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Journal Key:

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

7/14/11 (Thursday)

Karen wanted to work with Owen on standing up today. She brought in a toy table about five inches tall, and then she held a toy up while I was behind him to help. He didn't need any help. He's able to stand up with even shorter things--Karen's favorite therapy tool is a Yellow Pages that's sealed up with duct tape, and he can use that. The big obstacle to Owen's walking right now is that when he does fall down, he sees himself as just stuck and starts crawling. We helped him see that he can stand up without having something to pull up on, and Karen thinks that he'll transfer his skills, fairly soon, to being able to stand up from the floor.

To tempt him to stand up, we needed to have toys to hold above his head. I got out our Mr. Potato Heads, who had all been put away. They've been fun for everyone. Half the time, of course, we'd get him to stand up for something, and he'd walk away without it, so pleased with himself for standing up. We played, too, though. Karen and I worked on some words with him; we were pretty sure he said "eyes," and we tried really hard with "hat" but didn't hear it. The Mr. Potato Heads have a lot of hats. "Bababa," said Owen. We both considered the highly unlikely prospect that he might have been saying "baseball cap." I was very happy when, later, Steve came up to dinner, having heard nothing about therapy, and told me he thought Owen was saying "hat."

7/16/11 (Saturday)

We took the kids down to Middletown to toss them into Claire's pool this afternoon. Cara was a little fish, even though it wasn't quite hot enough (in my opinion) to be perfect for swimming. Owen liked having his feet dangled into the water, and he liked walking around the pool, and he liked throwing toys into the pool, but it took a while for us to actually get him all the way into the water. He ended up going in twice, once with each parent. He loves to fly through the water as if he were swimming; he flails with both arms at once in sort of a butterfly stroke! He likes to chase the little squirty balls that we brought. He likes roughhousing in general. Steve and I both spent a lot of our time with him with our eyes squinched shut because of the splashing.

Owen really loves to smash his face into things. This can be good or bad. He smashed his face happily into the cushions on the lounges. He smashed his face happily into the towels. There are a lot of things, though, that he should not smash his face into. Nothing bad has happened to him yet.

7/17/11 (Sunday)

Owen was being borderline needy and crabby this morning when Grandmom and Grandpop showed up. I was reading to him when they arrived, but he was curious and went to meet them at the door. He wasn't quite ready to be overtly friendly, but he was very soon walking back and forth between the dining room and the playroom, laughing uproariously whenever any of us came back into view. We said "Bye-bye!" when he turned and left, and he frequently echoed us and waved (forwards) when he was about 3/4 of the way to the opposite wall of the playroom. He was so flirting with them.

I don't know what we did to Owen. He was up at 6:30 for some playtime, and then he went for a long ride in the stroller and ate some scrambled eggs (I like feeding him when he's a strolling captive). He must have tired himself out with all of the walking and laughing he did, because he really almost fell asleep in his high chair while he ate lunch. After his nap, though, he was ready for some grandparently snuggling and playtime. He showed them all of his Playmobil animals, and they did some reading and some puzzles as well as some IPad play. Grandmom and Grandpop got to see The Greatest Book Ever Written. When Owen heard us mentioning the title, though, Grandpop had to read it to him. Of course, Owen's heard it so many times that he can't often get through the whole thing anymore, so we don't always get to find out what Farmer Jones gives each animal.

All weekend, Owen's done a very good job saying "bye-bye" to his grandparents. He waves, too, often in their direction. He's sad when they leave, not only because he doesn't get to go with them.

7/18/11 (Monday)

Years ago, probably when Cara was a tiny infant, I read something about how daddies tend to be better than mommies at reading aloud to their children, mainly because they do better or more exciting or less-inhibited sound effects. I have found this to be borne out by what happens in my house. Today, though, was a victory for modern motherhood. Owen has been experimenting with a variety of books that he pulls out from the shelves in the playroom, and I had to read him The Three Billy Goats Gruff. That story is full of room for exciting sound effects. I am not a big sound effect person, but I tried. Well, I sort of tried. Whatever it was that I did, Owen must have liked it. We had to read it at least two and a half times. As I was reading, I was thinking about how Steve would have to read this one to Owen later, because he'd be far more effective. When I suggested it, however, Steve said that Owen had made him read it a few days ago and been completely unimpressed. Hah!

7/19/11 (Tuesday)

Rather than going to stand at the door and cry because I wasn't taking him out of YBR fast enough, today Owen sat in his bucket seat playing happily while I had a conversation with Miss Sandi. I went up behind him and tickled him, and he was vaguely pleased to see me but was really very busy with his puzzle. It was a big number puzzle with different animals on the different numbers; it was funny to have to remember to say, "put the bunnies in," rather than, "put the seven in." After a few moments, he did decide that he was done and he was ready to be excited to see me. "Bye-bye!" he told everyone.

Leaving was an adventure. I put him down to walk outside, and he turned around and went over to grab a stroller that was outside waiting for someone. He wailed because I wouldn't put him in. Finally I got him to come walk with me, but when we got to the sidewalk he turned left instead of right. Some other parents came along with a dog, though. Owen was very happy to see the dog. He barked at it. He turned around to follow the dog, and when they turned off to stop at YBR we said bye-bye to the dog and managed to finally head to the car!

As soon as we pull into the driveway at the end of the day, Owen starts to say, "da-da. da-da!" He's been doing this for days and days. We tell him when Da-Da's not home, but I'm not sure he gets it. When Steve does eventually get home, Owen goes toddling out to see him, "Da-Da! Da-Da!"

I've been working on offering Owen choices. He's definitely got the idea that when I offer him two things, he should pick one! At dinner, I asked him, "Do you want tomato or hot dog?" Generally, like when I offer him books, he just grabs the one he wants. That question, though, he could answer. "OT-da!" He told us all "OT-da!" frequently after that.

7/20/11 (Wednesday)

Owen and I had a playdate this morning with Leah and Nicole. The kids thoroughly explored the house. Whenever one of them did something, the other had to go and see what was up. They climbed the stairs together to go and play in the bedrooms. We all ended up in Cara's room, where Leah worked hard to take the furniture out of Cara's dollhouse by pulling it through the front door, while Owen walked away down the hall and walked back, then closed the door, then opened the door, then left again, then came back, occasionally stopping to go and stick his hands into the dollhouse just in case. We also played with the books of foam animal cut-outs, and Owen said "duck" very clearly several times. He also astonished me by being able to show us what a fish does, opening and closing his mouth.

This evening was lovely. Before Steve got home, the kids played nicely on their own. I'm not sure what Cara did, but Owen pulled a lot of books out of the big book case in the playroom and looked at them. It's going to be a job to put them away, but he was very happy and independent, so I'm perfectly content. For our ninth anniversary (!) the four of us went out. We took ourselves to Baja Fresh, where we could let Owen walk around before our food was ready. Ironically, he really wanted to get into the high chair! He was a hungry boy. He had fun eating his rice with a big spoon, he worked hard to eat part of a piece of quesadilla, and he ate all of his apple sauce. One benefit to having kids as spread out in age as ours: Cara's so big that she needs more than a kids' meal, and Owen's so little he can't eat all of his! It was a perfect dinner out--when we were all done, Owen was still eating, so no one had to hurry for him. I don't think the night could have gone better.

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