Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Just Some Thoughts.

Pat and I are hearing from many parents to not wish this walking thing to happen too fast-- "You'll be chasing him everywhere..." "Get out the gates!" I know this will be true, however, Elliot is such a monkey and is crawling so fast, getting up on and into everything, that we are doubting it will be that much different. I'll check back in later once he really has a hang of the walking and let you know if we really are being naive or if this little guy is already on hyper mode.

A few examples: While I did laundry yesterday, Elliot spent the time putting blocks on a big chair, climbing up on his own, throwing them back down. He would then use all his core muscles to tediously get off the chair (his little feet just barely reach, I think he's going to fall each time but doesn't...), put the blocks back up... repeat. Literally, this happened 20x in a row. Every once in a while, his foot would get stuck up by his head, but the rest of him was already almost down. He'd hang mid-air in limbo, give a little groan or whine, and I'd say, "So how are you going to solve that one?" then he'd work his little foot off the chair just in time to catch himself.

And: Claire and Diane popped over yesterday for a little bit to visit and play. Diane played on her own very well, not much of a peep, very content to just investigate calmly. Claire enjoyed her cup of tea. I, on the other hand, ended up in the bathroom 3 or 4 times because Elliot would crawl really fast there, wanting to get into the bathtub. Or, he'd be in the kitchen, back out again, crawling super fast with a toy in each fist, scooting them across the floor. All while Diane stayed nicely in the play area...

There are some issues with him wanting to stand on the chairs lately, too.

I'm willing to say we're naive if we are, but my guess is that we should have already put up the baby gates when the crawling started with this maniac.

Oh, and I guess the mommy brain continues past the year mark, as I think I forgot to rinse the conditioner out of my hair this morning?

Monday, August 30, 2010

First Steps, First Dip in the Lake...

Just like every milestone with a baby, we're not really sure what to count as the "first," or that's the way it's been with Elliot most times. "Ok, did he really crawl right there?" "He just rolled over! But I think it was an accident." "That was definitely DAD, but, c'mon, did he call you that!?"

A few days ago, he was closing the dryer door for me and it moved faster than he anticipated, leaving him with the only option of stepping forward one step before catching himself on his knees. Nah, not walking yet.

This morning, I was holding Elliot's hands as he walked towards Pat and he let go, only to manage 2 quick steps before falling. He did this over and over between us, but we decided that with the running start, this wasn't really walking.

However, this evening, I stood him up and stepped back about 5 feet and reached for him to walk to me. He managed 4 controlled steps, initiated all on his own, before falling. This we're counting! He was so super excited and proud, that he bounced around, crawling, laughing, pulling up on furniture, but couldn't get himself settled down enough to accomplish it again... it was almost like he was unsure of what he had actually achieved, but he was sure it was something! And, again, just like any other milestone, the first time is usually an anomaly until he realizes what he did and can mimic the movements regularly (when he rolled over the first time, I expected him to keep doing it... but had to wait 2 more weeks for him to do it again!).

On Saturday, we did a great bike ride to Navy Pier with Elliot. He loved it and we sat by Ohio Street Beach for a bit, enjoying the lovely weather, then rode home.

On Sunday, we lingered at the lake for the afternoon, which is the norm. I dozed a bit while Pat scooted off with Elliot. Just as I thought they had been gone a bit, Pat hollers over, "Hey! I put him in the lake and he loved it! His first real swim!" He had his clothes off and his diaper was fully drenched. Apparently, Elliot was reaching for it, so Pat put his feet in... then he started kicking, so in a little more, until he was up to his waist. The cold water was no deterrent! Like father, like son.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Elliot jams to Al Green.

Well, "jam" is an overstatement. And notice just how big that last piece of banana is that he shoves in his mouth.

Banana-Eating Munchkin.

Elliot had stopped eating bananas, one of the foods he normally likes. Then, yesterday, I was munching on one, and he wanted a bite, but reached for it, wanting to hold it. I thought for sure it'd end up on the ground or he'd smoosh it in his fist, but he ate away. Apparently, he now has to hold the banana himself and it can't be chopped up.

I don't know what it is about his little look at this angle, but I just want to scoop him up and kiss him all over! Maybe it's the fact that I'll be at work starting next week. There's another one I'm posting, too, because he starts bobbing to Al Green as he eats.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Growing Up.

I went in and got Elliot from his nap yesterday, and it seemed he grew significantly in just those two hours! He looked different and felt heavier. Crazy. Then, I put him in jeans, and it seemed he turned 3 years old right under my nose! And now that he can crawl up on the chairs around the house, he sits there and beams pride, knowing he's becoming a big boy... anyone have tips on how to stand time still?! I'm afraid I'll blink and he'll be in kindergarten!

We've been attempting the sippy cup here and there, trying to replace a mid-day bottle with it, but I didn't bother while we traveled. Previously, he would bite on the rubbery kind and then just let the water/milk flow right down the front of him (how the heck do you make a kid swallow?). We switched kinds, and he finally seems to be getting something out of it today! Of course, it's become a bit of a show since he gets praise for at least tipping it up and having it in his mouth-- he's all exaggerated and dramatic with it. He seemed surprised when he actually sucked and realized, "Oh, that's what this is supposed to do..." Still not getting a bottle's equivalent so we're grumping through the afternoons, but I just don't think I can do the cold turkey with how stubborn he's become.

His "schedule" has been really out of whack lately... yesterday, we had to cancel playing with Riley because he just couldn't make it past 9:15a without needing a nap. Today-- it was all my efforts to get him down finally at 5pm. Sheesh.

Monday, August 23, 2010

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Elliot? Part Two

We went in for Pat's dad's wedding this weekend. It was so lovely and it was awesome to catch up with everyone and to celebrate. We've had so many funerals on that side in the last two+ years that it was great to sit around and visit, and not feel like you had to be doing something, anything, to try to make things more comfortable. Bill and Nancy seemed to truly enjoy hosting and although I know it was a lot of work, they didn't seem stressed. The ceremony and meal was at Maggiano's in one of their ballrooms and I would guess that there was 150 people! My parents stayed the whole weekend and it was great for all the inlaws to visit more.

We stayed with Pat's brother and as always, this makes for a great way to hang with their kids. Kyle, 7, Timmy, almost 4, and Kate, almost 2, were so good with Elliot. They had toys sorted out that were "Elliot appropriate" and entertained him non-stop.

He learned how to climb on and off the zebra... almost can go down stairs, but no walking yet... ??

Our air mattress was too tempting for the kids. Now that Elliot needs his own space to sleep in, we were relegated to the living room floor. He's already taking over.

I failed to get any photos of the wedding or the wedding couple-- Pat was a little involved, so I was solo with Elliot and the camera was not a priority. I was out walking him up and down the hallway most of the ceremony anyway.

Here are some of the crew-- that's Elliot, and next to him is his cousin Ben (1 1/2yo), then you see cousin Alex (3 1/2), and on down the table is Ben's twin, Jacob. ALL of these kids konked out before the reception was over. We joked that it was the adults' turn to nap...

Elliot has become quite clingy lately. We like to blame it on teeth, toddlerhood, me being home all summer, whatever, but it's getting worse. He melted down so easily all weekend and wouldn't go to anyone else. Of course, we were staying someplace strange, his naps were all too short and off schedule, and he's so much more aware in the car that sleeping is no longer a given. He did awesome on the way in, but on the way back to Chicago, a burp or something kept him up until we stopped for a bit, and then bedtime was around 10pm. He was up early this morning, crying over everything, and so back to bed it was by 9:15a!

I was lucky, however, that he crashed on my lap right as the main course came at the wedding. I got to enjoy my meal, eating over his head. Fabulous.

And it was my parents' 42nd anniversary weekend! Nice reason to take a trip!

After the wedding, everyone changed their clothes and headed to Panini's for drinks and more food (of course!). We wanted to go, but knew Elliot was worn out and it wasn't a place for him. Mom and dad offered to keep him, but they were staying at a friend's place that wasn't super kid friendly. Pat's brother was having his in-laws over to watch their kids, so mom and dad came there and the two sets of in-laws visited while the kids could all play. This worked well for about an hour until Elliot needed a bottle. He refused to take a bottle from anyone but Kyle, the 7-year-old nephew! And when an adult stepped in to help flip the bottle the right way, Elliot screamed in objection. He took the bottle from his knees, drinking hamster style with his neck kinked way back. Sigh. What are we going to do with this stubborn boy?

Mom also told me that he crawled under the dining room table, stood up, got stuck, and just cried because he refused to sit back down in order to get out. She crawled under, tried to coax him out, ended up having to sit him down and scoot him along the wood floor to prove to him that this was a solution, all while he bawled. Oh, how I sympathized with them. They were such troopers, though, taking it in stride and I was home in time to put him down. What a stinker.

I'm trying for more playtime and such for him, but playing with other kids doesn't seem to be a huge problem. It's the strange adults that are the issue, as well as such heightened frustration when he's so tired. I'm hoping this is standard fare for toddlers? Or do we really have a mess on our hands?

Elliot's make-shift bed at the after-after party on Sunday. Bill and Nancy had left for their honeymoon, but we all gathered at the house and ate down Maggiano's leftovers!
Dave and Jen came with Avery to see us! It was great to get the kids together. She's walking, doing great, looking so grown up.

Most of us stayed inside with the ac, but there was a football game out back.
Katie drove up from Texas all by herself!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Jessica visits and Air Show.

We've been busy this summer for sure. Jessica, a friend from Kent, visited to look at grad schools and to catch up! We have enjoyed many times at the lake already and this weekend was no exception. We rode our bikes down to the pier at the Planetarium to watch the Air Show, just in time to catch the Blue Angels. It was awesome. Really a perfect afternoon-- great weather (our heat broke), the lake was so gorgeous, and Elliot did fabulously on the bike now that we have a better helmet. He actually took a catnap on the way home. Not great for the neck, but what can you do? We tried to wake him, but the helmeted-head just kept a'bobbing...

The tuxedo? I was vocalizing my worry about what to put Elliot in for Grandpa Papczun's wedding soon to my sister, Karen. She calls shortly after with, "I have the perfect outfit for him. You'll say it's too fancy, but it's not everyday that his Grandpa gets married, right? He'll be so cute, and we're doing it for his birthday," as I complained about the impracticality. "That's what gifts are for" and I lost the argument. Patent leather shoes and all! It was very sweet of her and Uncle Brad, et al, to send this to us and he is darn cute. Of course, the 9mo pants were too big around but the sleeves were too short, so I altered it to be shorts/shortsleeved. Turned out not too shabby, eh? The bowtie is not on, but there will be plenty of photos from the wedding, I'm sure. Grandma and Grandpa Ulrich are coming to the wedding, too, so it will be great to see everyone on Pat's side and them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Super Fast Crawling.

Elliot tends to grab a toy, block, bottle of water, what have you, and use it as a sort of wheel when he's crawling. The item slides across the floor with him pushing it, and he is forced to crawl extra fast to keep up. It's hilarious, but very hard to capture on film, as he gets distracted by the camera. And this isn't even a really fast example!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Learning to Love.

The Carpenters Visit.

My sister, Kathy, drove up from Atlanta with her three girls (Abby, 7; and Lindsey and Rachel, almost 4) and her husband, Matt. They stayed for 3 nights and we had a ball. All of their birthdays are in August, so this was a big birthday vacation. Everyone got a personalized mini-cake.

The girls were very excited to play with Elliot, and he was just as excited to have them around. It was non-stop energy.

Friday, we were at the Museum of Science and Industry all day. I saw parts of the museum and exhibits that I never spent time at, and teased them that I guess I just really needed to be with some nerds to experience the Science Museum the real way! The kids were fabulous-- Abby really took charge of Elliot, who did not nap all day and did very well.

Saturday, they had tickets to Shrek the Musical and we joined them. Abby had performed some of the songs in a musical theater class, and her mouth was wide open the entire time. What a show!! Loved it, and it reminded me how little theater we get to see, and how much I love musicals.

Then we ate dinner at the lake and waded in the water while Kathy and Matt went out. There was a little drama when some watermelon helped Abby lose her remaining big front tooth! At first, she was devastated that it was MIA (truly a lost tooth), until we reminded her that fairies have those fairy-like abilities, and surely the Tooth Fairy had taken it out of her mouth because it was good and ready. Luckily, hehem, the Tooth Fairy in Chicago had a $2 bill that is tradition, and all was well in fairyland.

So, today, I am getting caught up on things like blogging. I have some videos I'm trying to post of Elliot, but there's some technical difficulty...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

First Bike Ride!

Elliot got a seat for our bikes from Aunt Maryann last Christmas, and he's finally one year old and can give it a whirl. We got a helmet, and he smiled so big at trying it on at the store (he plays with Pat's when he comes home from work).

The helmet kept slipping over his eyes and he was extra grumpy today anyway, so although we've declared the ride a success, there are tweaks that need to be made. It seems every time the helmet bumps the back of the seat, it scooches forward over his eyes, no matter how tight we put it (we even tried a washcloth over his head first, boostering him up with a towel, etc). The fatness of the foam at the back of his head forces him to kink his neck forward until the helmet shifts... still working on this.

It was fun and there will be lots more!

One of many adjustments to the helmet.

We're rolling!