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Journal Key:

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

9/22/11 (Thursday) Happy birthday, Steve!

The first thing Owen did when Karen got here was to look in her bag for Elmo. She had to go out to the car to get her Elmo toy. Karen had a trainee with her today, and I think that that made Owen a little shy. His reaction was to keep bringing toys to Karen. She got a helicopter, a horse, a zebra, a few bunnies, Elmo, and the rhino.

One thing we tried was letting Owen color; he used the set of big crayons I'd bought him, and Karen's pen got in there, too, somehow. Soon afterwards, Karen had to write her notes on today. The problem was, Owen really wanted her pen. She was able to get it from him without a meltdown, somehow. He grabbed a bunny toy, as if in revenge, and tossed it at her. (He's been using his tossing skills in place of his giving-things-nicely skills lately. Fortunately, this was a very small bunny.) Then he went and got another toy and brought it to her. She paused and put down her pen, and he immediately darted in and grabbed it. He seems to have developed a rudimentary system of barter.

For Steve's birthday, we went to Taco Bell. Owen enjoyed walking under a counter that had no apparent purpose but to be just the right height for him. We brought the food home, and everyone enjoyed it except Owen, who refused to eat anything but fruit for dinner. I'd offer him a fork loaded with, say, beans, and he'd take it and put it down on his tray, just to get me to stop offering it to him.

When I read to him before putting him down, I tried Moo, Baa, La La La, at Steve's suggestion.

Me: The cow says . . .

Owen: Mmmmm.

Me: The sheep says . . .

Owen: Baaaaaa.

Me: Three singing pigs say . . .

Owen: Lalala!

He kept it up throughout the book. We'll have to get the video camera to work on that one of these days!

9/23/11 (Friday)

I don't know why it's taken us this long to discover the Perfect Family Fun Night. (At least, it's perfect for some of us.) Steve gets home from work early, and around five he picks up the kids. They drive down to Chili's, and I meet them there, having worked late. We have dinner and then hit Barnes and Noble.

Owen and I hung out at B&N. In the discount books section, there's a book with hard plastic puppies embeded in it. Owen likes dogs, so I keep thinking it'll be right up his alley--I've shown it to him several times--but he's distracted by one dog, a fluffy white poodle which he believes is a sheep. Eventually I led him over to the toy section. He likes this big display of eco-toys that are all animals. Last time, he got out eight or ten and then I got him to clean them up. This time he got out fewer and walked farther with them. He brought two to the train table, where our path converged with that of another 20-month-old boy. He had just come all the way from the book section, rolling along two books that were shaped like a truck and a bus and which had wheels. The boys had a lot in common. I had a nice chat with his mom, while they sort of played trains and sort of played with the things they'd brought along. Each of them was willing to hand toys to either mother, but both got upset if the other boy took one. However, each was willing to give something back if the taking of it was upsetting to anyone.

Owen did spend some time playing trains happily. His speech therapy really shows sometimes: he really likes ready-set-go! This evening, I realized that he was saying "ready!" I would say, "set!" Then he could say "GO!"

9/24/11 (Saturday)

Another week of gymnastics. This morning, the attendance at Owen's class was almost double what it has been--a few people trying it out, maybe. Owen did show some progress. On his forward roll, he really seemed to be leaning towards having fun rather than being upset. The teacher managed to put him into a handstand position, which we didn't really try last week (he didn't like it). And he did better on the big trampoline than he's ever done. Previously I've gone out onto it with him and he's been upset if I tried to leave. This time I was able to step back and watch him bounce a few times. He even did a "popcorn," which is when the teacher sits the kid on the trampoline and then does a quick twitch to make them pop up.

Owen still very particularly loves to get into the empty middle part of their polygon mat, saying "In, in!" He even got possessive about it when other kids came by.

This afternoon a very curious thing happened. Owen was dragged up to his room for naptime. He had not eaten a good lunch and was very resistant to going upstairs, but Ev finally got him up in his room and started reading The Three Billy-Goats Gruff to him. His cup was resting against her arm, and eventually it kind of slid down, and she realized that he had actually fallen asleep while being read to. Go figure!

After he woke up, we went down to Middletown where there was a very nice birthday celebration for me. Owen is quite comfortable at the house now and had a good time playing with all the toys and wandering about the house.

9/25/11 (Sunday)

A long day! I gave Evelyn the day off and took the kids down to South Jersey to celebrate my birthday (again!) and Jim's and Sarah's birthdays. We met at Friendly's, where most of us had a good time, but where poor Owen was just not happy. Too many strange circumstances, I can only assume, and he also is still not quite over his cough. His Grandmom kept him happy by taking him to a bench in the front of the restaurant and showing him books while Cara kept him company.

Back at Jim and Sarah's house, Owen was much more comfortable. Griffin's play room has a whole lot of excellent toys that he was very pleased to play with--and Griffin decided to take his nap just then, which didn't give them a lot of time to play together but made sure there were no sharing issues. Owen was also thrilled to see Floyd the greyhound. Floyd did a better job at keeping away from Owen than our cats do, but Owen did manage to dive onto Floyd's bed multiple times. It is very curious how careful and slow he is about most physical things, and yet he will fearlessly fall onto things and into people.

9/26/11 (Monday)

I picked Owen up early today to take him in to see the pediatrician, just to check, and we came away with oral antibiotics and eye drops. He really didn't like getting examined by the doctor, but he did get a free diaper and it had a zebra on it, on the front where he could see it. I like to think that that made up for things. He's mostly fine, really; he's just got a juicy cough, a runny nose, and eyes that are starting to get runny.

We embarked on an afternoon of adventure. First we hit the pharmacy, where Owen really liked playing with a display of toy cars. They were very nice cars. We made some of them go, and no one stepped on them and broke a leg! There were pillow pets, and one was a giraffe. I liked it. Owen liked it. I asked whether he wanted to have it. No.

We went to pick Cara up, and she and her ABC class (After- and Before-Care) were playing outside. We joined them on the playground. Owen enjoyed swinging, but he was more excited about walking around and climbing and seeing all the kids. He had a nice talk with PJ about what sheep say. He climbed all the way up and went down the big twisty slide all by himself several times. He was very taken with a toy cow that a girl had left on the playset. She agreed that he could play with it as long as he didn't chew on it. I preferred to keep it out of his hands. After she left, he wanted to know where the mow-mow was. I told him that it had gone home. I'm not sure that any of it would count as a sentence, but he said a lot of "mow-mow," "oh no," and "home." There are two playgrounds outside Lindeneau, and we played at both. When it was time to go, Owen wasn't ready. Cara and I had to both walk a little way away, and he stood there crying and finally came to us.

Cara got to unlock the front door and go inside, but Owen and I went right over to see Juliana. He went straight to the bunny that he broke the other week, and he stood there looking at it with both hands behind his back. I talked with him about petting the fake animals gently. The only one he picked up was a little red bird, and when I told him "no," he gave it to Juliana. He did have a good time, though: it's still really funny to walk up and down her front walk. Cara came out with her scooter, which fascinates Owen. He would very much like to ride it. After we eventually actually went home, she didn't put it in the basement right away and he and the scooter fell over: he had his hands on the handlebars and at least one foot on the base. Once he had recovered, I let him stand on it and hold on and have a tiny ride. I'm pretty sure it wasn't as exciting as he'd thought it would be.

Steve worked late and got home just as we started dinner. Owen got to have his daddy help him get ham onto his forks, but then I gave him a bath. When Steve came up afterwards, Owen was very, very happy to see him. There were many embraces and much head-butting and a lot of "hi, Daddy!"

9/27/11 (Tuesday)

It was McTeacher Night in North Brunswick, so I picked up both kids and off we went. Cara remembers last year, so she was very excited. Owen doesn't remember, so he wasn't excited until we got there. Both kids, though, like a crowd. Cara liked meeting people and was excited about seeing my kids, and Owen was just excited. We sat down and ate there this time, which was fun. Owen seems to be excited about the word "mine," so he claimed ownership of his food very triumphantly. We've reached a good phase: I was able to just sort of eat my food, while Cara ate ten chicken nuggets and Owen ate two (he used a two-handed method) and they both ate some fries. It was actually relaxing.

Outside the window Cara had seen some kids walking on low walls, so we had to hang around the McDonald's patio for a while. She walked on the walls, and Owen toddled around with his sippy cup, clearly thinking that what she was doing was amazing and brilliant. He was gleeful. It was hard to tear him away.

Back at home, we were all happy to see Steve. The boys went upstairs for Owen's bath. The bath got run, Owen got stripped, and . . . he wasn't quite ready to get in. "Mommy!" He came hurrying to the top of the stairs, and I went up for a quick hug. "Daddy!" he headed back, ready for the tub--or not! "Mommy!" Back he came. To simplify things, I came up to the bathroom too, just until he got into the water.

9/28/11 (Wednesday)

A few things from the morning:

Owen took an empty milk container out of the recycling can. He showed it to me. “Wah-doo,” he said. He wandered off and put it on the couch. He came back and got a Listerine bottle out of the recycling bin. “Wah-doo.”

“Do you want your water?” I asked. I found him a sippy cup in the living room that already had water in it. “No.” It turned out what he really wanted was juice.

Cara brought down a wooden box filled with various items, which she seemed to want to bring to school with her. I told her it had too many small things that could be lost, so she should just take one thing out of the box and bring that. She chose two small things, one of which was a little red stuffed dog keychain thing. It was a tiny thing with arms and legs that was red. “Elmo!” said Owen.

He’s still a bit whiny but I think he’s much more back to himself now than he was. He did some flirting with the ABC ladies. I think I also managed to leave him without hearing any screaming this morning.

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