Green = Steve | George = navy | Janet = Purple | Evelyn = Black
Therapy was really good today. We worked hard on stairs, showing Owen how to use the railing to help himself. Karen had brought an Elmo toy, and Elmo used the railing, too. At the top of the stairs, we got to play with Elmo. It's a strange Elmo toy; it's sort of a Mr. Potato Head Elmo. We got to stick a pig nose and pig ears on him, and we worked on getting Owen to say "Elmo's nose" or "Elmo's ears."
Karen thinks it's important to continue to have Owen look at our mouths while we show him how to articulate things; it does help. It's interesting how he's developing clearer speech--he can say "meow" very clearly now, for one thing, and he's definitely proud of it. We looked at books and talked with Owen about what was going on in them, sort of doing an interactive reading. We want to encourage him to use two-word combinations.
At the park lately, Owen's been having a tough time going down stairs. Karen was going to give me a refresher course on taking him down stairs, but when she brought Elmo down, holding the railing, and turned around to watch, Owen took my hand and walked down like a pro.
When it was time for Karen to go, it was also time for Owen and me to go and get Cara. Owen wasn't a hundred percent sure that he was ready. "Come on, Owen," I said. "Time to get Cara." He was still distracted. "Owen, let's go get Cara!" said Karen. We all got out of the house, and we said good-bye to Karen. When I opened the car door, Owen was very upset. He thought Karen was coming, too.
Owen walked down stairs twice with me this evening. Once was pretty good; Cara and Steve watched and afterwards, unprompted, Owen put his arms up and "did his 'ta-daa'" like in gymnastics. The second time he held my hand but went down on his seat. Then he did his ta-daa.
Gymnastics morning! Owen had a nice time today. He was a little over-excited during his warm ups and didn't exactly pay full attention, but he did his favorite exercises. One of the things we got to do during circuits was doing a "log-roll" down a wedge-shaped mat. Owen was supposed to lay down with his arms stretched beyond his head and roll down like a log. He didn't exactly get the arms right, but he very much enjoyed rolling down; so much that as soon as he was done he would giggle and say "again!" and go right around to the top. (I've been working on "again" with him and I think it's sticking.) Another thing he does well at is balance beams. This week Miss Melinda had a big, long, thick balance beam on the side of the circuit area, and Owen was happy to walk along it several times. I held him under his arms with minimal support and he walked along very well.
The big trampoline was fun. Owen still needs to work on his jumping/bouncing abilities when he's on the trampoline. But the whole time that he was sitting down after his turn, he kept bouncing like crazy. I've never seen him do that before. Basically he would bounce up to a standing position and then sit down again. I thought it was funny that he seemed to be enjoying the trampoline much more after it was over.
We had a mostly wonderful afternoon. The kids and I got into the car after Owen's nap, and first we stopped at the Farmer's Market. Inspired by having been looking back at the journal and seeing that when Cara was this age we were letting her walk around in the mall, I decided to forgo the shopping cart and let Owen loose. He held my hand much more tightly and loyally than I'd thought he would; in fact, he tried to pull me around with him. When he couldn't get me to go the way he wanted to, he was not a happy boy. It was a quick stop-off, though, so we all survived.
Our real goal was Grandmama's house. I put Owen down in the driveway and pointed him in the right direction. He was excited to see everyone, but he wasn't ready to walk away from me to get to them; instead, he hid between my legs. Once we got inside, though, he was immediately at home and headed upstairs with Grandmama and Cara to see the neigh-neighs. It was a perfect grandparent-visit: we got to color and play with toy animals and eat chocolate chip cookies (Owen walked around with the evidence on his face for the rest of the day).
One thing I am very happy about is how well Owen's been doing stairs. He walked up and down with Grandmama, with one hand in hers and one on the wall. He's doing the same here with us, somewhat consistently. He's also trying to climb onto the couch the way Karen showed him to; he just needs someone to grab his leg if he's not standing on anything. He got off a couch the backwards way Karen advocates, too, today, though generally he goes frontward and keeps his balance.
We all made our way over to GiGi's house. The kids and Grandmama spent a lot of time walking around and around from the kitchen to the dining room to the living room and up the hall and to the kitchen. This evolved into a game of hide-and-seek between Cara and Grandmama; I'd be on the floor tickling Owen, and suddenly my mother would turn out to be under the table behind me, whispering that I should tell Cara she was ready. Owen occasionally participated, in a desultory way.
He had been given a cookie, a very non-messy cookie. He carried it around and gradually ate it, and then he wanted more. He was convinced that "more" was on the counter where the plate had been, but eventually we were able to convince him that the plate was on the table. GiGi gave him more. It's just now occurring to me that he must have eaten three or four cookies, because I know we worked with him on what to say. By the end, he went over and said "more cookie," and when I gave him one and then prompted him a little he said "thank you."
He was a tired boy, though, and around six he and I got into the car and headed home. Owen was happy to see Daddy when he woke up, and he got to play a little before and after dinner and before bed.
I forgot to mention yesterday that in the morning Owen had asked "where Cara go? Where Mommy go?" and I told him they were asleep. Eventually, he up and said "Cara!" and took himself upstairs, down the hall, and into Cara's bedroom, where he yelled "Cara!" triumphantly, and woke her up.
Owen slept very late this morning, until past 7:30. I took him out to the bagel place, hoping that he would get a free bagel as he sometimes does, and I was not disappointed. Being a handsome little toddler has its advantages. We took him down to Middletown to get Cara, but spent a little time going out to the park and having lunch. We were telling Owen he was going to see Grandmama and Grandpapa, and when we pulled up he said something that sounded like "Papa." Later he was in the dining room and looked up at a portrait of George hanging on the wall. "Grandpa," he said. Of course it also sounds a lot like "Bah-bah," but it's pretty obvious from context that he's not talking about sheep.
Evelyn and I remembered today how much we used to hold Cara by the hands and swing her between us. She got to loving it so much that when she wanted it, she would become a dead weight in our hands and we'd be dragging her along. We tried it with Owen and he definitely enjoyed it. Hopefully it will be a while before he gets too heavy to swing like that.
Owen did not sleep on the way to Middletown and only slept for part of the drive home. By that time it seemed too late in the afternoon to try to put him down for a real nap. Ev went out to do some chores and the kids and I hung out. I ended up going outside to vacuum out our car a little, and Owen came out with me. For reasons that I no longer recall, he was wearing a straw cowboy hat. He wandered around like that for a while and then I put him in the car so he could crawl around inside. It was exciting.
The kids were good until Mommy came home. At dinner, though, Owen decided to throw his spoon on the floor a few times, and finally took to smearing the food from his spoon on the high chair. Clearly it was bath time. Afterward we had a Curious George-a-thon--three books in a row.
Owen is getting better and better at mimicking words, and learning new words. He now knows "switch," which I have to tell him to do all the time with things he has in his hands so that I can strap him into things or put a jacket on him. Also today I was reading him a counting book. When I got up to the "nine" page and counted up to nine, Owen replied, "ten."
Having taken advantage of not being swamped at work, I was able to actually spend some time with the kids before dinner. They mostly played downstairs. I was helping Cara with something when she told Owen to be gentle. I looked over and saw him standing by the papasan, where Buster had been sleeping. Buster was sort of reared back, with her paws up in front of her. Things did not look good. Owen put his head down basically on her stomach; when I got there, Buster mainly looked confused. Owen finished, and she left. I feel that I'm deeply in her debt.
I did have to spend some time in the kitchen, and Owen came upstairs. He headed right out to the living room and stood by the computer desk, calling "rhino! rhino!" I did not turn on the computer and go to youtube for him. We read a book instead. Finally it was dinner time! (Both kids liked salmon.) When Owen was done, Steve let him loose. "Rhino!" cried Owen. He marched back out to the computer and pretty much had a tantrum. He yelled and cried for a good five minutes while we kept eating. It was weird to be in a position where we couldn't give in and use the computer!
Owen wandered back and sat with Steve to eat a little more, and eventually he asked, plaintively, "Rhino?" Steve taught him to say "rhino please" and went to find some videos. We figure that the please and the non-screaming nature of the question are a good enough compromise.
He's really been taking off, language-wise. The YBR ladies have been commenting on it all week, saying that he's using his words more and that when they ask him to he will articulate his needs. He's also imitating them more. He was also very nice to a baby and brought lots of things to her. He's running for toddler of the year.
Steve worked late and it was rainy, so the kids and I had an evening on our own. They split a package of bagel bites for dinner, while I had leftovers. Just as two kids meals at restaurants are the right size for the pair of them, so is a package of bagel bites. They had pepperoni on them, so I'm somewhat relieved that Owen ate them! I cut them up and he got a bite at a time on his fork. The only problem was that Cara wanted to get to feed him, and he wanted me to load his fork. He had some applesauce afterwards, and he cracked himself up repeatedly by asking me to help him, holding his spoon out, and then pulling it away when I reached for it. Clearly, the question "who gets to load Owen's eating utensil?" was in the forefront of our minds all evening.
After dinner, I called Grandpapa. Both kids were right there; Owen was squealing over something or other, and I asked him to say hi to Grandpapa. "Hi, Damba! Hi, Damba!" Owen liked saying that. It went on for kind of a while. Cara actually got onto the phone to tell Grandpapa about the first grade pow-wow that she went to yesterday. "Hi, Damba!" added Owen.
Ev and I both managed to get home early from work today, so we both went to get the kids. Owen was thrilled to see us both. He has become quite obsessed with the computer--he's always wandering over there when he's in the living room and saying "Rhino!" I didn't have time to show him anything this morning but we had a little bit of "rhino" time tonight. We watched some baby rhino footage, but he actually becomes bored of it pretty quickly. We also watched various other baby animals, and listened to panthers howling. It was sad when we had to go to his bath.
Owen has a little cold. The only advantage to it that I've discovered is that it's much easier to brush his teeth: he has to breathe through his mouth, so he keeps it open while I'm brushing him instead of clenching his teeth on the brush. After brushing comes his nightly dose of Curious George, which was followed this time by a look at our Muppet Dictionary. The baby muppets take us through simple definitions of many words, with hundreds of pictures to help. When we came across a picture of a monkey, Owen pointed and said, "George!"