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December 18, 2007
We're getting close to Christmas! We have had a nice visit with Betty and Karen, and I think they are going to send me some notes to post too. I was amazed at their patience in looking at the collection of trucks over and over and over... They brought lots of cool stuff to do, like make and decorate cookies, paint ornaments, etc. Take a look at Scott's photo site to see the hats they gave Alex for Christmas.
Alex continues to be really into music. He went through a little phase of pretending to play piano on anything handy, whenever I would play the radio. He likes to take out his instruments and play with each one. He holds the guitar upright and says he is playing the bass. One day he was drawing the broomstick back and forth across the top of the sofa and said he was playing violin. When he hears songs, he will often say, I hear drums or I hear maracas, and he is generally right. We thought about getting him a real (kids) guitar for Christmas but decided to wait awhile.
One day when I was flipping through a parks and rec course catalog, Alex became enamored with a little girl in one of the pictures. He wanted to show her each car and truck. He asked her name and I (doing the voice) said Samantha so now she is his friend Sam. This has gone on a long time, and Scott and I joked about this being Alex's first imaginary friend. Then tonight on the way home from the gym, Alex asked me where Sam is. I said she was home on the couch, probably playing with his trucks. Alex informed me that Sam is not a real person. Today, I was the voice of the Mickey Mouse pez dispenser, admiring all the fire trucks and trains.
Speaking of fire trucks, the other night I tripped over one and broke a toe!
Alex continues to surprise us with his powers of observation. Tonight at dinner he pointed out that the chairs at the ends of the table had arm rests but the others did not (ok, you don't have to be a genius to figure that out, we were just surprised that he remarked on it). He learns new words quickly, after just hearing them once or twice, but he doesn't always get it exactly right. For example, I had a pack of tic tacs and he kept asking for a thumb tack. There have been several instances like this that I wish I could recall. He remembers stuff like crazy, and he can bring you any particular book, either by title or by description. Another example is that several times we have looked at the bottoms of Matchbox cars to see what they were and on occasion, read out made in China, so of course when we had a new one and turned it over to look, Alex blurts out made in China!
We had a couple scares recently. One night Alex tripped and fell into the metal edge of the shower door. He had quite a bruise on his cheek from it but no lasting damage, thankfully. One night when Betty and Karen were here, Alex woke up around 10:00, just screaming. It was hard to get him calmed down, then every time we would try to move him he would scream again. We felt his tummy and it was really firm. We took him to the emergency room, but of course he felt better by the time we got there. They checked him over and took xrays and determined it was probably gas pains. We were really impressed with how well Alex followed instructions while we were there. The admit nurse remarked that Alex is not your average 2-year old bear.
And now the potty update: We didn't really work on this at all while Betty and Karen were here, and when I took him back to daycare, I told Nicole not to bother with it until after the holidays if she didn't feel like. But, they went with the underpants anyway. Of course, I end up with laundry that way, but I am happy to report the best progress yet. We had been home for awhile, sat on the potty once, and were playing with something when all of the sudden, Alex ran off. I wondered why, and found that he had run to the potty. Of course he hadn't gotten his clothes off in time, but he did get there in time (no drops in the hallway, even). We were very excited because it shows that he is starting to learn how it feels before he has to go. Now if he could learn to make pee anytime, and not just when he has to -- but I can't figure out how to teach that!
December 19, 2007 - notes from Betty after the Christmas visit
The first thing that struck me about Alex was his confidence. He may be shy in new situations but it appears to me that as soon as he figures out that it is safe, he takes on a sort of 'boldness based on security'. I noticed this in his play -- from how he directed the scenarios with the cars to how he reacted to being tickled by his Daddy to wanting to be up on people's shoulders. He did not cry much at all when he got hurt -- he mainly asked his Mom or Dad to kiss whatever hurt to make it better. One day he told me while I was changing his diaper that is butt hurt -- and would I kiss it! Lynn was there so we just blew a kiss to make that better! Was this his sense of humor? Or just sweet naivety?
Alex also seems to be a very happy boy. He would start singing or humming when we were playing and all of his play was positive. He never played anything mean or bad. He spoke openly about the child at his daycare who pushed him. That seemed an event that bothered Alex but he did tell me that the child had not pushed him recently.
I really appreciate that he likes to have his head or back rubbed -- what a great way to show him love and affection. And he seems to take affection in stride -- I told him many times that he was cute or special, but he never tried to duplicate the action that caused me to tell him that in the first place. He just accepted that he was cute and kept on playing.
I also noticed Alex's great imagination. The keeping him away from TV (for the most part) has really paid off. It was a lot of fun to listen as he made up scenes with cars, animals and even playing in his box (house, fort, mail truck) upstairs.
Alex is a very nice person and I pray that he stays that way. I know he will have to "toughen up" when he gets into the world more but I am impressed with how kind he is now. When we played cars, if someone got hurt he always went and got a paramedic truck and made sure the car or animal that was hurt was immediately better before we played again. When he got mad or did not want to do something, he did not kick or scream but rather voiced his displeasure. He does assert his independence and that is good (hard at times but good). I loved hearing him say, "No, not yet" when he was not ready to change activities.
I heard a report last night on the news that specialists used to think that exposing children to classical music or learning activities early made them smarter but that now they are not so sure. During the report, one specialist said that these theories will come and go but that the one factor that will never change is the relationships that form a child when they are young. I believe this is true and I applaud Lynn and Scott for how they are forming this little boy -- he is shaping up just fine and much of that has to do with how they relate to him -- you two are doing a great job as parents.
December 29, 2007
We have had a wonderful Christmas. EMaw was here for the week. For a few days before Christmas, we got to observe (and help a little) the construction of a gingerbread farm scene. Then, shortly after it was done, we commenced eating it. We still have some left. We spent Christmas Eve at the Anderson's, and I think their gift of a big truck that holds 12 Matchbox cars (and came with 6) was probably Alex's favorite present (in fact, we just asked him and he said, "that new truck that Don and Dang gave me"). EMaw brought Alex some modeling clay and "window sticker paint" (it's thick and when it dries it makes a static-cling for windows) so we had some art time.
It took all of Christmas day for Alex to open his presents. In fact, I think he had a few left over. He stayed in his jammies all day. It was a pretty fun day. Alex was interested, but not crazy like I expect he will be next year.
Yes, I know we bombard you with tales of how smart Alex is, but I swear he never fails to amaze me. The other day we were playing with a boat and he said something about a light flashing because more boats were coming through. We were like, what? where? and he said, the place with the garden. It took me awhile to figure out what he was talking about -- the Ballard Locks, where we went back in early September. Another thing he said that surprised me -- I asked if he wanted to go to the Kids' Club, meaning the one at the gym. He said he wanted to go and play with the train table there. I told him there was no train table there, but he insisted there was. Later on, probably from something else he said, I realized he meant a toy store in U Village we went with EMaw a few days before. He would have heard the name of the store a few times at most.
Alex waiting to eat the gingerbread truck.
Alex is all into Scott these days. The only time Scott gets a break is when I take Alex out of the house. But Scott is great at playing with him. Today they made a fort that was a submarine, Scott made a periscope from a wrapping paper roll and some mirrors, then they put on "geek lights" (camping head lights) and went searching for and counting fish. Scott is much more creative than I am when it comes to playing! Can't say I mind it though, since there have been times when Alex only wanted Mommy too.
I am guessing that Alex is 100% over the cold he had for so long, because now there is no walking, only running and jumping everywhere. And new and different ways of climbing. He likes to climb up the steps on the outside of the bannister. Last night going to bed, I carried some things up and expected him to be right behind me, but when I looked down, he was lying across a step. I thought he was waiting for me to come get him, but then realized that he was going up the stairs sideways! I tried to get a video of it, but he ran the rest of the way up to see something that Scott was doing.
I generally write about things that we do, but I thought I should also remark on some general characteristics as well. We are lucky that Alex wakes up happy, always in the mornings and generally after naps (though he is a bit slow to get going). He gets up around 7:30 or so and usually comes in our room and wakes us up singing, laughing and playing. In fact, he is generally happy. But, Alex does not have much patience (hmm, think maybe he gets that from both sides!). He frequently will try to do some physical manipulation, like put in a puzzle piece or open a container, without really looking at what he's doing. He gets frustrated but will stop trying if you try to show him how it works. I have noticed him saying "I can't do it" a lot lately, so I am working on getting him to use his eyes and to slow down. I think part of it is that he wants someone to just do it for him, and I am trying to resist the temptation.
December 31, 2007
I forgot to mention some really cute things that Alex is saying these days. The first is that he has starting using the word "guys": Guys, come in here. Come on, guys. The others are things he gets from me, but it's so funny to hear from him. He will say something, then add Is that a good plan? or he will say something needs to be done, followed by I could probably arrange that.
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