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Journal Key:

Green = Steve | George = navy | Janet = Purple | Evelyn = Black

4/7/11 (Thursday)

Cara is six! It's mind-boggling. She had a very happy day, coming home with two birthday crowns and reporting that everyone at kindergarten liked the popcorn and everyone at DT liked the cookies that we sent. In Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, the kids decorated Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's chair. In Cara's journal yesterday, when she drew a picture of her birthday, she included a thoroughly decorated chair for herself. Accordingly, I got out the streamers and went to work in the kitchen. I did more with the ceiling and window than the chair, but it was effective. Steve bought her roses. She loved her presents, which included some plush furniture that will fit her Barbies or some of her soft dolls, some new beads for her peg boards, a Tangled book that she'll be able to read, and window markers. She's already tested out three of those four things--I'm sure she'll get to the book soon!

After Owen went down for the night, Cara got to blow out the candles on a batch of brownies. We got to read together from an Oz book, and then she got snuggled into bed. It was a very good birthday, with more good things to come.

4/9/11 (Saturday)

Em and I took PJ and Cara to a bowling birthday party today. She was definitely not interested when we first got the invitation a few weeks ago, but by now she was eager to get started. None of the kids were expert bowlers, and they bowled for an hour and a half without finishing the game because they took so long between bowlers and just because the balls took so long to get down the lanes! The high score was probably around sixty. Cara wants to have her eighth birthday party there.

Owen is getting much better at standing himself up. He's not comfortable grabbing things that are high up and pulling, but he's happy to stand up using lower handholds. He also ate some little pieces of apple, and he may possibly be saying "dada" in relation to Steve. Possibly. Owen and I went for a walk this afternoon; he walked as far as the house past Juliana's before he turned around. It was strange to walk him outside; I forgot there's no reason for him to know not to just wander into the street!

4/10/11 (Sunday)

Today was Cara's birthday party! It was a busy day, but it really was the least stressful party we've ever thrown. In the morning, in the midst of my cupcake decorating, Owen fell asleep on Steve's shoulder and got put down for his nap early. When he woke up, it was almost party time.

Cara was delighted to have her kindergarten friends over to her house, and they all ran all over, thundering up and down the stairs or disappearing into her room or the playroom. We really do have enough toys for an army of children.

We'd moved the dining room table downstairs to clear up space for the magic show, and we laid a blanket on the floor to define a seating area for the kids. They loved the magician. His show involves a lot of slapstick and gags, and they were hysterical. Cara, who has never volunteered to "get picked," of course got to go up as the birthday girl, and she waved the magic wand and said "shazam!" PJ volunteered and also got to hold a magic wand. The magician asked him what his middle name was. He said that it's Peter. For the rest of the show, he was Peter. I was excited because the magician did a trick that I've only before seen on Abracadabra-Doo.

The birthday girl was first to pick out her balloon animal at the end. She wanted Spider Man, probably because I've been talking for weeks about how cool the Spider Man balloon was at Vinnie's party. She ended up with a pink-torsoed Spider Girl. Next the magician made a teddy bear for Owen, who had sat and watched the whole show, being passed occasionally from one of his grandmas (Grandmom, Grandmama, GiGi, and Juliana) to another. While the balloons were being made he walked around, watching everyone and everything. He's is getting a lot more confident about walking with one hand free, and he's cruising all over the place. I got to sit with the kids for a while. One little girl kept coming up to me and doing magic tricks that involved showing me some of the clown noses, which the magician had tossed to all of the kids, and then dropping them behind her and showing me her empty hands. Two little boys sat together in the glider, rocking and watching the balloons.

While the magician was working on a peace sign for a little girl, the kids were very skeptical about what he was doing and did not believe that he was making the right thing. Of course, the only reason he was making a peace sign was that she had one on her shirt. "You haven't seen the piece de resistance," he told them. "It doesn't look like a pizza," a child remarked. Eventually they had to admit that he really had made a peace sign.

Everyone sang Happy Birthday and had Star Wars cupcakes, and then the kids ran wild for a little while more and eventually went home. Cara opened up some wonderful presents, and we sort of drifted through the rest of the day.

4/11/11 (Monday)

Today was the warmest day we've had in quite a while, and Evelyn found the cutest little green T-shirt to put on Owen! Well OK it was just a T-shirt but I haven't seen him in one in a long time. When I got home (a bit early), the family was outside with Juliana on the front lawn. Cara got her new bike out and eventually got up the courage to pedal on it for a while. I think the fact that it is a coordinated Barbie bike with its own Barbie-sized toy bike really helps a whole lot. Owen did a whole lot of moving around. He scooted on the grass and picked leaves apart. He played ball. He was walked around in various ways--holding both hands, holding one hand, and when he eventually wandered over to the Loefflers', Em tried holding him by just the back of his shirt (this he was very unsure about). He didn't mind walking barefoot over all the interesting surfaces. When he saw Em and PJ and Casey, he just had to waddle down the street to them. He had a few tries at yelling "Baaaaa!" to them to get their attention, but it didn't quite work.

When it was finally dinnertime, Owen got to have little pieces of pork chop, which he did in fact eat, along with some broccoli. We are working on the grown-up food. He is definitely willing--I think I am one of the major roadblocks, since I get so worried about him choking.

Tonight Owen may have officially said his first word that he understands. Maybe. It's so hard to tell! But Evelyn had him and asked him whether he wanted to go up the stairs, and he said: "Up! Up! Up!" Once he was upstairs he was playing with some blocks, and when he picked them up he would say: "Up! Up! Up!" At the very least he is mimicking us more often, which is definitely a step in the right direction.

Also there is another thing that I haven't even mentioned to Ev. The last few nights I've given him his bedtime bottle, he has finished off by grabbing hold of the bottle and drinking it for himself.

4/12/11 (Tuesday)

Today Owen had a very early PT session at YBR. Karen writes: "Well, Owen continues to make fast progress. He rolled over today without any physical cues or verbal cues and sat up on his own three times (once to each side and once more to the left)! He is saying up! He said it several times while stacking blocks to knock over (after sitting up from rolling). He is also trying to imitate 'go.' We say it when using the push toy."

They worked on pulling up to stand, step by step, by kneeling and half kneeling. Owen still needs a lot of practice with that, though yesterday, for the first time, I looked out to the living room and suddenly saw him standing at the coffee table (Cara had some very enticing toys there). He needs to practice kneeling more; that's one thing we could work on at home. He's getting better at walking with only one hand, but it still upsets him. He really wants to hold two hands. Yesterday, when Em was holding the back of his outfit, his hands, desperately searching for fingers to grab, ended up clutching the sides of his shirt.

Cara's six-year well visit was today! It was full of fun and excitement. She got her height checked (47 and 3/4 inches, 90th percentile) and her weight checked (46.3 pounds, the 50th percentile), and she got her blood pressure checked.

I got the novel experience of filling out a milestones checklist on which I knew that my child could do everything. I had to ask her to draw a man, and I couldn't give her any hints. Did she draw a man with at least three parts? At least six? Could she copy a square? There was an analogy section. I had to ask her to define a set of words including "banana," "curtain," "hedge," and "pond." She couldn't tell me what a pond was, though later she laughed at me when I asked her and didn't believe that she hadn't known it. It was the first one I asked her, and I think she overthought it.

Cara can also walk on her heels and her toes and hop on one foot and walk by putting each foot directly in front of the other, even backwards. She is social, she engages in extracurricular activities, and she can sound out words. The doctor wrote "cat," which Cara knows; "mop," which stumped her; and "fan," which she could sound out. Cara didn't need any shots, and she got a sticker for herself and one for Owen. It was a good day for everyone.

4/13/11 (Wednesday)

I've been trying really hard to convince Owen that, in the morning when he wakes up, he can roll over in his crib and sit up. He's not biting. I go in, and he's lying there awake, chatting, and I try telling him to roll over and I try cueing his physically, and he has no idea what I'm talking about. It reminds me of how it took Cara weeks of sleeping in a twin bed to realize that she could get out by herself.

Tonight, though, Owen reached a milestone I've been waiting for: while Steve was changing him, he rolled himself over and started to leave. Yes, Steve did capture him.

Tonight's kindergarten homework was for Cara to write in her April journal. Here is what she wrote: "My barbe baik was a grrit prezit."

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