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Journal Key:

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

9/1/11 (Thursday)

In an effort to convince Owen to use his index finger, rather than all of his fingers, to point, Karen and I got hold of an ice cube tray. I brought it home from the little fridge I have at work, so it's a very tiny one. That actually seems to be a very good thing. First, we tried putting Fruit Loops into the little holes. Owen can't fit all of his fingers in, so even though he hates having us touch his hands, he ended up using just one or two fingers to get them out. He also learned, though we hadn't planned on teaching him, that he could use the side of the container to scoop out what he wanted. We also put stickers in the bottoms of some of the holes, and Owen did some pointing. Unfortunately, we don't have a full complement of farm animals in sticker form who are tiny enough to go in.

Because, after my first day of school and Owen's therapy, Cara had dance class tonight, the three of us had to have a very quick dinner. I scrambled eggs and made pancakes, and I figured that at least Owen would eat the eggs. He did eat some eggs from a fork, which he managed to load himself, but what he really wanted was a pancake. It took me a while to figure out that that was what he wanted, because he's always refused them before!

When we'd come back from dance, he wandered around upstairs before and after his bath, eating pancake. Once he'd finally finished, I was able to brush his teeth. I brushed him, and then it was Owen's turn. He walked around with his toothbrush for whole minutes afterwards, refusing to give it up.

9/3/11 (Saturday)

It was a crazy end to a very busy week yesterday: as soon as Evelyn got home with the kids, she and Cara got packed up and went right off again to dance class for another rehearsal before the big recital. Owen and I had a lovely time hanging around the living room. I heated up a bunch of random things from the fridge, put them on a tray, and turned on Star Wars. Owen did not watch it with the helpless hypnotized look of his infancy, but it kept him up in the living room for the evening and he ate pretty well--large amounts of cucumber, anyway.

In the morning, Owen and I got up together and did some more hanging out. It wasn't long before Evelyn and Cara were off again for a dress rehearsal, so it was Owen and Daddy again. I decided to take him down to the pet store, just for fun. Luckily, a local animal shelter had several cages of kittens set up in the pet store, which was absolutely thrilling for Owen. Surprisingly they were all very friendly kitties and he got a real kick of putting his hand through the bars and having a kitty face rub up against it. He was also somewhat intrigued by a parrot.

In the afternoon, Miss Chava from the Baby Brick arrived. Owen had a babysitter for the first time! Fortunately she came, and we left, while he was still having his nap--otherwise, the parting would no doubt have been much more dramatic.

We all went off to see Cara perform in her dance recital, which was just as much fun as it usually is (and you can interpret that however you like). Cara did a lovely job and had a great time, and got her flowers and a trophy. Owen was thrilled to see us when we all returned. Soon enough, Cara was off with her grandparents for another exciting sleepover adventure. Evelyn and Owen and myself all went next door to a party to which our neighbors had kindly invited us.

It's so useful to have a little boy at times like these. Owen was a charmer. He ate many, many pieces of tomato and flirted with a grown man who was sitting behind us. And when he got tired, it was easy to say goodbye and walk next door and into our house. After such a successful day, Ev was willing to give Owen a bowl of yogurt and a spoon and let him feed himself. He did a very good job--it ended with him dumping the bowl, but plenty of yogurt got into him first.

Perhaps we'll have a relaxing day tomorrow! For a change.

9/4/11 (Sunday)

Steve said maybe we'd have a relaxing day today, and we sort of did. It was certainly less busy and less structured than the days we've been having! At Steve's suggestion, we took the kids down to the zoo. Our first and most important priority, of course, was to get Cara's face painted. This time, she got a dolphin jumping out of some water on her cheek. While I took care of that, Steve and Owen wandered around nearby. There was the tree house and the big fancy carousel, but there was also a corral with horse rides going on. Owen was very excited to see the neigh-neighs! He told Steve all about them.

There are advantages to having a cautious child like Owen. For instance, we have taken down the baby gate by the kitchen door, which was very annoying to have up. On the other hand, his caution meant that he wasn't ready to just fling himself into some of the experiences of today. He gradually got warmed up in the tree house and did some walking around, but he spent a lot of time saying "no, no, no." He put his hand once on a little goat and once on a little sheep, briefly, but he spent most of our visit to the petting zoo saying, "no, no, no." He didn't want to get close to the animals, that is, but he told us all about them from a distance.

Owen's favorite parts of the zoo were really the zoo-iest parts. He watched a group of otters playing in the water, frisking and swimming back and forth in front of him. He told me that the coati was playing with a ball. His favorite animal seemed to be the hippo. They have a new hippo exhibit, and the two huge things were out of the water when we got there. They went into the water, but we could still see them and they surfaced frequently to breathe and maybe to look around. "Hippo, hippo!" He loved them. Eventually we convinced him to say good-bye to the hippos and we went over to the giraffes, which we know Owen likes but for which he has neither a word nor a sound. He watched and watched them, but all he said was "hippo" and "bye-bye!" We had high hopes for showing him the zebras. He did say "vuh-vuh," but he wasn't in love with them.

Near the bears, there was a familiar fountain. I let Owen splash in it, and he gleefully soaked himself. It was really hard to get him away from the water. We shucked him and got him into dry clothes, and then we wandered gently towards the exit. Owen sort of toddled around, occasionally muttering "Hippo, Daddy, water," in a variety of combinations. I think that those were the three things he was most invested in being close to.

9/5/11 (Monday)

Labor Day! It was a lazy day today; the big event was when I took the kids over to Barnes & Noble. We visited the toy department first. The train table was a bit of a disappointment, since there were basically no trains on it. But Owen found a set of mostly wooden animal toys that he fell in love with. It was a bit embarrassing because he was very loudly yelling all of the appropriate animal noises in the middle of the store, with the occasional "ah-bee, ah-bee!" that he tends to do. Eventually we tore ourselves away from those and, after a quick snack, hit the books. One thing that I think Owen needs to learn is that book publishers tend to print multiple copies of the same book, and book stores tend to stock said copies in the same place. He was constantly pulling out a pile of the same book, or pulling out the next book in a pile, while I tried to explain to him that it was exactly the same as the last one he'd looked at. But I'm sure he didn't mind. He seems to be in love with horses lately (neigh-neighs, that is). Cara recently decided that she loved horses, when she bought an "I Love Horses" book, and Owen has been looking at it, so I think it's catching. Anyway he particularly liked books that had pictures of horses in them.

Cara didn't want to leave, but eventually Owen decided things by getting up and wandering out of the children's section, toward the exit. At home, Owen and I went into the playroom. Owen's love of the word "no" continues. As I was laying in the playroom, trying to nap, Owen came over and said, "Daddy. No!" No sleeping for Daddy.

9/6/11 (Tuesday)

Sometimes I mull over what title I'd pick for a day, if we used titles. Today's title: water.

It was raining when I went to get the kids from YBR. As soon as we stepped into it, Owen said, "bubble!" That's one of those things that will always remain a mystery. He hasn't done it in a while, and I'd forgotten about it. I guess he only says it when he goes out into the rain.

After dinner, I gave Owen a bath. He really loves walking around upstairs, putting things into his tub, reaching in to splash, and playing avoid-the-parent when we want to catch him, and he was very happy when I put him in, but something must have reminded him of Steve. He wanted out. I got him out pronto and set the tub to draining. In a few minutes he was walking around in his jammies, and he went into the bathroom. I was a little bit afraid that he'd throw something into the water, and I looked to see what he was doing. He was waving. "Wah-du. Wah-du. Bye-bye."

9/7/11 (Wednesday)

In the mornings, Owen's been kind of clingy at the YBR dropoff. He shakes his head and says no when the teachers ask him whether he wants to come to them. Today, the teacher offered him lots of options, which he rejected until she mentioned that he could come and play with animals. When Cara and I got there to pick him up (after her very successful first day of first grade), he was playing with animals again. He brought us an alligator. He brought us a cat. He brought us a lion. He had a very threatening-looking gorilla in his other hand, which he would not give to anyone. Finally, I asked them to bribe him with Cheerios. That worked. We went home animal-free.

Over at the Loefflers', he had a small bowl of goldfish crackers, of which he ate a considerable amount. Then, finding it on the floor, he spilled it. Two fish were crushed. I sent him away and picked the crumbs up. He came back, and he deliberately spilled the fish again and began to gleefully crush them all over. I was horrified.

We ended up going out to dinner to celebrate the first day of school. Owen insisted on bringing Bad Kitty, which is far larger than the books we prefer to take with us. "Up-po, up-po!" There is a hippo on one page. (He also likes The Tale of the Mighty Knights, solely because they ride horses on one page.) At the table, I eventually got out for him the plastic animals we had in the bag. I got out a camel. I got out a giraffe. He was happy to see them. He looked back down at the bag. "Vuh-vuh!" There was no zebra, there, though! He kept asking, but I couldn't help him.

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