Monday, February 27, 2012

The Oscars 2012

We went to Godmother Norma's house for our Oscars party last night. Uncle Jesse and Auntie Lisa were in attendance, and we had a lot of fun. We indulged (to put it mildly) in an amazing spread of food and were able to enjoy both the Red Carpet and the awards show.

Norma is the Queen of Footstools. Wesley loved pulling all of the ottomans around the room, putting them under different people's feet, then taking them back for further distribution. When Norma brought out his little chair, he immediately carried an ottoman over, crawled into his seat, and put up his feet.

At one point Wesley walked out of the room. He had been doing this all evening, so we thought nothing of it. He enjoys going into Norma's room to "look" but "" her many treasures. 

After a minute of quiet, Casey went to look for him. He couldn't find Wes and was about to enlist my help. He got that panicked feeling one gets when a child's whereabouts are unknown. He looked in Norma's room. No Wesley. Then, he checked again, and he found him...crouched down quietly "hiding" behind the bedroom door.

You found me!

We have been playing a lot of hide and seek lately, but only with his toys (I hide the bulldozer, then he comes and looks for it). This was the first time he spontaneously hid himself, let alone in a different room in someone else's house!

He loves the game. He yells "Hide!" and "Find!" When he is the one hiding, he hides in the same place, or one of two places each time. Peek-a-boo is still fun, but hide-and-find is where it's at.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Float or Sink

Wesley loves playing "Float or Sink". It's an easy activity.

  1. Get a bowl (I used a large mixing bowl) and fill it with comfortably warm water.
  2. Find random objects around the house that can be dropped in water. Put them in a bowl.
  3. Write "float" on one piece of paper and "sink" on another.
  4. Child drops objects in the water to see if they float or sink.
  5. You can try guessing beforehand, you can take the object out and have s/he put it on the correct word, etc.
  6. Child cleans up drips and spills with a rag or sponge.
  7. Go find more objects around the house to "test", if you are comfortable with that.
    1. Wesley mostly suggested trying more acorns, more buckeyes, and more rocks, but I could imagine some kids suggesting an iPod or something...
We did the activity a couple of times and kept the bowl on the counter for a few days. Wes would ask to play "Float. Sink". He was even willing to play the activity by himself while I did dishes (lately, virtually no activity garners such solo play). 

Wesley (19 months) has an interesting comprehension of the float/sink phenomenon. When he drops the objects in, he is inconsistent at guessing whether they float or sink. I think he is more than 50% accurate, but certainly doesn't entirely "get it". 

However, when the activity is done, and I ask him if he remembers anything that floats, he says "leaf. buckeye. acorn". All correct. When I ask if the money, rocks, and Buddha statue float or sink, he says "sink" for each. But, he generally can't suggest items that sink. A couple days after playing the game, he had forgotten the items that sink, and would say "Float! Sink!" when asked if the money floated.

We enjoyed the activity. Wes was focused. He loves water. He loved the guessing game. He loved seeing his familiar objects in water.

* * *
This activity came from the lovely book Help your Preschooler Build a Better Brain by John Bowman. It is full of Montessori activities that are inexpensive/free and easy to do at home. E-books available and their Montessori at Home site has a lot of info, too.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Banana Boat

I am overdressing Wesley in a cotton long-sleeve shirt and February. The weather this week has been full-on summery. Tanktop weather. It has been amazing. We have been spending a lot of time playing outside.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Month 19

This month has been full of more trucks and play with his little guys, though truck play has dominated the scene.

Talk talk talk
This month Wesley has added so much more talking. I hear him talking to himself when he's playing. Early in the month talk went something like this, if he is playing with his cars...
"reeed!!.....lellow! b-o lellow! race! tuuuuuuuuuuck (truck)! Tuuuuuuuuck!!! Dump! Dump! tuuuuuuck"

By the end of the month it sounds more like this:

"Bulldozer! Guy! Sit! Wok! Hahd! Dirt! Push! Le-llow! Bulldozer."
Talking about the guy in the yellow bulldozer working hard at pushing dirt (this and the guy in the Digger digging dirt are his two favorite topics of conversation).

He now speaks in staccato sentences. It is hard to tell if he thinks the thought as one big idea and the words just come out halted, or if he thinks one idea. then the next elaboration. then the next. It is, however, generally easy for me to piece together what he's talking about. Some examples.

 "Lou-Lou! Bl-oooo! Hi!!"
His friend Louis drives up with Staci in their blue car. Wes stands by the window watching

 "More! Bowl! To-to! Eat!"
Upon seeing his bowl empty of tofu

"Viv-ver. Duck. Bed"
Wanting to go to the river to feed the ducks bread

*  * *
Wes is also starting to use pronouns regularly. He uses "you" and "me" and "yours" and "mine" but often mixes them up. For a week or so he'll correctly use the words, then he'll switch them around for long periods of time. It is very confusing to correct the bumbles because the tendency is to say, "you  say "me" not "you" when you point at yourself". Yikes.

Trucks, Trucks, Trucks
I don't think I anyone who had not witnessed it would belive the amount of time Wesley spends with trucks on the brain. He is either talking about trucks, playing with trucks, drawing trucks, looking at trucks, or doing some combination of these things for most of the day. Lucky for him there is a massive multi-month street construction project going on outside the house of his friend Louis. We go there almost daily to see the digger, the baby digger, the bulldozer (one of my favorite words of his), the roller, the mini loader, and if we're lucky a dump truck. He knows the names of many different kinds of trucks and heavy machinery (more those listed above) and talks about them frequently.

One of his favorite things to do when at home is play with his trucks and cars. He has a car transporter and a race track for cars.
Bliss =  Paving driveway across the street

He also has a large recycling truck that he likes to put things in and dump out. As the month has progressed, play with the dump truck has become more sophisticated. First he just put items in. Then, Mommy had Ironman pick up buckeyes and put them in the truck. Wes struggled for maybe a week to figure out how I was making that work. Then he discovered the magic of reaching around his figurines to pretend they are "holding" little items.

His truck play then evolved into a game of saying "Please" (open the dump truck door) and "Thank you" (my other favorite word of his said with sweet lip raspberries). Luke, Ironman, and Boba play this game most frequently, although his Playmobile "guys" have been getting in on it lately, too.

Also involving his trucks, he likes to pretend that his horse accidentally eats the tires on his trucks. He then exclaims "bleeeh! *spit spit* yuuuuck!". Our horses do sometimes become overly excited when eating hay, and they end up eating unexpected, distasteful items. He loves to run around the room having them eat different items (shoes, cars, pants, toes, tractors, etc) and then being revolted by the taste. He's a funny little guy.

Boba puts balls in truck

Wesley is deep into focused role playing with is figurines. He likes to dictate what they are doing, what we should be playing with them, etc. The limitation is that he only uses a few scenarios of play at a given time, plays them constantly, and then moves on to new ones, almost entirely dropping previous favorite routines. For the most part they are adaptations on things we had originally suggested.

For example, Wes likes the horses to eat hay. One day I pretended that our yellow rug was hay and that the blue dots on it were blueberries. A few days later, our blue rug became water. He took off with the idea and yells "blueberries!" and we trot the animals to the dots, then "water!" and then we dash across the room and they slurp. Then he decides where hay is--perhaps in the bedroom, in the corner, on the other side of the room, then they get water again. And then it repeats. He imagines certain things on his own, like pieces of fuzz are seeds to eat, and determines who is hungry and thirsty at any given time and where they will find sustenance. But, largely, he latches onto ideas he likes, and plays his own slight variations of them. He plays with intensity and focus.

Burying Acorns
We go to the park which is just a block away and bury acorns like the squirrels.

Pouring/Spooning things

Giving Looks
Wesley has discovered that "giving looks" can be really fun. He scowls at us in the most serious manner. Then we say, "are you giving me a look?" and he bursts into laughter. Or sometimes he'll scowl and yell, "look! look!". He then tries to give more looks, but he's usually smiling too much to be a very effective scowler. But check this one out...

Some of the looks have gotten really silly, and less scowly as he's realized that those, too, provoke laughter.

In addition to giving funny looks, he likes to make funny voices. He will say "mama" in a really low voice, run away laughing, then return and say "mama" in a really high voice, in a really slow voice, etc. He delights when I mimic back his name in the same style.

Rainy Day Fun
It rained a few days. Wes absolutely loved splashing in the puddles.

Yoga with Auntie Lisa
On my birthday evening, Uncle Jesse & Auntie Lisa brought us dinner and dessert. It was a fun evening. Then somehow yoga began. Was it because Wesley was doing Down Dog? likely. Lisa started doing some yoga poses for Wes, and he was thrilled. I spotted him on a few poses that she was doing and it was great fun.

Then the real excitement began. She did Down Dog. Then he did Down Dog. Then Wes decided it would be more fun to yell "Down Dog!" and scamper underneath, looking up at her. Oh the thrill! He was in one of his ecstaic states of glee. There could be no pause for physical limitations. The Drill Sargent in him emerged and Down Dog proceeded for quite some time because Lisa is both a good yogini and an entertaining Aunt. It was pretty funny. Probably the toughest Down Dog coach that she had encountered.

New friends
We met a new Mom (Brooke) with a little girl (Kaira) who is just a day younger than Wes. Kaira and Wesley get along very well, and I really like Brooke. They live right around the corner from us, which is amazing. We've played in the park with them quite a bit. We have been getting together with Louis, Wesley, and Kaira plus we Moms. It has been great fun. I so enjoy Staci and Brooke's company. I love watching the three little toddlers running around and playing.

His Hair
Wesley's hair is officially curly. We have been wondering about it for awhile. We sort of assumed it'd be like Casey's (who had a mass of curls as a kid), but showed no signs of curls except after bath. Now he has little curls that tickle his ears (and drive him crazy). I am resisting cutting them off, though he hits at his ear when they bother him. We shall see. I didn't get a good picture of his curls, but it seems like he gets noticeably more hair every day. I love how his red hair looks in the sunlight.

Norma turned 80! We had a great party for her. It was a fun night at Jesse & Lisa's house.

And I turned 29. Staci and Joe hosted a pancake breakfast at their house for me and Brooke and Kaira attended along with Staci's Dad who was visiting from Florida. Casey had the morning off work. It was a wonderful brunch. It was a great start to my birthday. That evening Uncle Jesse & Auntie Lisa brought us dinner and dessert and spent the evening with us. Such a fun time!

The next day The Plague hit me and I got very sick for a few days. But, I recovered in time to eat this cake which Patricia so kindly got for me...gorgeous...and even more delicious than it is pretty...

We rescheduled some of my birthday festivities which were postponed due to illness, and Norma, Patricia, and Uncle Jesse came and celebrated with us a week later. So, I had a wonderful week of birthday festivities.

Stinson Beach
We had a most idyllic day at Stinson Beach. It was one of those golden experiences where it feels like you're floating.

This Moment