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Journal Key:

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

8/2/12 (Thursday)

In parenting-of-Cara news, I had an interesting conversation with her in which I attempted to explain how words like "hate" and "stupid" are different from the actual BAD words without actually saying the BAD words. Eventually I explained how "hate" and "stupid" can hurt people's feelings if they're used at people but that they are not BAD by themselves. How did this come up?

Me: I skip that song because I think it's stupid.

Cara: . . . um, Mommy, I really don't want to say this to you . . . but "stupid" is a bad word.

Parenting-of-Owen? Cara asked us to invite Juliana over for dinner again, and it's a good thing we did, because she brought cucumber salad. Owen had her read him Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct. There's a little old lady who is a background character. When she appeared, Owen pointed her out and said, "That's Juliana."

He got done with dinner, of course, before we did. He went into the living room and started calling me and Steve. We ignored him. He switched right over to calling Juliana, who was at least willing to promise him she was almost done. He needed her to color with him.

8/4/12 (Saturday)

In the morning we drove to a park in Woodbridge to see a Civil War reenactors camp. It was hot out and it was almost naptime, so we didn't get to stay too long. Cara got to tap out her name on the telegraph, the internet of the Civil War era. We stopped to pick up souvenirs. Cara wanted a bonnet. "I want a bonnet, too!" cried Owen. Sorry, honey. We got him a package of plastic Civil War soldiers.

After naptime, we drove down to Middletown for an un-birthday party, Grandmama's way of replacing the July 3rd festivities we'd have had with the Loefflers if Red Bank hadn't cancelled the fireworks. Out in the back yard, there were two kiddie pools and a great slip-n-slide; the kids were completely entertained, even Owen, for a while. Then he came over to sit on me, very wetly.

For dinner some people had hot dogs, others had burgers, and some had fried chicken. Owen focused on a hot dog bun, which he attempted to cut up with the plastic knife and fork he'd found at his place.

After dinner, we got in some wiffle ball and more pool time. I was over by the side of the house when Owen came walking around the corner of the porch. "Hey, El-a-ven," he said. Afterwards he was so shy he wouldn't say it again.

The kids stayed and slept over; they were watching hippo movies on Youtube when we left.

8/5/12 (Sunday)

For the first time in weeks, we saw Grandmom and Grandpop! They came up here. We had pizza for lunch. Owen ate some cut up pieces, but then he wanted to pick up the rest of his piece. He was holding it upside down when Steve and I decided to help him. Steve turned it over and I folded it. He could hold it fine, but biting it was a strategic problem. He thought about it for a bit, looked at all of the angles, and turned it around and bit the bottom, right at the fold. It was, I suppose, probably a very neat solution.

I was hoping Janet and Cara and I would get to work on the jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table, but Owen wanted to join in. He mostly messed around with some of the pieces nearest him; he didn't do much damage. "This is a grown-up puzzle," I eventually told him. "I am a grown-up," he said. We got out his Spider-Man puzzle, and he and Grandmom did that one on the table, too.

We forgot to give Owen a nap, so after Grandmom and Grandpop left we put on some tv and all got comfy in the living room. Steve fell asleep. Owen fell asleep. I did some napping, too. Cara, who had told us she was going to nap when Owen did, was, predictably, the only one awake the whole time.

Later, we were playing guys. To distract Owen from the horror of my having just put away some other toys, I got out Santa.

Me, as Santa: Here, I have a present for you. What did you get?

Owen, as Stratos: Um, a bunny sticker.

All of the other He-Mans got amamal stickers. They also got hugs.

8/6/12 (Monday)

When I last went to the library, I was lucky enough to stumble upon the book Dinotrux. It is a huge hit. It's about how dinosaur-truck hybrid creatures made the lives of cavemen miserable, until they almost all died out and the remnants evolved into the helpful trucks we know today. Predictably, Steve is very good at reading this book. I just don't quite have the same flair for sound effects. It is the first book we have to read, every night. This has been going on for a while, and tonight I approached reading to Owen with my characteristic resolve to soldier through and hope I could live up to his expectations. Fortunately, we have entered the phase in which the book is still beloved but has become boring. "I am skipping guys!" Owen happily declared, as he paged through the book. I read him the final third of it, and then we moved on.

Steve says that when he first picked up Dinotrux, Owen was scared of it. Clearly, he got over that!

8/7/12 (Tuesday)

At the unbirthday party, the kids got giant tubes of bubble solution which they have been using as light sabers. I was very amused when I looked downstairs this afternoon to see them "fighting" with their bubble light sabers and Owen declared that he was, like Tyranosaurus Trux in Dinotrux, "the bully of the jungle."

For dinner, I made tacos. Owen was content to eat "pizza," those flat round things I'd made that had cheese and crust and were cut into triangles. By the end of the meal, he was calling them "quesapizza."

It's been nice to see Owen making progress with the alphabet. He's been very good at "ABCDEFG" for a while, and when I give him a couple more letters he can go on. Today, he's been singing "LMNOP" a lot.

8/8/12 (Wednesday)

Another backseat conversation:

Owen: Cara, can I punch you?

Cara: Not the face, Buddy.

A few moments later . . .

Owen: Mommy, I can't punch Cara! Cara said no to me!

He likes to let someone know when he's been told no.

I told him no tonight. He's been really into these two toy cars we have, which are driven by Elmo and Cookie Monster. They're fairly large and heavy.They make a good, solid thunk when they run into furniture. He's been racing them around, mainly pushing them, though they go by themselves if you push down on their engine blocks.

This evening, Owen had them on the couch. He was banging them into each other, and eventually Elmo rammed Cookie Monster right off the couch; he crashed to the floor. Owen went into the semi-fake hysterics he puts on when he wants something, gesturing at Cookie Monster. I waited until he asked me, and I got the car back for him. Immediately, he did it again. The car grazed my foot on the way down. I got it back but told Owen not to do that again. He did. I told him, ok, they have to stay on the floor. They can't go on the couch. They're too big and heavy to be dropping all the time. He was not happy.

In the midst of our no-yes-no dispute, he asked, "Can I go time out?" I guessed that sounded ok. He turned away but then realized what he was doing and came back. I set the cars on the floor, reminded him that they had to stay there, and walked away.

When I came back, he had them on the couch. Now, they're secuurely put away in my room. He's not awfully happy with me. It was cute to hear him wailing, "Cooooookieeee Monsterrrr!"

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