Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Little Things

It's the little things that add up (all too quickly) and amount to the passing of a LOT of time.

It is entirely unfair how little control I have over how fast it all goes. In some desperate way, this blog has become my attempt to stop time and preserve the memories I imagine myself reading compulsively once Daniel has grown up and moved out. Come to think of it, that's why I obsess over photography the way I do.

But I digress. Back to "the little things" we're enjoying these days...

Big Brother. For the most part, Daniel ignores the little black baby dolls family and friends have gotten him to prepare him for his little sister. But last week, he emerged from the nursery carrying one in his arms tenderly. He held her like a prized possession, rocking her gently, and whispering "Shh, shh... I got you. It's ok... I got you." About 30 seconds later he chunked her across the room, but I'm choosing to dwell on the beautiful brother/sister moment they shared a moment earlier.

Future Artist. Two days ago, Fernando called me from home to warn me that Daniel had had an accident. I immediately feared the worst (images of broken bones and poop stains on the carpet flashed before my eyes). Apparently Daniel went to the kitchen, opened a drawer and extracted the biggest black sharpie we own. He then proceeded to color his arms, his feet, his legs, the insides of both nostrils, a Hitler-esque moustache AND giant sweeping black circles on the arm of our white couch. I'm not sure what we were more concerned with: the amount of sharpie fumes he inhaled while decorating his nostrils or the fact that we will have to permanently keep an orange throw over the right couch arm forever. I'm just surprised it took him 2.5 years to encounter a sharpie.

Chatterbox. His vocabulary is just amazing for his age. We continue to get comments everywhere we go as random people hear him chattering away about everything and the kitchen sink. My favorite thing lately has been his preference for the word "big" over "little" or "baby". While we're eating, he'll point to my food and say, "Mommy take a baby bite but Daniel takes a BIG bite!" Or if we offer a little of something ("Do you want a little snack?") he will ask for more ("No little snack... I want BIG snack!")

I love how he says "lotta lotta" when he wants a lot of something. I will be pouring a cup of milk (which, by the way, he now pronounces "meelk") and he will say, "Mommy I want a lotta lotta meelk please!"

Explorer. Every night, either Fernando or I will lay with Daniel for a little while after the lights are turned off. Sometimes we fall asleep there, other times, we just stay long enough for Daniel to wind down and get nice and sleepy. The other night Fernando was laying with a very fidgety Daniel who kept touching Fernando's face in the dark, feeling each of his features. When he got to his nose, he suddenly stuck his finger really far into Fernando's nostril and declared loudly, "Daddy, you got boogars!" Painful, yes. Priceless, definitely.

Bible Scholar. He is in preschool most days of the week, and for the most part, I think it's been great for him. He's amazing with his peers, does not display separation anxiety, excels in academic areas, and looks forward to the day's activities. His favorite day is Wednesday because of the chapel service he gets to attend. On the way to school each Wednesday, he practically chants from the backseat: "You ready to have fun? I ready to have fun!" He loves the puppets that are used (Milo the Snail especially), the songs and the memory verses. He can recite, "God made me, Psalm 139:14". Except he says Psalm 149:16. No worries.

He is Perfect. Brilliant. Sweet. Strong. Hilarious. Silly. Smart. Tender.

Best of all... he's mine.

Bottomless Pit

Daniel continues to be a fan of eating. He has at least one hollow leg, and regularly out-eats me at many a meal.

Sometime this month, we passed into the era of the apple, too (goodbye, bananas!). He will carry his little seat around to the kitchen counter, climb up so he can find the fruit bowl, and help himself to an apple (which ends up getting carted all over the house for the following hour). He will eat fruit to it's tiniest core - leaving seeds and a stem, basically.

And no matter how much he eats, he just gets skinnier. (Too bad that trend stops before adulthood - I wouldn't mind having that problem!) He's suddenly taller and lankier than ever and has even begun experiencing growing pains. The other night we noticed him tossing and turning restlessly, whimpering and crying in a state of half-sleep. He kept pointing to his legs, asking me to "fix it". After a little baby tylenol, he fell back into a deep sleep.

Daniel's interest in eating has led to an even greater curiosity about what happens in the kitchen. He loves helping me cook, and prides himself in being a part of the process. He relishes the textures and smells, particularly cracking eggs and washing strawberries.

Yesterday, we took him to the movies to see "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs", thinking he'd love seeing all that crazy big food falling from the sky. He did, but even a cartoon about food got a little intense at times, so we took turns taking him outside. Daniel shushed us a few times when we were talking in the theatre... and even scolded me for running. He apparently has a promising future as a movie theatre employee!

Our schedule has become a series of small meals, as three simply aren't enough for the ravenous beast.

After a day at preschool: "Hi Mommy!! I hungry!"
First thing after a nap: "I have a good nap! I hungry!"
On the way home from a restaurant: "Daddy... I hungry!"

I didn't realize the "eat you out of house and home" stage started this early!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Our New Room: The Backyard

How we survived four years in our home without a backyard is a mystery to me... but thankfully, those four years have come to an end!

We now have a beautiful Arizona backyard - complete with fake grass! (This is Phoenix, after all). We have an extended patio, 4 trees, 20 plants, a section for a small vegetable garden, 1 inch deep decorative rock, a bunch of boulders and a huge section of lush green grass that will never need watering or mowing!

By February, we'll have a "splash pad" installed in one corner of the backyard, which is a more affordable (and safer) water option than a pool. A lot of public parks and malls have them here - Daniel loves them, and I love the safety aspect.

Having a backyard has been wonderful so far - it feels like an addition to the house. Daniel loves playing outside and has become an expert at somersaults in the grass.

We have water fights with the hose and sprinkler, practice throwing and catching balls, wrestle until we're out of breath and even take care of the new plants together - Daniel loves to carefully pour water on each one. He's also an expert at walking the sectional curbing like a balance beam.

As soon as we buy a grill and a table set, we plan on cooking and eating most of our dinners outside as well.

It really is the perfect way to unwind at the end of the day - barefoot out back, breathing fresh air and watching the sun set.

Hooray for backyards!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I Know What It's NOT

Today, I noticed an interesting development in Daniel's logical processes.

Yes, I'm the nerd mom who really (really) enjoys watching for patterns and trends in his language acquisition. I was amazed when tenses emerged without overt prompting, and even more amazed when plural forms (and even irregular conjugations!) appeared seemingly overnight. Just incredible.

The most recent development seems to have more to do with logic than language - but it's interesting none the less.

Today after preschool, Daniel was given a "dum-dum" sucker. (The director of his preschool, like all accomplished childcare workers, knows the way to kids' hearts - she keeps a candy jar in her office). Daniel ripped the wrapper off and declared loudly, "Mommy - look! I have a blue candy!"

Then, without anyone asking, he began to list all the colors the candy was not: "It's not a red candy. It's not a lellow candy. It's not a green candy. It's not a oh-jun (orange) candy. It's not a pink candy. It's a BLUE candy."

Which reminded me that a few days ago, he resisted me trying to give a new name to his stuffed animal - a yellow version of his favorite green turtle, Diego.

Me: "Daniel, here is your new turtle! Her name can be Cali or Sandy! Which do you like?"
Daniel: "No, Mommy. This Diego. This Lellow Diego. Her not Cali. Her not Sandy. This Diego." And throughout the following days, he referred to the toy as "Diego, not Sandy, not Cali".

Last week, when we introduced an evening vitamin, he refused to call it a vitamin. "This candy. This not vitamin." Tonight, I handed him the vitamin without saying anything and he declared, "This not vitamin! This candy!"

It's interesting, is all.

The Tiny Turd

Well, he finally did it. He happily pooped in the potty on his own accord.

This may seem silly, and even petty. And the me of a few years back, the pre-child me, probably would have scoffed at reading a blog posting like this. "Who would possibly waste oxygen and energy talking about her child's excretions?! Pathetic!"

But the me of now, the me-mom-of-a-2-year-old-boy was thrilled nearly to tears (I kid you not) to see that tiniest of turds floating in the toilet.

And I am only slightly ashamed to admit the method: Blatant Bribery.

Daniel has been successfully going #1 for a while now in the potty... when he doesn't wear a diaper. (He is smart enough to know he can use a diaper. He is just lazy. Your kid might be ready to use a potty when they're smart enough to say, "Mommy, I go poopie. Can I have a new diaper please?")

But #2 has been a struggle. He has been afraid of it - and will "hold it all in" in order not to have to try.

Tonight, we introduced "potty snacks" and within three tries, Daniel had successfully (with a HUGE grin on his face) pooped in the potty.

That kid would move mountains for a snack. Tiny. Brown. Mountains.

Update: He is officially potty-trained, just one week later! He loves his spiderman and "lightming nacqueen" undies, and does well at home and at school. Diapers are only for sleeping now. And I had never noticed what a tiny butt he has until there wasn't a diaper filling out his pants!