Saturday, July 30, 2011

Family at Belleview Park

Andrew and I felt like getting out of the house this evening. Oliver had taken a late nap, so I suggested we head to Belleview Park. We didn't arrive until after 6:30pm. The park was still bustling! There were children's birthday parties going on, and probably a hundred kids in the creek. We were too late for the train. It stops running at 4pm (hours at this link). So, we made our way down the creek to shallow waters and found a patch of rocky sand to play in. Oliver loved it!

Andrew took Oliver to the shore to toss rocks into the creek. Oliver loved watching them splash.

Oliver would pick up rocks and have us to count to three for him to throw them in.

Oliver & Andrew playing in the creek:

Oliver loved digging into the rocky sand, but then he'd hold up his hands for me to rinse off the rocks stuck to his skin.

I love this shot of Andrew and Oliver:

Oliver decided to explore the creek upstream:

...and then they ran back to me!

My face is officially swollen from pregnancy, but here's a family shot:

Oliver ditched his swim trunks because they were a little too big and were falling down. Here he is walking across a bridge with his daddy:

We stopped at some bathrooms at the park, and I made Oliver sit by the flowers for a photo:

Oliver decided he didn't want to walk to the car. He'd rather be carried.

We stopped on the bridge to get one last look at the creek before heading to the car:

Oliver is 21 Months!

I can't believe that Oliver was completely helpless 21 months ago. He came into this world, and he couldn't focus his eyes, lift his head, or move purposefully. Now, he walks and talks and observes and learns and plays. How do babies learn and develop so much so quickly? How is it possible that we'll be celebrating his second birthday in three short months?

I wanted to do a monthly update again because I feel like Oliver continues to develop rapidly.

At the moment, Oliver isn't very interested in learning new letters and rarely chooses to read his alphabet book. He knows and is able to say the letters C, D, F, G, I, M, O, R, S, and T. I count these as words because he has to recognize them and assign a sound to them. Including those ten letters, Oliver knows about 60 words. He's probably learned 20-30 words this last month alone.

Oliver still doesn't usually say two separate words together as a phrase. There have been times when he's said, "Two eyes," or "Daddy, up," but those moments are few and far between.

Gross Motor:
Oliver is finally running! He likes to run everywhere. He is also starting to climb. Up until last week or so, Oliver has never been interested in climbing. Now, he enjoys climbing up on tall chairs, standing on boxes, and pulling up on tables. He even moves the kitchen chairs around to reach light switches.

If it was up to him, Oliver would be climbing up and down stairs upright. We don't have our hand railings installed yet (soon!), so I don't let him unless I'm holding his hands. He hasn't started jumping yet.

Potty Training:
Depending on your definition of potty trained, you may or may not agree with me, but I now consider Oliver potty trained. He's not able to get his undies or pants off all by himself yet, but he goes into the bathroom whenever he has to pee or poop. He'll put the potty seat on the toilet and wait for me to get to him to help him with his pants and to lift him up on the toilet. He has a hard time sitting still to go #2, so he usually wants off before he's finished. I usually have to put him up on the toilet 2 or 3 times for him to finishing pooping! This week, he's only had two poop accidents, and both were in front of the toilet. He has a pee accident about once a day, but almost never twice. His accidents are usually from being groggy after his nap, but sometimes (rarely) they're just because.

When we're upstairs and have the little toddler potty, Oliver goes all by himself if he doesn't have pants on. Whenever he has to go, he sits on the potty himself, pees, and then carries it to the bathroom. I open the door for him, and he pours it into the toilet and flushes it.

I wait until Oliver has used the potty before taking him out. He loves public restrooms, though, and loves learning how to use new toilets (button flushes, stick handle flushes, etc). I put a cloth diaper on him when we go out just in case. He's peed in his diaper while we were out once, when we were at an appointment that took two hours. He didn't let me know he needed to go because he didn't know where the bathroom was. At least, I assume that's the reason. Anyway, until he starts letting me know that he has to use the bathroom in public, I'll keep him in cloth diapers when we go out. Oliver also wears an overnight, disposable diaper at night. Sometimes, I put him in a cloth diaper for his naps. Sometimes, he stays dry for his naps, but other times, he wakes up wet.

Oliver loves watching kids. He doesn't really interact with them much. If he's given enough time to warm up (say, 30 minutes), he'll walk up to kids and start to share with them. As soon as another kid reaches out his/her hand to take Oliver's toy/object, he jerks his hand back. He decides not to share after all.

Oliver loves adults, too. He's now completely comfortable with grandparents and doesn't mind at all if we leave him with grandparents for a while. I'll give him kisses and wave, and he'll wave back, and then he'll walk away like it's no big deal. He loves to show grandparents all his toys when they come to our house. He's still shy around strangers, but he doesn't scream or cry anymore. Sometimes, he gets chatty with them. He enjoys all the clerks at Safeway, and he hands them our store discount card every time we go.

One of Oliver's most favorite things are dogs. Oliver loves dogs. We'll sit out on our back porch and watch all the neighbors' dogs play. His favorite is friendly mastiff named Bella. Just the other day, Bella was playing fetch with a giant stick (a branch, if you will). Oliver was fascinated and clapped for Bella. The next day, there were two other dogs outside (a very old mutt who is 16, and a chihuahua puppy). Oliver *insisted* on carrying this large, heavy stick (it had to be four feet long) over to these dogs. It was so sweet. It actually made me sad for Oliver that the old dog wasn't interested, and the little dog was terrified of the stick. I told Oliver we'd leave it on the grass for them to play with later. Thankfully, Bella came out shortly after, and she played with the stick.

Problem solving:
Oliver loves to figure out how to do things like Mommy & Daddy. This gets him into mischief. Once, he got a hold of my deodorant. He popped the cap off and rubbed some on his chest, near his arm pits. He also found chapstick once, and he took the cap off of that and rubbed some all over his lips, chin and tongue. He'll comb his hair, and he'll brush his teeth. He likes it when I give him a dollop of lotion, and he rubs a little on his cheeks and hair.

Oliver also enjoys trying to load the printer with paper. He likes turning it on and off and turning on the scanning mechanism to get the light to go across the scanner. He knows how to put batteries into our remotes that have the drop-in battery feature. He can turn on computers and TVs. He gets mad if I turn on the coffee maker, washing machine, microwave or dish machine myself. He wants to do it. He also cries if I forget to let him flush the toilet for me.

Oliver is starting to understand the concept of locks. He knows how to open doors, and if one doesn't open, he tries to turn the lock on the handle. Oliver also buckles his own high chair buckle as well as the buckles on grocery carts. He wants to put the car keys into the locks when we go out to the car, and he wants to open the car doors himself. Although it's a big no-no, Oliver tries to turn on the water in the bathtub. I am not kind to him when he does this because I am afraid of burns. I yell sharply, "No!" That usually keeps him from trying again for a week or so.

Oliver uses tools. He likes to take the screwdriver and put it on screws around the house (like on doorknobs and electronic toys). He also likes to take our hammer and hammer on the trim around the door (it's the only place I let him hammer).

Oliver still loves to play pretend. He enjoys having all his animals play "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed." He frequently feeds Monkey food. Today, he even played airplane with Monkey. I've played airplane with Oliver in the past, but we don't play very frequently. It surprised me to see him laying on his back on the floor, holding Monkey with his hands and feet, making zoom noises while soaring Monkey around. I guess it means he likes to play airplane! We'll have to play more often.

Oliver also likes to pretend to sleep. He lays down and says, "Shhhh," like a snore. Sometimes, he'll tuck some of his stuffed animals into our bed before pretending to sleep. He still rocks his animals in his rocking chair, and he loves to have his animals kiss each other and us. Monkey also uses the potty, apparently!

Oliver has turned into quite the picky eater! He literally won't try *anything* new. Forget vegetables. I have to hide them in his quesadillas and stuff them in his pasta (I buy penne). I shred spinach and mix it in his pasta sauce, sandwiches, and other foods. He doesn't mind, even if he sees it. As I wrote the other day, he sometimes even mimics me and tries to shove veggies into his pasta. Thankfully, Oliver's getting better with fruit. He'll eat strawberries, and he loves those Dole fruit cups (I only buy them in 100% juice--no syrup--and I drain the juice before giving them to him).

Oliver's main meals that he eats regularly are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fish sticks, bean & cheese quesadillas, a fried egg with cheese, pasta & sauce, and mac & cheese with diced turkey dog. For snacks, he likes cereal (especially Cheerios), yogurt melts, yogurt (I like to buy the vegetable Yo Baby yogurt blends, but my regular grocery store only carries the fruit kind), fruit cups, cheese (string cheese, which I still shred for him), and frozen, whole grain waffles. Oliver doesn't drink much milk. I can get him to take a couple sips a day. He'll drink the soy milk that I put in his cereal, though, so I wonder if he just doesn't like the taste of cow's milk. Oliver also doesn't really like ice cream, so I think dairy isn't his thing. He likes his yogurt blends, though, so who knows? I really want him to learn to like the taste of cow's milk, though, so I pour him a couple glasses a day. Almost all of it goes to waste. We go to Starbucks once a week together, and I can get him to take about a dozen sips of the vanilla milk boxes that we buy there.

Friday, July 29, 2011

100 (Attempted) Ways to Entertain a Young Toddler, Day 25: Water Painting

Today's entertaining idea comes from a website I found by Robin Kay. I chose water painting. It's easy & inexpensive to play, which is all the motivation I need to give it a try!

All you need for water painting is nice weather, a bowl of water, and a paint brush (or something similar). I had a foam one that I got for free as an advertisement from an interior decorator. So, for me, the activity was completely free!

I brought out a few bowls and some measuring cups. I figured Oliver could play with those if the painting idea went bust. I showed Oliver how to use the brush to paint. I dipped it in the water and ran it along the concrete. At first, Oliver was more interested in the measuring cups. He's always enjoyed transferring water from one container to another:

After a moment, he decided to give my water painting a try.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

100 (Attempted) Ways to Entertain a Young Toddler, Day 24: Flying Fish

I browsed the internet today to come up with free and fun activities for the little guy and me. I stumbled upon an activity that sounded promising: Flying Fish. When we were in Chicago, Oliver loved playing with the whirlybirds that fall from maple trees. You just toss those seeds in the air, and they slowly spin down to the ground. He loved it! I kind of thought this activity might be similar. It was not.

The idea and work are simple enough. You cut out an inch-wide strip from an old magazine that's as long as the page. Then, you cut two slits on each end like this:

Bend the strip into a loop, and attach it to itself using the slits. You end up with "fish" like these:

According to the website, all you have to do for fun is throw them in the air and watch them fly! Here goes my toss:

...and then we watched it plummet to the ground. The "flying fish" did not fly. They did what almost every other object does when you toss it into the air: the fell straight to the ground. I tried making a few more. I made some with longer tail "fins" and some with really short fins. Nothing helped. I tried to get Oliver to throw them to see if he'd find them fun:

He threw them once. They fell to the ground. He said, "Mom, that's stupid." OK, so he didn't say that, but he did walk away and left me sitting in a pile of plummet fish. Really, it kept his interest all of 2 seconds to throw them, and then he was done.

I took a photo of me doing my best "Are you serious?" face:

Here's the thing. If Oliver was old enough to enjoy crafts, he might have enjoyed actually making the fish. Maybe. But that wasn't the activity. The activity is to throw them. That activity is a load. I want to give it an F, but I have to be fair. It didn't cost me any money. It didn't waste much time. It just was nothing. For that, Flying Fish (or "Plummet Fish") gets a D grade.

Oliver and Owen at the Splash Pad

My neighbor, Shawna, and I decided to take our little guys to Roy Ross Park today to play in the water. When we arrived, Owen was jumping out of his skin to get to the splash area. Oliver, ever timid, was interested in watching from a distance while we got everyone prepped for an hour in the sun.

We released the boys into the splash pad. Owen had his beach ball, and Oliver had his rubber ducky. It was a cute sight.

Oliver gets brave enough to approach the water:

Owen decides to test out the water. He's not sure if he likes it:

Ducky needs water, too:

Owen gets brave with his mommy's help:

A drain!

I try to get Oliver to run through the water by showing him how it's done:

The boys finally play together (kind of):

Oliver kept wanting me to hold him. I finally sat down so I could:

Back to the water:

Oliver and Owen explore a drain: