Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Jan '11

Odd n’ Ends

It was warm enough one day this month that I could think of no reason to keep Wes out of the backyard. He bee-lined for the sandbox.

Wes likes to look at books. We cleared off an entire shelf on our bookcase in the living room and devoted it to his books only. But, of course, what do I find him looking at most often? My Harry Potter collection. I think he likes the feel of the pages in his hands and likes to flip through them. However, my HP books are wearing out pretty fast.

Here he is browsing a magazine while eating a snack.

He likes to do this:

He is also getting closer to climbing out of this crib, so we’re trying him again in the big boy bed. As long as we lie right next to him until he falls asleep, and he doesn’t wake up and wander out prematurely, and he doesn’t fall out of bed, it’s fine. We’ve sandwiched the toddler bed between the walls and a higher twin mattress to keep him from rolling out. We tried him in the bed overnight last night. I heard the door open at 4:15 a.m., and out he padded in his Thomas the Tank Engine pajamas. I put him in the crib after that, because I was so tired myself (Carissa didn’t sleep through the night) that I couldn’t handle any more loss of sleep.

Carissa usually does sleep through the night, and has been since about the four-month mark (she’s five months now). But lately she has woken now and again at night needing attention. I assume it’s because she’s growing and needing more nutrition.

I took her to the doctor for her well-child check last week. She’s about a foot long and weighs 12 lbs 15 oz. She’s growing, but the doctor expressed concern about her weight. She’s never been a giant, but she’s not gaining weight at a steady rate. At two weeks she was in the 41st percentile for weight, at two months she was in the 30’s somewhere, and now she’s 11th percentile. He suggested starting solid foods.

So I stocked up on some rice cereal and basic baby foods. Oh boy, it’s time to start that all over again.

When Wes saw Carissa wearing a bib, he led me to the pantry where the bibs are and gestured that he wanted one too. So they were matchy matchy during lunchtime.

It’ll be good for her to get some meat on her bones. Here she is in pants size 3-6 months. She’s five months, so you’d think they’d fit. But they look like mom pants.

She looked a little better once I added the jacket.

She is strong holding her head up now, and likes to sit in this chair we borrowed from my sister. I like it, too, because it keeps her entertained.

I saw her roll from her back onto her tummy today for the first time. I’m not sure if it was on purpose or not, but it was the first time she’s done it, regardless!

She sometimes gets super giggly when she’s tired. Like she’s really happy and loving to laugh and then suddenly she’ll turn the corner and she’s totally cranky and ready for a nap. It’s fun to make her laugh.

I just discovered she likes peek-a-boo.

Here we are at snack time.

She’s not super keen on eating real food, yet.

Jan '11

So Much Catch-Up

I hardly even know where to start.

My favorite video of my two kids together so far. This was taken mid-December when Carissa was 4 months old. I was taking photos of them together on the couch and paused to snatch a video of them.

We had a pleasant and low-key Christmas, involving just the four of us and a Papa Murphey’s take-and-bake pizza.

For Christmas, my mom gave Carissa a dress that I wore when I was a baby. When my mom lived in Utah for college she worked at a clothing company called Mini World. She was a garment inspector, and this dress came from there. She also sent us a picture of me wearing the dress in 1981 or so. Now I really do have a mini-me.

I was blown away by the generosity of gift-giving to our family. Too many wonderful things to even mention. A few:

My mom-in-law gave me a Flip HD video camera, which means I’m pretty much taking videos of my kids all day long.

John gave me a grain mill that hooks up to my Kitchen Aid mixer. Now I can grind wheat and other grains. I’ve already bought an assortment of grains from Good Earth for a terrific healthy cookie recipe I’ve tasted before and loved, but haven’t been able to make because you have to grind the grains into flour first. Now I can!

He also gave me Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which makes me think he might have his hopes set too high for my cooking skills, but I told him I’d try.

My sister and her family showered us with wonderful gifts that we use every day, which makes us think of them with gratitude every day. Perhaps the greatest gift to the environment is the reusable water bottle she gave me. I went through a lot of plastic water bottles before! This is a much better idea.

My mom gave Wes my little brother’s old Thomas the Tank Engine books, which he reads every day. (By “read” I mean “flips through and looks at the pictures”.) He loves books, and I hope he’ll be a happy reader someday.

Wes started Sunbeams at the start of January. This is the class at church for three-year-olds. It’s kind of a big step up from Nursery, which is for kids ages eighteen months to three years. Instead of playing for an hour, plus a short lesson, ten-minute singing time, and a snack time, he sits through opening exercises with all the kids ages three to twelve. Then he has a longer singing time and lesson time. His teachers still bring snacks though, which is very smart. I worried a little about how he’d do with more structure, but he is doing fine. On his first day, his teachers said he fell asleep during lesson time. But the following week he was at least awake the whole time, and he had a dirty mouth which meant he ate the snack. So, progress.

Another big step for Wes is that this week he started going to preschool four days a week instead of two. His teacher felt he would only benefit from the added time, and I think she’s right. Wes loves school, but lately he has been reluctant to get on the bus when it comes. Our neighborhood is fairly quiet, but you know when Wesley is getting on the bus because you can hear the word “NOOOO!” echoing among the rooftops. His bus driver and aide tell me that once he’s buckled in and they’re on their way, he’s fine.

He likes his lunchbox a lot. Whenever he’s hungry he’ll go find his lunchbox in his school bag and bring it to me. Then together we’ll head to the pantry and pull out snacks (pudding, fruit, string cheese, cookies, crackers) and put some inside his lunchbox with a spoon and napkin, as if he were going to school. Then he’ll carry the lunchbox to the table and ask me to help him unzip it. When he opens it and sees what’s inside he always exclaims in delight, like “Wow! Look what’s in here!” Then he methodically unpacks each item and decides what to eat first. (I know from doing this that at school he always eats his cookies first.)

Wes loves numbers, the alphabet, shapes, and colors. He knows “circle,” “square,” and “triangle.” He can say and identify and sign all the colors.

Here he is counting.

Today I caught him pulling out tissues from a box in Carissa’s room. I don’t like it when he does that because then all the tissues end up stuffed back in the box and hard to pull out one-at-a-time. But I had him stuff them back anyway. I sat down to feed Carissa, and the stinker started pulling the tissues out again. But he was counting each one so well as he pulled them out that I didn’t want to stop him. Counting is good.

Wesley knows the signs for all the letters. If you go through the alphabet slowly with him, he can sign and say each letter. When we sing the song (like in the video here) he just catches a few of the signs, and chimes in on the key letters, like “P!” He also likes when we write letters and words for him to “read.”

Wes likes to watch football with Dad. He gets very emotionally involved. He will be a great coach someday.

Wesley’s hair was getting long…

and starting to resemble a famous pop icon…

So we had to step in and do something. Trimming Wesley’s hair is a two-person job and isn’t fun for anyone. His hair cuts aren’t ever remotely even (in fact, one day at church the day after I cut his hair, a lady looked at him an said, “Someone found the scissors!” Like it was such a bad cut that Wes had done it himself). But at least it’s shorter. Phew. Now we can wait a couple more months before undergoing such torture again.

His “before” picture is from this little scene here:

I was on the phone around the corner in another room, and I heard him eating dinner at the table. But when I came back, he had moved on from dinner to the pans of cooling red velvet cupcakes on the counter.

I made cupcakes specifically so I could play with my fantastic new toy (that I bought for myself)–a Wilton decorating tool. It’s not the traditional plastic bag you fill with icing, but a plastic cylinder that’s washable. I love it. I could use one tip to fill the cupcakes and another to swirl the top with homemade cream cheese frosting.

Aren’t cupcakes so much more fun to eat when they look like this??

Every now and again I crave something creative, and this does it for me. I would like to take a cake decorating class someday.

As for Carissa, she is five months old today. She is growing at a normal, steady rate, which makes her growing up so much faster than I remember Wes. He was a baby for a long time. Carissa is about 12 pounds and in 3-6 month clothing. She still has a lot of dark hair (slightly lighter than at birth), with a bald spot on the back, and her eyes are blue so far.

I can’t get over sometimes how bright and alert she is. Her hands always want to be busy touching and exploring and discovering. She watches her surroundings carefully. She recognizes the bottle and is visibly excited to see it. She is a little ticklish. She loves watching Wes play. He is her favorite entertainment, I think. And he loves it when she smiles and laughs. If we tickle her, he mimics and tries to get her to laugh, too.

Some giggle moments:

As John says, Carissa is definitely a girl. Which, I think, refers to her sometimes melodramatic attitudes and extensive vocalization. Wes is pretty mellow. Carissa is a good baby, but next to Wes she comes across a little more fussy. She is also loud and squeals a lot. I have often been thankful for the quiet car rides with Wes in back, because he doesn’t make much noise. Carissa is always testing her vocal chords (they work). She can be a squealer. I hope this is temporary.

She loves her binkie. She sleeps through the night (I don’t feed her), but often we’ll have to get up and replace her binkie or re-swaddle her (her left arm always wriggles loose). I am getting closer to the point of letting her cry it out instead, but am steeling myself up for it. She can cry a looooooooong time. In any case, I am sleeping better now than I did a few months ago.

I could go on longer…about how Wes still only likes his milk warm and will hand it back if it’s too cold for his liking….about how I tried cooking thai food tonight and it turned out moderately OK…about how when Wes is hungry for real food he always asks for candy…or about how when I asked Wes to go to the pantry he ran the opposite way to the Christmas tree instead (panTREE…)…but I’ll leave it for now. Until another time.