Monday, February 24, 2014

Spork Overheard

Spork's love for the Little People, Duplo people/critters, and now the Playmobil 123 ark animals is seriously legendary.  He's giving some of them deep voices now.  So awesome.  More overheard conversations:

Superman:  See my cape?
Elephant:  Oh, oh!
Superman:  Where my mask?
Elephant:  I don't know.  Oh no!  The mask!

Giraffe 1:  You wanna go first?
Giraffe 2:  Nay, me!  (walks out on the extendable table arm used to support the extra leaf)
Giraffe 1:  My turn!  I go!  (follows)
Giraffe 2:  We all done now.
Giraffe 1:  Ok.  Put away!  (Giraffe pushes the arm back into the table)  Hawlp me, hawlp me!  Please!
Giraffe 2:  I hawlping (both Giraffes are now shoving at the table arm).

Spork sings the Dinosaur Train theme song now, and I can't even describe how awesome it is.  He does something crazy with his voice, making it lower and more nasally than it is naturally, and he sings it at top volume.

Spork has decided that it's in his best interest to inform on Tater Tot.  When I'm unloading the dishes or trying to get a minute to pee in peace, he'll come stomping to me, fake tears in his eyes, his face crumpled, and whining up a storm.  When I ask him what's wrong, he'll say, "Sis-say!  Up there!  Oh no!"  And I'll follow him to find her scaling the brick fireplace wall to reach the mantle/elbows deep in my purse fishing for lotion/pulling tissues one by one out of the box.  He might only have 5 months on her, but big brother knows trouble when he spots it!

Daddy says that Spork is cut out for the offensive line, and he's already trying to play the part by busting his poor lil' face up all the time.  Plus, he's a scab picker, so there is this ancient (originally received in November) owie that he keeps letting heal then reopening at the last minute.  All I can do is sigh, keep it clean, and hope he eventually learns to leave it be!

Spork has developed quite the rapport with the kindergartners and teachers.  He is brimming over with enthusiasm and the unquenchable desire to join in the classroom.  Mrs. L has a special fondness for Spork, and he pretty much launches his 40 pound self at her when she comes within a few yards of him.  The other day, to show off for Mrs. L, he started strutting and marching and performance culminated with him grabbing and repeatedly chest bumping the door frame.  I don't believe I've ever seen anything like it.
I had to remind myself of this post, back when the Nugget was Tater's age, because once again, I'm struggling with the toddler id and the physical/scientific nature of the 2-2.5 yo, when Tater pulled hair and pushed today, followed by Spork exuberantly flinging his best bud out of the way (and off a step, thankfully the bottom one) at a playspace today.  At least this time I'm armed with the proof that a pushy/smacky/grabby 2yo can indeed mature into a lovely gentle preschooler given consistent correction and what feels like a lot of time to grow!  This too, shall pass, self.  In the meantime, thankful for friends who give us grace and understanding while our children learn and grow together, through the fun and not-so-fun phases!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

OT 4Ever

A couple years ago, I'd never even heard of OT.  My first introduction to it was watching Parenthood, then my niece said she was interested in becoming an occupational therapist.  So when we got Spork a speech evaluation through First Steps, I was surprised that they referred us to OT services, which I thought was just for kids on the autism spectrum.  But boy was it a dream come true for Spork and for us too!

We've been very open about our First Steps experiences in real life, because I think it's an amazing program and hope that by sharing how much it's helped us that someone else takes advantage of the program as well.  We've also gotten a lot of questions from family and friends about what it means and what exactly Spork has been doing for an hour every week.

Basically, a lot of what we first misinterpreted as general grumpiness/temperment (massive meltdowns that lasted 45 minutes, the refusal to take a fun distraction, on the edge of tears at the drop of a hat) was due to Spork having a higher need for certain types of physical movement.  It's not something we view as a disability nor a problem, it's just an unusual need, the way Daddy needs second dinner or the way the Nugget needs to be run like a racehorse on a daily basis.  Spork needs a lot of "crashing", bouncing, heavy work, compression, and rhythmic movement to meet this need.  OT gives us the tools to meet these needs in a positive healthy way, as opposed to Spork throwing violent fits to try to get his "crashing" in a harmful way.  The turnaround since we started in November is absolutely tremendous.  Spork can be redirected and distracted after a small disappointment.  We can see his real personality emerging, and those tantrums are happening more like 1-3x/week and they are much shorter now.  His fuse is lengthening, and he's just an overall happier child.  Plus, OT is really really fun!  Spork (and Tater who gets the benefit of joining in his in-home sessions) both look forward to it every week.  Things he does include bouncing on a yoga ball/mini trampoline, sliding, swinging, being pulled or "rowed" on a blanket, parachute play, manual experiences like making ooblek and playing in dry beans, and experimenting with different whistles and horns.  Ms. OT is totally delightful and really cares about Spork.  It's a pleasure to learn from her and very exciting to watch Spork make progress and thrive.

I'm still very new to it, but my hope is that this post will reach just one other family who needs help.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Talkative Twos

Taco = tickle
Sasses = sunglasses
Nilk = milk (reminds me of how the Nugget used to say nogurt for yogurt)
Zeeeper = zipper (Grandpa discovered may have encouraged this one, love it!)
Girl-la = gorilla
Tootle = turtle

Tater has been having a rough time settling down at night time lately.  Thankfully she's usually in good spirits, but she and the Nugget are going through another round of "night parties".  Last week, I went in to shush them and make sure the lights were out, and I noticed that she'd taken off her pajama bottoms. When I asked, "Where are your pants?" she responded, "I threw them," and pointed to the floor before collapsing in a fit of giggles.  She has since started a trend of stripping stark naked and laughing maniacally until she realizes she is cold and might have peed in a corner of the crib and then starts crying for pjs, only to repeat the chaos cycle.  Luckily, Daddy squelched it with a stroke of genius when he calmly stated, "If you're going to be naked, we need to take Hippo and Bonky out of the crib so they don't get wet."  A few minutes of tears, repeated over several nights, and I think the nudist trend is over (knock on wood).

Everything, according to Tater Tot, "Is pooping!"  Hand her a stuffed duck for example, and after a token hug, she immediately exclaims, "Duck is pooping!  Duck go potty."  She herself is beginning to have a bit of potty time success, though I don't think I'll be needing to buy new undies for anyone anytime soon if you get my drift.  Whatever the case, it's definitely the hot topic of conversation in this house.

In adoption news, the wait continues - we found out that Indy was missing a piece of paperwork (despite previously confirming to 2 case workers that they had everything they needed).  The paper went down there 2 weeks ago, and our poor CW knows that I am going to have a full-on nervous breakdown if we have to renew our license before finalization!

Nay = yes
Sippery = slippery (this is his new, "Is it hot?"  Now he asks before we go outside, "Is it sippery?!")
Tun tun = tunnel, but I think he's really trying to say time tunnel
Shoop = sure.  This one evolved from, "shoo," which was much closer to the word, but it's funnier this way.  Interesting that his affirmatives are hard to understand when his negatives are crystal clear!

Tater can speak Spork-ish fluently, by the way. Typically, she says yeah or yes, but I've noticed when she is engaged with Spork and he'll blurt out something that sounds like a question, she'll say, "Nay," and nod her head in the affirmative.

Both toddlers can now say several of their friends' names (M, G, and A), and they say them at appropriate times, which is adorable.  When we're walking past M's house, they'll call for him.  When we go to the mall (because we meet for stroller walks there), they look fervently for G&A.  They still mostly parallel play, but there are the beginnings of community forming, the occasional toy offered or goodbye hug given.  It is really fun and exciting to watch their friendships grow.

Spork is eager to try new foods.  He is a fairly adventurous eater and likes many of them, but every once in awhile, he'll meet something (typically a vegetable) he finds distasteful.  The Nugget would simply insist on its immediate removal from his plate.  Tater would either fling it or ignore it.  But Spork gets really theatrical about it, crumpling his face into a horrified grimace, holding it between his thumb and pointer finger at arm's length and crying, "Nooooo!" until I remove it from his fingers.  He won't be convinced that he can set it down himself, he'll just hold it crying and getting more and more upset at the offending food.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

We always treat our kiddos to a new love-themed book and I fill Dollar Spot mini mailboxes with tiny treats and toys on VDay.  Somehow this year, the kids got lots of additional generous gifts and cards from friends and relatives, so much that the Nugget exclaimed, "It's like Christmas!"

It's a little late for using these tips for this year but here's what I used for gifts, you can grab them on sale now with the post-VDay clearance!  Books don't appear to be on discount on Amazon, but if you have a Barnes and Noble near you, I'd head there for a discount this week.  

 Spork:  The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond.  Imaginext horse and knight (sans sword) free with a manufacturer's coupon around Christmas.  Dude, these are expired now, but you can bet I'll be scouring the interwebs for them again next year!  1 piece of chocolate (from a Lindt bag bought with a Target coupon) which somehow got smeared all over his shirt!  Stickers purchased on VDay clearance 2013!

 The Nugget:  Dog Parade by Barbara Joosse (this is loosely love-themed in that the Nugget loves dogs) purchased on clearance in the campus bookstore with our discount stacked on top of that!  The same stickers and chocolate.  A bagged mini Lego set and a micro pack of gum.

Tater:  Kiss Kiss by Margaret Wild.  Chocolate and stickers like the boys.  A Little People girl on trike (half of this set free with a manufacturer's coupon at Christmas - I love that LP always make children of color!)  I love to split sets like this because the other half might show up in Tater's Easter basket - woohoo!

 The Nugget sporting his long-awaited stache.  He's been dying to wear one since they arrived, but I made him wait til after he handed them out at school.

 Spork wearing his adorable chef's hat and apron from Grammy and Grandpa - he is such a little chef, this is the perfect ensemble for him!

Cabin Fever

January, I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, but sayonara and good riddance!

In no particular order, the trials of January 2014:
-A weeklong work trip for Hubby
-The boiler broke...twice (it's fixed now, $700 later), the second time covering the basement in 2" of water...while Hubby was on said business trip
-2 separate states of emergency with driving bans/snow days/work from home days.
-Babies locked me out of the house, and not having a hide-a-key, I had to call the police to break in to unlock the door.
-And to top it off, the Nugget decided to put on a show, just minutes before toddler bedtime.  Sounds cute, with dolls lined up on the back of the couch as an audience.  I left Hubby in charge since he'd been hogging working from home in the office all day and I desperately needed to return some emails.  When I came back (because there was a fight brewing), I noticed the floor was...sparkling.  The Nugget had run through the house with a vial of glitter, joyously sprinkling "confetti" before his show.  I would have liked to laugh it off and clean it up later, but because Tater still puts plenty in her mouth, we had to shut down the show and vacuum it all up pronto.  Have you ever tried to vacuum glitter?  5 trips around with the vacuum and a follow-up with the lint roller, and I'm still finding traces, a full week later.

Anyway, February has been much better so far.  It treated us to our first full week of school/work, temps "soaring" into the 30's so we're back to bundling up for snow play and fresh air, and of course the welcome distraction of Valentine's Day.  I've also had enough breathing room to recount some of the things we've been doing to combat cabin fever, thanks to Pinterest, OT, and creative FB friends for the ideas.

Indoor snow play.  Cookie sheet full of fresh snow, spoons, tiny measuring cups to make snow castles, empty dishsoap bottle full of colored water.

 Fine motor work/snack - cheerios stacked on spaghetti stuck in play-doh.

 Treasure hunt - find the pony beads hidden in the play-doh.  Spork can do this for 30+ minutes if he's in the right mood.  And if Mama doesn't tire of picking dropped pony beads off the floor.

Practicing scissor and stamping skills on play-doh.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Friendship Day 2014

Last year, I'd pinned a bunch of valentine's ideas, hoping that the Nugget would just choose one to hand out this year.  Of course, he wanted to march to his own beat, and said, "Well, I really want to hand out pictures of me.  Because everyone would like that."  A bit cocky, yes, but probably true.  I convinced him to at least add one thing to the picture but because his school doesn't do candy, we had to get a little creative.  Found these pink mustaches at OTC and thought they'd be perfect.

We took a picture of the Nugget against a plain curtain.  

Cropped and printed 4x6s at Target, with a coupon!

Trimmed the mustaches with scissors, leaving the backing in place and affixed the to the photos with a tiny piece of double stick tape.  I also used a paper punch to make scalloped circles and wrote in red ink, "I mustache you to be my friend!"

All done!  I loved the way they turned out and hope Spork or Tater will do a reprise.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Fortunes by the Nugget

The Nugget recently posed this thoughtful query, "Mommy, when did I first connect with Giraffe?"  This led to a love soliloquy about Giraffe and an unprompted decision to create this thank you note for Aunt B, who picked her out for the Nugget as a baby.  I die!

On weekends, Daddy or I try to take the Nugget out for a quick date.  When we can't get out, we make it a priority to spend a naptime creating a marble run or a Lego creation or a fleet of paper airplanes with him, because being a big brother is super hard, and it should come with some perks.  (Plus, the littles are in the throes of 2yo destructiveness/chaos, so it's getting challenging to take all 3 to any place that frowns upon mayhem.)  This past weekend, the Nugget lucked out and got a double header - Home Depot workshop with Daddy and Science Alive with Mommy.

Preparing and grinding corn at Prairie Winds Nature Farm's table.

 Science Alive is overrun with ND students with a passion for science and teaching.  These young adults gave up a Saturday not to promote a business but to spark a desire for learning in local children.
 This young astronomer in particular was a naturally gifted teacher and got the Nugget very interested in radiation and Geiger counters.
 Creating a marble roller coaster out of foam piping.

Regardless of the fact that coming home from our dates usually erupts in a pout over the return to reality that he is 1/3, I always find myself looking forward to our next date.  Thanks for the fun, kiddo, can't wait to do it all over again.
I found adorable fortune cookie erasers at the Dollar Spot for our Valentine's playdate and the Nugget had fun creating his own fortunes.  Without further ado:

"Smile and see what happens"
"Tape a penny to the door, and it will snow."
"Beware of poison joke." (Only MLP fans will understand)
"You will get a goody bag."
and my personal favorite, "You will turn into a hot dog."