Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Month 17

Some of my favorite things this month...

Sticker Tag
One of my favorite games this month is Sticker Tag. Wesley will go get a sticker and stand near me and say "oh no, oh no" which means I am supposed to wildly start running through the house, with him in close pursuit, saying "oh no, oh no". We race through the living room, duck around chairs, climb over beds. Eventually he catches me and then the tables turn and he begins to flee. It is good fun.

gazing at Daddy

Magic Tricks
Wesley has two new magic tricks.

In the first one, he puts something behind his back (typically a rock, sometimes a bead). He waits for us to say "oh, where did that rock go? where could it have gone?" then he brings it out. It is a new variation on peek-a-boo and he initiates it a lot.

The second trick, which is much more a magic trick, was taught to him by Daddy. He takes his rock, and he pulls it out from behind our ears. It's pretty hilarious. He also pulls the rock out from behind his own ear. The first magic trick of many to come, I am sure.

spinning rocks

For a day Wesley was a robot. It all started with him putting on a hanger in the morning. Casey said he looked like a robot. For the rest of the day Wes would put on the hanger and walk around saying "bo-bah" (robot) and thinking he was really clever.

our little robot
Skype Duet
One evening while Skyping with my parents, Wesley got out his kazoo to play for them. Then he brought out his harmonica. Then my dad brought out his harmonica. They played harmonica together. They took turns playing for each other. I so enjoyed the long distance musical duet. A very special moment.

Stop, Drop, and Roll
My parents got Wesley the book Little Critter: Going to the Firehouse and it is one of Wesley's favorites this month. There is a section that teaches you to "stop, drop, and roll" when you catch on fire. Wesley LOVES to direct us all to get on the ground and begin rolling. He then sits on his tush and spins in in circles really quickly. It is quite a scene.

Our "teeee"

Last month we spent most of the month coloring. This month, we have returned to more diverse activities. We read more again. And, we have expanded into drawing while still containing a healthy dose of coloring.

My favorite drawing moments are when Wesley is drawing and then he pauses to say "meeeoow", and he begins petting his little scribbles. Then he takes my hand and shows me where to pet. The drawing doesn't stay a cat forever, later after he's added additional lines, sometimes he indicates that that cat has turned into something else. He draws with intention.

I love it when I ask what he wants to draw and then he tells me "ta-ta" (santa) or "woof woof" (dog).

Another drawing development I find endearing is when Wes takes his pen and bends down with his face reeeaaally close to the paper and draws in very slow and purposeful movements, with great focus and control.

He also really loves to draw lines and to try and draw lines to match objects in the activity portion of his coloring books. He every once in a while gets the line in the right place, but he enjoys working on it.

Words Words Words
For quite a bit of the month Wesley was functioning as my echo. Whatever was the final word of my sentence, is what I'd hear repeated back to me.

He has also gained many more words and some with surprisingly good pronunciation. My favorite words are the way he says "mermaid" so perfectly and "baby" and "Lou-Lou" for his friend Louis. He loves pointing out babies and baby animals. Sometimes he calls himself a baby.

Other things
Wes now knows his shapes. He can point to a shape when asked and he has words for some of them (tie-tie for triangle, oooooo for oval, haaaah for heart). He just picked it right up one night and all of a sudden knew it.

We've started getting books from the library. He loves getting new books. Taking him to the library is sorta crazy. He runs wildly, looks at the shelves, pulls a book off, hands it to me, and runs for more. It's hard to keep up with him and hard to extract him from the situation. But, he's chosen some classics from the shelf, and has really enjoyed some not-so-classics.

He also loves to go right up to other children in the library. He slightly invades their space and tries to make friends with them. He usually opens up the conversation by either admiring their shoes, showing them his own shoes, or showing them his hat. The reason for this, I think, is that about 90% of the time when strangers meet Wesley they said "oh I like your shoes" or "what a nice hat you have". Apparently he thinks this is social custom. Most kids look at him very strangely. The older the kid, the more confused they are. This has been his primary greeting to other children for a few months now. It's pretty funny to watch.

matching color names
This month was also Casey's birthday. Happy Not-30 (that is, 29th) Birthday, Casey.

Wes giving Daddy presents

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

Christmas cheer is in full swing here. Wesley loves Santa. He says "Boo Boo Boo" for "Ho Ho Ho" and gets very excited when he sees a picture of Santa, or if he hears  he's going to get to see Santa.

In Petaluma, Santa arrives in style. We went down to the river to greet Santa and Mrs. Clause. He was so excited as he was leaving the house. Once we got to the river, he enjoyed running around with all the big kids as we awaited Santa's arrival.

Waiting for Santa

Santa and Mrs. Clause arrived on a tug. See them standing on pillars on the front of the boat?

We went to the local Christmas tree farm with Uncle Jesse & Aunt Lisa. We enjoyed running through the trees and trying to find the perfect one.

We ended up getting a pre-cut tree because, well, we liked the Douglas Fir better...

Not too heavy?
Wesley absolutely loves the tree. He stands and stares at the tree in the evening and during the day. He likes to practice putting candy canes on the tree and enjoys naming the color lights that he sees.

We are enjoying the holiday cheer. Casey had an entire week off work this past week. We had a ton of great family time together. The fun thing is, there are still many holiday festivities to come.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas Chain

Wesley and I had so much fun making a Christmas Chain.

Step 1: I cut strips of red and green paper into approx 1" (?) strips. I just eyeballed it as we went. Wesley enjoyed holding the scissors but wasn't at all able to use them beyond sticking his fingers in the handles.

Step 2: Wesley used the glue stick to "dab dab dab" the glue on the end of the strip where I showed him. I typically had to apply more glue to the area. I am not sure if this is only because our glue stick is massively dried out, or if he would have been pressing hard enough anyway.

Step 3: Wesley strings the strip through one of the completed circles. He really enjoyed this step. Though it wasn't particularly challenging, it was immensely gratifying.

Step 4: I form a ring by sticking the ends together.
Step 5: Stand under the creation and clap at a job well done.
Step 6: Clap each time Wesley notices the chain and indicates that you, too, should be clapping in approval.

We had a lot of fun making the chain.

If anyone is thinking of doing this craft, you may wish to cut the strips in advance if your child will want the scissors too badly (if he/she is too young for them or if you too lack safety scissors). We narrowly avoided a major issue with it. It was nice to not have to do anything in advance, though.

I love how festive the house feels with our holiday decoration in place. Tree to come this weekend (*fingers crossed*).

Thankful Thanksgiving

As I pause to think of the things for which I am thankful, I am flooded with so much. I only wish I could live more fully in appreciation of them all each day. But I am trying. I am thankful for that. 

We had a beautiful Thanksgiving. A wonderful festive time full of family and friends and good food.

Cranberries Popping
Our friend Marlene (with whom I have been friends since middle school) spent the night on Wednesday so we could all be together on Thanksgiving. It was a treat to have a sleepover at our place. It was a special way to kick off the holiday. As in, it gave me that warm, bright, wonderfully comfortable and enlivening feeling that comes when hanging out with a much beloved friend.

Then Thanksgiving morning we woke up and baked some pies (that is, Casey baked some pies) as we Skyped with my family. It was so good to see my sister, Alex, Opie (their dog who Wes kept petting on the screen) and my Mom and Dad. I hadn't seen my sister or Alex in so long, it was great to see them there on the screen looking healthy and happy.

Then we headed to Napa. What a day! Wesley was happy as can be, running all around the house, showering love on everyone. We ate. We cooked. We looked at the goats. We went for a walk.

It was misting and wet, so Wesley got a chance to wear his new rain gear.

and Marlene got to wear hers...

and we had some nice time indoors, too...

I am thankful for my family near and far. I am thankful for new friends and old friends. It sounds cliche, but I've been feeling it more profoundly this year. I think often how fortunate we are for our health. For our home in Petaluma.

And my little family of three...I am massively thankful for Casey, thankful in ways which continue to evolve and deepen. I am thankful for our little bundle of amazement, for getting to watch Wesley grow and develop. I am thankful that I get to stay home with him each day, sharing in the nuances of daily life.

I am a fortunate lady.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Month 16

This has been a month of loving rocks and crayons.

Wesley has a new love of coloring, and he is refining his skills. All of a sudden one day, coloring became top priority, and it has remained that way for the remainder of this month. For a while we were coloring for maybe five to seven hours a day. He was staying up late to color. But it paid off. He went from wild scribbling to directed coloring in a week. He has learned all of his colors and can say the names of many of them. blue, brown, green (can't say "gr" yet so it sounds like "dee"), orange "oh", yellow (the most adorable little tongue rolling noise), purple (puh-puh), magenta (ta-ta).

One day when Wes and I were coloring, Wes began getting upset. I was focused on my coloring task, but after some time, I realized that he was getting very upset and yelling the color "green" at me while waving around a green crayon. I had been coloring a turtle multi-colored (one begins to take creative license after so much coloring). He was calmed immediately when I began coloring the turtle green, as he should be.

Brown, yes sir
Wesley is very directive about coloring. He often dictates what crayon his coloring companions are supposed to use, where on the page they should be coloring, etc. He seems to have a creative vision in mind. As one coloring companion lovingly remarked "you're a bossy colorer".

An Opinion, clearly expressed (sometimes)
Wesley expresses his opinions with "No" and "yaah". He responds to questions and suggestions, typically with "no". And he means it. He does not like to be overridden after he says no. It's still surprising to hear him say it so frequently.

That says, he cannot express everything in language and it has led to an increase in frustration this month. Fortunately, if I can get his attention, I can usually say "please show me" and then he takes my hand to the object he's referring to. Or, we often use the guessing game strategy of "what do you want? is it this? or this? or this?" He is patient throughout the guessing game. Eventually I get to the right thing and he exuberantly exclaims his affirmation. Then we just hope it's something he's allowed to have.

Particular Particulars
All of the above stories point to an undeniable fact. Wesley has gotten very particular about what he wants and how he wants certain things. And very attached to certain objects. I have a compendium such stories

    How he kept saying "water" with increased frustration while hitting away his water cup and yelling "no" until I realized that he wanted water, but out of a mug, not a glass, because in the morning we drink our beverages from mugs.

  How he is attached to a very certain tiny broken brown crayon and none of the five other browns will satisfy his need when he's misplaced his brown.

  How his favorite rock of the day (typically either his rose quartz or his amethyst) cannot be substituted for his other rocks, and he cannot do without it.

  How he wants his red stocking cap not the green one.

  How half a day was spent whining so sadly around the house the day that Daddy accidentally took the amethyst to work. It was the first thing Wes asked for upon waking from a nap, and I lost my breath in horror when I deduced that it must have been left in Casey's pocket. He had been given charge of it on our walk that morning.

His comfort objects switch daily, but when he feels the need to have one, he really needs that particular thing. The unfortunate reality of his favorite objects is that they are so small. Rocks and tiny broken crayons. Rocks that get set places, put in things, carried on walks (and put in pockets), moved to different rooms during play, etc.

Also, Wesley has decided that our house needs to be vacuumed every day (which of course it does). He gets his little vacuum, brings it to the closet where the big vacuum is stored and gets my attention until I get out my vacuum. This has led to a much neater living room for much of the month, because I have to pick up in order to vacuum. He waits until I turn my vacuum on, then he runs back to his, turns it on, and we vacuum side by side. So fun.

Wesley has so many words I can't list them. Most are one first sound of the word, but many two-syllable words are emerging. He has started repeating some words after we say them. He says words for many objects he sees. He has on a few occasions used short two word sentences like "da-da bye-bye".

Also, he knows all of the names of the Sesame Street characters. From his coloring book and one book I had when I was a little girl. He instantly committed the names to memory and repeated them. There is something truly magical about those characters, I guess, because he has never seen Sesame Street nor had any toys related. But they were of instant interest.

He's started saying Mommy (Ma-Ma) again all the time which I totally love.

Three additional molars poking through (not all the way in), plus the unfinished one from last month. So much less sleep than usual. So much more crummy thrashy cry-and-yell-outloud and get up in the night sleep. So much whining. So much discomfort. The final week of the month he has respite between teeth and we are reassured by the happy, playful, easy going Wesley that returned.

Boo! And more fun
We had a wonderful visit with Gram and Grandpa. It was absolutely gorgeous Fall weather, and we took advantage of it. Guitar on the patio, walks around town, Anne Lamott en plein air, delicious dinners with everyone. And of course, Halloween festivities. Wes was really excited for their visit and didn't let his three emerging molars ruin the fun. 

Wes started calling Gram "Ma-Ma" which sounds the most like Grandma of anything he's said so far. Since Grandpa left, Wesley carries around a pen with his picture on it saying "Pa-Pa".

Thanks for the necklace, Gram

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween Festivities

We had a wonderful Halloween season. Grandpa Pizz (currently Wesley-deemed "Papa") and Gram (sounds like Ma-Ma) were visiting. Wesley just loved Halloween and so did I.

And I loved Casey's pumpkin pie made from real pumpkin. And he made a mini-pie just for me. It was truly the best pumpkin pie I've tasted. Using fresh pumpkin must have made a difference.

We went to a Day of the Dead parade. Casey was working, but the rest of us got dressed up.

Gram read Where the Wild Things Are to Wesley to get him excited about putting on his monster costume. It totally worked.

Wesley actually fell asleep on our walk to downtown, and stayed asleep through some loud drumming, mariachi music, and crowd noise. He is wiped out with his molar challenges, family festivities, and what appears to be a transition to one nap a day, at least for now.

Then it was Halloween. Casey, Wesley, and I carved a bunch of pumpkins this year. Wesley was totally into the process. He was very busy scooping out guts and poking in the pumpkin with his spoons and spatulas and measuring scoops. He enjoyed picking up the stray pumpkin seeds and putting them in the waste bag. He like trying to put the lid back on the pumpkins (a little challenging to get it settled just right). I love pumpkin carving, so it was a treat to share it with Wes.

Then we walked around town during the afternoon...

Jesse & Lisa came over for dinner and then we met up with Grandpa and Gram to walk the mega-street of Petaluma Halloween Festivities (D Street).

On our way Wesley went to two houses and trick r treated. He loved walking up to the houses and up the stairs. He didn't want to get very close to one of the homeowners, but was happy to look at him from a distance and to have him come put something in his pail. When I asked him if he wanted to go to more houses he gave a hearty "yaaaaaah".

It was a very fun start to the holiday season.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Cook's Beginnings

Wesley and I had our first real experience cooking together. We made pumpkin pancakes. They were yummy.

Wesley's favorite parts were scooping and pouring the flour and then stirring everything together. He was so excited about the flour that he actually continued to practice this skill with extra flour while I set up and completed some of the other steps.

He was very good about stirring the mixture gently. He was focused and careful and did a great job.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Month 15

Wesley continues to be a cute spectacle as he jerky-leg runs up and down the sidewalks and all around town. By the end of the month he has started to bend his knees more when running. His new technique has paid off in increased speed.

Wesley is in a really adorable phase of early running, highly affectionate, pretty happy (except when teeth are bothering him), very silly, and increasingly capable toddlerhood.

Of course the highlight of this month was the visit by my parents (so amazing).

The shocker of the month was that Wesley pushed through TWO TEETH AND A MOLAR. I think there is still one tiny corner of the molar that has not yet emerged (after about two weeks during which at least some of it has been poking through). YIKES. He soothes himself by nursing. We have had a really hard time of it. Poor guy.

Wesley continues his love of letters. He is ravenous for words and letters. He is so delighted when he sees letters that he recognizes around town ("A" on the CHASE bank sign, "T" on the side of a van, etc). We'll be walking up the street and all of a sudden I hear a little "ah ah ah" by my side and he's found a letter A.

I can see that what was a continual "BLLAAAHHH" for garbage sightings at the beginning of the month is starting to transform into new games of amusement. Primarily, a game Wesley created and plays with himself, the Find a Letter game. He loves finding letters and hearing the sounds of letters.

Letters for which Wesley says the phonic sound:
A, a, B, D, F, H, M, N, P, T, W, V, Z

Wesley's successful matches
Wesley has really upped the baby babble this month. Most of his "words" are still a single syllable/first sound of a word or sound effects ("woof"). He's added a few. He now says "ff" for finger, fish, and flower (when he doesn't just sniff his nose or make a bzzz sound for bees he associates with flowers). and "tr" for truck. also "puh-puh" for pumpkin, "bo" for boat, "boo" for ghost. He points to his wrist for watch.

He has refined many of his animal noises. His seagull, which he picked up on his own after chasing them on the beach, sounds shockingly like a seagull. He does it only for seagulls, and it's way better than any seagull noise I could have suggested.

Wesley's memory amazes me. If we walk by a house one day and we see a new dog, then the next time we walk by the house, even if it's four days later, he'll "woof" like a dog at the fence. We three walked to town one beautiful Sunday morning and there was a bush FULL of loud red-winged blackbirds. I had forgotten about it a week later when Wesley and I found ourselves downtown again. He pointed at the bush and laughed and said blackbird. He knows all the houses on our route that typically have dogs, cats, and boats, and he makes the noises for each as we pass.

Wesley loves to be a clown for laughs. And he knows that certain things he does are funny. He does stuff hoping we will laugh. And it is funny.

He continues to love peek-a-boo. Peek-a-boo behind a pole on a walk, popping up over the edge of a chair, over then under a table, around the door frame, in a corner, under a blanket, peek-a-boo behind your back. Our lives continue to be filled with fun games of peek-a-boo.

Peek-a-boo and other fun
Related to this, though not exclusive to humor is that we now have to be really careful what we say and do, because he picks up on it all and is a mimic. I have had so many "uh oh" moments this month when I did something which he noticed and I quickly realized I couldn't take back.

For example, once he burped and, though I typically indicate that he should say "excuse me", we had been a bit rambunctious when it happened, so instead I said "burp" in a funny voice. Oh, it stuck. Every time he burps now, he gives an impish little grin and says "burp".

Once as Wes was eating, I was telling Casey how my Dad made a hilarious "blah" face about the healthy food that I "force" poor Casey to eat, and Wes immediately looked at his food, said "blah" with dramatic flair, and refused to eat it. Yeah. Fortunately after a day and a half that disappeared.

Fall has come to Petaluma this month. We enjoy finding many Fall treasures on our walks including buckeyes/chestnuts, leaves, spikeballs, and acorns. Wesley loves crunching through the leaves. He loves seeing the ghosts (boo!) and the pumpkins which are up for Halloween decorations.

Wesley's hair is coming in at a more rapid rate now, but he is still pretty thin. He has a Dennis the Menace cal lick in the back that curls.