Sunday, February 27, 2011

Brow furrow

Coloring is serious business in our home.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Toddler activity: More fun with boxes

Nate's been under the weather all week, and OH MY GOD - IT IS STILL I'm always looking for indoor activities that kill some time. Um, I mean, I'm always looking for activities that Nate will enjoy for more than a few minutes at a time. 

We've enjoyed climbing on pillow mountains and playing Hide-the-Elmo (note to the Easter Bunny, you better hide those eggs in really obvious places or they'll be rotting before Natey finds them). We also did a lot of the usual this week. Playing with boxes, feeding stuffed animals, quenching the thirst of play dough cow heads:

What? You can't tell that's a cow head and basin of water?

Yesterday I tried to get more creative. I took one of the twenty diaper boxes laying around and taped it up to make a mailbox. Nate doesn't really know what a mailbox is, but he enjoyed decorating the sides with paper, tape and crayons. Since I'm trying to teach him about shapes, I cut out a ton of little shapes (that loosely resembled circles, triangles and squares - I don't know what's wrong with me, but I was not on my A-game yesterday with the scissors...hmmm, maybe a fifth cup of coffee would have helped) from construction paper and told him to put them through the slot on the bottom.  

It started out well:

But then he got frustrated by the size of the opening, which didn't really allow him to shove the paper into the box they way he wanted to:

angry blur

We had more luck this morning. I think it was because we started the day with bunny ears (they help everything):

We discovered the side openings were much more conducive to mailing the shapes Nathaniel-style:

Was your week as exciting as mine? What did you do?

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: 2.23.10

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

American Museum of Elephants, Dinosaurs & Guys

Some parents are flexible when it comes to scheduling naps and mealtimes...others are not. I am of the not variety. It isn't because I'm anal (although that is certainly true when it comes to certain things), it's because if we don't stay on schedule life gets very challenging. Nate has never been a great napper: he's particular about the way in which he falls asleep (most of the time he won't just pass out in the car like many kids or pass out eventually from exhaustion) and the window in which you can get him to nap is small - if you miss that window he may not nap at all. Without much effort on his part he could forfeit a nap entirely and become a complete grump on and off for the rest of the day. Not fun. Especially if you are trapped in a car with him coming or going from an activity.

So for most of his life, scheduling activities has required a lot of planning. And then inevitably the plan goes awry and in the end all the effort wasn't worth the payout.  But I think finally maybe things are starting to turn around. Either that or we're having some great luck. We've had day trips in the city (NYC) the past two weekends with great success.  For one thing, now that Nate's older, we can entertain him easier in the car with conversation. But more importantly he only needs one nap a day now (unless you count this past week where he was waking up at 4:30 every morning and needing -although not always taking- two naps), so that opens up bigger chunks of time for activities.

Since Nate loves animals, we decided to take him to our favorite museum - The American Museum of Natural History. This was so much more fun for Nate than the zoo a few months ago. That may have a lot to do with Nate mercifully falling asleep in the car on the way to the museum (and missing our hour long search for a parking spot - which we only found after deciding that we would suck it up and pay the ridiculous parking garage fee, which I think is three fingers for two hours). Nate was able to attack the museum with a full tank of gas, getting a huge kick out of walking right up to the glass and seeing all of the exhibits so closely. He ran around for about an hour an a half, loving every minute of it.

He's had almost as much fun recounting the trip over and over again today. Of course certain exhibits stood out for him. When we ask him what he saw, he tells us (usually in this order): elephants, dinosaurs, eyes (the dinosaur's eyes - in the skeletons...hmmm...), babies (tiger cubs), water buffalo, deer and guys (the figures in the Hall of Asian Peoples). Of course, going up in a crowded elevator and walking down the many flights of stairs was also very exciting for him. The elevator was less exciting for me. I had to tell him to stop kicking the woman standing way too close to us, while secretly hoping he would kick her hard enough to get her to move. Ah, claustrophobia! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pickles and ketchup

Toddlers are so weird. Sometimes it seems like Nate eats so little he's surviving off water and air. Other times he eats so much - beans, rice, avocado, sweet potato, yogurt! - I don't know where he's putting it (the answer is usually his diaper, ten minutes after dinner). And then there are days like today, where I swear he would have been content to eat only ketchup and pickles all day long if I let him.

Don't worry - he's not doing anything odd like dipping the pickles into ketchup or anything. No, no - ketchup is to be eaten on it's own, unsullied, in small squirts on his tray. I feel totally gross giving my toddler squirts of ketchup to eat with his fingers, but I'm trying to pick my food battles carefully.  Our compromise is "ONE squirt, okay???"

a boy and his pickle ~ a love story

By the way, do you like that he's eating lunch in his jammies? Do you like that I keep putting up pictures of him in the same candy cane Christmas pajamas, even though it's February? Yeah, thats how we roll. You can't tell in this picture, but he's actually thrilled that I bought pickles.

What weird things do your kids like to eat?

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Eighteen months?! Letter to one and a half year old Natey.

Dear Nathaniel,

You're eighteen months old! And you are keeping me very busy. Your energy level continues to be high (much, much higher than mine!) and being stuck inside during the winter - buried under tons of snow - has not helped. You're faster and more coordinated, running everywhere instead of walking. I can't wait for the snow to melt away and the temperature to warm up enough for me to take your boundless energy and ever increasing mobility to the park so you can run wild.

Games & Play
You cannot get enough of coloring. We probably color/draw ("dru-dru") ten times a day. I usually really enjoy coloring with you. I say usually because there is always the chance that you'll start throwing crayons or coloring on the rug after I've reminded you to stick to paper - but that doesn't happen all that often. I can think of far worse ways to spend our time (like chasing you around the un-baby proofed parts of the house in circles, telling you "no, don't stick your hand in the dog's, don't turn the fan, don't turn the microwave on...") and it's a great venue for teaching. We talk about sharing, team work and not grabbing. Since you always want the crayon I'm holding, I've been able to teach to you ask "please" instead of (or at least before) yanking it out of my hand. We've been working on colors and with the exceptions of red and orange you seem to know them all. You can say pink, blue, green, black, purple and brown (which I think is your favorite color given the amount of Sesame Street characters now smeared with brown crayon in your coloring books).

The rest of our play time at home is usually spent:
  • With you taking fake naps - you cutely say "map" (nap) or "seep" (sleep) - sometimes accompanied with the sign for sleep - and then rest your head on whatever soft surface you can find. This never ever results in an actual nap.
  • Playing with play dough. You enjoy it when I make hideously misshapen animals and then give them to you to feed out of the equally misshapen play dough food and water bowls I've constructed.
  • Acting like animals. You started this game all by yourself and it's adorable. You pretend you're a cat by simply crawling on all fours and saying "cak" (cat - formally pronounced "gaht"). When prompted you will give a soft "mow" (as in meow, rhyming with now). Sometimes you'll change it up and suddenly become a dog. You let me know by signing DOG while you continue to crawl.
  • Playing with toys and books. New favorites include your rocking horse, Bep (we have no idea why you chose this name), and your Sesame Street book set. Old favorites include your zoo and "vacuum."
  • Putting things on your head and sitting in anything resembling a box.

1. "Mapping" 2. Enjoying your Valentine's Day present from certain 6 month old hottie 3. Putting your drum on your head 4. Riding Bep  5. Climbing into the box 6. Climbing into a basket 7. Another "map"

Other assorted stuff
  • You're really into hugging and kissing. When you want a kiss you say "keesss" in the sweetest little voice and it gets me every time.
  • Your verbal speech has totally taken off. Every day you surprise me and daddy by saying yet another new word. Sometimes it's a word that only I would understand - and thank goodness for sign language, which you often use to clarify what you are saying verbally. Now I know "bee" means bean, because you were able to use sign language to tell me what you were talking about. But you say so many words crystal clear.  I stopped keeping a list, but I estimate you say about 100 words now. You're starting to put two words (or a word and a sign) together more frequently. Here are some of our favorites -

  • You're counting. Okay, not really - you're pretending. You go from object to object on a page, pointing and saying, "Two...two...two...two." It's adorable.
  • You're very into the alphabet. Q is still your favorite letter, but you also know A, B, C, D and X really well.
  • You have SIXTEEN teeth! PLEASE feel free to take a break from teething, you poor thing.
  • Every visit or out of the ordinary outting makes a huge impact on you. We'll talk about the people we saw and things we did for days, if not weeks. It's so cool to hear how much you remember and understand. 

I love you more than tongue can tell.
~ Mama

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Um, isn't it February?

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Baby sign of the week: YOGURT

Nate's a big yogurt fan, so I wanted to incorporate the sign into our conversations. When I looked for the official ASL sign for yogurt months ago, I couldn't find one anywhere, so I had to make one up. I've mentioned made-up, or home signs, before (see here, here or here.)

Home signs are just as helpful in communicating with your child (and vocab boosting) as ASL just have to remember that the sign you create may be an ASL sign meaning something else entirely. In fact, I learned that I created a home sign for an animal that turned out to be one of the most offensive words on the planet. Yay me! Of course I would do that. Luckily Nate and I haven't been beaten up over our sign language use, so hopefully our luck will hold.

Nate doesn't really feel like performing for the camera in the video above. The sign I made up for yogurt is making a "Y" sign with your dominant hand (extend pinkie and thumb while folding over middle fingers - like "hang ten dude") and put the thumb to your mouth. This probably means something horrible too, so please accept my apology if I have deeply offended your Norwegian grandmother.

For anyone interested in beginning sign language with their baby - I want to put together another post about starting sign language with your baby. But until I do, you can check out my first baby sign 101 post here or check out my page on baby sign here (which I really need to update).

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE

Friday, February 4, 2011


I am absolutely in love with this little monkey's face. So I tell him that he's cute about fifty times a day. He'll probably grow up to be all cocky, thinking he can get all the chicks - but I can't help myself.  And since he's a little sponge now, soaking in all the words he hears and spitting them back out, he's taken to telling me what he thinks is cuke.

So what does Nate think is cute? Grandparents? Cuke. Daddy? Cuke. Ava (our dog)? Cuke. Elmo? Cuke. His books? Cuke. Avocado? Cuke. Beef (Black Eyed Peas)? Cuke. When I ask him if he likes something, and he does, he'll nod his head yes and say cuke. It seems that he thinks it means something similar to "good."  The subtle misuse only makes him more cuke, I mean cute.

The play dough we made yesterday? "CUKE!"

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Big boy chair

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