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Journal Key:

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

11/10/11 (Thursday)

We met at the park for therapy, because it was still just warm enough. With daylight savings, though, it was dark by the time we left! Owen ran us around and went down some "whee"s. He actually went through a tunnel, too, which was a challenge because it sort of curved up and then down. Karen gave him a little support to keep him from sliding back down on her end, and I kind of caught him on mine.

The other week we tried to teach Owen how to climb onto the couch by himself, but he's really not tall enough. At the park, though, the benches are the right height! I helped him put his leg up, and with just a little cueing he could climb onto the seat. This evening I tried taking a seat cushion off the couch. He can climb up easily that way, but it really may be too easy for him to learn anything and it tempts Cara to build forts.

Karen and I had a talk about Owen's progress, including what the speech therapist who saw him last week thought. Physical-therapy-wise, the real goal is for Owen to master walking up and down stairs holding onto only one hand. I think he's supposed to be able to do a stair or two on his own by the time he's two. Karen needs to work with me some more on technique, and we need to practice more at home. The speech therapist, overall, was happy with Owen. She said that he ought to be using a lot more two-word sentences by the time he's two, though. We had brought a snack, so we worked hard to try to get Owen to ask for "more bunnies." The only result was frustration, really. Karen suggests that if we don't see more sentences by mid-December, we should start looking into speech therapy.

The biggest news of the day, though, happened at the park: Owen said "Cara!" Finally. He was definitely pleased with himself.

This evening, after dinner, the kids went out to play in the living room. Cara got a blanket for peek-a-boo. "Where's Cara?" we heard her asking. "Where Cara go?" Owen asked. Cara was getting very frustrated because he wasn't finding her, but when we pointed out that she'd just gotten him to say a three-word sentence, that helped. When Steve went upstairs to start the bath, I was trying to get Owen to want to go and find him. "Where's Daddy?" I asked. Owen looked around. "Where Daddy go?"

After the bath, I had Owen on his changing table. He stood up to talk about his mural. There's a squirrel on a tree right there, and he patted it. "Up, up," he said. "Tree." Then, "run."

11/11/11 (Friday)

Cara and I picked Owen up early and brought him down to meet Grandmama at the Monmouth Museum. It was his first time getting to play there, and of course he loved it. His favorite part was probably the little area that has green strips of cloth hanging down like seaweed; he and Grandmama liked walking through there and batting at the seaweed. There's one part of the elevated area where the floor is clear plastic and you can see down into an undersea-themed diarama. Owen would not step on the plastic. He spent a lot of time in the little rubber dinghy, too, which Grandmama and Cara both bounced for him. Well, Cara was bouncing from inside.

I hadn't been at all concerned about getting him to leave, but when my mom pointed out that he might not be eager to leave such a fun place, I could see her point. In the end, though, I had a very powerful weapon on my side. I asked him whether he wanted to go and see GiGi. He came right away.

There were a few strangers at GiGi's house, but Owen did fine. "Hi, GiGi," he said. She got to give him a hug and a kiss. He played with lots of interesting things that he was allowed to touch and amused himself by walking away down the hall and then coming back. I was glad we were able to get over there. It got late fast, though, and soon it was time to go "howm," to "Daddy."

11/12/11 (Saturday)

Owen had a big breakthrough in gymnastics this morning--at least that's how I felt about it. When we started warmups, he actually did them himself! I've always had to at least prompt him before, but this time all it took was the teacher doing the exercises for him to start into it. I was really proud of him. Unfortunately the other landmark event was that Owen finally found the courage to go down the slide that leads into the little ball pit. He promptly fell over and got stuck in the balls, and made a lot of noise as I floundered half into the pit to hoist him out of it. But he continues to do better every week.

The big event of our afternoon was that Uncle Jim came up with Griffin. We all got to hang out and had a lovely time together. Owen and Griffin didn't really have much to do with each other, even though most of the time they were in the same room. But I was glad to see that Griff was comfortable and got to business right away with toys and stuff. At the dinner table all three kids seemed to get pretty goofy. They were all making silly noises and faces and continuing to sit in their seats for far longer than I expected.

This evening three of us went out to see a show, and we left the little buddy with Miss Chava from YBR. He seemed a little unsure at first when she walked into the house, but within a minute he was running through all his flirting techniques, and before we left he was starting to bring her all his toys, one by one. We hear he didn't have much of a problem with our being gone.

11/13/11 (Sunday)

I took Owen to gymnastics today, for a make-up session because they were closed for Hurricane Irene. It was exciting! There were four little girls and Owen, and most of the girls were older because they just had one make-up class. Owen clearly feels comfortable there and likes being there; he had plenty of fun things to do. We really weren't able to do much of the "circuits," mainly because I couldn't really follow what we were supposed to do. He was happy just wandering around, messing with things. He climbed up the steps to a couple of slides, but he would not go down a slide! He was happy at the top, so I just waited until someone else wanted a turn and took him off.

The teacher did a few things with him; she put him backwards over a big barrel-shaped mat, she helped him do a log roll, she sort of had him do a cartwheel, and she tried to get him to "show Mommy" how he could hang from a bar. He really didn't want to do that one; he did put his hands on the bar, which she said is better than he used to do! He really doesn't use his arms for much, I realized: he doesn't pull himself up onto things well, and he doesn't make use of railings on stairs. When Karen and I have tried to show him how to climb things at the park that require him to hold on, he doesn't do it. Those would be good things for him to do! I wonder whether Karen has ideas.

I thought maybe his no-slide policy had to do with having been traumatized by the ball pit yesterday, so I took him into the ball pit for a bit. He sat in my lap, and I basically showed him the it was fun to wave my feet around in the balls. He was willing to admit that it was fun, and he tried it a little, but if I tried to lower him deeper than about his shins or take him off of my lap, that was not fun. I think it was progress, though. I have to try to think of places to take him that have ball pits!

Going on the big trampoline was fun. Owen definitely loves the train ride at the end as much as Steve has said he does. After that, too, he showed that he very clearly understood the routines of the class: it was time to go and get his hands stamped!

After Owen's nap we went and saw GiGi. Owen clearly feels that he owns the place now; he's walking all over. He hasn't come up with too many move sentences, but he's definitely got complete command of the "Where _____ go?" idea. Where Daddy go? Where Cara go? Where Mommy go? Where Oh-wee go? He sometimes asks when he can't see one of us for a moment, he sometimes asks when one of us leaves the room, and he sometimes asks when we're standing right there. It's a wonderful, full-body game of peek-a-boo. It can go on, and on, and on, and on . . . .

11/14/11 (Monday)

It was back to routine for us all, as Cara had to go back to school after having last week off! Owen helped out by sleeping until well after seven. I didn't even see him in the morning, so his outfit was a surprise to me. It wasn't a particularly special outfit, until Steve told me that Owen had picked out his shirt himself.

We spent a lot of time today discussing where people were. Where Daddy go, asked Owen as we pulled onto Nancy Circle. I explained that Daddy wasn't home yet. Then I saw that Daddy was home, and I had to backpedal. Where Daddy go, Owen asked again. Then he answered. Daddy home.

11/15/11 (Tuesday)

Owen brought his lion out of bed this morning and played with it while I got him dressed. I brought them both to my room and let them play on the big bed. In a few minutes Owen pushed the lion away and told me "no more." I asked whether he wanted it to go back to his bed. Yes. On my way out, I stopped and showed it to him, just to confirm that he didn't want it anymore. "Bye-bye!" he told the lion.

It's really nice that Owen can finally say "Cara." He's making up for lost time, too. We've always known that he's been fascinated by her, but now we get to hear about it, too. Where Cara go? When she walks into the room, he says, "Cara!" Tonight at dinner he did his traditional roll call, "Daddy! Mommy!" and then, very pleased with himself, "Cara!"

Steve has discovered a very important secret. If we don't give Owen much yogurt in his bowl, he can't make a really big mess with it. It's now safe to feed him yogurt at times other than right before his bath.

11/16/11 (Wednesday)

Today Owen had a routine checkup with his ear tube doctor. We all of us got up a little earlier than usual so I could get him to the office in time. He has his tubes checked every six months, and I was reminded very forcefully of just how long that is for Owen. In the waiting room is a big wooden cube with lots of little pegs and things that you can move around. The last time we were there, I remembered that Owen could barely stand up against it and I had to stand behind him while he messed with it. This time, of course, he wandered on over and walked all around it, very fascinated. He was quite upset to be trapped in the examination room afterwards, and I was pretty sure that when he walked to the door and gestured that he wanted me to take him back to the waiting room and his cube.

Eventually though he got his tubes checked and they look fine. Apparently those little tubes could still be hanging around in there for another couple of years! On the long drive back he was a bit cranky, then quiet, but I was still surprised when I pulled up to YBR and discovered that he'd fallen asleep. It wasn't yet his nap time. I had to wake him up to take him in. Later, when I came to pick him up, Miss Vina told me how surprised they all were that Owen had not slept at all, all day! I guess the break from his routine really messed him up. He fell asleep on the short car ride home!

Fortunately it was playdate night tonight, so all the kids running around kept him fully awake, until I took him up for bedtime. Have we mentioned lately that Owen has become somewhat obsessed with Curious George? His particular favorite was Curious George Gets a Medal, since it has a nice extended scene at a farm which concludes with George riding on the back of a moo-moo. The later parts of the story, where George visits a museum, knocks over a giant dinosaur statue, and becomes the world's first space monkey, are all anticlimactic in comparison to that farm scene. The book was unavailable last night, however, which resulted in a tragic scene where Owen wandered the upstairs hall, saying "Jurj? Where jurj go?" Fortunately he was willing to read the original Curious George. In fact, I had to read it to him three times in a row.

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