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Journal Key:

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

4/21/11 (Thursday)

Owen was walking back and forth between two teachers when I went into YBR to pick him up today. I tried to get him to show them that he knows what a sheep says, but of course he wouldn't.

He worked really hard in therapy. He climbed the stairs. First he stood himself up on them, and then Karen lifted one knee up onto the first step. She pushed down on the knee to shift his balance forward, and then she was able to bring the other knee up. Then he could stand. He got to play for a bit, but soon we'd move the toys up another step, and he'd have to go through the whole process again. When he had done it once or twice, he'd gotten it figured out. I got to take over, and all I really had to do was to pick up that first leg and press down on the knee a little. Working together, we got him all the way up the stairs twice! The only part that he hasn't really figured out is what to do at the top. It would be a good time to crawl, but he's not up for that!

Upstairs, we had him do some walking: he managed seven steps in a row all by himself! We took him into his room, where Karen hoped he would pull up to stand on his changing table. She put some exciting toys and books onto the upper shelf, but Owen was too excited about taking out all of his books and showing them to her. We decided to work on standing up at the crib. We showed him several of the foam animals from his shape books, and then we stuck them between the slats. Owen reached up, grabbed on, and pulled himself up with just a little help.

Oddly, for a couple of days Owen has been refusing to roll over. He persisted in this when Karen was here. I think he's just for some reason decided that he doesn't want to do that anymore. Once we get him onto his front, he'll sit up. We're back to maneuvering his legs to flip him. Our three goals for the week are to practice rolling and sitting up a lot (we're supposed to always put him on his back when we put him down to play, but it's hard), to practice climbing the stairs, and to try having him pull to stand from a sitting position in our laps and then sit back down so that he'll get used to bending his knees when he gets himself out of a standing position.

After all that, we had a tired little boy!

4/23/11 (Saturday)

Owen, Cara, and I were all home yesterday, though Cara went to DT for their Easter party and egg hunt in the afternoon. In the morning, Robin came for Owen's therapy session. Cara was a wonderful help! She knows all of the songs, and she had actually spent the morning practicing the signs in our little board book.

Owen has reached a phase that we don't remember Cara going through; he is obsessed with books. He's got baskets of books in the living room, the playroom, and his bedroom, and those are what he's interested in. He'll sit there pulling out book after book, spreading them out and looking at them, and he wants to be read to perpetually. Sometimes he wants the same book again and again, and sometimes he's pulling out new books before we're halfway done. We're pretty sure he's mastered the sign for "more." He can't actually make it correctly, but he claps his hands. It's a very useful sign.

He's using his best word, "up," a lot. He puts things "up," he stands "up," he stacks blocks "up." It's a very versatile word. A disagreement we're having is about his method of going "up" stairs. We would like him to climb up the way Karen taught him on Thursday, but Owen would prefer to walk up like a grown-up. He holds our fingers and works to get one foot up onto the first step, and then he works to get the other foot onto the next step, not even willing to put both feet on one step. It's just about as much fun as sliding down the stairs afterwards. We haven't been able to convince him to give it up.

4/24/11 (Sunday) - Happy Easter

This morning we had an inside Easter egg hunt with the Loefflers. The kids demonstrated that they are not well-versed in finding things using the "hot/cold" method. However things went well because, having gotten the idea from DT, Ev put an eight-egg limit on each child, so that everyone always found the same number of eggs. Meanwhile Owen wandered around, happy to be out of the house. It's been a bit of a rough weekend for him and we're convinced it's because he gets bored being in the house all the time.

Fortunately all of us had the chance to get out of the house for most of the day today, because we drove over to Norristown for Easter! We got to see my cousin Cheryl and her husband Tito, Grandmom and Grandpop, Sally, Ron, Uncle Jim, Griffin, Andrea, and Lily, among others. Owen was happy to have lots of people around and new places in which to scoot. As has been their custom, Griffin and Owen did not really interact with each other, but they each had a good time near each other. We spent some good time with the kids out back blowing bubbles. Lily eventually mastered a blowing technique which involved her yelling "FAH!" very loudly--and it really worked, too. Cara proved to be amusing for little Griffin to watch. Owen very happily toddled over into Aunt Sally's arms several times, proud to show off.

Both kids got books, which they will both enjoy very much. Owen remains very book-obsessed, and Cara was able to start reading one of the books she got. Cara also got a giant pink stuffed bunny that looks just like a big marshmallow Peep--she loves it. Owen got a more typical stuffed bunny from his grandparents. We didn't open it until this evening but when he saw it he squeaked with delight and hugged it to his face. Then he threw it on the floor. But he definitely liked it.

4/25/11 (Monday)

Cara's big plush marshamllow Peep bunny went with her to school today for some reason. Its name is Matthew Carrot Max. I am mystified by both of those facts.

Owen is a symmetrical sleeper. Last night he had a really tough time getting to sleep, mainly because it was hot. Therefore, I was not surprised when he was up at 5:15. I was surprised that when I cued him he rolled right over in his crib!

At YBR today he may have eaten the lunch I packed him, and he spent the day harrassing people about books and telling them that lions say "rar!" and cows say "moo." At home, he has not told anyone what anything says. Perhaps we don't have toys good enough. In the half hour between our arrival here and the start of dinner, made by Steve and Cara, I read Owen literally sixteen different books. We had to read a few of them repeatedly, so I'm frightened to think how many books that is. Owen is still dedicated to "walking" up stairs, but he has also started to experiment with climbing up himself, so we're going to have to get our pressure gate back from Aunt Claire.

4/26/11 (Tuesday)

When I walked into YBR, Miss Sandi and another mom were talking about Owen. Apparently that mom has a book at home, and in it there's a drawing of a boy whom her daughter, a toddler, identifies as Owen. He's famous! We got some big news from YBR, actually: as of Monday, Owen will be a toddler! We're very excited for him.

Steve has been working hard with Owen on climbing the stairs like a baby. (He has no problem with climbing them like a big boy, except that he can't do it!) It's very funny to listen to them. Right now, the problem is that Owen still wants to climb the way he sees other people do it, so when he should be putting his first knee on the next stair, instead he wants to place his foot flat on the stair right off. Steve has to convince him to start off with his knee, at every step.

4/27/11 (Wednesday)

Today was "Take your parent to school" day! I took a half day off from work and went to Cara's Kindergarten, where all the kids were busy practicing for their little performance. Cara had already told us a little bit about it beforehand. The teacher read aloud from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and each of the students got to stand up at one point in the story to demonstrate one of the props mentioned in the story. Cara was the cookie! That made her first in the row, and it also meant that she got to stand up again at the end when the mouse wants another cookie. All of the kids were wearing paper mouse-head hats. It was cute.

Afterwards, we parents got to help our kids complete a worksheet. I was proud of Cara because she completed hers quickly and with very little assistance. I had time to doodle on the back of the sheet, and we had a snack together. Then Cara went over to the art station and we did some more drawing. At Cara's request I made an attempt to draw Wonder Woman--Cara fixed up parts of her outfit. Then Cara drew Bat Girl. Then it was time to go!

We went on a quick errand and then went home. The original plan had been for Cara to ride her bike, but there was just a little bit of drizzling and the sky looked overcast, so we gave up that idea and got out one of her "projects." I got to spend some time painting with her, and when she got tired of that she did her homework. For her Wednesday journal entry, which was her homework, she drew herself holding up the cookie and wrote a sentence about it.

It was some good Daddy-Daughter time. Then Owen and Mommy got home and we got ourselves over to Em and Ron's for dinner. Owen did some really great walking between myself and Ron. Later in the evening, he did it again between Ron and Ev. Ron backed away a little more each time, until Owen was toddling almost all the way across their kitchen! It was pretty fantastic.

Our playdates are nice because we can just let all the kids hang out with each other downstairs. This was going fine and the parents were all doing their own thing, until I walked by the steps and saw Owen up on the second stair and climbing away. It's possible Em and Ron's steps are a little shorter than ours, or Owen's practice is paying off, because he got all the way up the stairs with almost no help from me. Maybe next time we go over there we'll have to bring a pressure gate!

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