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Journal Key:

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

3/22/12 (Thursday)

This morning when I dropped Owen off, Miss Melissa asked me if Owen talks a lot before he goes to sleep at night. I said no, not particularly. Turns out that every day at naptime, when they put Owen down, he talks and talks and talks. She described them having to keep telling Owen that it was time to be quiet. But he just keeps talking until suddenly he stops, having finally dropped off. I pictured him collapsing in mid-sentence.

Tonight we all got home at around the same time, so I got to see Owen drag his lunch box from the driveway over to the front door. He doesn't actually carry his lunch box in the mornings--I guess he's used to me doing it. We got Owen's bike and Cara's scooter out and they wandered up and down the sidewalk a little bit. Owen is content walking his bike along, sort of like Fred Flinstone. He likes to know where Cara is.

At dinner, Owen was talking about a farm. We assumed he'd played with one at school today. "Did you play with a coooww?" Cara asked, loudly and deliberately. "What does a cow say?" They both agreed that the cows say "moo," but Cara demonstrated that she could make a lowing sound without opening her mouth. "I say, 'mooo!'" Owen replied.

3/23/12 (Friday)

Owen often offers to share food with me, but it's a long time since he's actually given me anything: he generally pulls it back and laughs. Today at YBR, though, he gave me one of the two crackers they gave him. Of course, his hands were visibly filthy at the time. One of the teachers washed them before we left.

"I want to see the farm," Owen told me as we walked through Highland Park. "Grandma walks to the farm." Cara also, he told me, goes to the farm. So do I! We may be able to gratify this wish tomorrow. I wonder what he thinks when we say the word "tomorrow."

When we got to the car, I happened to get a view inside Owen's left ear. It turned out that his hands were not the only part of him that encountered the earth today! It looked as if his ear were somehow in a very dark shadow; it was full of black dirt, even back into the ear canal. I'd never seen anything like it.

I showed Steve when we got home.

Steve: Owen, did you fall down?

Owen: No.

Steve: Did you put something in your ear?

Owen: Yes.

Steve: What?

Owen: Dirt.

Five minutes later I asked him about it again and he denied everything. Before his bath I cleaned out his ear with a wipe. It must have tickled or something, because he really enjoyed it.

3/24/12 (Saturday)

We had a long and busy and good day. In the morning we drove down to Pennsylvania for Em's birthday party, which was at a Mexican restaurant. Poor Owen was pretty sure we were going to the farm. This was not helped by Steve's reading aloud The Book of Three, which in its first chapter includes the word "farm" and the mention of various farm-related items. (Oddly, during a non-farm-related part, Owen said "oh no" exactly where it made sense for someone to say "oh no.")

He spent most of the party sitting on Steve's lap, but Owen got to go outside with each of us. He liked running up and down the sidewalk of the strip mall and climbing onto and off of the benches. We ran back and forth and stopped to look at the flowers in the planters. Heading back to the restaurant, Owen pushed on my leg. "Wait a minute, Mommy," he told me. I stopped. He ran in through the door so that he could pop back out and surprise me.

For the first time, when Owen said he was "just doing something," he really was. He was doing something in his pants. I changed his diaper in the car, having reclined the passenger seat. He found it very entertaining: while I tidied up afterwards, he would climb to the top of the seat back and then scoot down, "wheee!"

After the party, we got back into the car and drove all the way across New Jersey to go to the farm. It's a good thing we were planning to do that, because I'm not sure Owen would have been willing to leave, otherwise. We were meeting Grandmama and Grandpapa there, and in the evening Owen was going to stay with Grandmama while the rest of us went out to see the One-Man Star Wars show. Owen was going to be put to bed and in fact sleep over for the first time ever!

The event began, for us, at Holmdel Park, where Owen got to revisit the farm. He made much speedier progress this time, and got all the way back to the chicken coop, which turned out to be perfect for him in terms of viewing. It was really an optimal farm visit; we even saw the cows up close - milking was in progress. Soon the eager Cara led us all to the playground area. During this portion of the day the little guy declined to let me so much as hold his hand, and I wondered what the evening would bring.

Back at home Cara made an unexpected choice to remain there with me and Owen; this turned out to be entirely a good thing for the little guy. I am pretty sure her presence was reassuring for him, and she was a great help at bedtime.

The evening passed happily. We colored and watched The Wizard of Oz. Having maxed out on snacks earlier, Owen ate little more than half a hot dog. By the time the Cowardly Lion was singing, the little guy was sitting on my lap while I removed his socks, and the tub was ready. He let me carry him into the bathroom, where I stripped him, lifted him, and swung him over the tub - "one, two, three!" and in he went. It's not a good bath unless we both get wet; this one was good, but not so good that I had to change my clothes afterward. He swam, he laughed, he sang and played with the "pirate kings," and he totally cavorted until the last drop of water had gone down the drain. He even scrubbed himself with the washcloths, which he called towels. His chin is particularly well cleaned.

No problem getting him into the pajamas - Batman. "Piderman home," he told me. We read Green Eggs and Ham, and The Circus Boat (fun finding all the animals) and Purple Pelican, and then I showed him his sleeping arrangements. "No," he whimpered. So Cara and I collaborated on a crafty plan: she lay on her bed, I laid Owen in his, and I sat and read The Hobbit to her, just as if it were her bedtime too. The little guy snuggled down and made himself comfy, and babbled on at length. After a while, Cara and I gently left him, and he cried for at least a minute, possibly two.

3/25/12 (Sunday)

It was a peaceful night.

Come morning, we all breakfasted on fresh-baked biscuits, blackberries, and scrambled eggs. This morning involved a lot of running around in circles (at one point George said it was like watching the end of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) and a good game of hide-and-seek out in the park, despite the start of a mild drizzle. Owen went upstairs all by himself to bring down Bark George; Cara provided the animal noises while I read the narrative.

His first sleepover is a success! No small thanks to his sweetheart of a big sister, who says she is willing to repeat the experience, as are we all.

Steve and I were astonished and delighted at how well the sleepover went; we'd expected more trouble. We had a normal boring weekend day here, getting laundry and things done. Around four, Owen had a very big snack. When dinner was ready, he had no interest in it whatsoever. We all sat down, but he was still playing downstairs. He wandered up and ran to his seat, but after one bite he figured it was time to go. He could not convince Steve to go with him, so he went by himself.

Soon enough, he came back. "Mommy," he said, "I need Man-e-faces!" I very nearly got up to go with him, but Steve, through a few skillful questions, established that it was all a ruse to get me to go downstairs. Owen had grabbed my hand, carefully selected a finger, and begun to use his death-grip pull, but I told him I had to eat. He went around the table. "Down-tairs, Daddy?" No, Owen, Daddy had to sit here and eat. "Down-tairs, Cara?" No, Cara was eating, too.

Owen came to his place and took one bite, after which he claimed to be "messy." I wiped his proffered finger with my napkin, which he took. He brought it downstairs. Later we found it on the train table with three He-Man figures sleeping under it.

3/26/12 (Monday)

Owen has been missing the Misses from across the street at the Infant & Toddler center. He once asked for Miss Carol by name, and there was at least one day where he pointed at the other building and said he wanted to go there. So hopefully he was thrilled today when we arrived and found that Miss Vina of the Baby Brick was visiting! It also turns out that she'll be with the older kids for a while, so that should be nice. It was hard to judge Owen's reaction since he is shy in the mornings and was busy holding hard to my pant leg.

We had a pretty quiet evening with some He-Mans and pizza. Owen has developed a rather distressing propensity for saying that everything he happens to be holding is "mine." He's very possessive. Even in the bath, the wash cloth was "mine." He also told me not to make so much noise. I have a feeling he must have some people telling him that at daycare!

3/27/12 (Tuesday)

We read three or four books at ballet, and then it was time for Owen and me to go for a walk. The parking-lot-holding-hands argument was a draw, but everything went smoothly once we got to a sidewalk. Owen stopped several times to show me the cracks between the sidewalk squares. Eventually, he found a Stick. It was a little over a foot long and somewhat curved. He could carry it. He could poke at the cracks between the sidewalk squares. He could poke at the grass. He loved his Stick.

He carried his Stick up the block, waving it around. He didn't drop it when he fell down; he didn't drop it when I carried him across the street and down the other side. When I put him down, he poked some more things. He likes a big grate over a drain in the grass there; he poked that. He brought the Stick inside, where he eventually did drop it. It got stepped on and people kept noticing it as it got under their feet. When it was time to go I sent Owen after it. He happily carried his Stick to the car.

It was hard to get him to switch hands with his Stick to buckle him up. At home, he was excited to show Daddy the Stick. Steve was delighted with it. Before dinner, we left the Stick on the couch and went to wash hands. Mercifully, Owen forgot about the Stick. It's a nice stick, though. Cara just poked Steve with it!

Why do we spend money on toys?

3/28/12 (Wednesday)

The saga of the stick continued this morning: Owen found it again and took it with him to the car. Then he took it with him into Yellow Brick Road. I explained the story of the stick to Miss Melissa, who for some reason decided that Owen should not carry a stick around inside all day. She took it and gave it to me. I'm pretty sure it's still in the front seat of my car.

This evening Owen was in a good mood. He very much enjoyed yelling "bullah!" or something of the kind and then falling over onto something. I don't know what this means. But he enjoyed himself. He sat nicely at dinner, which we had with the Loefflers, but didn't eat much meat loaf. After some wandering about the living room afterwards, he returned to the table and Ron tried to get him to eat by bribing him with a book. He explained that he would only read the book if Owen would eat some meat loaf. This may have gotten a few pieces into Owen, but then he wanted to go again. "Knock, knock," said Ron. "Who's there?" Ron responded for himself. "Meat loaf!" he answered. I don't think anyone's ever told a knock-knock joke to Owen before, but it was still very funny.

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