Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Cousin Anna!

Since we forgot Anna's birthday, she gets a special birthday video wish on here!  (I couldn't get it to load on email either...)

Hope it was great, Anna!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thanks, Grandpa.

I sent my dad the link to the blog for these updates.  His response was to watch out for handling reptiles and turtles, as they carry Salmonella that causes diarrhea.  Hehem, I'm having Pat go back and check the date on the photos of that baby turtle they played with to see if it coincided with Elliot's issues last week... Lovely.

Failing the First Test for Potty Training...

He's a big fan of the hammock this year.
 So, I'm not sure why I can't get my head around Elliot's swings (which I think are somewhat normal?).  We had such a rotten last week.  Then, Renee found an article with some basic tips on dealing with the terrible twos-- most of which we were already doing, which was very reassuring.  It specifically mentioned grocery trips as an example with some little ideas that might help.  My last trip to Target with Elliot ended with several screaming fits and too many attempts at standing up in the shopping cart.  I applied these little tips in my trip today, and voila, had a beautifully easy trip with Elliot.  Feeling all confident and relieved, I emailed the article to some friends with toddlers.  Then, we popped in on Claire and Diane this afternoon, with me knowing that Elliot hadn't had a snack (but we were trying to get out the door fast)... too many attempts at shoving Diane and then not being able to share his scooter resulted in us leaving in the midst of another tantrum.  C'est la vie!  I really, truly should be used to this manic, Jekyll and Hyde nature of babies that only gets exacerbated with toddler-hood. 

The other funny thing-- I'm reading this book on potty training that my sister swears by.  Lots of specifics, very intense, and this method is only supposed to take less than a day.  When I read it, I was thinking, "Sure, that makes sense."  The method was derived from a method developed to train mentally retarded adults who typically could not use the toilet on their own.  It involves a doll for illustration and getting the child to "train" the doll first through lots of positive reinforcement.  There is no reliance on an adult being told the child has to go, but only reliance on the child developing the ability to go on their own when needed.  It is perfect logic on the page.  I'm super curious to see how Elliot responds. 

I'm diving in when I have lots of isolated time with Elliot in August. 

Anyway, the story related to the title (I've digressed...): The book gives three tests to see if your child is ready.  One is dexterity- are they ready to manually pull up their own pants?  Yes.  One is bladder control- not sure on that one, but we think so.  The last one is "Instructional Readiness."  The authors give about 10 questions/instructions for the child to respond to.  If the child is simply stubborn and can do the task but does not, they are too stubborn to start this training yet. 

I decided to give a casual run-through today. "Elliot, Mommy's gonna give you a little test. Wanna try?" He was super into the book, but not super into my instructions. First question, "Point to your nose."  Geesh, he's been doing this for several months, so no problem right?  His response, a very defiant, "No."  I ask again, nicer, closer to him, following all the protocol of making sure he's looking at me, using his name, etc.  This time, his "No!" is accompanied by a march across the room.  I scooped him up and cackled aloud while telling him, "You're going to drive mommy nuts!"  He responded by cackling with me and we turned it all into a laughing fit. 

I know for sure Elliot can do these tasks.  He has been for months.  However, it looks like Mr. Control falls into the stubborn category.  The other things on the list are pointing to other features, sitting down, standing up, accompanying you into another room... pretty simple stuff.  If the child can complete 8 of 10 of these instructed behaviors, he is "considered intellectually ready for training."
The prognosis does not look good, however.  The book goes on to say that if stubbornness is an issue, "you cannot depend on advancing age to solve it.  The other problems-- of bladder control, coordination, and language development-- are usually solved by simple waiting.  Stubbornness, on the other hand, may very well increase with age.  Until this general stubbornness is overcome, you should not attempt to toilet-train." 
I was thinking about the new guidelines a few weeks ago about rear-facing carseats.  The new limit recommendation is 2 years, but that it is more important to go by the maximum weight on the seat itself before flipping it.  Well, Elliot's is 40#.  He'll be 7 years old before we flip his car seat around!  And by the looks of it, he might be 7 years old before we get his stubbornness under control enough to potty train! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Few Letters.

Elliot has been identifying a few letters here and there in some of his books. Sometimes, he'll be able to pick out specific letters in words he sees when I ask or assign a letter to a corresponding word. For example, when he would see N, he'd say, "Nah nah" for Renee, or D, he'd say, "Dog," or "Dada."

I figure it's like the colors and shapes-- just another label to another item in another category, right? Maybe a little more complicated, since he does see so many words in his books that are created from these letters. You'd think I'd know more as a reading teacher, but alas, I was never trained in reading development-- just early adolescence and on.

I thought this was pretty cool, though. You have to listen pretty close to catch some of them.

Stunt Boy?

The latest twist on scootering... I had seen him before glide for a while on one leg, but the most recent thing I caught him doing was this little deliberate kick as he coasted to the end of his run.
He even agreed to keep doing it for the camera! I think we have a little stunt boy on our hands... not even 2 years old yet. I'm worried once a BMX bike comes into reach.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Huh, with all the tantrums we've had lately, there's been no biting. I think I need to post the phrase, "And this too shall pass." above our doorway in large letters.

Terrible Twos...

We've had a few rough days (or, should I say, Renee has had a few rough days!) with Elliot. Well, really, most of the week! Lots of yelling/screaming NO!, temper tantrums, hitting... partner that with a bit of diarrhea. Poor kid-- he actually said the other day (well, his version of), "Belly, hurt." So, he's got some sort of little bug. But, he's not lethargic, eats fine, sleeps fine, just seems bratty. Two-year molars? Or just a brat. Ha!

There's standing water in the one drinking fountain in a favorite park and I think he got some kind of contamination from playing in that. Needless to say, no more! However, it does not excuse the fits and tantrums.

So, to combat that, here's some cute photos!

Other updates: Elliot and dad caught a baby turtle at the pond on campus. It was so tiny- probably about 3-4" in diameter. Elliot held it-- just his size! Lots of photos but sadly, they are on the cheapo phone and we cannot access them anywhere else.

Also, we took Renee home the other day and Andy, her husband, brought his police truck over for Elliot to sit in. Boy, did that make his day! He got to sit in the driver's seat, push all kinds of buttons, and see the lights flash. He was in awe. Of course, it was spontaneous, so we did not have a camera handy.

The baby ducks at the pond on campus are almost all grown up. However, on our walk home from the lake down 51st Street, we found some new duckling families to follow! These ducklings were so cute and we couldn't get a count on them because they kept diving under. I think there's 13. Elliot was so excited.

Random stop to play with a large stick on our walk. It took forever to get home.
What a pensive look- have they discovered land?
Ready to get down!
Pat put the camera next to the ice-pack for Elliot's milk, so we got "soft-touch" photos without trying! My main reason for taking this one-- Pat tells Elliot to hold onto his ears if E's on Pat's shoulders. I think it looks like he's riding an elephant.
Getting ready for our walk to the lake.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

23-Month-Old Monkey

This massive heat and no AC has forced us to the park for most of the days. (We have one AC in as of today... more to be put in this weekend!) Lots of running through the fountains!

Elliot is crazy about hanging on bars at the playgrounds. He's our 23-month-old monkey. I'll get a video up here of it soon. He's so wiry and spry.

On the word front-- every day there seems to be new little ones. Still no phrases or sentences, but we all are aware this is not his strength. Yesterday, I picked him from Renee's and as we were leaving, he was waving to her dog, going, "Doh(g)... woof woof." I came home and said to Pat, "Oh my gosh! Elliot's got 'woof woof' now for dogs!'" Pat's response: "Oh, yea, he's been doing that for a couple weeks now-- there's a dog at the fence at the park who he imitates." Sure. Keep me in the loop, Mr. Stay-at-home-Dad.

Elliot's getting a bit of pudge on him. Still survives on cereal and banana babyfood; I have no idea how to deal with the monster we've created by letting him be so picky (you all who have picky eaters know-- it's that very fine line between getting them to at least eat and trying for new foods...). He must be getting enough calories/vitamins to develop. We'll confirm with the 2-year-check-up soon.

Truly amazing that we're approaching two years with our munchkin.

We periodically visit the pond on campus where there are 9 baby ducklings with their mommy and some turtles. It's been so cute to watch them grow up. We went a few days ago, and Elliot kept calling all the babies, "Mama" because they don't look like babies anymore! We feed them bread, and usually get a gathering of goldfish too. A favorite outing of Elliot's.

We watched Diane one evening and she got wet when playing in the water at Elliot's bathtime. We put her clothes in the dryer for a bit, and it was really cute to watch the kids play around in just their diapers! When they're 18, they won't appreciate these photos, I'm sure.

We got some little deck chairs for Elliot et al. We also designated our cement wall as his chalkboard and it works really well as a play space. He found that the chalk fits right into the cupholders. We spend so much time on the deck.

One of our neighbors takes it upon herself to try to beautify our surrounding areas and asks for help here and there. Pat went out and helped plant some bushes. This is Elliot, thinking he's contributing to the cause.