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Journal Key:

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

5/12/11 (Thursday)

We had physical therapy outside today! After last week, I wanted to make sure that Owen would be a happy and willing participant, so I asked Karen whether we could work out there. It was wonderful! The afternoon was beautiful, and we played all over the place.

I cleaned up the water table, which is a perfect place for Owen to practice pulling up and sitting down. Working with Karen makes me see things differently. She wants him to work on his standing and sitting, so she moves the toys to wherever she wants him to be. Every week, there's a time when I feel myself wanting instinctively to pick things up for him, when she's deliberately putting them on the floor so that he'll have to work. At the water table, she and I both thought we'd spend the whole hour moving all of the toys from the table to the grass and back. After once or twice, though, Owen didn't need us to. He pulled up (with what she called "beautiful rotation"), and he sat back down with increasing control, again and again. She was impressed with how well he tolerated getting soaked, which he did, liberally.

He's also definitely saying "car," and he was playing with the matchbox cars we have out there. He holds them up and waves them around, saying his best approximation of "vroom." He may have said "truck" (while holding a truck), and he demonstrated for me today that he has at least four distinct animal noises.

Between the water and the ground, Owen did quite a job on his clothes. He did some crawling out there, too! He attempted to crawl under the water table, which we felt was perhaps not a wise idea. Karen convinced him to stand up instead. He scooted and crawled his way over to the outside stairs, where the ground starts to slope up. It's hard to scoot up a hill! Owen did some heroic crawling up, and then he scooted down. Once he'd done that once, he did it again, further. We wonder whether he was using the hill deliberately as a slide.

Owen also took us for a walk over to Juliana's yard, where he scooted and crawled on the grass and the driveway, and then we walked back. He's doing better with walking holding on to one hand. Back at home, we thought we were going back to the water table. We got stuck, though, at the gate. We went through, and then Owen had to close it behind us. Then he had to open it. Then close it. Then he did some cruising along the fence, but nothing was really as good as the gate.

He was quite wet, so I was anxious to avoid holding Owen close. Instead of wrestling him into the car, I popped him into the stroller and we walked to get Cara. It's nice to be able to do that! I'll miss that about DT. The kids played outside again when Cara was done with her homework, and Steve cooked hot dogs outside. It got chilly as it got later, and it was nice to come inside and get (dry and) warm.

5/14/11 (Saturday)

A milestone has been reached: Cara no longer needs to stand on a chair to help in the kitchen. Perhaps her mom and dad knew this already, but it was news to me. This morning I rolled out the biscuit dough and she wielded the biscuit cutters. Offered a choice of 4 different sizes, Cara opted to use them all, and then to consume a "family" of large, medium, and tiny biscuits for her breakfast.

The Polly Pocket dolls are settling in nicely in the big dollhouse. Cara's doll occupies the upstairs and mine has the downstairs. I believe they both have kitchen privileges. I am happy to say that my doll's bedroom boasts a closet where I have stashed her collection of shoes, clothing and accessories.

We read a few more chapters of Charlotte's web last night; Cara dramatically held her nose when the rotten egg broke.

Of course the highlight of this visit was our first beach trip of the year! We had excellent fortune all around. All day I had a worried eye on the gray clouds, but as we drove down the Parkway the sky turned blue. I had made an early start and we were not afflicted with dreadful traffic. Even though Memorial Day has not arrived, the restrooms were open, thank goodness! And when we reached the ocean, we found a broad expanse of firm wet sand to run on. It was chilly and we began in our sweatshirts; I wore shorts and we rolled Cara's jeans to her knees. As she grew more and more daring, the jeans became wet and encrusted with sand, and then we saw some boogie boarders wearing swimsuits and Cara opted to follow suit. A good thing she did, because sometime later she tripped and went flat on her belly in shallow water, after which she reclined on our beach chair, wrapped in a towel like a traveler on a luxury cruise, and restored herself with Oreo's. We did a lot of running and shrieking, found some shells and interesting sticks, made footprints in the sand, and built a sand castle she was sorry to leave. She grieved briefly over its inevitable destruction and I taught her the word "ephemeral." Soap bubbles are, we agreed; nail polish is not.

At home the child had a lovely warm shower before her customary supper of hot dogs and an abridged viewing of Star Wars episode 6 - we fast forward past anything to do with the emperor.

I am looking forward to many more happy hours at the beach; I don't know if any will be better than this, when the beach was not entirely deserted, but so empty the child called it "our" beach.

It was Haircut Day on Nancy Circle: PJ and Casey both got their hair cut, and so did Cara and Owen! The two kids went separately; I took Cara to the princess salon while Owen was napping. She got, in a way, her first real haircut. We've been growing it long for so long that I think we've never really gone for a specific style before. Now she has long layers that end just above her shoulders. Her hair seems darker and also more full. It's gorgeous.

Owen and I went down to the mall later in the afternoon. He sat in a seat with a steering wheel, which he was interested in turning until the stylist put his smock over it. After that, he sat and mostly looked worried. He did make some noise once in a while, mainly when she used the razor on him, and he kept turning his head to see what was going on, but all in all it was a very successful haircut.

When we got home, PJ and Casey were already here. We've resumed Nancy Circle Date Nights! The girls were playing together, while Steve and PJ played video games. After dinner, I took Owen and the girls outside to take pictures, and then when they wanted to go into the back yard I decided to get out my fire pit for the first time. We managed to get a fire going, and most of us spent the rest of the evening roasting the tiny mini-marshmallows that the girls said were the only ones we had. I haven't looked to find out whether they were right.

5/15/11 (Sunday)

We went to the zoo! We've gotten out of the habit of taking these family day trips in the past couple of years, and it feels very good to start them again. Cara claimed this morning that she hadn't ever been to the zoo, but when we assured her that she had she did begin to recall, perhaps, that we'd gone once or twice. As we neared it in the car, the zoo certainly looked familiar.

Our first order of business was to have lunch, and then Cara had to have her face painted. We'd forgotten about the butterfly tattoo on her cheek; because of it, instead of the bunny she had selected, Cara got a flower garden on her face! It was very pretty. Owen got to look at the prairie dogs. We hope, that is, that he looked at the prairie dogs. All day he was very happy to cruise on the glass walls, and we're really not sure whether he just liked the walls or was interested in the animals on the other sides. Both children paid at least as much attention to the statues in the zoo as to the animals. Owen did definitely notice and like the giraffes. That was nice. In the primate house, he really loved a big broad set of stairs; we went up and down them as the gorillas walked around outside.

The tree house was great, of course. The tough thing is that we really wanted to get pictures of Owen doing things, and Cara just sort of ran around on her own and we didn't get to do too much with her. One person couldn't really supervise Owen and take pictures of him! He liked sitting in nests on the floor, and he got a kick out of the giant eggs. Besides that, he liked the stairs. He liked looking at things and at people. We got him onto the beaver dam slide, and once he got the idea he liked that a lot.

In honor of Owen's first visit to the zoo, we got each kid a toy. Cara picked out a black panther, and we got Owen a plush lion, because Owen's roar is so funny. Owen's response to the lion is to push it out of the stroller. He thinks it's very funny. He doesn't understand yet that he's required to love it.

In the past 24 hours, Cara made the following two statements:

1. "Mommy, magic is real! Remember my birthday party?"

2. "That's silly--kings aren't real!"

She gave me several examples to back up the former (Ron can do magic!), but when we suggested that she was wrong about kings she was able to remember seeing pictures of the royal wedding and correct herself.

5/16/11 (Monday)

I got to spend some time reading to Owen this afternoon. After a few books, I decided to add an element of adventure by going into the tent, which happened to be empty. The first thing that happened was that Buster joined me and was very happy, but Owen eventually scooted over (he'd been delayed by having to decide what book to bring) and the cat left. Owen and I did some reading, but being in the tent was really a little too exciting.

Karen said last Thursday that she was really pleased with Owen for starting to crawl as much as he is. Most babies who scoot never crawl before they walk! Owen really is. I rarely see him just scoot somewhere anymore; he goes over forwards onto his hands and at least thinks about crawling. He seems to have everything figured out except his right knee, which tends to pop up. I've been holding it down, and he can get himself along a little way.

Owen's hunger strike seems to be ending. He's been fanatic about his little yogurt puffs today. He ate a lot of them this morning, and he started again before dinner on Daddy's lap. He ate most of a chicken nugget, though, and some cooked baby carrots, so I'm quite happy with him. He's also perfectly capable of drinking out of a sippy cup, but he prefers his bottles. As we were getting ready to leave YBR, he wanted something from his lunch box very much. I offered him the fully sippy. No. The almost-empty bottle? Yes. He drained the half-ounce that was left in it, and then he was willing to accept the other cup.

5/17/11 (Tuesday)

I parked a couple of blocks from YBR and had to carry Owen back to the car. We waited for a light to change, and when I saw it turn amber I told him it was almost time to walk. That was really dumb of me. After I said that, he was quite ready to walk and tried to dive down out of my arms. I carried him across the street and then offered to let him walk a little, but because I had to hold his lunch box I only had one arm for him. He wasn't feeling up to walking with just one hand, so he was disappointed. He eventually decided to make the best of things and walked around a little, but not in the direction we needed to go. It went fairly badly.

Owen is certainly becoming an eater. He worked his way through a lot of snacks and some lo mein this evening, which took him quite a while. Steve and I politely sat around at the table with him after we were done, so as not to make him lose momentum. We chatted, but we were occasionally interrupted by loud cries of "bah-bah-BAH!" from Owen, who thought that he was being very funny. He made lots of funny jokes while he was eating. I stuffed a yogurt into him, as well, because he's been sleeping badly and we theorize that perhaps it's because of hunger.

Cara protests when I ask her to read a book for me, but she's becoming a reader. She bought a book about baby animals at the book fair today, and she sounded out all of their names. I got new Mary Poppins books and Oz books at the library, and she read their titles immediately.

5/18/11 (Wednesday)

Steve and Owen drove down to Princeton this morning to see Owen's ENT, who says that his tubes look fine. They may come out, which would be ok and would explain anything green we see coming out of his ears, at which point we should not panic. She'll see him again in November. I was deeply concerned about whether, in the event that his tubes come out, we'd know whether he was able to hear. Em and Steve both pointed out that we could, for instance, make noise and see whether he notices.

At playdate tonight, Owen had a few small adventures. He got to scoot from the Loefflers' family room to their breezeway, which is a small step down. Ron reports that he went up and down it several times, to practice. After dinner, I put him on the couch next to Steve and PJ. He thought that was pretty funny, but soon he flipped himself over and backed himself off of the couch, pretty safely! I was astonished.

I think that Steve finally agrees with me: Owen says "Da" when he sees his daddy!

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