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Journal Key:

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

2/14/13 (Thursday)

Cara and I picked Owen up around 4:30 to take him to the pediatrician for his Valentine's Day flu shot. She was supposed to get one, too, but she's been so under the weather that she escaped. He had to get rechecked after his rash, anyway, so we were still killing two birds with one stone.

I was a little bit nervous, as I left the house, because I wasn't bringing anything to amuse him with. However, he got a bag of Valentines to look through! That was better than anything I could have brought. We walked in and the kids settled themselves on chairs to start taking things out.

"How's Mr. Owen?" asked the receptionist.

"He's good!" I told her.

"I'm good!!!!" he yelled from across the room.

I had not brought anything to play with or anything to eat or drink. Owen suggested that I run home and get him a snack and a drink.

We found a Valentine with a Hershey's Kiss taped to it. It was very attractive. Fortunately, the nurse came to bring us back to our room and I was able to toss it back into the bag. In the examining room Owen sat on a chair and continued to sort his Valentines. I managed to keep the candy ones in the bag. He was beautifully cooperative for the nurse and the doctor, who thought he was fine. I took his arm out of his sleeve for the shot, and I held him on my lap. Cara held her ears, which was something of a damper on the conversation the nurse was having with her about her dance school (she was wearing the sweatshirt).

After the shot, when he'd started crying, I asked Cara to get some c-a-n-d-y out of his bag. Instead of the Kiss, she got a red lollipop. We managed to enjoy that lollipop for a long time. First, Cara had to explain what to do with it. "You suck it!" she said. Eventually, I told him to put it in his mouth. Once he'd realized that biting wasn't a good idea, we were ready to go! He was so happy, with his Valentines and his lollipop, that we really didn't need a sticker.

We stopped at the grocery store and lollipopped our way around. We lollipopped home in the car. Somehow Cara managed to get his coat off of him. Inevitably, he put it down on a chair; Cara took the lollipop away and brought it to me while he, of course, started to melt down. I washed it, gave him a bowl, and cleaned the upholstery.

I just threw out the lollipop, so he wouldn't see it again before bed. For someone who really, really enjoyed a lollipop, he hadn't done too much damage to it!

2/15/13 (Friday)

Family Fun Night came on the first day since Monday that Cara actually went to school. She is still coughing but seems to be on the road to recovery. We skipped dance class, but Cara was ready to go out to a restaurant for dinner. Owen had other plans: he wanted "a snack and a drink" (his new favorite form of food), and to sit at home and watch the Super Hero Squad. We coaxed him to Houlihan's, where he ended up having a lovely time coloring his placemat and falling all over the booth seat. He was very excited to get apple slices but was not at all interested in the little pizza we ordered him--oh well.

Honestly Owen has been much more interested in eating lately. In the morning he kept asking for me to heat up more and more leftover pancakes, and when we got to YBR he wanted more to eat, so I had to raid his lunchbox. He also will often ask for his "snack and a drink" just as we get into the car in the morning, and right when I'm trying to get him into his crib for the night. The latter is almost definitely a stalling tactic, but the former is just bad timing; he's gotten used to having some kind of breakfast in the car, because we are always running late. It will be interesting to see what happens in the summer, when dropoffs will be very different.

We came home after our restaurant trip and skipped bath time in order to watch the Super Hero Squad Show. We have all become committed fans of the show, strangely enough.

2/16/13 (Saturday)

Today we all got to go and see Aunt Claire's new house! It was exciting for all of us. Grandmama and Grandpapa were there, too! The grownups spent most of the time painting, and somehow or other neither of the children got large amounts of paint on them. We brought toys and snacks, which were somewhat distracting; and for a little while Grandmama took the kids outside to run around; but just being in a new place was exciting. We found some built-in storage shelves in Claire's upstairs loft of a bedroom, and both children discovered that they could fit inside the shelves.

Both children wanted to be involved in the painting. Grandmama, upon request, happily provided Owen with a brush and showed him how to dip it into the paint bucket. The rest of us were all horrified, but it actually went fine. He spent a few minutes busily drawing "O for Owen" on the walls, and then wandered off. Periodically he would come back and want to paint some more. Cara also helped, in a more constructive way, to cover the walls. Every once in a while Owen would run into the room and then make himself fall over, making most of us a bit nervous that eventually he would forget to stop and run into a still-wet wall; but disaster never struck.

Owen went without his nap, which went okay. (Evelyn and I talked this evening about when exactly we would stop giving him his nap; the fact that he will continue to have nap time during his tenure at YBR is a good meter stick, but he should also be getting a grownup bed soon, which may force some changes.) As the afternoon wore on, we got out the laptop and a Scooby-Doo DVD, and the kids sat in front of that for a while. Then we finally wrapped up the work, having made a lot of progress, and the grandparents whisked the children away for hot dogs and different Scooby-Doo movies.

2/17/13 (Sunday)

I painted Cara's nails this afternoon.

"Your hands, too?" I asked her.

"Your hands to yourself!" Owen triumphantly finished. Kudos to YBR!

I don't think Owen's ever been around when I painted Cara's nails before. He was very interested. He picked out a color for himself: lilac. He held onto his little bottle while I finished with Cara.

"What shape do you want Mommy to make?" Cara asked him. "Think about what shape you want."

Fortunately, he was not ambitious. Also fortunately, he insisted on having his toenails done. He let me take his socks and shoes off and gave me a foot. I made two vague purple lines on his big toe, and then he was done.

Steve was out doing groceries while this transpired. When he got home, both kids leaped up and ran to show him their nails. He was very relieved at the extent of Owen's.

One thing I really enjoy is roughhousing with Owen. We did a lot of wrassling this evening. I'm charmed by the fact that when I come at him, Owen has discovered that he can escape by ducking between my legs. If I'm crawling at him, he crawls right under me and gets away. He's very tricky.

2/18/13 (Monday)

President's Day! (Presidents' Day?) Evelyn and Cara had to go to school, because the day went back into the school calendar after Hurricane Sandy. However, my company still had the day as a holiday, and strangely enough so did Yellow Brick Road. So it was me and Owen today at home. We started our day off right with a little breakfast and several episodes of Super Hero Squad. Then we hit the road! Our first stop was Uncle Jim and Aunt Sarah's, where we could see Griffin looking out at us from the front window. The kids had a good time. They were forced to do some sharing, which worked out pretty well, since there was no screaming involved (apart from the usual dose of screaming, that is).

Owen found one of Griff's little board books, which was all about Food and had a picture of food on the front cover. He called it a "menu book." Kids love flashlights and Owen found one, which he decided to shine onto the instruction booklet of one of Griffin's board games. It was printed in various languages, so when he opened to a random page and asked me to "help" him read, I was forced to fake knowledge of German pronunciation.

We got some takeout for lunch. Owen and I consulted the menu, and looked at the pictures (Griffin also joined in; there were a lot of "hmmm"s), and Owen decided he wanted chicken fingers and french fries. I didn't think he was really going to eat them, but then he did! So that was nice.

After a good dose of playtime, it was back in the car again to visit Grandmom and Grandpop! We hadn't seen them, or Rusty, in a while. It must have been a nice change for Owen to get to be at a place where there were three grownups willing to satisfy most of his whims. We bounced from one toy to another for a while. He found a little blue plastic phone and decided to call Mommy. "Mommy how are you can you hear meeeee!" he screamed. We theorized on whether he was trying to talk loudly enough to be heard without a phone. He wanted to play with the "space guys," which we first interpreted as the Playmobil space ship playset, but eventually realized meant the Star Wars figures. I was pleased that when he held up random figures and said, "Who's this guy?" I was actually able to answer him.

Soon Owen felt he had spent enough time playing with toys and asked for the art supplies. We colored a little with crayons, but then he found the watercolor paints, so we had to get those out. He has a bit of experience with painting at this point, so he didn't have much trouble splashing some color on the paper.

Even though he had had lunch, he was more than willing to have some yogurt, and a few other things, before I got him into the car to go home and see Mommy and Cara. Having not slept much previously in the car, he conked out the whole way home and was fragile when we arrived. (I don't seem to be able to get any good conversation out of the children in the car, like Evelyn does. Of course I spent all my driving time today playing a recorded biography of Winston Churchill, which probably discouraged conversation.)

He recovered, however; and thanks to his grandparents I had an extra motivator at bath time. They had gotten a little Spider-Man "web-shooter" from a box of cereal. It was really just a bulb that squirts water, but you can put it on your wrist and pretend it's a web-shooter. After we figured out how to use it, Owen was very invested in squirting the water out. Unfortunately it all squirted out very quickly and then I had to fill it back up again, which took longer than the squirting. But we shot a lot of webs.

2/19/13 (Tuesday)

We were all back to school and work today. But Cara and Mommy continued the trend they started yesterday, and left together so Cara would get dropped off at school early. Owen and I hung out a little longer.

He is very hard to keep at the dinner table. He wants to run out to the living room instead of stay in his chair. I was reduced to threats to try to get him to eat. He will also put his cup to his mouth, I think as a deliberate way to avoid having a fork stuck in it. He did eventually eat most of the things on his plate, but it took a lot of nagging.

The Spider-Man web shooter is still a big hit.

2/20/13 (Wednesday)

In the interest of recording important milestones, I would like to report that Cara managed to blow a bubble with her gum this afternoon.

Owen was being read to when we got to YBR. The teachers are amused because, if someone is being read to, Owen will instantly appear to take part. I pointed out that Reid is his middle name. "No, it's not!" said Owen. "It's Owen!" Cara and I, working together and backing up each other's stories, may have convinced him that he has more than one name.

I was trying, the other day, to do some actual parenting. "Who's the boss?" I asked Owen. Naturally, he's very certain that he is. Well, who's the boss at school? "Audrey," he firmly declared.

Owen is very invested in finding Os right now. There are Os on the On the Border bag that our takeout (in honor of Juliana's birthday) came in. He also likes to find a "C for Cara!" when he can: there was a nice big one on the Canada Dry ginger ale.

Strangely, Owen ate a big dinner this evening. He finished most of his chicken, even after telling Steve, "I don't like chicken this week!" He finished with several little bowls of yogurt. This all took over half an hour, during which Steve and I kept looking at each other, wondering when it would end.

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