back from the zoo staff when we left) was fastened to his booster seat. Xander picked out the balloon for Nick. It was red and said "I Love You."

We ate lamb-burgers and greek salad, although I think Nick had sweet potatoes instead. He also had a piece of the banana cake I made, with powdered sugar frosting. The cake was decorated with animal blocks and the Winnie-the-Pooh candle shaped like a 1. All these things are things I used for Xander's first birthday.

Mom and Grandma were on Skype to see Nick have his cake and open presents. He was fully pleased with his gifts. The ones that were open-able (i.e., not cash or check) were all big hits: foam letters, foam numbers, a bouncy ball, a knitted penguin, a musical book... I may be forgetting a couple, but there weren't a large number of gifts. It was absolutely perfect for a one-year-old. He walked around the living room saying "ball" and throwing it around.

We forgot to do the one-year prophecy game where we lay out several items - a ball, a pencil, a paintbrush, a baby doll, a tool - and see which one he picks up first. That item "predicts" his future occupation. I will try to do that soon, on one of these days that I remember it.

Unfortunately, I can't remember what Xander picked up on his one-year birthday. Maybe the pencil. That sounds right. I cannot find his baby book after our last move, which is a little bit tragic to me.

Nick will be thirteen months old in six days. He has already progressed by leaps and bounds from where he was at twelve months old.

-He drinks his milk just fine.
-He walks normally and very fast!
-He likes to climb things, especially the table in the children's section of the library. It's the perfect height.
-He says four to five words.
-He likes to look at books and has favorites.
-He can be quite happy for long periods of time, even sick, playing with Xander.
-He eats well with bowl and fork or spoon, though he doesn't usually use the utensil to put the food in his mouth.
-Though it's mostly a system of grunts and sounds, he knows how to ask for a book, a utensil, milk, water, more food, all done with food, all done with bath, all done with brushing teeth, look at that, what is this, and take me over there.

Social Skills?

Case 1: I often (when trying to shoo Xander off to play by himself) say, "Have fun playing!" Now that I think about it, I say that every time I put Nick in independent playtime. Yesterday Xander said to me, "Have fun reading!"

Case 2: This morning Xander began to use his broom as a weapon to play-fight with Nick (after doing a good job with it cleaning up his snack). I told him to put it away because it was only used for sweeping and not as a weapon. He began to cry and wail. Finally I got him to put away the broom and motioned him over for a hug. He sobbed in my arms, "My heart is breaking!"

Case 3: Later he was playing with blocks and began to kick them around and say, "Stupid block!" (giggle) "Stupid block! You are stupid!" (looks at me as if waiting to get into trouble for it)

I think he is gaining social awareness, a year or two behind cousin Bailey. Darn. I was happy for him to be a slow learner in that area.

Favorite Book

Nick asks to be read the same book over and over. He wanted me to read him Farmyard Friends eleven or twelve times last night. So far today it's three times, plus looking at it himself in his playpen.

The text goes:

Quietly, quietly
Not a sound
While kitten sleeps
Upon the ground.

"Quack, quack," cries the duck
As off we trot to play
"Won't we have a wonderful time
On such a sunny day."

Naughty pinky pig
Is being very rude
He should be speaking to the duck
Instead he's eating food.

Lonely little duckling
Asks if he can play
With the cheerful puppies
On such a lovely day.

Little duckling watches
As one cute chicken sleeps
While cheeky sits on Mother's back
And cheeps and cheeps and cheeps.

Of course it's not really the words that Nick likes so much. The illustrations remind me of old-fashioned Golden Books. The price on the front ($5.95 USA) tells me it's pretty new. I think I got it at Goodwill for less than a dollar.

Xander sings songs to Nick whenever he cries. Xander's favorite is "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" but sometimes he makes up his own songs to cheer up Nick.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How Civilized

Xander just asked for my help in finding his "findcanower" which helps him find any toy he needs, like the one shaped like a unicorn. The findcanower, I learned after some puzzled minutes, was shaped like a "tatapult." I knew right where the catapult was because I had put it in its rightful place hours earlier, making it hard for Xander to find it when he was expecting it in another place. I was fascinated that he has a "findcanower" which helps him find toys he wants at the moment. I understood a little better when I saw it in action. He used the catapult as a scoop to grab up small figures from his figures bin, so that he could better search and find one particular small figure.

Nick just screamed at his booster seat when I gave him a snack of turkey slices and acorn squash. I know I should probably not have done this, but I was curious: I gave him a bowl and fork filled with a snack of turkey slices and acorn squash, and he gobbled up his snack in good cheer.