Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring Weekends at 5

Last weekend was the first in possibly months in which one of us parents didn't have to go in to work. We made the most of it on Saturday. In the morning we drive to a nearby town and joined some of Dad's coworkers' families for a tour of a small pretzel bakery. It was modestly interesting, and Limelet got to try twisting some dough into a classic pretzel shape. The event was perhaps a tiny bit long and dry for small children, though. However, we got lots of photos of Limelet posing in and around a giant pretzel in front of the building, so that was all right.

For lunch we all met at a nearby restaurant, where everybody's children were more than patient with the grownup proceedings.

After the expedition dispersed and everyone left was the best part of the day: we went back into town, got ice cream, and spent the afternoon at the park. (I mourned the wasting of our lunch leftovers, but it couldn't be helped.)

We really need to procure some quarters and carry them around so we can buy duck food pellets, play video games at the arcade, and pay parking. In order of importance.

Initially we saw only a few ducklings, but as we passed again later there were several  dozen against one pond wall, all queeping madly, and one lone mother duck trying to corral them all. Apparently she'd been roped into the job for the afternoon while the other duck parents escaped.

It really was a classic small-town America summer afternoon, complete with throwing stones from the railway track into the river.

Ray Bradbury would have approved, had he been there.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Five

The past few nights, Limelet has been experiencing some anxiety. "Mama, I'm scared." "Oh, what are you scared about, Honey?" "I don't know!"

Last night at bedtime he asked "Are we in real life? Is this real?" An exchange in which it came to light that he was feeling anxious about the nature of reality and our own existence. Great racking sobs' worth of existential angst. Pretty heavy stuff for someone who has just lost his first couple of teeth.

I have focused on encouraging him to recognize his own reality by being in the moment in his own body: "You can feel your own breath going in and out, and your own heartbeat. You can feel the bedsheets touching your arms and legs. This is how you can know you are real."

We had lots of hugging and snuggling and letting him cry, and telling him that I had similar bouts of fear as a child. I also called in Daddy so we could all be together and touching. When Jack weepingly explained that he was scared that we were not real, my husband looked at me wide-eyed, "Existential issues already?" He also let Limelet know had experienced these fears when little.

We talked about the differences between real life and shows on TV, stories in books, and dreams. I also emphasized that even when we turn off the light and it's dark, everything is still there.

It passed in about an hour, after which he was giddily relieved to feel okay again, and he wanted to laugh and make silly jokes. Which is pretty much what people do.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Big Kid

Limelet really turned the corner developmentally in the past six months or so. I wonder about ethical issues in maintaining a blog about him as he gets older--sooner than we think, he'll have his own online identity; he's not "my baby" any more in that way (though of course he'll always be my baby!)

His speech became suddenly more grown-up between spring and summer. He can tell and understand jokes involving word play now. He still uses "w" for both "r" and "l" sounds, but I've heard him trying them out. He now says "j" instead of "dz," too.

Around the same time he got the potty thing down. That was a really big deal (for us at least). Now he has his own little potty, with his bookshelf next to it. I put that there after the night he carefully carried his potty into our library room so he'd have something to look at while going, which was both cute and pitiful. I think he got the idea from the Potty Power DVD, which shows children playing with toys and reading books on the potty. He also frequently sings the theme song: "I can do it myself, I'm a big kid now!" Very catchy tune, it was.

Limelet's little friend--whom we'll call Olaf though that's not really his name--was visiting recently, and as they sat in small chairs happily having dinner and watching a cartoon, Limelet turned to his friend and said, "I love you, Olaf!" And Olaf replied, "I love you, too." It's so cute. In a year or two, they'll be too cool to be so affectionate, no doubt, so I'm enjoying this while I can.

Limelet has the same territorial issues about sharing that his peers do (i.e. No one else should play with my toys! Sharing means I get to play with your toys!), but he has a generosity of spirit that I'm proud to see. For example, when other kids try to impress him or even shame him (which I've seen) with how much better a toy/drawing/whatever they have, he happily tells them that it's great! He loves their toy/drawing/whatever! He seems totally immune to the one-up, which is nice. It also means one less way for him to potentially feel bad about himself.

As Limelet just turned four, he got a shiny new silver astronaut outfit, which he then wore for several days in a row. Happily, this coincided with Picture Day at day care, so I am looking forward to seeing the class photo with all the nicely turned out children--and one astronaut. Well, if you can't have formal portraits taken in your astronaut costume when you're four, then when can you?

Limelet's birthday party went really well. I invited just a few kids from class after asking the teachers for the names of a few kids he plays with frequently, as well as Olaf, a couple neighbor children, and the hairdresser's kids. So we had maybe seven or eight all told, including a couple babies, but mostly kids his age. I made it a morning party and told parents to leave the kids in their pajamas, and I served breakfast. That went over pretty well, because if you don't have to dress the kids or feed them before you come over, it's a lot easier.

I kept it as simple as I could and served items with little or no prep (though it always ends up more complicated than you think it will, even so). I served grapes and cut-up fruit, donut holes, brown-n-serve sausages, tater tots, coffee & tea, and milk & juice (of course). Well, I did make homemade cinnamon rolls, which are fiddly and time-consuming, but I made them ahead of time and froze before their second rise, then thawed them out the night before and just popped them in the oven that morning.

I also got about seven bales of straw (only about $3-4 each) and stacked them in the back yard so the kids would have something to climb on outside. And a few cans of silly string, naturally. And we have a swing on the apple tree. After breakfast they went out and played, and the parents wandered in and out to keep tabs on them.

I got a half-sheet cake from the grocery bakery with no decoration, and had the kids decorate it after they'd played outside for a while. First I had Limelet write his name on it (under the candy "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" I'd applied), then each child got to put on some sprinkles, or gel, or colored sugar. It actually looked pretty cool, and the kids had a great time doing it. And then eating the cake, of course.

Fur Mother Explodes!

Welp, looks like I better prepare for some company here at Furmother thanks to Nurse-and-Blogmeistress Debbie over at Wee Care!

Luckily I don't have to clean the bathroom and kitchen as I do when IRL company (or the landlord) is coming over, because we'd just have to be be outta luck with that today.


Okay, waitaminit. Turns out that although Wee Care did post a link yesterday, the source of most of my hits is actually a link posted by Kim over at InAShoe. Which, apparently, is still more popular than many "official" sites. So, go Kim! Looks like it was a fun beach trip.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Art, Hugs, and Reinforcements

Limelet's little friend from across the street moved away only a few weeks after they met. Luckily he moved not too far away--still walkable in nice weather at least; definitely driveable. Last night he and his mother stopped by for a surprise visit. Limelet was so delighted. They stayed for a couple of hours, and the boys had snacks of cheese, candy, half a twinkie each, and milkshakes (made by TheLimey). So a lot of health food, basically. They played pirates, legos, and turned on the sprinkler much to the surprise of the parents, who were sprinkled. At the end of the visit they gave each other a fervent hug as only nearly-four-year-olds can, and then another. It was beyond adorable.
Limelet has suddenly begun making representational drawings. Where he used to ask us to draw  certain objects, he's suddenly realized that he can draw them himself. Or he'll ask us to draw one, and then copy it. So far it's mostly rockets, cannonballs, and dynamite. But this bodes very well for the whole art thing that I plan to do with him. With as little pedantry as possible, of course.
He's also taken really well to potty training now that the seal is broken, so to speak. He's started telling us when he needs to go, and then going on his own. The only thing I don't know how to deal with is how to stop giving him reinforcements after each "number 2" potty session!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Milestone. So There.

I know parents are mocked for poo posts, but you know what? You never
know what a huge achievement pooping on the potty is until you try to
teach someone else to do it. I can't imagine that high school
graduation is any more exciting for parents than this is.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cheers and the Sad Song

On the corner of our block is a salon where TheLimey gets his hair cut. The stylist also coincidentally is American with an English husband and has small children, who are occasional playmates with Limelet. Yesterday Limelet wanted to stop at the salon to say hi, which we did. The little boy his age was there, and both got ring pops. A few minutes later I noticed that they were clinking candy rings with each other, saying "Cheers!" repeatedly. It was really funny--I don't know which one started it, though I know Limelet knows to cheers us when we're all drinking tea.

This evening we decided to get out of the house and go to a small local coffee shop for a little while. Limelet got an ice cream cone and we had hot drinks. It turned out to be an open mic event, which was fine while no one was actually doing open mic. They played some dance music. But then a young woman got up to sing with a pianist. The song she sang was one of those sad soft-rock leave-taking kind of ballads with lots of swooping minor-key vocals. Limelet was initially completely hypnotized because he loves performers with microphones or instruments. But as the music became sadder, his face crumpled and he collapsed into into racking sobs over my lap. It was so pitiful. He could hardly breathe for sobbing. So we had to quick grab up all our stuff and escape. It took him some time to recover once outside, clinging to me and weeping brokenheartedly. "Well, at least we know he's not a psychopath," said my husband.

Once home, I put a Wiggles tape on, just to counteract the sad music with some happy music. It seems to be working well.

Darnit, I didn't get a chance to drink my hot cocoa, because it was still full when we had to go, and then it spilled on the bumpy sidewalks on the way home. I had only some dregs.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

3...2...1... Aaaand We Have Literacy!

As of last week, Limelet can suddenly read three words. Well, two phrases, perhaps. "ZOO" and "THE END."  Both gleaned from media, of course.
"ZOO" he actually gets the whole letters/sounds concept and it happened rather suddenly. I pointed out the letters and their sounds in his favorite video game ("Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo") and he just got it, and now recognizes the word when he sees it anywhere. 
As for "THE END" I think he just recognizes the overall look of the phrase, especially in context. "TH" is a kind of hard letter combination to get initially.
He loves for me to point out the letters in his name while sounding them out. I guess he recognizes his name, too, come to think of it. But mostly the first letter.
So far, he doesn't recognize "bigfoot" but I'm sure it'll be any day now.