Friday, April 30, 2010

Call it a jellofish , I guess

Day 23

Day 113

Soren seemed marginally more interested in his rec center class this week. He did one of the craft projects almost entirely on his own and didn't run around quite as much during story time. His teacher was all impressed that he identified the letter U, unprompted. I resisted the urge to point out that he's known the alphabet since about 17 months, and even though he acts like a little ADHD spaz in class, he's truly not an idiot. Because yeah, I may be the mother of the class maniac who's only barely above licking the walls, but I will not also be the mother who proclaims what a genius her little wall-licker actually is.

(Yes, I know he's just barely two and is more or less simply acting his age. If I were actually worried about him in any way I wouldn't be writing so cavalierly about all this.)

Anyway, the one craft that he did nearly without any assistance was making a paper jellyfish. The kind of neat part about this craft was that instead of painting the jellyfish with paint, the kids sprinkled dry jello powder on the paper and then ran a wet paintbrush through it. It turned out looking pretty cool. And it kept his attention for a while, which was just fine by me.

After class we went to retrieve Eleri from A's house and hung out there for a few hours. The boys won't get to see each other for about a week, so they had to get in some good quality playing. They're so funny sometimes, mimicking each other. Tom & I noticed the other night that Soren's picked up some of A's inflections, and it doesn't take much at all for A to start copying Soren's various misbehaviors.

When it was time for A's nap, we took our leave and did some grocering on the way home. As a result, we were out of the house from about 9:45 til after 4:00, which is kind of a long day for us. Poor Eleri didn't get anywhere near her usual amount of napping, so she was pretty overcooked in the evening. She finally fell asleep while I was at the gym, napped for a couple of hours and is currently having some fun playtime with Dad while I blog. We're hoping she decides it's time for bed soon.

Tomorrow I go back to the barn to start riding lessons again! I'm very excited. Yay for horsing!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Go play more slides!

Day 22

Day 112

We've been working on making sure Soren knows everyone's names (in the family), in the event he gets lost or whatever and needs to have someone find us. One such practice session this evening led to another funny Soren quote -

Tom: What's Mommy's name?
Soren: Susan Johnson.
Tom: What's Daddy's name?
Soren: Tom Johnson.
Tom: What's sister's name?
Soren: Eleri Johnson.
Tom: What's your name?
Soren: Cheese?

We were outside a fair bit today. Since the weather was so nice, playgroup got moved from the library to someone's backyard. Soren ran around & played for a couple of hours there. Then this evening we went to the park for another hour and change while Tom had soccer practice. Soren was his hilarious, gregarious self at the park, greeting everyone and (at one point) charming his way into some grapes from this family's picnic dinner.

He was so sleepy on the way home that we were trying to keep him talking so he wouldn't pass out in the car. Several times his words were slurred from exhaustion, and he sounded precisely as though his batteries were running down. He stayed awake though! Eleri was overtired as well and cried for about half the trip home. When she finally calmed down, Soren said, "Nice and quiet. I like quiet." Ha!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quotable Soren

Day 21

Day 111

Full sentences uttered by the lad today:

"Ellie's having some milks."
"It's chilly outside."
"Come this way, Mommy."

Hilarious tidbits:

"Go paygloop?" (playgroup)
"Leaf bowler!" (leaf blower)
"Guys flop-down!" (referring to a soccer player making a tackle)
"Hundred frickin' years!" (repeating the last 3 words of a statement Tom had just made)

Eleri rolled from back-to-front for the first time, tonight. Go Eleri! She also sat in the bouncy swing for the first time while we were working on dinner. She wasn't super thrilled with it, but she didn't freak out either.

I took the iPod and Nike+ sensor with me to the mall for our Wednesday stroller walk, in order to get an idea of about how far we've been going each week. It measured 2.7 miles, which ain't too shabby. We walk for a bit less than an hour, so it's not as though we're going super fast or anything, though there are usually a few stops to reposition kids or resupply their snacks/drinks/etc. I maintain it's pretty good exercise, pushing the boy and carrying the girl.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Farm Day

Day 20

Day 110

Today the playgroup met at Oxon Hill Farm, which is just over the river in Maryland. (Gotta love the east coast...we went to another state for playgroup and were home by lunchtime!) It was a neat place, and we had lots of fun. Soren got to see cows, chickens, geese, pigs (big ones), horses and sheep. The farm is owned and maintained by the National Park Service, so there was a friendly park ranger to give us a tour and patiently show the clamoring kiddos how to feed the chickens and check the roost for eggs. Soren kept wanting to crawl into the doghouse-like chicken coop, and he made a break for freedom once or twice, but he also had some impressive moments of attentive listening and obedience! (He also, however, ate a big handful of chicken food and a small handful of dirt.) He seemed to really enjoy himself though, and he behaved really well on the impromptu wagon ride we got to take. There had been another group who'd reserved the tractor-pulled wagon ride for the day, but they were a small group and there was a ton of room left in the wagon, so the ranger kindly offered to let our group come along. I wasn't sure how long Soren would put up with sitting on my lap (perching, really, since I also had Eleri in the pouch), but he was great.

After Eleri woke up, I flipped her around in the pouch so she could look around. It cracks me up when she gets excited about something and starts kicking her legs and chuckling. She got a little upset right after she woke up (hungry), but other than that she was quiet and smiley and good!

Twice today I've found Eleri turned 90 degrees in her crib. I'd forgotten about the crib-spinning phase. Guess we've reached it!

Hilarious episode from the evening: Soren had lifted up his shirt and was following Leo around the living room.
Tom: Are you trying to give Leo milks?
Soren: Yes.

Cracked me right the hell up.


Day 19

Day 109

It rained on Monday, so we stayed home. I did a bunch of laundry. This is not at all interesting or exciting, so here are some general growth-and-development-related tidbits.

Soren's started to ask about the names of things. Much of it, I'm sure, is the result of us sitting and pointing at things (animals, articles of clothing, vehicles) in his various books and asking, "What's that?" Now when we're in the store, or driving around, or looking at a magazine, he'll whip out a pointer finger and ask, "Whazzat?", often at fairly frequent intervals. And once the item in question has been named, he'll repeat the name. It's cute and funny, and a few times I've found myself challenged to come up with one- or two-word names for things on the fly. ("Um, those are road construction barrel marker things...")

If Eleri could talk, I suspect she'd also be asking, "Whazzat?" when we hold her in front of a mirror. Such a sight to behold! Two Mommies! Two Daddies! And why is that baby they're holding all cold and flat when I touch her hand with mine? Hehe. That expression of puzzlement on the face of a baby just figuring out mirrors is pretty amusing.

It's been, I believe, a week since Soren last had a nap (one lasting more than a few minutes, anyway). Bedtime, over the past week or two, has gotten a lot easier. I won't give his naplessness all of the credit for this improvement, but I do think it deserves the bulk of it. What a difference it makes when he's actually sleepy at bedtime, instead of just tired, or even overtired and wired. I also think that the "Going to Bed" book I made for him is having a positive effect. Several of the sleep gurus recommend putting together a little book with pictures of your kid going through the stages of his or her bedtime routine. It's supposed to help cement the routine in his mind, reinforcing the idea that A leads to B leads to C leads to sleep. So I think going through the pictures with him every evening has been helping, too. He still wakes up crying a few nights a week, but he's been easier to settle back in his own bed, and falling asleep in the first place has been largely without fights or crying or flailing or needing to be physically restrained. Most mornings he wakes up quietly around 5 or 6am and comes padding into our room, where he goes to Tom's side of the bed and says, "Up, Daddy. Up peese."

Anyway, this is all a very big improvement over where we were a month ago with the sleep issues. I do wish he'd still take a nap during the day, as his afternoons can be a little difficult until he hits his second (or third, or fourth) wind, but I'll take a few crying jags at 4pm if it means he will fall asleep largely unassisted and with minimal fuss in 15 or 20 minutes instead of 90 with extended periods of wailing, thrashing and sweating.

One of my current favorite animal noises to ask Soren to imitate is that of a crab. When you ask him what a crab says, he replies in a tiny voice, "Pinch, pinch" while making a pinching motion with his hand.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Going out, staying in


Day 17

Day 107

Saturday morning I went & did my running at the gym, since I'd failed to get down there on Friday. I've been using our new heart rate monitor for a couple of weeks now, and I've come to the conclusion that it may be strong enough for a man, but it is definitely not made for a woman. I am shaped in a way that is, shall we say, challenging for the chest strap to work optimally. So I've got data, but it's not reliable. My graphs don't look anything like as pretty as Tom's do; his are mostly all smooth curves, and mine are riddled with spikes where the signal keeps getting lost and then recaptured. The newer treadmills in the gym also pick up the signal from the chest strap. Annoyingly, though, the treadmill and the watch frequently display different numbers, often waaaay off from one another (I'm talking 30 or 40 bpm off). And not always in the same direction (sometimes the treadmill is higher than the watch, sometimes it's lower). So I'm kind of bummed about that. I've been looking around a little for a setup that might better accommodate my various curvatures, but - no great surprise - the good ones look to be pretty expensive. I'll keep looking.

Around lunchtime, we took the kids over to A's house. I'd been talking with A's mom about setting up some sort of babysitting swap so we could get some child-free outings every once in a while. Pretty great! So Tom & I were up first. We got some lunch and then went shooting. Neither of us had been in over a year, and it had been almost 3 years since the last time we'd gone together (not since before I got pregnant with Soren). So that was great fun. I didn't do too badly, even, given how out of practice I was.

We stopped for ice cream on the way back, to round out our date, and then hung out with A's parents (and the kiddos, of course) at their house for a couple of hours. All in all, a very enjoyable day!


Day 18

Day 108

Nothing too remarkable about Sunday. Chores were done, as per usual, and the boys went out together for some erranding. In the evening, Soren was playing with his little ABC snail. At one point he rolled it off the table and then exclaimed, "Snail! You okay?!" Hehehe.

Chronology shmonology

Day 16

Day 106

Friday evening I had planned to go swimming instead of running, since I was pretty tired. Tom got home from work, and while he got dinner started, I sat down on the couch to feed Eleri. And promptly fell asleep while burping her. Even more tired than I thought, apparently! I woke up to a delicious dinner of steak pseudo-carbonara (linguine topped with Classico sun dried tomato alfredo sauce, into which were mixed peas, steak, mushrooms, and egg). Unbelievably tasty. I did not end up going to exercise that evening. ;)

In the morning I took Soren to his rec center class. On the way, we dropped Eleri off at A's house. It was really nice of A's mom to offer to watch her so Soren & I could have some one-on-one time! He still wasn't really into the activities in his class this week. Part of it, I think, was that he was distracted and kept asking about Eleri and A, but in general he just doesn't seem to be one for crafts quite yet. The final craft of the day was especially ill-suited to his age, I thought. We were making "igloos" by gluing a styrofoam cup upside down on a paper plate, then covering it with a layer of frosting into which we stuck sugar cubes. Soren, of course, managed to snag and eat a sugar cube (followed quickly by another one), which he declared, "Yummy!" and then he had absolutely no further interest in building his igloo. And a minor meltdown ensued when I prevented him from eating any further "yummies." Oy.

After dinner we had a nice walk outside. Soren pointed out airplanes and cars and dogs. I seem to remember laughing at something particularly funny he said, but I can't for the life of me recall what it was.

Also on Friday, I started working through the backlog of kid videos I'd acquired. Here's one below (in lieu of a music video this week); six more are up on Flickr, and I'll try to get the rest up soon as well. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Puddles, power naps, and punk-ass bitches

Day 15

Day 105

After yesterday's rains, playgroup was scheduled for the library today instead of the park, over concerns that the playground equipment would still be all puddle-ridden. Problem was, it was such an incredibly gorgeous day - sunny but not too hot - that it seemed a terrible shame to spend the morning indoors. Soren seemed to agree, if his 3 escape attempts within the first 10 minutes of our time at the library were any indication. Fortunately, so did A's mom, so we said our goodbyes to the rest of the group and headed down the road to the park.

It was a park we hadn't yet been to (the Johnson clan, I mean; A and his mom have gone there quite a lot), and Soren had a fine old time exploring and checking everything out. He played really nicely for a while, and I became relaxed, even though the playground wasn't fenced. Complacent, you might say. I think you might have an idea of what is coming next...

Soren and A were playing on one of the structures. They were behind a panel, so I couldn't see Soren, though I could see A, who was right at the edge of the panel and thus only partially obscured. After some time, A climbed down, but Soren didn't follow. I peeked around the panel to see what he was up to, but he had disappeared. Somehow he'd managed to climb down the back side of the structure without my seeing him. A very quick glance around revealed the boy very calmly walking across the grass toward a large mud puddle of (from that distance) indeterminate depth.There was no possible way I could get to him before he reached said puddle. Cue moment of mild panic as Soren then stumbled and proceeded to fall down right in the muddy water. Fortunately, it was not at all deep, but both of his shoes were sucked off in the muck and he was filthy all up his backside. All things considered, it could have been a lot worse, but man was that scary for a few seconds.

As luck would have it, I was well prepared with a full change of clothes for him in the car (well, no change of shoes, but I had brought the stroller, so he didn't have to walk barefoot across the hot parking lot once we got back home). Way to go, me!

After lunch, we were out again to run some errands. Napless again today, Soren finally lost the battle with sleep about three minutes from our first destination. There was no keeping him awake. I even reached behind me at a stop light and jiggled his foot. No response. Eleri started squalling as soon as we parked the car. Nothing. Out like trout. When I unbuckled him to get him into the shopping cart, he kind of came awake like someone who's trying to pretend he wasn't sleeping. ("Ellie's awake?" he asked.) It was pretty funny, actually. And then he was all happy in the store, and for the rest of the afternoon, for that matter. Power nap, indeed.

After our first errand, we had to pick up a few things from Harris Teeter. (West coast folks - Harris Teeter is a grocery store.) I mention the store specifically because Harris Teeter frequently (usually?) has a few spaces in its lot reserved for people with infants, which is pretty nice, especially on an afternoon like this one, when the parking lot is kind of full. What is annoying about this particular Harris Teeter is that the reserved spaces are not especially convenient to the little cart return corrals. The last thing you want to do when you've just wrestled a loudly-protesting baby into his or her car seat is then walk well away from your car to return your damned cart. Usually, I end up parking my cart right at the intersection of 4 spaces, so as to keep from taking up any real estate in any one space (if the cart can fit easily between 4 cars, it shouldn't cause any problems for someone trying to park in my space after I've left).

Today, I considered myself very lucky that someone else had had the same idea. There was a cart waiting there, just for me, when I arrived. Convenient! It was even one of the "fun" carts, intended I guess for older kids. Looks kind of like this only the 2 seats are front-facing, rather than inward-facing, and they have 2 little steering wheels for the kids to play with. Anyway. I did my shopping, Soren pleased as punch to be riding in the cool cart, Eleri passed out in the front pack. I got back to the car, got everyone settled, put the groceries in the trunk, and returned the cart to the 4-space intersection where I'd found it. All of this is a very long and not very exciting lead-up to what happened next, which is admittedly probably also not all that interesting. But here goes.

I got back in our car and started the ignition. An older lady in the space next to me got out of her car, started walking toward the store, then came back gesturing at me. I rolled down my window to see what she wanted.

"Are those wheels locked?"
"On the cart, you mean? No, the cart doesn't have locking wheels."
"Well, I'm afraid it's going to roll and damage my car."

It is worth mentioning at this point that her car, an older Mitsubishi, had a big dent in the front fender and a bunch of scratches across the side and rear. I mean, okay, she has a right to care about not inflicting further injury to her vehicle, but it's not as though it was a super expensive car in pristine condition. It is also worth mentioning that the cart was on flat ground and about 18 inches from her car. Even if it did start to roll, there is no way it was going to pick up enough speed to so much as scratch the paint, let alone "damage" the car.

She proceeded to give me some guilt trip about "well they have those cart return things for a reason" and "people don't like it when you leave carts out where they might damage cars." I explained that I had two small children in my car ("People also don't like it when mothers leave their very young kids unattended in a running car.") and that I was sure the cart wasn't going anywhere. Nonetheless, she would not let up until I got out of my car and ran the friggin thing over to the cart corral. Never mind that she was going in the damned store herself and could have simply taken the cart with her! I know it was a little longer than a normal cart, but it's not as though it weighed a bunch more or was significantly harder to push. Ugh.

This incident left me kind of conflicted though, because I do try to make a point of being considerate. I do get irritated when other people leave carts in parking spaces, but only if they're blocking the way or preventing the space from being used. And I have some sympathy for other parents with young'uns to tend to; I'm far more likely to be annoyed if it seems like someone is not returning their cart out of sheer laziness. So I don't know. I don't think I was being an asshole by leaving the cart where I did, but maybe I was. I suppose a fluke gust of wind could have come up after I left, blowing the cart from its unobtrusive position into the middle of a space. I just don't know.

And then a few minutes later I was the old lady, giving a young man in a car behind us at a stop light the stink eye because his bass was up so loud it was rattling the windows of our car. ("Car"ma, you think?)

In an attempt to end on a positive note, I will say that just about the cutest thing ever is hearing Soren ask his sister, "How doin', Ellie-Ellie?" when he plops down on the floor next to her chair. Gah! So cute!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm dorky like that

Tom: Apparently, there's a South American fish called the Hairlip Brotula.
Me: I don't think I'd like to eat any Hairlip Brotulasagne.


Fortunately, it's not all sleep battles and toddler tantrums

Day 14

Day 104

Soren's gotten to be kind of fun to have in the car. He'll frequently point out other vehicles that we pass ("Bus! Car! Fallah chuck*!"), and we work on recognizing the colors of said vehicles. Yesterday we were passing a construction site, and he said, "Bulldozer!" Hehe. It's awfully cute. He also gets excited when his They Might Be Giants CD is playing and his favorite songs come on ("Diggin! Diggin, yeah!").

*Fire truck

It was rainy today, but we did our usual mall walking and then ran several errands. Tom remarked, later, that he was pleased with how nice and rainy the weather was. My retort: "Yeah, sure. Nice, unless you're out in it, wrestling children into pouches and shopping carts." To be fair, though, it wasn't all that bad, and I'd much rather have the occasional day of rain than endless heat. And it's making everything so lovely and green out right now. Honestly, the beautiful green vegetation everywhere just makes me smile.

While we were out erranding, I had Eleri facing forward in the pouch (and thus facing Soren, in the cart) when she was awake. A few times, he must have said or done something funny because she would let out a tiny little chuckle at seemingly random moments. And frequently, Soren would reach for her to give her hugs and kisses, which she happily accepted. He really is great with her, which is so nice to see. This morning they were both in her crib, and he was giving her hugs, and she was smiling so hugely I thought her cheeks were going to rise all the way up to her forehead.

This evening, Tom & Soren were reading Soren's Dora the Explorer book. By some miracle I was able to record some of the cuteness undetected, so I'll endeavor to get it posted sometime soon here to share with you. (I actually have quite a large backlog of unposted video again. I'll work on rectifying that situation soon.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Or is it Magnum?

Day 13

Day 103

This morning the playgroup met up at the River Farm Children's Garden again. Soren was pretty good about staying where he was supposed to and seemed to enjoy himself, running around with his friends. He was very huggy today, giving hugs to several kids he'd only just met (in addition to A, his usual hug-attack victim). Eleri slept for about the first hour we were there but then was awake for the second hour, looking all around. I regret not taking the time to photograph the beautiful orange tulips (not my photo) that were blooming, but they were right by the entrance/exit of the garden, and I didn't want to enable any escape attempts.

On the way home, we stopped at the library to return some books and check out a few new ones. Soren was reasonably well behaved, though as we were trying to leave he managed to shut off the power to the self-check-out machines. Yippee.

Apropos of nothing, here are some of the nicknames I have for Eleri:

- Ellie Bear / Ellie Bug
- Eleroonle / Eleroodle
- (the Soren-inspired) Tiny Girlo
- Eleri Belleri
- Welleri
- Smelleri / Yelleri (these are occasion-specific)
- Sweet Cheeks

Monday, April 19, 2010

Different Hey-Hey?

Day 12

Day 102

Today I introduced Soren to the concept of cover songs. One of his current favorite videos to watch is the Pomplamoose cover of Mrs. Robinson (a.k.a. in Sorenese, Hey-Hey). This afternoon he was asking to watch it, but I was in the middle of something and didn't want to open up YouTube on the iPod, so I played the original Simon & Garfunkel version of Mrs. Robinson instead. (Just the audio, which didn't require me to stop what I was doing.) At first he protested, kept asking for Hey-Hey and started getting mad that I wasn't letting him listen to the song he wanted. Then the guitar intro ended and the lyrics started up and it dawned on him that this was, indeed, Hey-Hey, but somehow...different. I could see the wheels turning in his little brain, see that he recognized the song but also recognized that the dulcet tones of Paul Simon were not exactly the same as those of Nataly Dawn. Most peculiar! So this version became quickly referred to as Different Hey-Hey. And then I perplexed him further by playing Another Different Hey-Hey (the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes cover). Again, he got agitated at the beginning of the song and then settled with the first familiar verse, looking a little amazed. It was pretty fun. :)

I took a picture of Eleri this evening, wearing one of my favorites of Soren's old pjs. I dug through Flickr to find a shot of Soren in the same outfit and was again surprised and amused by the accidental symmetry of the two images.



Day 10

Day 100

Man, this weekend went by fast. Tom was gone for most of the day on Saturday. (Boo.) The car has long been overdue for a tune-up, so we finally got it scheduled for this weekend, and it was a nearly-all-day affair. So that was a bummer. A necessary chore, though. Hopefully now we won't have to jump start the darned thing every time we sit with the dome light on for ten minutes.


Day 11

Day 101

Sunday Tom had soccer practice in the afternoon. He took the metro over to the park, but then we went to pick him up after practice. There was a nice little playground right near the field, so we went a little early so Soren could run around and play on the slides before it was time to head home.

Very little else to report on the weekend, so enjoy these pictures of the cutest kids ever. ;)

Friday, April 16, 2010

F is for Friday

Day 9

Day 99

Several of the kids in the playgroup have been taking classes at the local rec center. Their parents spoke positively about the classes, and it sounded like the sort of thing Soren might enjoy, so I signed him up. Originally, I enrolled him in a Saturday class so he and Tom could have some guy bonding time on the weekends, but that class turned out to be underbooked, so they canceled it. Lame! I was able to get him in a different class on Fridays, though, so we went to the first one today.

It was pretty cool. The class is "ABCs and 123s" and incorporates little art crafts and songs and stories in learning about letter sounds and counting. It's geared toward 2-4 year olds, so he's on the lower end of the age group, but that's not such a bad thing. He definitely doesn't have the attention span of the older kids, though. The teacher is pretty good about moving things along from one activity to the next in fairly short order; I think we had 2 stories, 2 art projects and 2 music activities, all in about 40 minutes. Still, Soren was less interested in coloring his elephant picture and more interested in drinking the water intended for the watercolors and trying to escape out the emergency exit. He also splashed a bunch of water out of the handwashing tub and tried to steal a little girl's Dora & Boots backpack. Sigh. He did like playing with the egg shakers and was very good about following directions with that activity ("Shake high! Now shake low! Now tap the egg on your toe! Now tap your knee!"). He mostly sat through the first story, though he more or less ran around during the second one. Anyway. I'm hopeful he'll get more into the class as time goes on. He was definitely happy to wear his little construction paper flower crown all around after class was over. He got many compliments on it when we went to Trader Joe's on our way home.

(Can you guess what today's letters were? Elephant picture, egg shakers, flower crown...)

Today was another no-nap, easy-to-bed day. We'll see how well he sleeps tonight, though. Have a good weekend!

Edited to add: Yeesh, again with the forgetting about the Friday video. (I don't know if anyone even watches these or cares, actually.) But here's a classic They Might Be Giants song Soren likes a lot. (He calls it "Sanna Bowl.")

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Whoo! Caught up!

Day 8

Day 98

Playgroup at the park! It was a gorgeous morning, weather-wise. Ever so slightly brisk when we left the house around 9:30, and then it warmed up considerably, but stopped before it actually got unpleasant. There's something about a slightly cool morning that reminds me of summer camp. Even though it was summertime, it was usually quite chilly in the mornings as we stumbled down the hill to feed our horses before breakfast (or, in later years, bribed younger campers to feed our horses for us). Anyhow, it was nice that it was warm enough this morning to play outside, but not so warm that I felt bad about putting Eleri in a long sleeved shirt and pants to protect her from the sun.

Soren ran and played and discovered dandelions for the first time. I showed him how to blow away the seed pods, which he thought was pretty great. He also tried to eat one. Less great, that. ;) It was a park we'd only been to once before, when Soren was about 16 months old. I was struck by how much less scary the bigger play structures seemed this time, now that he's bigger and has better balance. I still think the gaps they have on either side of the stairs, even on the smaller structure, are unnecessarily hazardous, but I was a lot less worried about him accidentally falling to his doom this time. Eleri returned to her usual morning nap schedule and slept in the pouch the whole time, waking up to eat right before we were ready to leave.

After lunch, we attempted some quiet time in Soren's room, but he was just too crazy, running around and playing with noisy toys...noisily. Plus he kept wanting to pounce on Eleri, who had only just fallen asleep in her chair. So I gave in to temptation and held him still on the mattress next to me. Lo and behold, he went from manic to unconscious in about five minutes flat, and then proceeded to sleep for two hours. Eleri even woke up before he did. After he'd been out for about 90 minutes, I opened up the curtains again and started moving around at "regular volume" (as opposed to "ohmigod don't wake the kids volume"), even putting the Eleri pouch in the dryer where it clunked and clanked. Soren slept through all of that for half an hour, and then I went in to try and wake him up gently, as it was nearing 5pm. He sat up, looked at me, turned away and laid back down! This was some unusual sleep persistence. I left him alone again, and he woke up on his own all calm and happy about five minutes later. Most unusual, and most welcome.

Little did I know this would come back to bite us at bedtime. Two. And a half. Hours. It took, to get him to sleep. Ugh. Not a horrible amount of screaming, thank goodness, but the flopping, my god, the flopping! I could really do without all of that.

Disapproving baby is judging you

Day 7

Day 97

When we walk at the mall on Wednesdays, most of the time we have been walking next to S and her mom (with whom we played at the park a couple of weeks back). S is a little less than six months older than Soren - I incorrectly identified her as "nearly 3" before - and she articulates her thoughts a lot more clearly than he does. I'm really kind of amazed by the difference six months makes, though I shouldn't be. I am fully aware of how much Soren has advanced, not just in terms of communication but in overall development, since October. It's kind of exciting to think about where he'll be half a year hence.

Anyway. This week, Eleri stayed awake for at least the first two thirds, maybe even three quarters, of our mall walk time. This was highly unusual, since it usually falls smack in the middle of her morning naptime. But she was quite happy to be facing forward in the pack, looking all around. In the stroller beside us, S had a pair of sunglasses with her, and she was showing them to Soren. The two of them passed the sunglasses back & forth several times, taking turns wearing them (Soren opting to wear them upside down more often than not). This kept them both occupied and entertained for a nice long while, which was great, since even I will admit that being wheeled around the mall, lap after lap, past mostly vacant stores has got to be pretty boring. At one point, I noticed that Eleri had stopped kicking and wiggling around as much, so I asked S's mom if she'd fallen asleep. She said, "No, she's awake, but she looks like she's scowling. Her eyebrows are all furrowed." I speculated that she did not approve of the flirting going on between her brother and the "older woman." Hehe.

Not long after, she did start to fall asleep for real, so I flipped her back around to face me, and she slept the rest of the time. We went to the store on our way home, and she was awake again for that. She slept for the few minutes we were in the car between the store and home, and then she was awake again. This is a baby who normally knocks out for a good 2 1/2 or 3 hours in the morning, mind you. So by this point she was starting to get quite crabby. I got her settled finally, just after Soren had finished his lunch, but before I could take her back to her crib, I needed to change Soren's diaper. And then he ran out and woke her up again! It was finally around 2:30 or 3:00 that I got her asleep and in her own bed, and then she slept until right before Tom got home from work. Heh. Atta girl! Maybe she could teach Soren a thing or two.

It was another no-nap day for the lad, though instead of overtiredness leading to a bedtime meltdown, he actually went to sleep fairly easily and slept pretty well. It's a crap shoot with him! Or a box of chocolates. You never know, yada yada yada.

J'aime beaucoup les papillions

Day 6

Day 96

Continuing our recent trend of less-than-stellar pictures, here are a couple taken with my cell phone for Tuesday. But at least I have some mildly amusing tales of the day to relate!

Tuesday morning there was a playgroup outing to the live butterfly exhibit at the Smithsonian. We arranged to meet A and his mom at the metro station and ride in to the city with them. In an annoying twist, I was actually all organized and would have made it out the door on time for once, had Leo not bolted his breakfast and then regurgitated it on both the kitchen and living room floors, just as we were about to leave. I suppose being truly organized requires me to be prepared for such eventualities and actually ready to leave the house early instead of just on time. Oh well.

At any rate, we weren't hideously late, and A and his mom kindly waited for us so we could all ride in together. I'm glad we didn't try to just find them at the museum. On Tuesdays, admission to the butterfly exhibit is free (usually $5 a person), so it was pretty crowded with field trip groups. We never did end up connecting with the rest of the playgroup; saw a couple of moms & kids in passing, but they were way ahead of us in line and therefore ready to leave long before we were. Anyway, the boys had fun looking at the butterflies, though Soren was perhaps even more impressed with the water misters that were spraying periodically. Each time they started and stopped, he announced, "Water!" and "Water all done!" Hehe. Eleri was actually awake the whole time we were in the exhibit, looking all around with big eyes. There was really an impressive assortment of butterflies and moths there, even a couple with wings as big as my hands.

It was a fairly short excursion. Once we were done with the butterflies, we went to meet Tom for lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen, which was nice. Soren was very surprised to see him.

Home again, we took it easy, though Soren had no nap. He was overtired at bedtime as a result, which led to another huge fit. Nor did he sleep especially well once he did finally settle down and pass out. Sigh. I'll quit dwelling on this at some point and just accept that things are difficult and will almost certainly remain difficult for a while. This is not to say that I'll quit trying different things to make it easier for all of us, but I'll quit bothering the rest of you about it. ;)

Edited to add: I almost forgot! Tuesday night, Eleri giggled for the first time. Tom was fake sneezing at her, and she was just tickled. I wish I'd had the camera handy, but I have no doubt these were only the first chuckles of many.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Monday musings

Day 5

Day 95

Monday I actually got a nap out of the lad. Sure, it took laying down with him, but once he and Eleri both passed out, the three of us had a nice long (and much-needed) snooze. Afterward, we went outside to burn off some energy before dinner. Naturally, Eleri decided she was starving the moment we got out to the playground, so I sat down on a bench to feed her, at which point Soren decided it was time to go home. Fun! If you've never chased a speeding toddler across a field while carrying a screaming baby (very offended from being interrupted in her snacking)'re not missing much, I assure you.

Anyway. Once I coaxed him back out to the playground, he scamped around quite happily until it was time to go in and get dinner started. It's as if he forgets sometimes that he enjoys playing.

Bedtime was especially brutal. Around 7:00, Soren started rubbing his eyes, saying, "Sleep? Sleep?" So Tom went ahead and started the evening routine with him, extra early. This led to an hour plus of thrashing and screaming as Soren refused to fall asleep. Sigh. Eventually we brought him out to the living room for some quiet time with Eleri, got him calmed down from his fits, and then tried again. It went a lot better the second time, but man. This is really getting old.

The Sleep Battle Continues


Day 3

Day 93

Not really my finest efforts, photography-wise, for Saturday. It was kind of a long, napless day, culminating in a lovely dinner at A's house. After being awake for about 14 1/2 hours, Soren of course fell asleep in the car on the way home. Astoundingly, he slept pretty poorly and was in our bed by (I think) 1am or so. Honestly, if he can go all day without a nap, go to bed at basically his normal time, and not just lapse into unconsciousness until the morning, then I don't know what to do about him.

I snapped a couple of very quick photos with the point-and-shoot after we got home, failing utterly to check and make sure they were in focus. Ah well. Can't expect photographic perfection every time. ;)


Day 4

Day 94

Sunday we did some family erranding but mostly kind of lazed around. I think I napped for 90 minutes on the couch, completely wiped. Soren, by some miracle, made it through the whole day again without a nap. And then promptly passed out in his high chair mid-dinner. And Eleri's hair looked like a dorsal fin.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I forgot to include a Friday video in the last post. Here's what Soren calls "Rainbow."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In Soviet Russia (and apparently Toddlertown), naps take you...

Day 2

Day 92

Friday morning, Soren figured out how to open the front door of our apartment. I'm glad I was in the room when he made this discovery! After chasing him back in from the hall twice in quick succession, I resorted to using one of the childproof doorknob thingies to foil any further escape attempts. Because really, that's just what I need; come back to the living room after changing Eleri to find Soren's escaped, run down to the elevators and ended up on who-knows-which floor.

At Soren's checkup on Thursday, I asked the doctor for some advice about the sleep problems we've been having. Most of what he suggested, we're already doing or have tried, but he did have a couple of recommendations for other things to attempt. The first was to try playing soothing music not just when Soren's falling asleep (which we do) but to keep it playing all night for some consistent background noise. The other recommendation was less appealing to me, but I guess I'm willing to give it a try - he said maybe Soren doesn't need to have an afternoon nap anymore, and that maybe we should try skipping it. Blagh. For one thing, all the advice from "baby sleep experts" seems to indicate that sleep begets sleep; kids who get good naps during the day tend to sleep more at night. For another...even if Soren doesn't need his nap anymore, I've really come to count on having that quiet break in the afternoon! But I do have to admit, if he's got so much energy that it's taking more than an hour just to settle him enough to fall asleep, and his naps are consequently getting pushed later and later in the day, maybe he really would go to sleep earlier at night if he doesn't get that nap. Sigh.

So on Friday I decided to give it a try. We ran some errands after lunch, which is when I would normally have tried to put him down for his nap. We went to Target, and for the first time I had Eleri facing forward in the front pack at the store, so she was facing Soren, who was in the cart. It was pretty cute to watch them interact.

And then, 2 blocks from home, Soren fell asleep in the car. At 3pm. Heh. I guess at least I avoided the fight we would have had if I'd tried to get him to sleep at home. ;) And he didn't sleep very long (just about half an hour), so he ended up falling asleep pretty easily at bedtime and then sleeping all night in his own bed. Not bad! Maybe there's something to this "less sleep during the day" thing after all. We'll try it for a little while, see how it goes.

Three months old!

Year 3, Day 1

Day 91

Thursday morning I declared us all well enough to return to playgroup. It was the first time Eleri stayed awake the whole time we were there, smiling and cooing for the most part. She got upset a couple of times, hungry and then tired, but overall she seemed reasonably entertained by all the goings on.

Home again and lunched, it was time for another nap battle before Soren's 2 year doctor visit. He ended up only falling asleep about 45 minutes before we had to leave, but it seemed to be enough sleep for him. At the doc's, he weighed in at 28 lbs, 9 oz (he seems so much heavier!) and measured 35.5" tall, putting him right around the middle of the distribution for his age. He was very curious about the doctor's otoscope and stethoscope, and even though he got a little bored and restless while we were waiting, he was very well behaved on the whole. He only needed one shot, and he didn't make a peep when he got it! (I guess all the constant bumps and bruises from running around like a maniac are toughening him up. Hehe.)

In the evening we got a fairly intense rainstorm. Tom took Soren out in it for a few minutes, and the lad was pretty tickled.

I'm not sure what else to say about our little 3 month old except that she's big and smiley and sweet. But there's not much new about that. ;)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Two Years Old!

Day 365

Day 90

He's a birthday boy! Two years old, I can hardly believe it. He's a talking, running, jumping, laughing, mischief-making, singing, hugging, playing little person. Some days are trying, as he pushes for new levels of independence. But he also amazes me daily with new words and abilities, melts my heart with the hilarious and cute things he says and does. Eleri could hardly adore him more, and when she's asleep he can hardly wait for her to wake up so he can play with her again.

The birthday festivities were all kind of compressed into the evening hours, after Tom got home from work. I did, however, let him eat a special birthday lunch treat of...french fries. Which he ate with nearly as much gusto as with the grape tomatoes I also gave him. ;) I made pizza for dinner, which Soren also happily ate. (Have I mentioned how much I love that he's been such a better eater lately?) For his birthday dessert, I made tiny brownies. He was very impressed with those; with his mouth still full with the first one, he asked, "Another birthday brownie please?" (Which sounded something like, "Ahhahh buddy bowie peese.")

Then it was time for presents. He finally figured out the whole "rip & tear" concept this past Christmas, so he really enjoyed opening everything. He got quite a haul from friends and extended family (thanks, everyone!), and for our part, Tom & I got him 2 pretty fun little things. The push toy pictured above is Soren's new "vacuum," as he's recently become very interested in our actual vacuum cleaner. I worried this toy might be a little young for him, but he loves it. The other thing we got him is a tricycle. (There will be a picture in Friday's post, or you can check it out on Flickr.) Man oh man, was this ever a winner of a gift. We took him out for a quick test ride on his birthday, and he was super jazzed. It's incredibly cute.

Anyway, happy birthday little man! I'm sure glad we had you.