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Journal Key:

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

12/6/12 (Thursday)

Owen was a lot of fun in his bath this evening. He had several toys: a girl, a daddy, a gorilla, and a polly-in-the-pocket, among others. The polly-in-the pocket is actually a Polly Pocket surfboard. He also got himself a toy boat. This was sometimes a boat and sometimes a rocket ship. It was also sometimes Jar-Jar Binks, as far as I could tell. There was definitely an underwater kingdom involved.

"Come on, Pops," said the little girl, "it's time to ride the boat! You sit here."

For a while the gorilla drove the boat. "Hey," said the little girl, "that's our Jar-Jar Binks!"

"Come on," said the gorilla, "you come, too." So she did.

There was considerable near-monologue.

"It's the real boat. The real boat. Mommy, can I call it the real boat? It's the real boat. Mommy, you call it the real boat!" So I did. "Good job, Mommy!"

12/7/12 (Friday)

I picked Owen up, and he put his arms into the sleeves of his coat as soon as I held it out to him. "He's such a good listener," the teachers said. "He's the best listener of the little guys; he's always the first one to listen." I wonder whether they could come over and live with us, since apparently when he's in their presence something magically changes.

When Steve had him in the bath, they played with the "whale boat." Steve thinks I misunderstood Owen last night. I think Owen would have corrected me and the name had evolved.

12/8/12 (Saturday)

I took the kids to the mall to get haircuts. Owen elected to sit in the taxi; he kept his hands at ten and two and vaguely steered, staring at some cartoon on the little television they have on the counter, while completely ignoring the things the woman was doing to his head. Occasionally he'd reach up a hand and try to bat her away, but mainly he just drove along, looking serious, with his hair neatly parted and slicked down, like a little businessman.

We strolled through the chaos that is the mall in December, even the East Brunswick Mall, got some pretzels, and hung out on a bench. Owen and Cara disagreed over whether some poinsettias were real; I think there was a misunderstanding as to what realness consisted of.

Steve took pictures of the kids' new haircuts while they ate lunch. (We have a new camera, and he likes testing it.) "Smile," he told Owen. "Smile!" Owen said.

In the afternoon Owen took a mammoth nap while Grandmama and Grandpapa came up and helped hook up the washer and dryer and then took the kids off for their last sleepover of this Capella semester!

12/9/12 (Sunday)

This afternoon we all convened in Middletown for Christmakkuh, a tree-decorating, ham-eating, latke-filled, present-giving, menorah-lighting holiday. When Steve and I got there, Cara and Grandpapa were working on the lights and Owen was delighted to have the two little couches pushed face to face so that he sort of had a cushy, escapable playpen. He got out the Fisher-Price zoo and went crazy with the animals while everyone else decorated the tree. Somehow, he had no interest in it whatsoever.

For some reason, Owen is really into bumping down stairs on his bottom lately. When he and I are going down stairs together, he tells me to bump, too. He found me sitting on the kitchen floor and grabbed the toes of my socks, pulling me after him down the stairs like that. Fortunately, he let go when we got to the bottom. He had to think about it. It hadn't occurred to me until today to wonder whether he makes other people bump. Apparently he does not.

For Hanukkah, Grandmama got Owen a set of Avengers figures. There are, appropriately, eight of them. They are a huge hit. He knows who they all are, except perhaps Nick Fury, who, with his eye patch, is a pirate. They have all had many adventures already, though.

I wimped out and gave the kids and Steve a gift I'd planned on using for Christmas, a set of Hex Bugs. They have a modular habitat that we can set up in lots of different ways, and then there are found little rubber-legged robot "bugs" who vibrate their ways around. Owen was so taken up with his Avengers that he didn't even notice them until later in the evening, at home. Cara had named them all, but we chose one to be Owen's and asked him what he wanted to call it. Its name is red bug. Or red-and-blue bug. Or red-bug-and-blue-bug. Owen liked to see his bug run around, but he liked holding it in his hand, too. Eventually he was sitting in my lap, clutching all three of the bugs that were not specifically Cara's (Steve and I each get one, too). All three were vibrating.

12/10/12 (Monday)

The kids were both excited about coming home to play with their new stuff, which in my book means those were successful gifts! (Cara got a magic kit, and this evening we made more crystals to go in her magic wand.) Owen played with his Vengers. Everyone played with hex bugs. We barely had to have any tv on, and I got to make dinner, clean up afterwards, and put out the recycling. Steve worked very late and barely got to see the kids before they went to bed.

He came upstairs while Owen was positioning his stool to stand on it and turn off his light. It was just after Owen had had to move the stool so that he could close the door. Steve came in for a hug, and he got one, but then Owen said, "Now go away somewhere, Daddy!" Steve left, Owen closed the door, repositioned his stool, turned off the light, brought his stool over to the crib, stood on his stool, and let me put him to bed.

12/11/12 (Tuesday)

While the evening was, for the most part, very pleasant, Steve and I have jointly created a monster. Steve found a cartoon about a superhero squad that seems to look very much like Owen's little guys, and he got it onto our Netfllix radar. I let Owen play with the Nook, which has Netflix on it. So, I can say definitevely that Owen can open up the Nook, find Netflix, and find a show to watch, all by himself. He does sometimes get frustrated with it and need help, but he's definitely catching on.

He likes his animal games, and he spent some time with the paint program this evening, making a complete mush by drawing squiggles in lots of different colors and styles. He likes to read The Elephant's Child. Once he'd found Netflix, though, he was dedicated. I'm amazed that I could get it out of his hands so that he would come and eat dinner! After a surprisingly good and protracted meal, he was happy to get back to his show.

It was very easy to get Owen upstairs to sit on the potty; we just brought his show with us. It was easy to get him to sit there for a while. It was not easy, afterwards, to get him into the tub. It was not easy to deal with him after the bath, either, as he screamed and searched for his beloved Nook. Sigh.

12/12/12 (Wednesday)

This morning Owen slept very, very late. I usually set the hypothetical time that we should be leaving the house at 7:45. Today I woke Owen up by going into his room at some time past 7:30. I had to dress him and give him a snack trap for the car, and we brought three Vengers figures with us. As on previous days when we have brought the Vengers, these stayed in my car all day, and I dutifully carried them back into the house in the evening. Today I was somewhat less late than I have been, and was in time for dinner. I brought the figures back to Owen, who showed me where they should go: with the rest of the pile of guys on the living room rug.

Tonight I was able to give Owen his bath. He pulled a random assortment of objects out of the bathroom cabinet, some of which were toys, many of which were parts of toys at one time. They floated in the water with him while he sang loudly about a swimming fish. I had good luck with library books this time, so Owen was happy to get his stories. Then it was time to adjust and re-adjust his stool and turn out the light. With me, what Owen also does after his light is off is get down on the floor right by his door and peek out under the door, where he can see a strip of light. This he feels is very amusing, and it gets him a few extra seconds before he goes in bed.

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