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Journal Key:

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

9/8/11 (Thursday)

Tonight I had the kids while Evelyn went to her first Back to School of the year. Today Owen learned how to climb onto the couch in the living room. He does it by getting a leg up from his Elmo couch. He spent a lot of time flopping around on the couch, then slipping off and then climbing back on. Actually he did that very happily while Cara and I were eating dinner, which was convenient (he wasn't so easy to deal with this morning!). After that I told him it was time for his tub and he happily climbed upstairs.

Last night when I was reading to him, Owen was making some animal noise or other and leaning his head back into me, when suddenly he stopped and said "Bunny!" He had noticed the bunnies painted on the wall of his room, behind the glider. It was a funny moment. Tonight he helpfully provided a scream for the troll in Three Billy Goats Gruff as the troll plummeted to his doom.

9/9/11 (Friday)

Poor, poor Cara is sick, on the weekend when Grandma Anne has come up from Florida! Owen and I were the only ones who went down to Middletown to see everyone. I was a little bit apprehensive because of how clingy he had been the last time we were there, but he was wonderful. They certainly have enough animals for him to play with! He told us all of the animal noises, he brought animals to people (well, mainly to me), he played chase, he looked at books, he was generally charming. He was sociable and active.

We did some roughhousing on the couch, and Owen got my phone. The thing claims that it's locked when it's not slid open, but it totally isn't. Fortunately, the last person I'd been texting with was Steve. Owen managed to call him. "Al-llo! Al-llo!" I'd tried reaching in to press the hang-up button, but Owen knows that people want to get phones from him and he fights hard to keep us away. So Steve got to talk to Owen on the phone. It never occurred to Owen to put the phone to his head; he just fooled around, waving it in the air while I tried to explain to Steve (I'm pretty impressed that he heard me), and Steve got to say hi. Owen did seem to notice that Daddy was talking from the phone, but it didn't attract too much of his notice; he was busy just having the phone.

A few miracles occurred. There were several glasses of water on the coffee table, and nothing happened to them. After dinner, Grandmama brought a bowl of water to Owen and held it on his tray. She had him dip his hands in it, and then she took it away and brought back a towel to wipe him dry. I still do not see why he didn't slam his hands in and splash the water everywhere. What happened?? Then, the two of them went over to play in the living room. He had some horses. There they were, giving the horses long drinks from the water glasses. It was only later, when Grandmama had gone away and I was there, that it occurred to Owen that it would be a lot of fun to shake one of those glasses.

9/10/11 (Saturday)

Cara was feeling much better this morning, thankfully, but was still running a fever. So again Evelyn took Owen down to Middletown to visit and Cara and I stayed at home. But first, before that happened, I got to take Owen to his first gymnastics class! The class is called "Kid Fit" and it's in the same place where Cara used to have her classes, except it's for toddlers. The parents and kids get their own little room that is filled with fun cushy steps, balance beams, tubes, slides, mats, and more. The teacher had us all do a warmup routine and then we had three different "circuits" we were supposed to put the kids through. They had to climb up this, then walk across that, then slide down there, and so on. A lot of the routines were beyond Owen, but the room and equipment were really fantastic, and the teacher was realistic enough to know there was going to be a lot of free-form play. Owen particularly liked the slides. There was a big one that he would climb up, then get right to the edge of the slide, and then start to say, "No, no," and back off. But with my help he went down several times. The other one was choo-choo shaped, with the cowcatcher doubling as the slide. That one was nice and small, but he had to climb a ladder of sorts to get to the slide, which was a new and interesting challenge.

We both had fun climbing around on all the squishy things, and I know he's going to really enjoy his classes. He had two moments that he really didn't enjoy this time, but I think he'll grow into them. The first was when the teacher tried to get him to lay down so that he could roll down a wedge. This was very upsetting for him. The second thing that upset him was what will hopefully become the most fun: the trampoline! The little kids got to go out into the big main gym and try out the built-in trampolines they have. I also got to sort of try it out, because Owen wouldn't even stand on it without me there. I sort of wish I was taking this class, actually.

Owen felt very much at home at Grandmama's house today, having just been there yesterday. He was a real charmer. He was very thorough in bringing animals to everyone, and he was very ready to be engaged with everyone there. He asked Grandma Anne for a potato chip (we had some sweet potato chips), and then he walked around eating them for a while. Someone suggested that he bring me one, and he did. Then he started to bring them to all of us. It was sort of, as Claire pointed out, like the brooms in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." He dipped some more things, including his hands, into an available water glass, (mostly) after GiGi let him drink out of it.

We went out on the porch after dinner, and Owen wandered around. Grandma Anne sang some songs with Owen, who participated enthusiastically with "If You're Happy and You Know It,""The Wheels on the Bus," and "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider." Grandmama brought a ball, and she and Owen started to play catch. He was fascinated to the extent that he stayed out there with her well after I'd come in. It was a great game of catch. Eventually he was sitting in a chair while she threw the ball to him, and he discovered how much fun it was to put the ball out under the arm of the chair rather than throw it back. It went on and on and on.

I am delighted and relieved to report that Owen said "rhino" this evening! For weeks, the rhino has been a hippo, perhaps some sort of deformed cousin or something. We've been working on it.

Both of my grandma's got to watch Owen take a bath and play with some animals in it. I showed him how if I squeezed the dolphin water squirted out, and he immediately tried squeezing the tiger he had. Grandma Anne helped me get him into a towel after we convinced him to come out; it was the best toweling I've participated in in a long time. Lately I've ended up just getting him out and then trying to dry him off as he runs away.

9/11/11 (Sunday)

Owen went with his daddy to get bagels this morning, and he was a very lucky boy: he came home chawing on a free bagel of his own. I was impressed that he'd been able to make a dent in it, but he actually kept working and ate more than half of the thing! Soon I got myself together and took him out with me to do groceries. In the car he had part of a mum-mum and some water. I picked up a box of these fruit-and-granola breakfast bars that he likes, and he insisted that I open it up and get him one. I let him have it bit by bit, and then, when mum-mums were rejected, I had to let him have another, bit by bit. My purse is full of mum-mum and granola bar wrappers.

He looked at his book in the car on the way to the farmer's market, and he didn't want to stop "reading" when we got there. I managed to carry him with his book open in front of him and put him into a cart that way. It's quite a large book, so I think that having the cart handle to balance it on was helpful for him. He kept looking at it and talking to it through the store, through checkout (he paused to try to put it on the conveyor, as I'd had him put something on it for me the other day), and while I put the bags in the car, but when we'd gone back to return the cart he considered himself finished.

Cara finally got to see Great-Grandma Anne today! She, Grandmama, Grandpapa, and Aunt Claire came up to the house. When Owen woke up from his nap, everyone was there. I expected him to hide in my lap for a while, but he was so used to them that he was up and about almost immediately! He was as charming as he's been all weekend; he toddled all over, he talked a lot, he played with everyone. Several times he climbed up the stairs, btu he alwasy wanted help for coming down. He sat in his booster while we had dessert. He refused to try a fig Newton, though I'd bought them specifically with the thought that they resembled his breakfast bars. Instead, he had some cheerios. Eventually his toy camel started to stamp on them.

Aunt Claire built some wonderful castles with his toy blocks for Owen to knock down. He did not disappoint. He preferred, after the first one, to use tools. He'd knock the castle down with his toy lion or with a big plastic car or something. He found it very satisfying.

After the rest of the company had left, we sat around watching a movie with Claire. It was difficult, because Owen was fairly loud. I was lying on the Elmo couch, and he was walking around. He came and sat on my stomach. "Ride," he said, "Ride Mommy." Well, if he's going to start using sentences, he deserves a ride. He got one.

9/12/11 (Monday)

I can hear Steve upstairs trying to explain to Owen that he can't read him two books at once. When I was last up there, they had just finished Corduroy's Busy Street and were about to start Go, Dog, Go, but Owen didn't want to put Corduroy down.

We played outside for a while after we came home. Eventually Owen and I went over to Juliana's, where, against my recommendation, he carried around her plaster bunny and bird. He put the bunny down, and it fell over. "Uh-oh!" He likes to knock things over and say that. Soon enough, though, he threw the bunny on the driveway, hard. The ear broke off. "Uh-oh!" Em and I rescued the bunny. I told Owen no. I showed him the broken bunny. Juliana told him it had a boo-boo. I put it on the steps to get fixed, and when he tried to go up there, I took him off. When we were in the house a little later, Steve reports that Owen was very concerned about it and went around saying "Bunny uh-oh!" Poor little guy.

When Owen is done with something, he does not like to have it anymore. When he is done with his drink, he often insists on handing it to us rather than putting it down. When he is done with the food on his tray, he likes to hand that to us, too. Tonight he was having some Cheerios, and much excitement ensued. He had some already, but he really wanted to reach his hand into the box to take some to eat, like Daddy. He also fed Steve several; once Steve wasn't looking, and Owen sat there saying "AAh! AAh!" until Daddy turned around and opened up. When he decided that he was really done, while we scrambled for something to wipe his hands (after cantaloupe) and to get ready to take him out, he very urgently desired to hand his remaining Cheerios to one of us, one by one by one. It really helped when Steve just took them all from him.

9/13/11 (Tuesday)

We had a really nice playdate with the twins today. They both like to play with Owen, and he was fairly friendly with them. He was playing with his Noah's ark with Lina, and he must have done something she liked. "Good job, Owen!" she said. "If you were a dog, I'd give you a dog treat!"

Owen ate a whole piece of pizza, minus the crust, and was mainly very pleasant to everyone. He did get clingy towards the end, though. The way that his clinginess was different from usual was that he very urgently wanted to have both Daddy and Mommy. At one point he was in Steve's arms, clinging desperately to me. I'm pretty sure he was glad to go to sleep this evening.

9/14/11 (Wednesday)

Owen has charmed the ladies who work at the before-school daycare program at Cara's elementary school. The first couple of days, I would put him down for a moment and then pick him up again right away, after I'd signed Cara in. But yesterday I let him walk along next to me, and he earned a chorus of, "Oh, he's so cute!!" This morning it was more of the same. I do believe he's been giving them some of his flirtatious looks as well.

He's been a bit resistant to letting me leave him at YBR in the mornings. It used to be that you would put him into one of the bucket seats in the main room and leave him with some toys or some Cheerios. Now, when I try to put him into the seat, he splays his legs out so they won't fit through the holes. Miss Sandi had the clever idea of putting him at the "big kids table," which is just like Cara's little table in her playroom. He got a basket of toys and got to sit on a normal chair, which was acceptable.

Tonight was playdate! The three bigger kids did something which I found rather impressive. Before dinner, they got out a board game, which we told them they couldn't play on the floor of the living room, and couldn't play just then, because dinner was about ready. So after dinner, they actually put the game up on a table and actually all played it! I expected them to change their minds and go do something else, but they stuck to their intention. Owen, meanwhile, showed us it was definitely his bedtime by managing to fall over about five times in as many minutes.

He was still not quite ready to go to bed, though. While Mommy was reading to him, I started Cara's shower. Owen was excited by the sound of running water and wandered into the bathroom, where he expectantly picked up his hippo bath toy. But we didn't let him get into the shower.

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