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Journal Key:

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

1/12/12 (Thursday)

I picked Owen up at YBR and asked him who he thought we were going to see. Cara! He was very excited. Soon, though, he was talking about Karen. He was in a hurry to go see her. We stopped at Lindeneau to get Cara, and he was upset. "No! Karen!!" I had to try to explain that we'd see her next.

Karen is working on a final assessment of Owen, so we had a lot of things to check. I think that when I take him for his well visit next week, a lot of these will be on the big developmental checklist. Karen had a set of big beads to get him to try to string, blocks to stack up, and some coloring projects to do. When she handed Owen a bead and string, the first thing he did was to try to stick the string in the hole. After that, though, he really was more interested in destroying things than in putting them together. I think he did enough that she counted it as a success.

At this age, Owen should be able to stack six to eight blocks on top of each other. We're pretty sure that he can. We got him to do six, but really his interests were in knocking things down. With explosion noises.

The drawing tests were interesting. If we drew a line up and down, would he copy it? A line from left to right? A circle? He managed all of those, vaguely--his pronunciation of "circle" is better than his drawing of one! Also, who knew making a line was so challenging? The next and biggest test, which I think was really for older kids, was whether he could copy when we drew a line up and down and then a line from left to right across it. No, not really. He also refused to imitate Karen when she folded her paper in half.

A lot of these things are just sort of things we've never done with him. He doesn't really do doorknobs, but he hasn't had a lot of chances to. He doesn't take his shoes or socks off; I don't think he's interested. He tested at around 22 months, which, whether or not we take into account the two months he was early (which expire next Wednesday!) means he graduates! He's in the normal developmental spectrum.

After Karen left, I remembered about the car ride home with Cara, during which we'd been listening to and talking about The Pirates of Penzance. Owen had surprised us by also talking about pirates and the pirate king. I put on our dvd of the show, and he was interested and watched it, off and on, while we had leftovers for dinner. When Daddy brought him out, after his bath, to say good-night, he said it to the pirates, too.

1/13/12 (Friday)

This morning, when he was finishing up his breakfast, Owen said, "Robot!" Then, "Robot, Ewok!" Soon he added, "Woooookieeee!" Now, that really makes it sound as if he wanted to watch Return of the Jedi, but I don't think he's really seen it. It's more likely that he wanted to watch someone play Lego Star Wars. Really, no one was available for that. (Had I been more awake at the time, I would have realized, as I did just now, that Owen was thinking of his Star Wars book, What is a Wookiee?)

For Family Fun Night we all met at Chili's. Owen went through at least four forks. First he had two, and he would eat chicken on one and pine-APP-le on the other. He took mine with some of my broccoli. This evening really saw his most successful attempts to eat with two forks at once, putting both into his mouth simultaneously. Generally he would get them crossed, so that one went into his mouth and the other kind of onto his cheek, but several times he almost got both in--if only his mouth were bigger! Eventually those three forks went onto the ground and he got the one I'd been eating off of to replace mine (good thing they give you two forks per person!), but he tossed that one, too, and took another.

He was kind of antsy, so Owen and I went home ahead of Steve and Cara. We were listening to the Fratellis, but he started talking about pirates and telling me that he was a pirate king, so I promised that we could watch the pirates when we got home. I sang a little for him, and he picked it right up. As I carried him into the house, he was saying, "Hurrah for pi-EE-ate keeng!" He really has to concentrate to approximate that R!

1/14/12 (Saturday)

The little buddy was very trying today. He seems to have been rather irritable for the last few days, but he reached new heights today. We're not sure what's wrong, other than he seems to resort to screaming very quickly. But when we were out with him, he was mostly good. I finally got to take him back to gymnastics today for the first time in about a month. Unfortunately, because he'd gotten himself up early, he was asleep when I got there, and unhappy when we first got in and I had the audacity to take off his shoes. But once we got through warmups he was willing to enjoy himself. I didn't push him very hard to do his circuits, so he spent a lot of time just exploring the gym area and climbing on random things.

Owen was very limp on the trampoline, and Miss Melinda was very amused that whenever she tried to get him to jump for himself, he simply sat down on her knee instead. He of course was very happy to have the train ride at the end, and to get his stamps. After that we took a trip to the bank, where Owen set to work charming the general populace.

After his nap, Owen was completely miserable. All he wanted was Steve, but even Steve was not enough, somehow. He would follow Steve around, screaming, and then he'd keep screaming when he picked him up. Daddy wasn't Daddy enough, or something.

I decided to take him out. For one thing, he seems better out. For another, it would give Steve a break. Also, for quite a while all Owen's wanted is Daddy. I know they go through phases and everything, but still I like to try once in a while to remind him that I can be an ok person to hang out with, too!

We went to Barnes and Noble, possibly for the first time on our own (Cara had opted to stay home and watch a movie). I let him pick out a treat, and instead of a chocolate cupcake we got a "blondie" with tiny M&Ms in it. I think he liked the colors. He ate some of it, and then we went and read books. There were a few really nice ones, including a version of the Lion and the Mouse with no words at all except for roars and squeaks. We got to just look at the pictures and figure out what was going on: "Lion hold Mou," Owen told me.

When he stopped being able to sit down and focus on the books he was bringing me, we went and played in the toy section. At the train table, I asked him which one was Thomas. "I don't know Thomas," I'm pretty sure he said. We figured it out: Thomas is the blue one. He plays with the train table a lot better there than here, possibly because the tracks are nailed down. Still, it's a lot more fun for grown-ups with the tracks loose!

Of course, he also found the display of animal toys. We spent a long time there. He had the kangaroo hopping all over the store. Some of the animals got knocked onto the floor, and I made them call for help. Owen would have the tiger or the lion or the horse or someone come and save them and bring them back up. It's so cool that he can participate in imaginative play!

He definitely had a great time. He gave me a hug, possibly partly because I was sort of in his way, but I'll take it. "I love Cara . . . He-Man . . . Daddy!" he told me. At the grocery store, while I pushed him through the dairy section, he was muttering things like, "Owen want Daddy. I want Daddy. I need Daddy." Somewhere in there there I caught something about a "great guy."

1/15/12 (Sunday)

Today is the two-year anniversary of the day my water broke during fourth period and poor Hinda ended up driving me to the hospital, which she assumed would be closer than Trenton! It was an adventure. The kids didn't notice anything except that I was leaving. Then I was worried about Hinda's van, and she was freaking out but I was pretty calm. She said something like, "You can still feel the baby moving, right?" and I told her yes, it was fine, but I didn't think I could so I started to have a little private panic inside without upsetting her. Then it was fine. I had called Steve and told him to bring pants, which, really, were among the last things I'd need. I've been teaching with Hinda this year, so we've been reminiscing. It doesn't feel like two years.

Owen woke up last night around midnight, but Steve got him back down very nicely. Then he slept until seven! Today he was much better than he has been lately!

In the morning Grandmom and Grandpop came up to stay with Owen, who didn't care at all when we left, while the three of us went to a mass at St. Stanislaus in Newark. Owen was great for his grandparents, as I figured he would be: they're not nearly as boring as we are! He was napping when we got home.

I went up when Owen started to make some noise. The door was a crack open, so I could see him. He was lying with his head in the corner of the crib, facing away from me with his face in the bars. His little tush was up in the air, with a blanket over it. Once in a while, the tush would wiggle violently back and forth. He was pretty quiet, but after a minute or two he started babbling and I went in and got him.

He looked for Grandmom and Grandpop a little, but he was willing to accept that we had replaced them. We had a good afternoon.

For a treat, we went out to the mall food court. For the first time, possibly, Owen got to climb on the rides like Cara used to! He sat in every seat of every vehicle he could possibly pretend to drive. I have to imagine that it was pretty amazing for him.

1/16/12 (Monday)

Owen went to YBR today, but I picked him up early and had him home by two for a playdate with Hinda, Nicole, Leah, and Katie. After the initial introductions, we ladies sat around with the baby while Cara took care of the toddlers in the playroom. My favorite part was when she somehow convinced them to sit on either side of her while she read a book. It lasted long enough for me to get the camera and take a quick picture. They were all happy in there, and occasionally I would go in or one or another child would pop out. It was nice to see how swiftly they became a sort of herd of children.

They went home after a lovely afternoon with only the most minor of mishaps, and Owen was sad to see "Leela" go.

1/17/12 (Tuesday)

When Cara and I got to YBR to pick Owen up, the teachers said how cute it was that he knows it's his birthday tomorrow--we want to know how he knew! Apparently it had been a big topic of conversation today. First he was too distracted to pay attention, but when I was holding him and we asked again, he said, "He-Man. He-Man take." I had to tell him he wasn't going to have a He-Man cake. I think he's willing to be content with Batman!

We took Cara down to ballet and waited with her for her class. The two of them did some running around. When Cara had gone into her class I finally cornered him to put his coat on, while he yelled, "You can't get me, Cara!" He and I went to Target; he was very concerned about leaving without Cara ("Cara, come back!"), but he got over it. In the store we stopped and looked at little boys' clothes a little, and Owen picked out his own birthday shirt. It has a very pixilated, video-game style dragon on it. He loves his dragon shirt.

After dinner, when Owen was in his pajamas and ready to get read to, I told Cara it was time to go take a shower. She was not terribly pleased. Owen went running over to the gate at the top of the stairs, yelling down to her, "It's time! It's time, Cara!" Everyone really appreciated that.

1/18/12 (Wednesday) - Happy Birthday Owen!!

I hear tell that Owen was very excited when everyone at YBR sang "Happy Birthday" to him. Instead of freaking out as is sometimes done, he sat and listened and was very happy. Tonight we had the Loefflers and Juliana over and had a nice big dinner, of which Owen ate not very much. I had brought home a store-bought cake for the occasion and we sang to him again, and fortunately our singing was also well received. He had a little bit of cake before getting tired of it, and had to follow PJ upstairs when he left the table. I may regret saying this but he seemed to go to bed as usual after a couple of books (including a reading of our Scooby-Doo book which he very much enjoyed; he's working on being able to name all of the gang), and doesn't seem to have been particularly wired after the sugary dessert.

This morning, by the way, after being prompted again about whose birthday it was, Owen emphatically said "Ron! Ron!" And even after Mommy told him how old he was, he stoutly refused to repeat his age ("No Mommy!").

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