Friday, September 30, 2011

23 Months

Here's a quick update on Oliver before next month's two year mark! As of a couple weeks ago, he officially knows all of his (capital) letters. He can say them all fairly well (even W!) except for K and Q. I think it's interesting he can't make that sound yet, but he'll get it. I've started exposing him to lower-case letters, but I don't want to overwhelm or confuse him.

Oliver also counts to three. Also, he's started to take off his own pants to go to the potty, although he's not always able to do it. He can't do it at all with jeans that require unbuttoning and unzipping first.

Unfortunately, he's had another first today: a stomach bug! The vomiting hasn't been that bad (only two episodes, and one was with nothing in his stomach), but he's obviously miserable and not feeling well. My usually happy man is quite crabby today. However, I've gotten extra snuggles, and he's currently doing a marathon (2+ hour) nap! This might sound bad, but I'm actually glad he's sick now and not in another month when our baby arrives. Let's get all the illnesses for the next three months out of the way now!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


This morning, right when I woke up, I felt our little one hiccough! I can't describe how excited I felt. I never felt Oliver get the hiccoughs, although I'm sure he had them at some point. It almost felt like when you lay just right and feel your own pulse. It was very regular and rhythmic and adorable.

I'm counting down the last few weeks! Six to go, unless she feels like hanging out in there for a little longer.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

100 (Attempted) Ways to Entertain a Young Toddler, Day 50: Pouring Practice

Sometimes, as a parent, you just make stuff up. It might not be true, but it sounds true. I think a child will have just as much difficulty learning to pour at age 2 as he will at age 3 and maybe even 4. So, why not start early? At some point, Oliver will need to learn to pour. I figure it will be just as messy next year as it will be this year. Of course, maybe I'm wrong, but I decided to let Oliver learn.

This has resulted in quite a few messes. Oliver likes to pour the milk into his cereal on cereal mornings, and he does a surprisingly good job. However, the initial dump into the bowl always ends up with some (or a lot) outside of the bowl.

I decided to come up with a way for Oliver to have some pouring *practice.* Of course, the best thing to practice with is water! We don't have a kettle, which might be too heavy anyway, and we don't have a tea pot, but we do have a netty pot. It's plastic and lightweight, so I chose that for Oliver's pouring escapades. I made sure it was clean, filled it with water, and then handed it to Oliver, along with a second cup for him to pour into.

Oliver caught right on! He enjoyed pouring and sipping and dumping the water for about 15 minutes, which is a good length of time for him. After a while, he started pouring the cup of water into the bathroom sink and asking me for, "More." Well, whatever works!

Here are some shots of Oliver as he plays, "Pouring Practice:"

It's off subject, but please don't mind the nasty carpet. It is pretty bad, but we're waiting to replace it until after our daughter is born and potty trained. I decided there's no reason to replace them now if she's going to poop on them later. So, two years from now, these gross carpets will be a thing of the past.

Back to "Pouring Practice!" I really liked this activity, and, because of my old, dingy carpet, I definitely didn't mind them getting spilled on. I dabbed it up a bit when he was done, but other than that, I didn't worry about it. So, "Pouring Practice" was good for Oliver's development, fun for him, free to play, and easy (for me) to clean up. As an added bonus, my heart melted a little bit when Oliver grabbed a towel to clean up a spill. "Pouring Practice" gets an A grade!

Monday, September 26, 2011

100 (Attempted) Ways to Entertain a Young Toddler, Day 49: Curling

Today, I decided to teach Oliver how to play curling. It's my dream for him to be an Olympic champion.


OK, no, I just decided to let Oliver sweep the kitchen. I, like most Americans I know, do not know the rules for curling.

I have two brooms. Why do I need two brooms? Because I have a toddler who likes to do whatever Mommy and Daddy does. So, every day, when I take out the broom and dust pan, Oliver gets excited and wants to sweep, too. I let him, but it involves him scattering the pile of debris every which way. Sweeping takes a long time. Well, today, Oliver was playing with his pom-poms, and I had a great idea. Why not let him practice sweeping with those? They're big, so he can see them, and they looked fun to push around with a broom.

And, so, I taught Oliver to scatter the pom-poms all over the floor (that can't backfire later, right?). Then, I handed him one of the brooms and told him he could sweep the pom-poms into the dust pan. He looked so eager and excited! He took the broom and got to work:

After a few minutes, he decided that the broom made his job more difficult, so he ditched it in favor of his hands:

He seemed to enjoy the task, but it didn't last for very long. Once he had most of the pom-poms in the dust pan, he decided he'd rather they went into the ice cream maker. He enjoyed mixing them with his dried pasta and then separating them back out again.

So, Oliver had fun, but the activity I'd invented wasn't the real winner. I still think it's creative, and I like that it's free, but Oliver just wasn't that interested in pretend sweeping. Pretend sweeping, or "Curling," as I jokingly named this activity, earns a C.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Second Annual Kid's Day

Andrew and I decided to designate today as our second annual Kid's Day. Kid's Day is our favorite made-up holiday!  Last year's Kid's Day included a day at the park, Costco, and a trip for ice cream. We had numerous possibilities on our list of fun for today, but we knew we wouldn't get to them all.

We started the morning off with Oliver's favorite breakfast: McDonald's. Go figure, but that's what our kid likes!

After filling up on egg & cheese McMuffins, we decided to make the scenic drive through Georgetown to Guanella Pass. Guanella Pass is filled with aspens, and, at high altitude, their colors are at their peak. I was so proud of Oliver. The drive took about an hour, and he stayed happy the entire time!

Here is a picture I took from the car as we drove through the pass:

We spotted a big horn sheep on the way up:

We decided not to drive through the whole pass, so we stopped at Clear Lake to stretch and play before turning around and heading back to Georgetown. When we arrived, I took Oliver to his first outhouse. He was interested in the deep hole below the toilet seat, and he held onto me as he peed. Here's a photo of us exiting to commemorate the event:

And then we set out for the short hike from the parking lot to the lake:

The water level of the lake was low, and it was a little steep to walk down to the water's edge. So, I stayed behind as Andrew and Oliver climbed down. Oliver was thrilled to find rocks to throw into the clear water:

After Oliver and Andrew were finished throwing rocks into the water, we hiked back to an area between the lake and the parking lot. It had some lovely views of the aspens, and it was scattered with boulders. We decided it would be fun to help Oliver learn to rock climb on the boulders.

Once Oliver was done rock climbing, I decided to bee-line it back to the outhouse. Andrew described the events that happened next. Oliver saw a little stream. He looked up at his dad with a look that asked, "Can I?" Andrew told him to go for it. Oliver ran in and started stomping and splashing around. He threw pebbles into the water. Andrew laughed, looked on, and snapped photos.

Our hour at the lake was a blast. If we'd packed a picnic, we would have stayed longer. But we started to get hungry and thirsty, so we headed back down to Georgetown. As soon as we left the lake, we drove by a flock (is it a flock?) of big horn sheep. Notice their horns aren't very big yet:

We stopped at a small scenic overlook on our way back down the pass. I took some photos of the aspens from above, and a nice couple took our family photo:

Really, the trip was so fun and relaxing. We finished it off by enjoying lunch at "The Happy Cooker" in Georgetown. On the way home, Oliver fell asleep. He only slept for about 45 minutes, but he insisted he didn't want to nap any more once we were home. So, we rested for a bit and then decided to head to "Geoffrey's" birthday party at Toys R Us. I'd gotten an email from Toys R Us that said today was Geoffrey's birthday party, and there would be a celebration at every location from 12pm to 3pm. There was supposed to be a parade every half hour, beginning at 12:30pm. There were also supposed to be some freebies and giveaways.

To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. Part of me hoped it would be a really fun, free event. Another part of me thought that it couldn't be too spectacular if it's at every location. We decided to check it out without getting ourselves too excited. The only thing I told Oliver was that he'd see a parade (his first!).

We arrived at the Toys R Us/Babies R Us in Littleton. While the parking lot was pretty full, there was no other sign of an event going on inside. I thought maybe there'd be balloons or something, but there wasn't. I knew then that the event wouldn't be very exciting.

At the entrance, we let Oliver play on the Bert & Erie ride. We didn't put the money in it to make it go, but Oliver loved it just the same. He recognized Bert and Ernie, and was excited to sit with them and point out all of their facial features.

We went inside after playing on the Bert and Ernie ride, and we saw nothing. It was just a regular day at the store. I thought maybe this location wasn't going to have the birthday party. Andrew thought the same thing because he said, "Maybe they don't do it at this one because it's half Babies R Us." Then, I spotted a sign that advertised the party today. So, we went in. There was a single table set up. It had a few coloring pages and crayons scattered on it and a stack of paper crowns (the kind kids get at Burger King). There was no one there to talk to. We grabbed Oliver a crown that he wouldn't wear, and started to browse as we waited for the clock to hit 2:30pm. We would at least see a parade, right? Wrong. Geoffrey showed up, and he waved hello to the kids. Oliver was excited to see him and got his photo taken with him:

I think other parents were disappointed, too, because they also had their cameras out. There was no parade, no anything. We walked around the store and saw that there had been a few more tables set up, but they were all being broken down. It was barely past 2:30pm. Oh well.

We decided to let Oliver play with a train set that was on permanent display. He wasn't very interested in the train cars, but he loved the gates and the fixtures, like the water tower.

After the disappointing trip to Toys R Us, we went home to make smoothies. Oliver loved putting in all the fruit. Helping in the kitchen is his favorite thing ever, so I made sure to include some kitchen activities for Kid's Day.

After smoothies, Andrew took Oliver outside. Let me explain that our back porch is filled with grasshoppers. We're not sure why. Andrew counted twenty on our porch this afternoon. Anyway, Oliver walked up to a group of them, and he pointed closely at them to Andrew. They all jumped and scattered, much to Oliver's delight. He chased a few down, pointing at them, as they continued to jump away. I saw the end of it from inside the house, and I couldn't help but laugh. I grabbed my camera to capture a few last minute photos of Oliver with the grasshoppers.

Oliver found one by our shed. If you look closely, you'll see it to the left of the potted plant, against the white piece of scrap material:

Oliver never hurt the grasshoppers. In fact, he never even touched them. But he was so interested in them. He definitely has some of his daddy's genes! Here is Oliver picking up the scrap material, which the grasshopper was standing on:

Yes, there's a fork in the photo. Oliver had brought it outside with him because, apparently, that's what toddlers do:

You'll have to look closely at this photo to see what I'm about to describe. There is a blurry brown spot just to the right of Oliver's head. That's actually the grasshopper as it jumped away! I luckily and coincidentally got it on film when I snapped a photo of Oliver examining it:

Andrew caught the grasshopper for Oliver and showed it to him. He explained to Oliver that he has to be very gentle. Oliver hung on to Andrew's every word. It was so touching to see.

We followed up dinner with a trip to the park. We went to Sister City Park, which is Oliver's favorite park. They don't have a little kid section like Kendrick Lake Park, but it forces him to go on the big slides. I think that's what he likes about this park! Here are some shots of my little man enjoying the swings:

Last week was the first week that Oliver has been willing to go on the slide all by himself since winter. He went down a hot slide once (it was my fault; I didn't check it) back in March and has refused to go down a slide by himself since. That changed last week with this slide:

Oliver went down the twisty slide about a dozen times before Andrew was able to convince him to try another slide. They explored the tube slide, but Oliver was too afraid to go down it by himself. And, so, that's how Andrew ended up squeezing himself into the tube slide:

After squeezing themselves through the tube slide a few times, Oliver moved on to the whale ride. He thought it was OK, but he quickly abandoned it in favor of the slides.

After the whale ride, Oliver decided to brave the tube slide himself. Here he is at the top of the slide:

He did it!

Oliver loved the tube slide once he did it himself. He wanted to do it again and again and again. So, he did! Once he mastered it, he moved onto a very small slide. Because it was so simple, I told him that it was the "butt slide." I told him he had to go down it on his butt. He was skeptical at first, but he agreed to try it. It was a winner! I caught him at the bottom the first few times, but then I stepped back to take photos of him. I think his concerned expression is pretty cute:

Unfortunately, after sliding down this slide a few times, something happened. Oliver stood up and walked away. Then, he started pointing and running in circles. He looked very, very concerned. I asked Andrew, "What's wrong? Is he going to puke?" He kept doing it, and I started to worry. What if he got whiplash from a slide? Did he hit his head, and I missed it? Andrew ran to his side. He picked up Oliver and carried him back to me. He whispered, "Oliver pooped."

Our poor guy! This was his very first poop accident since mid-July. We didn't know what to do because there weren't any bathrooms at the park. Andrew wanted to take him behind a bush and quickly remove his pants to get the poop out. I told him that a grown man can't take a child behind a bush and remove his pants. I didn't have a better idea, though, so I went with. We got the turd out, and then we went to leave. Oliver started sobbing. I felt so bad. I didn't want him to think he was being punished for having an accident. I also felt so heartbroken for him that he'd had to poop and didn't know where to go in order to do his business. Really, I felt so sad for him. How scary in his little mind to know he had to poop, but he didn't know where his potty was. My poor baby. We decided to let him go down the little slide one more time, and then lured him away with the promise of a bath.

Oliver got his bath, and he got to watch an episode of "Sid, the Science Kid" before heading to bed. I think he felt 100% by the time bed time rolled around. I'm so glad we had such a fun-filled Kid's Day, but I still feel so badly for him because of how much he'd panicked at the park when he had to poop.