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Journal Key:

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

6/30/11 (Thursday)

Therapy today was a little weird; we got sidetracked and didn't really do much physical stuff! Owen impressed Karen with his animal sounds. We went and played with his Playmobil toys, and she had me get out the play food. We worked on pretend play, which is a big part of what he should be developing right now. We also tried out a technique to help expand his vocabulary and his ability to communicate his needs.

Karen held two pieces of play food. The lion was hungry. "Does he want cheese," she held out the cheese, "or pretzel?" Karen repeated this a few times, and Owen gestured towards the one he wanted. She showed him that he needed to try to say the name of what he wanted in order to get it. It really worked--Owen made a sort of "eez" sound for cheese and said "waffle" pretty clearly.

We got out a wooden set of fruits and vegetables that are segmented and velcro together, because Karen wanted to show Owen an apple. Cara wanted an apple, and I got out a real one and cut it up. Karen brought Owen up with his toy apple, so that we could make the connection between a real apple and a toy one and the word "apple." Owen sat in his high chair, and I let him have a piece of apple whenever he tried saying "apple." All of this was well within his frustration level, and he was proud of himself. He also liked the apple.

Another thing Karen suggested was to put a favorite toy somewhere he could see it but not reach it, so that he would have to ask for it by name. Of course, the perfect thing to do would be to put his Playmobil bin up higher, but we're not sure what to tell him to call it!

7/1/11 (Friday)

This afternoon we picked up the kids and took them to the park. After Owen had some time on the swings, we took him over to the slide. He had a lot of fun going down the twirling slide all by himself! His shoes provided enough friction that he slid very slowly, smiling the whole time. He also went down the straight slide a couple of times--with close supervision, because that one was much faster. He had a blast but the poor kid managed to get a bloody nose and a bruised chin from bumping himself as he climbed around.

We took him home and had some good time with the Playmobil guys, who require much less physical exertion. I've been having a lot of fun playing with these toys: they can slide down the roof, or get dumped out of the dump truck, or come in and out of their house. These are funny things. This afternoon we ended up putting a lot of people into the play coffee pot from our toy kitchen, then rattling them around very loudly and dumping them out. We also played with blocks, which mostly meant that the rest of the family built towers for Owen to knock down (though occasionally he will say "up" and try to do some building for himself).

It's very cute when Owen says "Oh no!" or "Whoa!" which he will say when the toys fall down (usually at my prompting). There were also a few times when Owen was giving me food that he didn't want to eat. I carefully (and somewhat ironically) said "Thank you!" to him. So he has now gotten the idea that when he gives us the food he doesn't want, he needs to say "Thank you!" to us. I can't describe how cute it is to see him soberly handing over a bit of hot dog and saying "Thank you" (which comes out sounding like "Dah goo"). We got him to say "hot dog" tonight also.

7/4/11 (Monday)

Happy Independence Day! It's been a whirlwind weekend for us.

On Saturday, we drove down to south Jersey. There, Owen impressed all of us with his walking. He did a lot of walking on his own, but he did a lot more walking holding my hand. He's been really, really into spending time with Mommy all weekend: it's separation anxiety time! Owen was also very happy about spending time with Rusty. He loved having an animal who didn't run from him the way the cats do. It's disturbing but also makes sense, in a way, that he had his most involved interactions with the back half of the dog. He did some tail-grabbing and general harassing, and because Rusty couldn't really see what was happening it didn't bother him as much as it would have otherwise.

On Sunday Owen and I went out to do groceries in the morning. He's been getting up insanely early these days, and so he's been tired in the mornings. I'd hoped he'd fall asleep on the way home, but instead he fell asleep on the way there. We were at the grocery store, though, so we went ahead and did the groceries. I picked him up and carried him through the parking lot until I found a cart that I liked. I sat him in the basket. He slowly drooped forward. I propped him up. He drooped to one side. Eventually I put a blanket in one side of the basket, picked him up, and laid him down for his nap. He slept through the whole trip, waking up as we got back to the car with our bags. That was, alas, the only nap he had all day.

In the evening, we all drove to Middletown for fireworks. Owen was so happy to have a chance to walk around with Mommy. He also walked by himself more than he's done before, and he played with toys and generally was mostly pleasant. Eventually, though, it was bedtime and we put him down on a blanket on the floor in Grandmama's room. He was exhausted and really wanted to go to sleep, but he had to cry for a bit because he was in a strange place. While he did that, Cara and PJ and Casey were all downstairs playing at taking a nap for some reason. It was a good time to be a grownup. The three big kids had a great time at the fireworks with their glow toys, catching fireflies and running around.

Today we took Owen in a pool for the first time. Unlike PJ, Cara, and Casey, his first time in a pool involved three bigger kids having a great time. I think that their example paved the way for Owen to have fun! Before we were ready to get him in there, he walked me right over to the edge and I had to dip him in over and over again, to his great glee. The first few times we took the older kids in, they clung to us and weren't ready to (literally or figuratively) throw themselves into the experience. Owen definitely was ready. I got in and took him, and there was to clinging or clutching. He liked being held. He liked being dipped and spun around. He liked flying through the water. We got him a little floaty thing, and he liked being in there, too. He had fun splashing when Ron got out the big floating lounge that sort of made him a tiny pool. He was a very happy camper. When we did get him out, he walked back to the edge to be dipped some more. He was all pruney, though, so we distracted him with food until it was time to go in and change.

7/5/11 (Tuesday)

When you go to sleep at the same time as usual every night, but in the morning you start getting up earlier and earlier, you get tired. If you don't manage your normal nap, on top of that, you get really tired. For a while now Owen's been getting up so early that we consider it "sleeping in" when he gets up at 5:30, and I think it's caught up to him. He's been off of his nap schedule on the weekends, mainly because he's tired earlier, but at school he doesn't go down early. At 5:15 this morning we went down to the playroom to have fun, getting out all of our Playmobil animals, waving the glow sticks the big kids played with last night (conveniently, it was still dark out), and reading books for a couple of hours before school. He went to sleep, as usual, at 11:45. At 2:45, the teachers woke him up.

He did fine for the very long trip home. I had to work until five, and then we had to fight some traffic. It's a good thing Cara likes being the last kid left at camp! The three of us got home a little after six. Within half an hour, Owen was done. Poor little guy.

7/6/11 (Wednesday)

Owen likes to walk Mommy places. This afternoon he took her hand when she arrived and walked her to the door. Then he walked her back in again. Then to the door. The back. Tonight he got her to walk him up and down the stairs a few times. Owen has started saying "Up!" as a sort of synonym for "stairs," whether he's going up or down. We're working on fixing that one. It is handy when he starts climbing the stairs, because he will shout "U-u-up!" as a warning. I had fun with him in the tub tonight. After the initial disappointment at being forced into the tub, he was charmed by the cold water that I turned on (he kept trying to turn on the shower, and I kept telling him not to). He found a wash cloth and started slapping it into the water, which was very, very funny.

Tonight was playdate at our house, and PJ wanted to play video games with me, as usual. As things fell out, however, he spent time playing video games with Cara. I think this was a first. It's exciting. But I'm a little worried that I'm not going to be nearly as popular with PJ now that I'm not the only one in the house who will play video games with him.

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