Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's Easy as A-B-C

Daniel mastered his upper case letters earlier this year, and is still working on his lower case letters (almost there!)

But over the past month, a new phenomenon has captured his attention: Spelling! He loves to create words (or "build a word" as they say on Word World, his new favorite show...) and uses his favorite wooden alphabet puzzle constantly.

His repertoire includes CAT, COW, PIG, BOY, HI, UP, BALL, MEN, and STAR. He's close on "AVA" but still shaky on "DANIEL".

Frequently we'll find Daniel in his room, surrounded by one very long line of all of his letters and other miscellaneous puzzle pieces - I can't even explain how encouraging it is to see how much he loves just playing with words and letters. Sometimes it's productive play (spelling, etc), and sometimes it's just fun with letters.

He adores the show "Word World" and constantly wants to "build a word". After watching an episode involving the duck character, he ran to his room to "build the word duck". We created the word, and I thought it would be fun to add a little something extra. So I added the word "My" above the duck...

Me: "Look Daniel! It says 'my duck' - it's your duck!"
Daniel: "No Mommy - it's MY duck."
Me: "Right - that says 'my'..."
Daniel: "No Mommy - it's not your duck, it's my duck."
Me: "Honey, it is your duck..."
Daniel: "That say 'your'?"
Me: "No, it says 'my'. Nevermind. Give me those back... we'll spell 'cat' instead."

Open Invitation

Daniel needs a sibling - pronto!

He delights in playmates, preferring company to solitude. He asks for his friends and teachers by name before and after school. And it is virtually impossible to do housework while at home with him - those big brown eyes imploring you to "Come on, Mommy! Come play in my room!" What dishes?!

We play blocks (making straight lines, towers or walls), dominoes (making stair and house formations), drawing games (usually him telling me what characters and animals to draw), happy birthday games (us putting things on our heads like a candle on a "happy birthday cake" and singing to each other, alphabet games (drawing letters, flashcards, practicing sounds, singing ABCs), and about 12 variations of hide & seek and chase. He still loves to be scared!

If we are unavailable to play for some reason, Daniel resorts to the cats. Yesterday I actually caught him trying to put a hand puppet on a sleeping Mittens. He lays on his stomach to face Max, and rolls cat toys towards him gently... or not so gently. Occasionally, he shoves books in their face to get them to read, and frequently invites them to come play in his room or in his tent.

Today on the way to school, Daniel looked up at the sun and said, "Sun, do you want to go to school too? Come here, sun! Come with me." (And he proceeded to reach towards it, clucking softly and rubbing his fingers together as if he were calling the cats.) Holy precious.

Adding another child will definitely be a challenge in a lot of ways - I know the adjustment will not be minor. But the benefit of having a "live in" peer and playmate will far outweigh the initial challenges. (And the cats will finally be able to nap in peace!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tis the Season

Christmas came early this year. At least, the tree did.

On a recent day off we decided to get a jump on the season and put our family tree up - and I'm so glad we did. The amount of warmth and comfort it brings to our home is unbelievable. Daniel loves it (and in particular the large orange beaded bird clip ornament). He likes to wake up early and lay with us on the couch to gaze at the lit tree in silence.

He has taken a new chore upon himself - turning the tree on each day when we come home and turning it off as we leave the house. The button is behind the tree, so Daniel lays on his stomach and army crawls his way in. I don't think I'll ever forget the sight of his little backside and legs coming out from under that thing!

We have started watching Christmas movies (Elf: perfect. Rudolph: more violent than I remembered) and singing Christmas songs (Jingle Bells: fun. Rudolph: Daniel's favorite). He loves pointing out "Santa Craus" everywhere we go, along with snowmen, rudolph, and his favorite: Christmas trees.

Christmas has always been special in my family - literally the most wonderful time of the year. The anticipation is always the best part, and this year we carved out a few extra weeks to get good and excited!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Batman, Prego & the Mexican Revolutionary

Another Halloween has come and gone, if you couldn't already tell by that title.

Daniel donned an adorable Batman costume, mistaking his black arm cuffs for fish hand puppets and singing "swimming in the water" for the first 20 minutes of being Batman. Every photo of him involves a sucker - that's just what it took to get him camera happy - and I make no apologies for my blatant bribery.

While Daniel and I were outside playing and taking photos, Fernando appeared in the doorway in HIS superhero costume - a grown man version of Superman, complete with the cape, belt and tights. It was definitely one of the most memorable moments of the year, and my two superheroes proceeded to race around the backyard faster than speeding bullets. Or at least as fast as their constricting spandex and floppy shoe covers would let them.

After the church tailgate party, we hosted yet another "Amaro Family Halloween" at our house, and Daniel's Mema (Tinkerbell), Papa (Peter Pan with hints of Robin Hood) and TK came over to celebrate with food, candy and more food. Fernando changed into his REAL costume... a (really realistic) Mexican revolutionary. Complete with fake mostache. Which looked must better than I expected.

And I stuffed a pillow into a big shirt and became a metaphor for our sweet baby girl we're hoping to bring home soon. But the costume was too impressive - I posted a photo and got quite a few emails telling me how beautiful I look pregnant!

Happy Halloween... maybe by next year Daniel will grow into the Harry Potter costume we got him last year!