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Journal Key:

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

8/11/11 (Thursday)

Cara used to walk around saying, "dubba, dubba." Owen walks around saying "bobby, bobby, bobby." Lately, he's added "annie, annie, annie." During therapy, we had out a toy that I borrowed from my folks' house; it's sort of a calculator and it lights up and makes noises and has lots of buttons and I thought it would help us convince Owen to point with one finger at a time. It's a Sesame Street toy. Owen looked down at it and said, "Annie." Ernie! Maybe. Maybe. He was looking at Ernie, so it's not an unreasonable maybe.

Karen and I have been working on getting Owen to point with his index finger. He has really good manual dexterity as far as manipulating things goes, and he can identify lots of things, but his "pointing" is sort of a four-finger splay. It's a slap. We talked about a few methods last week to work on it with him, and I've been trying. (He was funny at the mall last week: we'd hold his hand and help him actually point to things in his books, and as soon as he got his hand back, he'd immediately slap whatever he'd just pointed out.) I've been trying it a little in books, and I've been doing it with him when he rings the doorbell at YBR in the mornings. With a lot of the things Karen's done with him, it's been like a light bulb going on in his head. With this, so far, nothing's really happening. We kind of think he just doesn't see a point to it (no pun intended, for once).

Today, we tried a few things. Karen explained the concept of pointing a little more thoroughly. She thought maybe it would help if he had to reach through something to push a button, so I cut a piece off of a cardboard tube and we tried to get him to reach through it to the calculator toy. Instead, he took it and played with it! Not really surprising, I guess. Our new plan is to get an old ice cube tray and put stickers on the bottoms of the holes.

Tonight Evelyn gave Owen his own plate for dinner with food on it. He was good for most of the meal and ate food off of his plate. When he got bored, he picked up the plate (fortunately most of the food was gone by that time) and played peek-a-boo with it. He also had his own cup of water, from which we helped him drink. Near the end of the meal, we let him pretty much drink for himself. The predictable happened, and he drenched himself pretty thoroughly, which led nicely to his bath.

We've been transitioning to a more heavy story time with the little buddy before he gets his cup of milk. Owen has a more extensive collection of books in his room and he has his favorites. Tonight it seemed like he was really able to tell me which books he wanted. First he was holding two books, and said "Dut! Dut!" by which I decided he wanted to read Where's That Duck? After we were finished with that, he made his little screaming noise, so I knew he wanted Quiet LOUD. (Whispering is quiet...screaming is loud! AAAHHHH!) After that, he said "Upp-oh! Upp-oh!" So I knew he wanted Hippos Go Berserk. It was cool.

8/13/11 (Saturday)

Cara got her sleepover last night and in the morning Ev, Owen and I drove down to meet Cara and grandparents at a little water park on the Asbury Park boardwalk. Cara had already been at it for over an hour, but was excited to show us all the fun features. There were many little spouts in the ground the shoot water up at random intervals, and squirting jets that you can control with pump handles or buttons. But the coolest thing was the giant teacup on a high platform that would periodically tip its huge load of water onto the waiting masses below. Grownups and children alike had a blast.

As for Owen, he was very uncertain at first, mostly clinging to parents. Eventually he was willing to be put down and check out the pooling water. After a long time he was comfortable enough to roam free. He spent some time putting his hands into some of the spouts of water, but mostly what he really seemed to want to do was just walk around. I felt a little silly just running along behind him, tracking him all over the place, to try to make sure he didn't fall over, get bumped into by someone else, or walk under the teacup at the wrong time. But he had lots of fun doing it. He liked to wander away from us, come back, and stick his head into our legs. He walked around yelling "Gooo!!" and "Up, up, up!" or possibly "Hop, hop, hop!" Not sure why. One of the best parts for him was when he was able to play peek-a-boo through the slats of one of the beach chairs they had set up. It was also very good to see him walking around for so long without falling down, and also being able to get up for himself on the few occasions when he did.

It was a long, long day! But we all had fun and got sun-burned.

8/14/11 (Sunday)

The most exciting part of today, for more than one of the residents of this house, was when Steve got the gerbil cage off of its shelf this afternoon. I came downstairs to find Owen holding onto the side and practically dancing. He kept squeaking at the gerbil, and he was determined to reach in and grab him. The gerbil, oddly, didn't hide. He ran when Owen's hand came at him, but he kept coming back out. Owen definitely got to touch him more than once. We also forcibly fended him off a lot of the time, which somehow didn't bother him.

This evening Owen started to actually say "help," which is a very helpful step. He said it when he wanted me to put some scrambled eggs onto his fork, and he said it when he wanted me to put a matchbox car onto its launcher for him. If he keeps it up, it'll be great! If he keeps being willing to be helped, that'll be good, too! He also started to say "ham" today. He said that to refer to Green Eggs and Ham, his current favorite book. He's definitely using his words to refer to books and to request them. We had a lot of ham today.

When I took the kids to Barnes and Noble, in the pouring rain, I decided to pick up a new book for Owen. (Cara got one, too, but I didn't get to choose hers.) Having looked at the Dr. Seuss rack as well as I could while also chasing Owen, I picked Go, Dog, Go. Owen was way too busy to actually sit through a book at the store. We looked at the first few pages of a few, after which he emphatically closed them and applauded. "Yay!" At home, however, things were different. After his bath, Owen got to hear some ham. Then I read Go, Dog, Go. Then Steve read Go, Dog, Go. That is a lot of book.

8/15/11 (Monday)

I brought Owen upstairs to read after dinner. First, we read "go!" I thought it was going nicely, but Owen's attention wandered. "Am!" he started to say. "Am!" I let him down, and he went and got Green Eggs and Ham. Alas for poor Go, Dog, Go! After Owen's bath, though, when he'd thoroughly disappointed me by refusing to run around with his hoodie towel on his head, He got the full-on Daddy versions of both of them and Hippos Go Berserk. Daddy versions are better, really, because they have better sound effects. Having read Owen down, poor Steve comes downstairs and reads to Cara for, sometimes, an hour. Tonight it was The Hobbit. It's a good thing we like these books!

8/16/11 (Tuesday)

The newest word that Owen has started to say is "stop." It comes out "bop!"

Owen was having a snack at the table when I got to YBR this afternoon. I picked him up, but he still had a mouthful. When I offered him more, he took some more carrot. Then I held him out over his food, and he picked up more chicken. Then more cheese. Then more chicken. I had to stand there, holding him, while he finished a very complete snack. The teachers at YBR all want to know whether he's as wonderful at home as he is there, where he'll sit and play on his own and he's never any trouble. Mostly, sort of yes!

Steve read a lot to Owen, of course, including Sammy the Seal. In Sammy, Owen seems to only like the beginning, where we get to see the animals in the zoo have their breakfast. After that, the whole book is downhill! I did the actual putting-down reading for a change. Ham. Ham and milk for bedtime. When I finished Ham, Owen started saying "go! go!" I let him get Go, Dog, Go! He finished his milk while we were reading that, and of course afterwards he wanted more Ham. I had to put him down, though, and break his heart, poor thing.

8/17/11 (Wednesday)

Today Owen may have said "animal." Cara thought he did while looking at a Muppet-themed dictionary we have. The problem is it sounds suspiciously like "Elmo" when it comes out of his mouth. There was no Elmo in evidence in the dictionary, but who knows? I also got to watch him bump on his tush down the stairs, unaided. He's definitely improving there.

One of the better moments in One Fish Two Fish is the spread about the wump. A wump is essentially a camel, which you ride on when you want to go bump! bump! I always do little bumps with Owen when I read this part, naturally. This evening Evelyn happened to be reciting that part of the book while Owen was walking around. When it came to the bump, he was trying to do a little hop or bounce. The result was a sort of sudden, bent-forward crouch. Hopefully it isn't too wrong that we kept making him do it again.

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